Thursday, August 25, 2016

My First Vintage Card Ever

As some of my long time readers know and new ones will learn, my first ever hockey cards came from a pack of 1990-91 Pro Set. More specifically, this card is my first card I ever got since it was at the top of the pack. What most of you probably don't know if for the first few months I was collecting I got a few packs here and there every couple of weeks but the bug really didn't set in until the season was underway and I was buying packs for myself. My step-father was beginning to get into collecting too and was buying the odd pack and single and we would swap and compare and I fell in love with the 90-91 Upper Deck Low Series and worked towards completing that set.

Every now and again I would go into an actual card shop instead of a convenience store and really get a chance to see some cards. Most in the display cases were cards from the 80's and many had price tags that weren't paper route friendly. However, one night I remember my step-father and I were out driving someone and he had heard some convenience store had a few singles in it and asked me to go in and take a look. At this stage my collection was all 1990's stuff and was pretty small in size, maybe a couple hundred cards at most and he didn't have any more than I did either. So I went inside and in a glass display case right by the potato chips and junk food were some cards. I honestly couldn't tell you which ones were in that case given it was 25+ years ago, but I did see one card that was very affordable and just spoke to me for some reason:

1980-81 OPC Pierre Hamel RC

It was one of the oldest cards in the case and I just thought it looked pretty cool. The price was 75 cents and having had more than enough change in my pocket it was a transaction I was pleased to make.

 Here is the back of the card and as you can see, Pierre wasn't exactly Ken Dryden. The card itself isn't even in that great of shape, but it was in one of  those card saver card holders and I was just happy to own an "old" card.  (As an aside, I actually have been trying to finish this set over the past couple years and am down to just one card!! I will share the set whenever I manage to get it. I decided to include this Hamel in my set which makes it a little more fun and personal.)

I would buy the card and come back outside and tell my step-dad there were some things inside so he came in and I can't remember if he bought anything or not. I would look at this card 100's of times over the coming days and eventually add many more older/vintage cards. Many of my friends would focus on trying to grab a Lindros RC etc but I will give the 11 year old version of me credit, I balanced my spending between pre-90 and post-90 cards which to be honest is probably how I still collect today.

While the internet has softened the value of the cards from the 80's and no one is retiring off their collections, I do love the design of many of these sets and the memories I have from collecting them. I specifically remember my step-dad and I going splits on a Rack Box of 1982-83 OPC. The box cost us $500 at the time which was a lot for a 12 year old to come up with half of but I did and enjoyed breaking that box. We each got a full set and I was allowed to keep all the doubles which I still have to this day and all are in near-mint condition or better (except the miscuts). Of course in hindsight the smart move would have been to never open the stuff but it was fun and it's an important set for that reason.

Anyway, this was one of those posts for my kids to read down the line and thank you for stopping by and sharing in my memory.

Do you have any recollection of your first vintage cards or did you happen to just collect when it was the "good old days"?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

On This Day 28 Years Ago....

The greatest player ever to play hockey was traded and eventually one of the most iconic non-rookie cards from the 80's was born.

For those who aren't in the know, Wayne Gretzky who was smashing just about every NHL offensive record was traded to the LA Kings for a number of players and draft picks and $25 million dollars. The key piece other than the money was Jimmy Carson who in all fairness was a fledgling superstar. Jimmy was the second overall pick in the 1986 and already had a 55 goal season in just his second year in the NHL. Alas poor Jimmy made the mistake of demanding a trade out of Edmonton after putting up great numbers in his first year with the club and his career was never the same after that.

Wayne on the other hand excelled in LA and made stars into superstars.

The above card is often known as the Gretzky sweater card in the 88-89 Topps set. What is most interesting about this card to me is it's place in history and it's place among collectors. Once upon a time, the 88-89 OPC and Topps sets were heavily coveted during the collecting explosion of the early 90's, I remember the Hull Topps rookie trading for about 50 dollars and the OPC pushing 150 dollars. However, thanks to the bubble bursting and the internet, many prices of 80's cards have dropped steadily over the past 20 years instead of increasing in value like so many envisioned and hoped for. What I find very cool is the value of this particular card hasn't changed and is actually the highest listed card in the 88-89 Topps set ($20 dollars). It's more valuable than a Brett Hull rookie, Brendan Shanahan rookie or even a Joe Nieuwendyk rookie. Wayne Gretzky's 9th year card is more valuable than each of those three Hall of Famer's rookie cards.

Here is the back side of the card.

What is also impressive is the Gretzky Sweater card is considered even more valuable than it's OPC counterpart.

 See anything missing on this card? Compare the two and look by the push pin!

OPC decided to run with a different photo than the Topps card and went with a posed photo of Wayne wearing his Kings jersey and forever changed the 88-89 release. Collectors appreciate Wayne in uniform but it seems that the Topps card from the news conference trumps this one and it's pretty much the only case in the 80's where a Topps card is more valuable than it's OPC counterpart (with the exception of the 89-90 sets where OPC was over produced). While I like the above card, the Topps card just seems so much more interesting and magical. It is almost a better representation of the most shocking trade I have ever experienced in my life.

 Here is the backside of the OPC card.

So where were you when the trade happened? Did you collect or try to collect these cards? Personally I remember the trade well and I grew to really like the Oilers during the 87-88 season because after the Devils got bounced I cheered for the Oilers to bounce the Bruins which they were able to do and while they would win again in 1990, the Dynasty was over and things were never the same again.

I have owned the Topps card pictured here since the early/mid 90's when I bought the whole set for 60 dollars which seems silly since they can be had for much less now but the years of enjoyment have been worth it! The OPC version is apart of my OPC set which I bought a couple years ago because I have a pretty big sentimental attachment to the set as a whole which I will hopefully share some day in another post.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and here's hoping we never see a trade like this again.....ever!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

08-09 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 9th Edition Ultimate Auto Mates Silver Brodeur/Luongo /24

More slabbed fun! This time Marty has a friend in this Team Canada themed piece. While this particular combo didn't fare so well at the 2006 Olympics, Marty and Bobby did win at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and would eventually win a gold medal together at the 2010 Olympics thus making this card a little more cool and relevant.

08-09 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 9th Edition Ultimate Auto Mates Silver Brodeur/Luongo /24

I love the fact that these two future Hall of Famers are joined together on this one card and this being a Team Canada card makes it a little more enjoyable for me as a fan and a collector since I didn't care too much for Luongo during his Vancouver or earlier years. Recently I respected his move back to Florida and am loving that he has helped turn them into a competitive club. The only draw back to this card in my opinion is it appears ITG used two different kinds of stickers on the autographs and that is a tiny bit distracting.

Here is the backside of the card. I do wish the Ultimate fact and Congratulations switched spots and there was a little more info on the successes they had as teammates but alas the Dr. has spoken!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the slab tips, I will keep playing around as I have a few more slabs to share!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Best Brodeur Card In My Collection....

Been busy so far this summer with Daddy Daycare and marking provincial exams but I am pleased to be back posting again. Back in the fall I came across a card that made my jaw drop. True the card isn't licensed but there is so much to the card that I feel a photo would take away from the card anyway.

The card started off with a very ambitious price and slowly dropped and dropped. Eventually it got low enough where I contacted the seller and we arranged a very nice price on this gem!

Famous Fabrics First Edition Martin Brodeur Stick /09

I love the size of this piece and the prime location off the stick. Words certainly don't back my appreciation of this card. This was the stick style Marty used during his Olympic Gold Medal run in 2002 and his Stanley Cup run in 2003 so the fact that it could have come from any of those time periods makes it that much more special.

Backside with the authenticity statement.

If a picture says a thousand words, then I believe I am done this post, thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoyed the pics! Quick question, for those bloggers so scan slabbed cards, what methods do you use? I have had a hard time trying to digitize a bunch of pickups and have resorted to a camera but even then it presents challenges so I am open to any help out there!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Years and 23.35 Million Buys You This!

Kyle Palmieri's autograph and the 30 goals and 57 points he put up last season. Of all our free agents, he was the one I wanted us to sign the most and we proved we really wanted him and I'm pleased he signed today. We had a chance to qualify him and force him to stay restricted but we didn't, showing him that he can choose to stay. Then we gave him oodles of time to decide and we even offered arbitration but in the end all sides are happy and we have his services for the next 5 plus years.

10-11 The Cup Rainbow Gold Kyle Palmieri Patch Auto Rookie /51
When we traded for Kyle last season, I picked up a couple cards of his in the hopes that he would have a great season and I could land a card or two before any increase in demand occurred. While I am not sure if the demand is any greater, I am pleased to have been able to stretch my 15 dollars I had budgeted to land the Rainbow version of his The Cup rookie. One of the reasons I landed it for so cheap is the plain white swatch, but the print run more than makes up for it in this collector's eyes. If Kyle is able to duplicate his results from last season for the next few years I would say Devils fans are in for a special treat in the win column. Thanks for agreeing to a great contract Ray and Kyle and lets see what else Ray has planned for this off season.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

We Got Taylor Hall???

Hey all, I am sure you were expecting a post on this much much sooner but alas I was away out of town and the last post or two was scheduled and as a result this is the first chance I have had to post about the craziest 23 minutes in NHL history. I will focus on each aspect one at a time and I will start with the biggest impact to me personally....Taylor Hall!!

I don't think we fleeced the Oilers as much as some suggest, having seen Adam Larsson for the past few years and knowing his projection it is safe to say he will have a good and long NHL career and in Edmonton will finally get a chance to flash his offensive abilities. The Oilers also freed up some cap-space and they used that to sign Lucic and they have a free spot in the roster for Puljujarvi to grow and develop. I am sure everything is thinking why not Eberle or RNH? Well I am sure the Oilers would have preferred that in terms of talent but I am guessing there is also a chemistry aspect perhaps or Ray Shero had no interest in anyone other than Hall and finally got his man. In the end the Oilers will be a tiny bit better and maybe will get over the hump and in the meanwhile the Devils improve substantially and I am very very excited for this upcoming season (Oh boy, I'm starting to sound like a Leafs fan).

10-11 Certified Taylor Hall Auto Jersey Rookie /599
 I haven't shown this card off before and now is the perfect time. Love the set, love the actual game used swatch and Taylor will make a big difference for us this season. He played with Adam Henrique in junior and I am hopeful some chemistry still exists there when Adam scored 20 goals in 19 playoff games with Hall.

For those of you who have been long time readers might recognize these two cards that I still own and appreciate a tiny bit more after June 30th's trade.

10-11 Donruss Taylor Hall Rated Rookie - Toronto Expo /250

10-11 Donruss National Rated Rookies Taylor Hall /25

So what am I expecting as a Devils fan. Progress, if we can keep Cammy healthy and our forwards like Boucher and Blandisi continue developing I am thinking we can seriously contend for a wild card spot this year and break our playoff drought. As far as Taylor Hall goes, I am predicting 35 goals and 75 points for him...lofty but not unrealistic expectations for a player who has career highs of 27 goals and 80 points and is about to hit his prime years!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Contest at Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle

Check it out if you haven't already! The time is nigh!

Friday, July 1, 2016

11-12 Titanium Rookie Reserve Brett Connolly Patch Auto /15

Well today is Canada Day or Free Agent Day in the NHL world. I have always loved that these two days have generally coincided on the same day in recent years. My birthday is around this time and apart from a 2 years ago, I have generally had very good luck on birthday boxes and last year was no exception. I picked up a couple boxes and did well on them including a box of 11-12 Titanium. I pulled some star jersey cards of guys like Giroux and Weber but the best part of the box was this hit:

11-12 Titanium Rookie Reserve Brett Connolly Patch Auto /15
Perhaps my best Connolly hit I have ever pulled. The piece on the left is white jersey with some white and blue patch and the right piece is all silver and sparkles rather nicely in the sunlight! This was my first Rookie Reserve card from the set which has auto jersey /100, auto patch /15 and auto "patch" /10. I have since picked up the Brett Connolly /100 and /10 and believe it or not, the /15 card is by far the nicest. My /10 which claims to be a patch is really just a seam swatch and the /100 are just jersey swatches with an auto. All three are great together and I will be sure to post them up all together eventually.

Boston decided not to qualify Brett Connolly with an extension which means one of two things. One is they feel they can resign him without giving him a raise. The other is they are willing to let him walk as a UFA which means that the Devils or any other team can sign him. I do hope he give him a shot since we are lacking in experienced wingers and I think he'd be great to help the new rookies transition over and be very productive in our lineup. Not likely to happen, but a collector and fan can dream. Wherever he signs, I do wish Brett the best of luck and I will keep cheering him on.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

If I Were An NHLer I'd Be....

Nick Backstrom (not the goalie). Why Nick Backstrom I am sure a few people are wondering and perhaps the rest will just skip down to my new Backstrom cards and I'm cool with that...go ahead.

Still here? Ok, of all the NHL players, the one with the most skill and flies the most under the radar in my opinion is Nick Backstrom and I believe that is what I'd likely be like if I had his skill and position in the league. Apart from a small allergy medication mistake, he has been a model player and perfect teammate. He lets Ovechkin take all the attention and he quietly performs at a high level away from the spotlight. Of all the current active players, Backstrom ranks second in career assists per game (0.73) and 7th in points per game (0.98). Sure having Ovechkin helps one's stats but I am a firm believer Ovechkin equally benefits from their relationship and on a couple of occasions they finished within a handful of points of one another in scoring. With that all being said, Backstrom isn't a floater and knows how to compete and both ends of the ice and sadly isn't recognized for all that he does which only adds to my personal appreciation. Neat fact, for 6 of his 9 NHL seasons, he has appeared on some ballots for the Selke award. His best finish was 10th in 2009-10, perhaps like Nick Lidstrom the recognition will come later in his career when writers see him for who he truly is, an outstanding NHL Centerman.

07-08 OPC Premier Nicklas Backstrom Auto Rookie /299
Here is a nice 4 swatch piece of player worn jersey with an on card auto. Much like the Patrick Kane I shared earlier it is a pretty nice card if you ask me. One thing I always wished I could have done is picked up a pack of OPC Premier but sadly the price point was hard to justify. The good news is many of the big names (and there are many) can be had for fantastic prices for collectors who are willing to wait. If memory serves me right I landed this for the price of a blaster shipped which was a steal for a fan like myself.

Here's the backside which has the larger photo of Nick. Again stats or vitals would have been nice but I have his Young Gun if I want that info I guess...or the internet.

So question for those who are interested in playing, what NHL'er do you feel represent the player you would be or do you feel embodies how you'd play the game?

Want more Backstrom, here was my post on his Sweet Shot rookie from a while back.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Pair of Blackhawks Sweet Shot Rookies

Surprise surprise, here I am with more Sweet Shot rookies. What can I say, I am a sucker for these cards and I believe they both are worth sharing so here they are!

07-08 UD Sweet Shot Patrick Kane Rookie Jersey RC /599
First up is the 2015-16 Art Ross Trophy Winner Patrick Kane. This card is numbered to 463/599 and has three swatches including a two colour swatch. 

What I like most about the backside of this card is you get a small "did ya know" in the upper right hand side.

07-08 UD Sweet Shot Jonathan Toews Rookie Jersey RC /599
While I do like Patrick Kane, I am an even bigger fan of Jonathan Toews. I would totally add him as a PC if I could afford to but sadly his stuff is a little rich for my blood so I have to pick and choose what to add from him. Love this card though with all three Hawks colours appearing on the front.

Here is what the card looks like from the back side of things. You have to love that Team Canada saw so much potential in Toews that they put him on the roster before he even played in an NHL game given the number of NHLers who could have played in his spot.

Thanks for stopping by hopefully you aren't getting too tired of the Blackhawks cards of late, I promise something different next time!