Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wow, has it been 800 posts already? Let's celebrate with the best modern day card IMHO.

When I started this blog nearly 7 years ago, I didn't have much in the way of expectations. I thought I might share a few packs, a few finds and perhaps make a few trades. Instead I have exceeded all those expectations of myself and 800 posts and many new friends later I wanted to bring myself back to the point where my collecting really began.  1990-91 Upper Deck.

Modern day cards in my opinion really began in 1990 when there was a huge collecting boom and it wasn't just Topps or OPC as options. In those 26 years, so many different card companies have come and gone and many set ideas and designs have also succeeded and failed. I want to use this post to share my favourite card created since 1990 and perhaps call it the best card in the past 30 years.

1990-91 Upper Deck #241 Wayne Gretzky Promo
When I started collecting cards everyone was gaga for Upper Deck. The little holograms on the back, the insert stereograms and rookies galore were the draw of these cards. Even their "tamper-proof" packs offered something different than previous card companies products. This was a set to be "invested" into to. Time flies and sadly there are more Roenick and Jagr rookies to go around to all who want them and it wasn't exactly the investment people thought. Partially because the number of people collecting cards hasn't really matched what they were back then and secondly production run was probably a "little" higher than the demand. With that being said, I just remember going to store and seeing the 90-91 UD Low series box on the shelf and I would get butterflies in my tummy wondering who I might open in that pack. 400 cards made up the low series and another 150 were added to the high series. Despite all the packs I would open, one card on the box was never in the packs and that was the Wayne Gretzky promo. I remember seeing that card on the box and I thought, wow that is a cool looking card. Wayne in all black almost looked like he was part of "The Empire" and the look on his face is much like the Mona Lisa. Is Wayne smiling? What is he thinking?

The card had me hooked and when I saw the Gretzky in the pack, dressed in his white "home jersey", I was let down. Don't get me wrong, the regular base Gretzky is a nice card but I wanted my all black Gretzky. As time went by, I would add cards and complete both the low and high series sets. I can't remember the last card I needed to complete the high series but the last card I did need to finish the low series was Ed Belfour. Later in life, during my second incarnation as a collector I was able to land my Wayne Gretzky promo. In fact, I was able to pick up two!

What makes this card so perfect in my opinion is the front, there is no fault I could find with the card. It truly is a work of art that I hope to turn into a work of art and someday I hope to share the final product if all goes well! The backside is able to support my claims as well. The photo on the back shows a home game where Wayne emerges from a scrum/war which has John Tonelli being mugged by Dean Kennedy and Wayne leaving with what I believe are his eyes locked on the puck. I even love the view you get of Wayne's iconic Titan TPM 2020 and Daoust skates.

For the keen eyed, there is a small error on the back too which is just icing on the cake if you ask me as the notation for feet and inches are inverted and list Wayne as 6" 0'. Also in view on the back is the greatest regular season point total the NHL has ever seen 215 points in 80 game. When you combine all the factors above, and the fact that there are no "gimmicks", or swatches or anything added to this card, it is one of my absolute favourite cards of all-time and in my opinion the best card made since 1990. What are your thoughts? Do you have a favourite modern day card?

Thanks goes out to all of you who read my posts and an extra special thanks to those who comment and have reached out to me over the years to make trades or chat cards. All the best and here hopes I have another 800+ posts in me!  

10-11 Zenith Derek Stepan Rookie Roll Call Jersey

Normally I don't card too much for Rangers and steer clear of them, this particular one I grabbed because of what Derek did at the 2010 WJHC where he scored 14 points in just 7 games. He out scored Hall and Eberle along with many other current NHLers.

10-11 Zenith Derek Stepan Rookie Roll Call Jersey
Just a simple Nufex card that looks pretty cool in person. I wouldn't have spent 2 dollars on this card at all so thankfully I was able to land it for 1.50! This year Derek is off to a bit of a slow start but I feel he is due for a break out year and Ranger fans likely agree so best of luck Derek and hopefully you take it easy on my Devils!

Friday, October 21, 2016

13-14 National Treasures Adam Henrique Treasured Steel /5

Speaking of skates....I have a bit more of Mr. Henrique's skates and here it is!

13-14 National Treasures Adam Henrique Treasured Steel /5
This card is both thick and HEAVY. I am in awe of this card and every time I look at it I smile. The design on the front is very simplistic and while the absence of colours can hurt some designs, I believe it works really really well here. Just black, silver and white is essentially all you see here (with the exception of his face). I wonder if they ever considered a black and white photo?

My lone complaint is the blade is actually upside down and I would have preferred the curved part that touched the ice to be down. There is a plastic cover over the card for those wondering so you can't touch the steel directly.

Here is the back side of the card. Again a very simplistic and clean design. The red really pops out in the Devils emblem and the story on the back is a cool one. For those interested in a little extra reading, here is a blog post by Panini America which talks about this particular insert set. Thanks for stopping by, no more Henrique skate pieces next time, I promise!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sometimes you need to pick up a second copy of a card you already have...

Ok, maybe you don't need to, but have you ever done so? In the world of autographs, serial numbers and memorabilia swatches sometimes no two cards are alike and in this case that is definitely true which is why I went and picked up a second copy of this card:

13-14 Panini Prime Adam Henrique Prime Skates /25
So I guess of the print run of 25 I own 8%! My first one I picked up a few years ago when the product was first released and it featured just a black piece of his skate with no markings or writing. Then I saw this one a little while back and what a beauty. I love seeing the lace holes, my only complaint is the missing metal but what the hey, it's still very cool. Both cards are neat in their own way and together work very well in my collection if you ask me!

Thanks for stopping by and hope your NHL team is off the the start you were hoping for!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thanks to Chris and the Joy of a Completed Set!

After all of these years (nearly 7...) I am still humbled by how cool collectors are out there and how willing they are to help each other out. I received a message about this card a little while back and after exchanging some info, it arrived in the mail just a few days later. 

1980-81 OPC #385 Richard Sevigny Rookie 
 Here is what the front of the card looks like.

Here is the back side.
Richard clearly was no Ken Dryden in terms of stature or ability but he still stood between me and a completed 80-81 OPC set. While I already had the Topps set complete, there were so many cool and important cards in the OPC set that I felt it was worth chasing. This card was the final card I needed to complete my 80-81 OPC set. The set I have which I will share at a later date is in very nice shape and to have my final card be a relatively low value card in great shape is a nice end to a project that started in some ways when I first bought my Pierre Hamel card and ended on a trade with a fellow collector some 25-26 years later.

Chris was so kind to also include some great Colorado Rockies team sets from the 70's as well which I will share at a later date. Thank you very much for this, I will be sending you an email in the next couple days which some card ideas to thank you and hopefully make you are happy as I was opening my package.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A mystery solved and major thanks!

SO about a month ago I received a package in the mail that I wasn't expecting. I hadn't bought anything and the package itself was of an unusual size. Of course my next thought is someone has been very thoughtful and sent me a package but when I look at the return address, it doesn't jump out at me as one of the usual "offenders".

Inside there were a number of items including a business card of a company I didn't recognize but upon further research they were affiliated with a company I bought stuff from before so I figured maybe they did some data mining and they were fishing for sales. In the end, I decided this mystery wasn't solved and I was going to put up a post asking for the sender to identify themselves so I could properly thank them.

Well time passes and one day out of the blue I get an email from my friend and fellow blogger Sal from PuckJunk.com and he asks me if I received the stickers in the mail. Immediately I thought, no I didn't get anything from you yet, am I to expect something and then I remember the mystery pack and ask him if he had anything to do with that. Sure enough Sal did which makes WAY more sense because the first thing I have listed is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received especially given my history of cheering for the New Jersey and how I selected them as my team (a story for another day).

Complete Team of New Jersey Devils players for a Rod Control Hockey Game
The 8 year old version of me would be in tears if I could have had this gift as a child. Sadly it came many years too late but that doesn't diminish it's awesomeness. The game is long gone but these stickers could potentially find themselves on a game before I die or at the very least an enjoyed part of my collection. I love the goaltender the most, it almost looks like Chico Resch. There was even a sticker for the puck which I can't remember if my set had one or not. I did have the deluxe version which had it's own legs and a clock/scoreboard at centre ice where you'd drop the puck through a hole in the top for faceoffs. 

Super Sticker '96 Martin Brodeur
No idea what set this is from or exactly how it was to be used. From what I can tell on the back there were instructions like it attached to some popout or something. The image of Marty and his signature are both die cut and could be removed which is pretty cool. The size of the sticker isn't much different than your traditional Panini sticker for those that are curious.

88-89 Panini Sticker Pack
The last item in the package was a pack of 88-89 Panini Stickers. I haven't opened the pack as of yet and am learning towards not opening it and just enjoyed it as is. The coolness of an unopened pack for me outweighs the potential success of hitting a rookie like Hull or Shanahan etc. I like seeing the shots of Mario at such a young age with so much of his HOF career ahead of him.

Well there you have it, I had a mystery and now it's solved. In hindsight I should have known Sal had something to do with it and to be honest I wasn't surprised when the connection was made that it was him but at the same time I am humbled that he would take some knowledge and go through all the trouble he did to make this happen. Thank you very very much, I don't ever imagine getting a surprise package beating the sentimental value contained in this one. Thank you :)

Thanks for stopping by, another nice package coming up in my next post!

Friday, September 23, 2016

15-16 Trilogy Signature Pucks Nikita Kucherov Auto

It is difficult in today's era to "miss" a rookie when you look at the sheer number of autos and rookies the card companies pump out with each set but sometimes a star slips through the cracks. One classic example is Jonathan Quick. Try and find one of his rookies, you will see a few out there and the prices are insane on them. Try and find his auto rookie and you will find none. The reason is he's in so few sets and some of those sets have very small print runs making it difficult to land his cards because there is so much competition for them. 

Nikita Kucherov isn't exactly at the same level, but his rookies are relatively limited and there are no auto rookies that were printed during his rookie year. What makes that crazy is you look at some of the other auto rookies from that particular year 13-14 and you are left wondering wtf? Kucherov was a second round pick so there were some expectations but both Panini and Upper Deck didn't track him down or include him in any of their autograph sets/subsets. Since then Upper Deck had him sign some Young Guns for their buyback set but it still isn't the same.

It would be two seasons before Kucherov's auto would be available in packs and even this one below was in there was a redemption. It seems the card companies aren't the only ones at fault as Mr. Kucherov might be difficult to reach too. When this redemption finally arrived I was pleased to see it as I have grown into quite a fan while following the Tampa Bay Lightning and the best part is we may not have seen his ceiling as of yet! After scoring 30 goals this past season, Kucherov light up the playoffs scoring 11 goals in 17 games. I honestly see him settling into a 35-40 goal and 75 point per season kind of player and when combined with all the other Tampa talent, this is a team that will go far. 

15-16 Trilogy Signature Pucks Nikita Kucherov Auto
The puck signing things started back in the old Sweet Shot sets and it looks like it's here to stay in the Trilogy sets. While I'd love to have an auto rookie, not having access to any true ones, this card certainly is a nice consolation prize. I like that there are no stickers here but I am willing to guess that he likely signed a pile of "pucks" and then they were glued into place when they arrived at Upper Deck. Either way, I still like this card and perhaps I will land myself a more traditional auto of Nikita Kucherov some time in the future! Thanks for stopping by, my next post will be a mystery I was faced with and recently solved thanks to a follow collector!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

09-10 SPx Brad Marchand Auto Rookie /799

With the win yesterday, Team Canada is on to the finals and if you told me this time last year Brad Marchand would be on the team I would have had two thoughts. Really? and Good for him! After this past season and the World Championships I would have been disappointed if he had been left off the roster because as much as I'd love to see the best pure offensive players Team Canada has to offer, we still need to work both ends of the ice and kill penalties. So far this tournament Brad Marchand has been excellent and completely deserving of his spot on the team and on the line with Bergereon and Crosby.

09-10 SPx Brad Marchand Auto Rookie /799
09-10 was the last season before Upper Deck would have a joint license with Panini so if you're an Upper Deck fan, there were plenty of options for Marchand rookies. I already had a couple before getting this one, most notably was my Young Gun. I used to have a Marchand auto as well but I traded that away for some HOF autos so I was hopeful that I would eventually land another and this was the one that came my way as a replacement.

Brad definitely has one of the more interesting autos out there with his number 63 the only legible aspect on this particular auto. Other times you can see Brad but his last name in my experience is more difficult to decipher.

As far as Marchand goes, I have been a fan of him to some degree since his junior days. I remember seeing him play for the Mooseheads and I would see him do things on the ice no other players would (with the puck) and of course he is still known for doing this other players wouldn't (without the puck). Seeing him have this success is nice being a Nova Scotian and I wish him the best of luck for the rest of this tournament and the rest of his career. He's truly a player in the mould of Claude Lemieux or Esa Tikkanen and when it comes to building a winning team, sometimes you need one or two of these guys. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When you are done checking out this card can you pass the syrup?

I have posted a few Bee Hive cards over the years and while I will never ever chase this set, I do love the cards and have gone looking for a couple over the years. I have nearly all the Delvecchio ones except the one very very rare Group 3 one and now I have his former goaltender.

1944-1963 Bee Hive Group 2 Terry Sawchuk (Stick blade cropped)
The card isn't in mint condition but I would consider this very respectable and the backside is clean and adhesive free which is pretty uncommon given the fact many of these cards were glued into albums of some kind.

What is interesting about a set that spanned nearly 20 years is whenever a player got traded, they just slapped a new photo and kept pumping out cards. Terry Sawchuk had three versions come out during this set. One is super rare and is worth 4 figures and they other two have been produced in large enough quantities that their value is rather small compared to the significance of the player and the age of the card. Whether the blade has been cropped or not doesn't matter much to me because in either case I believe this was the photo used to make this card:

The photo of his rookie and the Bee Hive appear to have come from the same original photo which is pretty awesome in my opinion and adds to the cool factor of the Bee Hive card. Some day I hope to track down a nice Sawchuk rookie for my Parkhurst project and have both of these cards in my hand at the same time.

For those who have never seen these before, here is one version of the checklist that you would use to mail away for your Bee Hive "card".

The back side looks like this:

What is neat about the checklist is it would change and players would be added, altered or subtracted from the list as the years would go by. The source I grabbed these photos from claim it's from the 1962 Season. If you look closely, poor Terry's last name is spelled incorrectly as "Sawchuck". Definitely not the last time that's happened.

As far as my future goes with collecting this set I would like to add a few more players and perhaps a checklist before I would say I'm all done. Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull are must haves I believe and I wouldn't mind getting a few other players who were born in Fort William/Port Arthur aka Thunder Bay before I am going to say I'm done with Bee Hives.

Do you have any Bee Hives in your collection? Have you ever had the syrup? It's fantastic on waffles if you haven't tried it yet. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

11-12 Canada Vs The World or 15-16 ITG/Leaf The Vault Duncan Keith Auto

I've posted a few Vault cards on here and I don't even know what to call them any more. Lets just say it's a Duncan Keith auto and be done with it.

11/12 or 15-16 Canada Vs The World Duncan Keith Auto

Apparently this card has been sitting under a rock or in a vault for the past number of years and ITG/Leaf decided to let it out into the public after branding it with a V. I am more than willing to look past everything and just treat this as a cool card of an amazing defenseman who appears to be in a Team Canada uniform. Duncan Keith is also my son's favourite player and it's my hope to send out a pair of TTM requests to Mr. Keith from each of us seeing if we could potentially get another auto or two to add to this one.

Sadly as Canada is set to play the USA tonight, Duncan Keith is recovering from injury and pulled out of the World Cup which leaves us without a pretty amazing option on the back end. However, we do have depth at all positions which has been evident as we've been playing without Seguin, Benn, Keith and many other snubbed All-Stars. I want to wish Duncan a speedy recovery and I hope this season he is able to get back to the level he wants to play at and has continued success. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy tonight's game and this card! Thanks for stopping by!