Monday, September 29, 2014

Time For CynicalBuddha's World Series Contest

The time has arrived for the 4th Annual Almost The Easiest World Series Contest On The Web, head on over to Collector's Crack and make your guess.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Week In Cards

The week started with an email from Tracy Hackler, more on that next week

Today while running errands I hit Walmart and checked out the card section, nothing really caught my attention. As I was leaving the store I stopped and watched a pack searcher do evil and vile things to a stack of rack packs. The kind of things that would have gotten him suspended 6 games in the NFL or half a game suspension in college. I don’t mind people poking around packs and all but this guy was bending the packs to the point where you know cards were being damaged.
I have been pretty fortunate that in my 14 years on eBay I have only had one non-paying bidder that was until last week when I had two non-paying bidders in two days. One finally paid after 5 days, multiple emails and a threat I would report him as a non-paying bidder. The other took 7 days, multiple emails and I did report him as a non-paying bidder.
Another thing that can be frustrating about the Bay is that prices fluctuate daily, sometimes drastically. I posted up an auction of a lot of four 2008 Topps Moments & Milestones Mickey Mantle cards (#/150), similar cards had been selling from $2-5 each the previous two weeks, I figured if I got $4 for them I would be happy. The lot sold for $2.47, bummer. Not a major lose but it gets you wondering if your higher value cards are going to sell at a reasonable price.
Some sellers can  have 100% feedback but that doesn’t mean they are not shitty sellers. I bought two cards using the BIN today before I realized they were the same seller so I emailed him and asked if he could combine shipping after the sale and refund me the difference, a reasonable request. He responded with basically “tough shit”. He said that since I bought them separately he was charged the fee by Paypal already and that he was forced to ship the cards separately. This is a guy who has been on eBay longer than me and has over 17k feedback. I know it can be done because I did it two days ago when a buyer won two of my auctions a couple of hours apart and paid for them separately. I just went in to Paypal and issued a refund of the additional shipping, which Paypal refunded me the fee on the shipping cost, and then printed out one shipping label in eBay by checking both auctions and selected to “Print Shipping Label” and it combined them in to one shipment. If keeping $2 extra in their pocket is so important to this seller they have lost me as a future customer.
Some recent pickups
An addition to my Seahawks collection, ignoring the fact that he isn't in a Seahawks uniform. Eventually I would like to add his 2014 Bowman card with him in a Texas Rangers uniform but there is no way I am paying what they are going for now ($50+)
A wonderful addition to my Griffey collection, this 1996 Select card depicts probably the most famous play in Mariners history. What is now know as "The Double" which propelled the Mariners in to the 1995 ALCS.
I am listening to Queen/David Bowie’s Under Pressure right now, easily my favorite Queen song.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Topps Through The Years Wall Art

In a recent Topps email they premiered a recent limited edition item, the “Through The Years” framed prints. Each framed piece is 16”x20” and includes each Topps Series 1 card of each player through their entire career, each piece is limited to #/99 and they are $99 each.
They are pretty cool but in all honesty they really are something a collector could do on their own and it would cost significantly less than $100 plus making your own piece you could use cards that you prefer. I also don’t like that horizontal cards are displayed vertically, I understand that this was done for continuity but it looks odd.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Shiniest Of All Griffeys

I saw this 2001 Stadium Club Diamond Pearl Griffey on the Junior Junkie blog and I was blinded by the beauty. I wanted the card, no I had to have the card. These cards are beautiful, extremely beautiful. The infield is made up of a pearlized material that reflects at different angles. The rest of the card has a sea foam colored coating that can be damaged very easily. These cards are coming out of the pack damaged, most often they are chipped along the top. I picked this card up for $2.95 shipped and besides a small divot on the front the card is in great condition. It is a wonderful addition to my Griffey collection.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Art Gallery: 2012 Cryptozoic DC: The New 52 Green Lantern

This month’s Art Gallery display comes from the 2012 Cryptozoic DC The New 52 release. The card was done by the artist Adam Talley and it is of my favorite DC heroes, Green Lantern. I never read the Green Lantern comic books and I am not a fan of the Ryan Reynolds film but I love the animated Justice League movies where Green Lantern is voiced by the amazing cult actor Nathan Fillion.
I picked this card up because it fit my sketch card parameters, it is a nice card that is a) depicting a character I like and b) it was under $10 before shipping. There are some great Green Lantern sketch cards out there but the prices are a bit insane.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1951 Topps Magic Arnold Burwitz

After the University of Arizona-Cal game this weekend I felt it was appropriate to go with this card today. In case you missed it, Cal was up 28-3 at halftime and 31-13 at the end of the 3rd Quarter. Essentially the game was over and the last 15 minutes was junk time but somebody forgot to tell the Wildcats. Arizona scored 5 TDs and 1 FG in the 4th Quarter and the win with the final TD coming on a 47-yard pass from Solomon to Hill as the clock expired. It was actually more like a 62- yard pass considering Solomon threw it from the Arizona 48-yard line and it was caught in the back of the endzone and this was an all air pass, this was not a 5-yard dump off pass and long run by the receiver. This guy has a gun for an arm.


This month’s VCoM comes from the 1951 Topps Magic football release, a college themed set. The cards are a bit smaller than a modern card, maybe about ¾ of the size, and contain a beautifully illustrated image of the player in a staged action shot. The back contains a bio about the player along with a question. The bottom of the back of the card is a scratch off that contains the answer. Unrubbed cards demand a premium over a rubbed card but they are also more condition sensitive.
I picked up this Arnold Burwitz card to add to my University of Arizona collection. It is quite difficult to find Arizona players in vintage sets because the Arizona schools were initially in the Border Conference (1931-1961) and later the WAC (1962-1978) so they didn’t really become nationally prominent until they joined what became the Pac-10 in 1978 and became associated with football powerhouses like USC and UCLA.
The tale of Arnold Burwitz, who was a top class athlete worthy of a professional career, is a tale of tragedy and a learning experience that has definitely been lost on today’s college football players. On September 23, 1951 Burwitz, along with three other players, stole chickens from the school’s farm. In response the school suspended him immediately from the team and two days later expelled him from school. To add insult to literal injury, when a deputy approached the players after they stole the chickens he fired a round in to the ground as a warning shot and a piece of cement ricocheted up hitting Burwitz injuring his leg.
Now we see college players being arrested/charged with physical and sexual assault, theft/robbery/shoplifting, vulgarity and making generally poor choices (such as signing autographs for pay or yelling “F#*k her in the Pu$$y!” in public) and only slapped on the wrist and disciplined with laughable punishments like being suspended for half of a game. You would think that Burwitz was born 65 years too early. His simple theft of a chicken would have been swept under the rug by the schools PR Department and he would have hit the field the following week, possibly doing the Chicken Dance in mockery of his indiscretion.
The card is miss-cut and significantly off-center with a crease along the top right corner but I only paid $7.26 shipped and I couldn’t be happier to add a beautiful card to my University of Arizona collection.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Major League Debut

One of the cards at the top of my Griffey want list is his 1989 Topps Debut #46 but with his cards normally running in the range of $5-10 (including shipping) I have been a little apprehensive about picking up the card. But just as I have come to accept that I was not going to add the card to my collection just yet the auction gods gifted me with an auction for an entire 1989 Topps Debut box with a .99 cent opening bid. A bid of $1.54 later and I was the proud owner of the entire set, toss in another $3.50 shipping for a total of $5.04 and the box was in my hand, Griffey card and all.
The set contains 150 cards, plus 2 checklists and a Topps Magazine ad, and has quite a variety of players. There are plenty of players who only had a cup of coffee in the Majors, a number of Major League staples and some stars who are possible (or were at one point considered) Hall of Famers but in the end there is only one sure-fire Hall of Famer, Ken Griffey Jr.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Some Taijuan Pickups

My pickup pile is starting to stack up high and since I have posted a couple of non-sports related posts I am going with some recent Taijuan Walker pickups for my Seattle Mariners collection.
First up is his 2014 Gypsy Queen rookie card. Walker has been in the Mariners system since he was drafted in 2010. He has appeared in 88 minor league games going 30-30 while pitching 9 games for the Mariners where he has gone 2-2. He is currently the Mariners #1 prospect and just got called up, he is scheduled for 2 more starts this year (Friday against the Astros and next Wednesday against the Blue Jays).
I was fortunate enough to pick up his 2013 Leaf Trinity Pure Glass autograph # 6/60 for an insane price, $6.02 shipped. This card is currently selling for $25-30 plus shipping so mine was almost a steal. I have been watching the Pure Glass cards since their release because they are quite unique. The only downside is they are a fingerprint magnet, not that I am complaining.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yea Stewie!!!

When it comes to sketch cards I think the more the merrier, as long as they are a solid design. I have been watching Family Guy sketches hoping to finally be able to pick one up under $10 and while I have had no luck over the years I have come across some amazing cards.
I came across this card the other day from the artist Vincenzo D’Ippolito, though he is more commonly known as Chenduz. He has worked with Topps for years creating sketch cards for various GPK and Wacky Packages sets and here he joined GPK with Family Guy for a quite unique version of Stewie. Now this is a custom card, most likely commissioned by someone, and it is not an official GPK or Family Guy card. It is currently posted with a $40 BIN, which is actually on the lower end of the price range for Family Guy sketch cards, though well outside of my miserly max of $10-15 for a sketch card.

It appears as if Rupert is having a tough day being torn in half and missing an eye.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Quick Peek: 2014 Topps Star Wars Wacky Packages

If you are a child of the 1970s or 1980s than Topps has the set for us and the time has arrived with it's release tomorrow. The set, 2014 Star Wars Wacky Packages, combine two of our favorite childhood things with Star Wars and Wacky Packages. Boxes should be selling in the $55-60 range and will contain 24 packs.


Along with the funny package stickers like “Use The Floss” and “Leia’s Sticky Buns” there will be parallels, Reality Television parody cards, Travel Posters, Coloring Cards and Fold-Out Comic Book Ads.

Like other Star Wars and Wacky Package sets that have been released recently there will also be sketch cards, printing plates and artist autographs. Sets like this are appealing because of their humor but with the addition of Star Wars there is a double dose of nostalgia and I plan on opening at least a couple of packs.

Monday, September 15, 2014

RIP Richard Kiel

The world lost the perfect villain with the passing of Richard Kiel on September 10th, currently listed as unknown causes but assumed to be connected to his recent broken leg, at the age of 74 years old.
Kiel is most likely remembered by many for his towering height (7’2) and two specific roles, as Jaws in two James Bond movies and Mr. Larson in Happy Gilmore (nail in the head), though he was so much more. As an actor he has been working since the early 1960s including some very memorable roles in Twilight Zone, Gilligan’s Island, The Wild West, The Longest Yard, Silver Streak (His first metal mouth villain role), Force 10 From Navarone and Cannonball Run II.
Growing up I don’t know how many times I watched him as Kanamit in the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man”, an episode later spoofed by The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror, or saying probably his most famous line “I think I broke his fuckin neck” in The Longest Yard.
Richard Kiel has appeared in quite a few sets over the years including Donruss, Rittenhouse, Razor/Leaf releases and most recently the 2013 Topps 75th Anniversary release. Prior to his passing his Topps 75th Anniversary autograph topped out around $8-10 while the other autographs ran in the $25-50 range. Sadly the toads have shown up and his Topps cards have tripled in price (@$25-30) and the others doubling ($50 and up).
For the past year I have been tracking a number of his autographs in hopes of finding one at a reasonable price. Specifically his Twilight Zone and James Bond cards but I would have been satisfied with the ugly Topps 75th but I felt that the price was too high for the ugly scribble signature he used (obviously he was disconnected when signing the stickers for Topps).
Eventually the prices will drop again, similar to when Russell Johnson passed away in January, so I will just wait until then before picking up his cards.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Congratulations Phoenix Mercury On Another WNBA Championship

Tonight, probably off of most people’s radar, was Game 3 of the 2014 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky.
Games 1 & 2 in Phoenix were Mercury blowouts winning 83-62 and 97-68 (respectively). Both games were completely under control by Phoenix from the opening seconds with the team hitting 58% in Game 1 and 56% in Game 2 not to mention that between both games Chicago led for a total of 18 seconds.  Unfortunately Mercury center Brittney Griner was beaten up in a very physical Game 2 taking a shot to the eye that required surgery and a broken tooth which left her sitting on the bench for Game 3 in Chicago.
Tonight’s game was much closer with the teams going back and forth through the entire game. With 30 seconds left in the game the score was tied at 82-82 so it literally went down to the buzzer to determine the winner. In the end it came down to Diana Tuarasi who nailed a jumper (and follow up free throw) with 14 seconds and grabbed the rebound with 9 seconds left. The game closed out with the final score of 87-82 and Phoenix winning the series 3-0 games. Tuarasi won the WNBA Finals MVP trophy to go with the Championship Trophy.
This is Phoenix’s third title in 7 years, the other two in 2007 and 2009. Considering that Phoenix went a record setting 29-5 this season and is made up of a solid core of seasoned players (Taurasi and Dupree) and young players (Griner and Bonner) it is quite possible that they may add a couple more trophies to their case over the next 6-8 years.

It is nice to see that a Phoenix basketball team can shut down a Chicago basketball team (sly dig on the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Good Guy Bengals

Today’s post is in regards to a positive decision by the Cincinnati Bengals in regards to their player Devon Still.

Still was a 2012 second round pick by the Bengals. He has played 18 games for the team and has 7 tackles, 14 assisted tackles and ½ a sack. But during the 2014 preseason it appeared as if Still had lost his drive and the DT was cut in the final round before the season started. It was later that the team found out that Still’s 4-year old daughter Leah is battling cancer, obviously his concern for his daughter’s health was the reason for his lack of focus during practice.
Instead of washing their hands to the whole situation and moving on the Cincinnati Bengals signed Devon Still to their practice squad so he would continue to receive a pay check and be covered by the league’s health care system. Additionally they decided to sell Still’s jersey through their website with 100% of the proceeds from the sale of his jerseys going to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
In a world where most owners/team management are worried about making money while mitigating losses the Cincinnati Bengals went above and beyond for one of their own and put a player’s needs and concerns above the all mighty dollar.
According to his agent, and confirmed by the Bengals this morning, Still is being signed to the Bengal’s active roster and will make his first appearance of the season on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Bear Down Addition

Upper Deck has an ongoing College Manufactured Patch cards series. The last two years they included school mascots and this year the patches represent school tributes. I picked up the University of Arizona’s “Bear Down” tribute patch last week. I had been watching the prices of the card since the 2014 Upper Deck Football release and fortunately the prices have been dropping but seemed to hit a plateau around $5 and I almost bought one but decided to wait instead. I am glad I waited, this card cost me $2.99 shipped so I got a nice deal on a great addition to my University of Arizona collection.
The “Bear Down” tradition comes from the death of a University of Arizona student-athlete, John Byrd Salmon. Salmon was the student body President and a multi-sport athlete as the football team’s QB and the baseball team’s catcher. Following the opening game of the 1926 football season Salmon and two other students headed to Phoenix for a visit, on the way back during the evening of October 3, 1926 Salmon crashed and rolled the car. The other two passengers survived with minor injuries while Salmon severed his spine and died two weeks later. During Salmon’s time in the hospital Arizona’s football coach Pop McKale visited him daily and on the morning Salmon died on October 18th he told coach McKale “Tell them…tell the team to bear down”.
The term became the team’s rallying cry during the season and was adopted as the school’s slogan in 1927. In 1939 the Arizona State legislature issued a decree that “Bear Down” was the exclusive property of the University of Arizona and in 1986 the school commissioned a statue of John Salmon. Here is an image of the real statue, which does not actually contain a plaque as shown on the patch.
In 2001 the state erected a monument near the site of Salmon’s crash outside of Florence, which does contain a plaque (though in the shape of Arizona). So I am wondering if Upper Deck decided to join the two to create a unique design.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Which Route Do You Take?

Does the buyer take on a certain "caveat" when they purchase a card and the seller offers free shipping using a PWE?

The reason I am asking is because I won an auction for a 2013 Topps Chrome Nick Franklin rookie card. It was only .79 cents and I figured it would be a nice addition to my Seattle Mariners collection. I knew the card was being shipped using just a plain white envelope but the auction showed the card in a rigid top loader so I figured it would be safe in transit.

I received the card today and instead of a rigid top loader that the card was pictured with in the auction the card was shipped using a flimsy UltraPro top loader and the card was damaged with a nice crease running about 1/3 of the way across the back. I never use these flimsy top loaders because they are to weak to use in shipping, to large to fit properly in a binder or box and they are notorious for pinching the cards. He didn't even use a penny sleeve, which is also visible in the auction photo.

Do I ding the seller for shipping the card in the UltraPro top loader, thus allowing the card to get damaged in transit, or do I let it go because I took a chance knowing that it was being shipped in an envelope (though I thought it was coming in a rigid top loader) and it was under a buck and an easy card to replace?

Posted with rigid top loader

Received with a flimsy top loader

Damaged section