Sunday, January 29, 2017

Box Break: 2016 Topps WWE Divas Revolution

Just in time for tonight's WWE Royal Rumble, let's take a look at Topps' latest wrestling product.

Topps and WWE have had a pretty lengthly working history. There have card sets for the WWE based on many of Topps' baseball card brands, such as Heritage and even Allen & Ginter. However it's been awhile since we've had an all womens set. Early on this new set was advertised as a Walmart exclusive, but ironically enough I first saw it at Toys 'R Us.

Labeled as the Divas Revolution and released at very tail end of 2016, I'm ok with the basis of the set, but not the name. The WWE has made a big push to legitmize women's wrestling and use the woman as just more as eye candy. They got rid of the stupid bra and panty matches of the Attitiude era and now feature women who I believe could hold their own against some of the men on the same roster. The WWE even ditched the stupid looking Divas Championship belt in favor of a new Women's Championship title belt. So why would Topps go and name this card set Divas Revolution?

All that aside, these cards are only offered in $19.99 MSRP blaster boxes. Each blaster yields 51 exclusive cards...50 cards from the regular set and 1 exclusive autograph, kiss card or a shirt/mat relic. The box itself toutes many of the current women that compete for both brands of WWE, but also features Trish Stratus and Lita on one side of the box. That should clue in the buyer that the set features more than just the current roster of women.

The base set is small, at only 43 total cards and is made up of former, current and NXT superstars.

In addition to the smattering of colored parallels randomly inserted, the insert sets help add some much needed bulk to the base set. Insert sets include:

Power Couples (10 cards), a pairing of male and female superstars that you may have recognized from WWE programming.

Rivalries (8 cards), a versus series of cards highlighting some classic matches from the past.

The Best Matches (9 cards), a more in depth look back at fierce matches include the date the match occurred.

The Revolution (4 cards), looks at the women that officially kicked off the new women's revolution.

Champions (9 cards?), looks back at former women who have held the gold.

The aforementioned guaranteed autograph or relic card that falls one per box is obviously one of the main draws to buying multiple blasters. At first I thought you may get the entire base set in each box so more than one would only be needed if you were trying to go for 100% completion, but that isn't the case. My blaster yielded me 26 of 43 base cards. The other 14 cards fell into one of the insert sets from above. Surprisingly I didn't get one of the parallels, but I'm actually glad as I'd rather try and finish off the set and all of the inserts.

My auto/relic card ended up not being so bad. I'm from Charlotte, NC so it's cool to get a card of someone that jails from my hometown, but I'm not the biggest fan of her character...or her dad's. What I didn't realize is that this mat relic is serially numbered to 50. Mine came in at 43/50. 

Overall I'm pleased with this set and I do see myself buying one more blaster to try and round out the set. I'm sure I'll have some doubles to trade if anyone out there cards. Kudos to Topps for trying something a little different this time around as the WWE trading card scene of late seems to be getting a little crowded with more of the same.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Free Cards - Round 1

Now that I'm getting to sorting through these monster boxes that have been stacked in the corner of my office for some time, I'm coming across cards that I no longer wish to hold onto. I've tried selling low value cards in my eBay store and frankly it just isn't worth my time to list these. So I've decided to just give them away!

I'll cover the postage for 1-3 cards. For larger lots or sets if you wouldn't mind throwing a couple of dollars my way to help cover postage I'd appreciate it.

I really just want to put these into the hands of others that will enjoy them, otherwise they may end up keeping me warm this winter! To claim a card or a lot, just leave a comment letting me know what you want. Then simply send me an email with your name, address and what you wanted and I'll reply w/ my info. 

To keep this fair, I'm going to limit this to two (2) cards or lots per person per week. I have a good bit I plan on letting go so if you don't see anything that interests you this round, stay tuned as there will be more to come. I've even got some hand collated sets that will be up for grabs.


With the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs getting underway later today, I figured I'd start with some football cards.

 12 Panini Rookie & Stars Dwayne Bowe Longevity (209/249)
12 Pacific Crown Royale Wes Welker Majestic Motion #10 (x2)
11 Topps Tim Tebow RC #GR-15

 08 Upper Deck Masterpieces Matt Ryan Captured on Canvas #CC51

Lot #3
 2011 Bowman Andy Dalton Chrome Rookie RC #BCR-28

 93 Playoff Drew Bledsoe RC #295

Lot #5
 11 Topps Platinum Patrick Peterson RC #PDC-PP

12 Bowman Sterling Stephen Hill Jumbo Rookie Relic #BSJRR-SH

Lot #7
Corey Dillon RC lot

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year's (Cardboard) Resolutions

Each year January comes rolling around I see post after post of New Year's Resolutions. It seems that many blogger's have the same type of resolutions, whether's to post more, be more active in the community, make more trades, or even get rid of cards. Another popular resolution I often see is getting organized. Easier said than done.

While I have many of these same resolutions as others, I've been meaning to get myself better organized for years now. I've gained so many cards over the past few years from hosting my Affordable Group Breaks, to trades to the kind generosity of others sending me their unwanted Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers cards. While this has been a lot of fun, trying to get them all cataloged, scanned in some cases and organized has been something that I've just put off. You know the saying that once your hobby becomes work it loses all it's fun? Well that has nearly happened to me and may explain the huge drop off in the number of posts I had in 2016.

I'm here to say though that I'm taking this resolution of getting organized seriously and I'm already underway. Some months back I remember coming across these shoe box houses that BCW offers and being quite impressed. I've been using about 5 monster boxes to store my cards and various player and team collections...but those are huge, heavy and a burden to work within. Needless to say the box I needed to get to was always at the bottom of the stack. That's where these shoe box houses come into play. Each house can store six of BCW's two row shoe boxes. They (somewhat) easily pull out so you can get to what you need, then when you are done slide right back in. I decided to take some Christmas cash and purchase two of these houses, along with some other supplies from BCW so I could finally get some organization to my collection.

Pretty much all this past weekend I sat at the dinner table that I claimed and set up shop. I first had to assemble the aforementioned shoe box houses. Once that was complete I assembled the shoe boxes and got out all of my supplies. I don't know if I'm OCD or not, but it bugged me that I couldn't locate certain cards, or that I could get to my various collections easily when it was time to put away cards. They often would end up in stacks and before long I forgot why I stacked those cards. Did they need to be simply put away? Or did I need to catalog them first? Argh!! Surely I'm not the only one to go through this, am I? I ordered 100 of those little white dividers so I could sort out my various player collections, as well as sort out the different years for my team collections. I thought 100 would be enough, but wouldn't you know I ran out before I was done.

Many of those "mystery stacks" ended up in a large plastic container such as this. There were plenty of opened bubble mailers laying around that I had to address as well. I started over the weekend going through this container, card by card, and checking to see if I had at least cataloged it. If not, onto the Google document it went and then I created a divider for that player and inserted into a box. I was only able to make a dent in this container before I found the weekend winding down, so upstairs everything went to my office.

My office is a hodge podge of things. As many of you know I have multiple hobbies and outside of my video games, they are all in my home office. The stack of 5 monster boxes used to reside under this white table where I keep my light box up for photographing toys and such. I pulled all of these out so I could insert the card houses. The next step is to go through each monster box and find new homes for these cards, of course in a more organized fashion. In the coming weeks or even months, I do plan on having giveaways as I know I have some cards I no longer wish to hold onto. I won't be selling these, only asking for interested parties to pay for the shipping.

Of all the supplies I bought, hands down one of my favorites has been these Tobacco card sleeves. Inside the penny sleeve is a little welded pocket for your mini cards. The sleeve itself is of a higher quality (i.e. thicker) plastic than your traditional penny sleeve. I'm not using top loaders for the majority of my PCs (to save space), but I hated how the mini cards sat in the box, even in a traditional sleeve. These new sleeves are great, they even hold the small Cracker Jack cards pretty well. This may not be new news to some of you seasoned collectors, but I was only aware of the pages for tobacco sized cards.

Needless to say I'm on the long road of getting my collection finally organized like I want. Even though I've just begun, I've got to admit it feels good. I have to be very organized in my work life so I don't understand why that doesn't carry over more to my home life. Part of this process I'm undertaking is getting all of my collections uploaded to my Google Drive account where I plan to make them available to the general public. I've also been uploaded scans of inserts, autos and relics of many of these players as I go along. Many of these will be uploaded to the various albums I have on the blog's Facebook page, but I also hope to create and post galleries of certain players.

If nothing else comes out of this adventure, I'm starting to feel like I'm breathing new life into cards and this blog. I know once I get closer to being done, the more I'll be able to enjoy this wonderful hobby of collecting little square pieces of picture cardboard.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 Topps Now: Dansby Swanson #366 (923 print run)

The first snowfall of the new year has left me awake most of the night, monitoring the weather in more of a work capacity than for pleasure. Deciding to make the most of my time awake I finally got started scanning that pesky stack of cards that has been sitting on my desk for the past several months. In this stack are a lot of Topps Now cards I bought last year so expect to see several of those type posts as I work on getting myself caught up.

August 17, 2016, this kid I've heard so much about made his MLB debut. I was traveling that night for work, but thankfully the hotel I was staying at carried Fox Sports South and I was able to watch his debut game. Dansby flashed his leather in the outfield and went 2 for 4 at the plate. 

I think the last young Braves prospect I was this eager watching play was Jason Heyward and before that Andruw Jones. Not surprisingly this Topps Now card quickly followed Dansby's big day in the majors. Not surprisingly the card sold pretty well with a print run of 923 cards.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Goodbye 2016

Looking over my post history for 2016 is a quick reminder of just how busy I was...or was it that blogging about cards lost some of it's appeal. Or was it a little of both?

I'm still not able to put a finger on it, but regardless a new year is upon on so why not take a few moments to look back at the past year...and share some images of cards I've picked up, but never posted about.

2000 Upper Deck

2005 Fleer Showcase #035/183

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like my player collections keep changing. I tend to pick players that don't always get a lot of cards or the players just drop out of the limelight all together, but one guy that I've stayed with is Tim Hudson. I have a good many of his cards already, but I'm amazed I keep finding cards of his that I don't own...especially cards of his pre-Braves days. Tim isn't going anywhere and I look forward to resuming my search for his cards in 2017.

2016 Topps Update Black parallel #60/65

The 2016 Braves may not have been the best team the club has assembled nor did they have the success I'm sure they were wanting, but one good thing did become of the season. Frenchy. When he signed the minor league deal during spring training I was beside myself. However I really didn't think he had a snowball chance in Hell to make the team. I was glad I was wrong. Early in the 2016 baseball card season I had to settle for cards of Francoeur in an ugly Phillies uniform, but towards the middle of the season Topps finally corrected this and issued a few proper cards of him in a Braves uniform. I was glad to have more cards of his to chase, especially trying to complete the rainbow of his 2016 Topps Update card seen above. I believe I'm still lacking the pink parallel to finish off the "set".

2015 Topps Heart of the Order

Freddie was back to his normal form in 2016. He was just as much fun to watch as ever, especially now that his eye sight issues that plagued him in 2015 seem to have been corrected. It was also fun following his journey becoming a dad for the first time during the season. After the Braves shipped Hector Olivera off to San Diego in exchange for Matt Kemp, Freddie was finally given a good power bat in the line up to compliment his game. The Braves may have not had the success they wanted, but they seem to be heading in the right direction and I'm glad that Freeman continues to be leading the way.

2016 Topps Gold Label

It seems as if you can always find new cards of your favorite players, even if they aren't playing the game any longer. I recently picked up this metal gold framed auto of Andruw Jones for about $5. These cards are much more beautiful in hand than they appear when scanned.

 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Relic

I don't actively seek out Chipper cards, but I pulled this GQ relic from a blaster while working on completing my 2016 GQ set (which I still need to do).

 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Relic

 2016 Topps Triple Threads Legends Relic #13/27

2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed Mini Relic

 I will seek out new cards of Smoltz however and I was glad to pick up these relics. I don't normally bother with Triple Threads, but this particular one caught my eye and the price was right.

Do you like the fact that Topps (and even Panini) are still mixing in retired players into current product checklists?

 2016 Topps Heritage

2016 Topps Gold Label

How can you talk about the 2016 baseball season and not bring up the Cubs. While I'm not a fan of the team, I was glad to see David Ross pick up a World Series ring. In the aftermath of the Cubs win I did manage to pick up a few Cubs cards of his before he rode off into the (retirement) sunset.

During the said Cubs World Series win aftermath, I found out that the Cubs reliever, Carl Edwards, Jr. was from my hometown of Charlotte, NC. I don't always actively collect cards of players from my hometown or from NC, but I found myself with yet another beautiful Gold Label auto. I'm not sure if he'll gain a spot in my PC, but it's still a nice card to own none the less.

 2016 Panini Instant

After the Braves season ended I was all ready to shift my focus to the NFL and my Carolina Panthers. The 2015 season fell just one win short of being magical, so I and many other fans thought we may be able to recreate that same magic in 2016. Wrong.

I guess one of the things that bothered me for much of the season was Cam Newton's play and the media. Cam had a bad year. The team had a bad year. Judging from the media though a player can't have a bad year. According to the media the MVP season Cam had a year a go was a fluke. According to the media Cam is the only QB in the NFL that is a sore loser. 

2016 Panini Prizm Intros

Why does everyone love to hate this guy? I've seen countless number of videos of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and others throwing tablets, cussing up a storm on the sidelines and throwing their own versions of temper tantrums...yet the media acts as if Cam is the only one that is so emotional playing this game. While I won't and don't defend Cam 100% of the time, I do get sick and tired of the double standard.

Does Cam need to work on his mechanics in the off season to improve? Definitely. Is he a bad QB? Heavens no! Some fans say the Panthers should cut him. I wonder how many other fanbases would love to have Cam as their QB. The 49ers? Rams? Vikings? Eagles? Jets? Whatever the problem was for the team and for Cam, I hope they are able to work on it in the off season. I hope that the team management is able to take some of that cap money they didn't use in 2016 and go and sign some good veteran free agents to help solidify the offense line. Go draft some much needed young guys to fill in the holes on this team. 

2016 Panini Playbook Yellow Printing Plate 1/1

Regardless of the teams performance, I still sought out new cards at different times throughout the season. When your team isn't playing hard it's a little harder to get excited to hunt for new cards, but this printing plate of Greg Olsen is one of the best cards I picked up all year. You couldn't tell from that guy's play that the team had a 6-10 record. BTW, congrats to Greg for becoming the first TE in the NFL to record 3 consecutive seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards.

I let a lot of things slide in 2016 and I plan on fixing those things in 2017. I have a lot of sets that I've never finished collating, yet along made lists for. I slacked off of trading and I'd like to get back to helping fulfill other collector's lists. My organization has been horrible. I've got some many stacks of cards all over my office and in my man cave down stairs that I can't remember what's going on. Thankfully that should be addressed really soon as just today a huge order I placed with BCW arrived. Too bad I had to leave to go out of town today, otherwise I would have dropped what I was doing to start to get organized again. Look for a post on this process in the near future.

I'm excited for the new year and what it will bring. The release of 2017 Topps Series 1 is just around the corner, the changes made to '17 GQ have me excited and before I know it I'll be busting a box of my annual favorite, Allen & Ginter. Let's just hope I don't lose this renewed energy and I can't keep it going for another year. Thanks to everyone out there in blogger world for the continued support. Here's to a great new year.