Wednesday, March 30, 2016

14-15 Upper Deck The Cup Kerby Rychel Auto Patch Rookie /249

As many of you know, I am a bit of a prospector when it comes to cards. I love buying cards when no one cares about them and watches them increase in desirability where I will occasionally sell them or trade them for others. Other times I just keep them for life and just enjoy owning a card at the fraction it would have cost me had I bought it later than I did.

This is a case of prospecting and it's Kerby Rychel.

14-15 Upper Deck The Cup Kerby Rychel Auto Patch Rookie /249
Kerby doesn't possess much of an autograph and it actually looks similar to Adam Larsson and their names are nothing alike. The patch is pretty sweet and while it is pretty small, it features three colours and works very well with this card.

The backside is pretty good and Upper Deck has continued the trend of including stats on the back which is very much appreciated by this collector. Kerby had very good junior numbers and when you combine them with the physical game he plays, I believe he is going to be a great power forward in the league. Perhaps not as good as Corey Perry but give him another couple seasons and he will be an integral part of whatever team he is playing for.

This season hasn't gone as well has he hoped I am sure. Kerby has even gone as far as apparently asking for a trade and while that didn't happen this season, a change of venue could offer new possibilities and a chance to reach his potential. I am looking forward to seeing how his career progresses and having this card is a small investment into that journey as a collector.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Help a friend and get a hometown auto....

This past summer I helped a friend out who was looking to boost the caliber of his card collection. The task was simple, he gave me money and a list and told me to use my card shopping skills to fill the list. I am pleased to say I came right on budget and was able to stretch his dollars well and land some pretty impressive cardboard for his money. As a thank you which is ludicrous because the task itself was so much fun ( I was born to be a hobby personal shopper) he gave he something from his collection which has more significance to me than to him.

11-12 SPX Winning Materials Jordan Staal Auto /15

As you may have read before Jordan and I were born in the same town and potentially even in the same hospital. While this isn't my first of him I do like this one the most of all mine so far. Nice low print run with a pair of swatches and an auto.

This past year has been a mixed bag for Jordan. While his production has been up 19 goals and 45 points are the most he's put up since leaving Pittsburgh, he recently saw his older brother Eric get traded which I am sure is tough. I hope this isn't a fluke and we get to see more great seasons from Jordan in the future. I want to thank my neighbour again for this great card and believe it or not, there was an even bigger surprise I received from him at Christmas time but that's for another day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Pair of Kucherovs

Last year I was involved in a hockey pool for charity that I was fortunate enough to win with my neighbour. The reason why we won was because I knew and believed in the Lightning more than the other 20 or so poolies at the table and we slaughtered the competition. In fact, of the 80+ 2 man teams in all the pools, no one came close to us. The reason why I knew so much about the Lightning was my PC boy Brett Connolly. However, since he departed to Boston I still have a soft spot for Tampa Bay and as a result have a few other players I follow on a daily basis and have subsequently added them to my collection. Nikita Kucherov is one of those such players.

Originally a member of the Triplets line he found instant chemistry with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. However, this season has been a bit tough on the trio at first. Palat came out of the gate cold with 2 goals and 7 points in 16 games before getting injured and then only recently has fired back up his offensive engine with 7 goals and 10 points in the last 10 games. Johnson also has had a season to forget with a frigid start with 11 points in his first 28 games and a number of missed games due to injury as well. Like Palat, Tyler Johnson has come back a bit of late with 13 points in his last 16 games to show TB fans he will have his scoring touch in time for the playoffs. Kucherov the third member of the Triplets has arguably been the most consistent member of the Lightning this season and is currently tied with Stamkos for the lead in point with 60 and second in goals with 28. He is one goal and 5 points away from career highs in both categories and with 9 games to go there is no reason to believe he won't beat those numbers.

So what options do Kucherov fans have for rookies? Well there are a few including the staple Young Gun rookie but if you are looking for an auto rookie well....keep looking. Apart from the UD Buyback Young Gun Auto Rookie /86 or Gold Version /25 there are none. Yep, he was missed by nearly all the manufacturers save for some non autographed versions. So, I was a little disappointed by this but was able to track down two decent cards nonetheless.

13-14 Panini Prizm Prizm Nikita Kucherov RC
No typo here, those are back to back Prizms because this is the Prizm parallel of Kucherov's Prizm rookie. This is the nicest looking rookie card in my opinion of all the ones you can dig up. That could be because I am biased to shiny things but this card does look pretty cool in the right lighting!

13-14 Upper Deck Young Guns Nikita Kucherov RC
Perhaps one of the more valuable rookies of Nikita Kucherov is his Young Guns rookie which for the record isn't a bad looking card either. Personally I am a fan of the 13-14 design and this card is a winner too. There are /100 and /10 versions of this card too for the hardcore Kucherov fans out there but I haven't broken the bank to try and track one down and perhaps might not ever but I won't say never either.

While I often wonder how neat it would be to have an auto rookie of Gordie Howe or Wayne Gretzky the truth is those card were created without autographs on them and that doesn't make them any less desirable. However, for some reason in today's world I find myself often preferring an autographed rookie over a non-autographed one and wonder if I am the only one in this department. The lack of any Kucherov auto rookies is a little unusual especially when you consider there are far too many Daniel Bang auto rookies from the same year but sometimes that is the luck of the draw I guess and card companies can only do so much for us needy collectors. So I will leave you with this one question, are there any auto rookies of players you like or wish you could have had that were never produced?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#UDRAK - Upper Deck Random Act of Kindness

Ok...round 2....FIGHT! Seriously let's try this again but rather than share what I did last time let's just get to the facts. I was lucky enough to receive a package from Upper Deck as a Random Act of Kindness (#UDRAK) after my BFAM Tom had nominated me and I was selected. 

The package was AMAZING and came during a day that wasn't going so good for me and really made my day and month for that matter! Here is what was inside:

New Additions for my Adam Henrique PC
11-12 SP Authentic Rookie HoloFX. This card is very cool in person and was missing from my PC. Doesn't scan the best but trust me when I say it looks very very cool.

14-15 Upper Deck Game Jersey. Another one that was missing from my PC and as with all Game Jersey cards is very welcomed in my home.

14-15 Artifacts Tundra Tandems. The future of the Devils on a single card, I say "Nice"!

11-12 SP Authentic Future Watch. This on card auto rookie is my favourite of the bunch and happened to be needed for my PC so once again thank you Upper Deck for selecting 4 well needed cards!

In addition to the Henrique Cards I also received two more surprise cards and two boxes of Upper Deck Dinosaurs!!! Here are the results of those two boxes.

Patch Cards
Is this the Connor McDavid of the Dino World? This dino was very similar to the Ankylosaurus except it didn't have a clubbed tail and its spike were far more pronounced.

This card sparked a question: "Who is the best NHLer from Utah?" Turns out there have been only 4 to come from that state and the best by far is Steve Konowalchuk.

3-D Cards
As I mentioned in my box review of Upper Deck Dinosaurs the 3-D cards are among my favourites of the product and I was able to pull this Arrhinoceratops as one of my 8.

Here is a 3-D card of a dinosaur most probably know about, the good old Iguanodon.

Here is my second triceratops, I was able to pull one in my first box too.

Here is another example of a dinosaur I have never heard of before pulling this 3-D Mussaurus.

Giraffatitan as I am sure you could guess was tall! This particular dinosaur could grow to as much as 74 feet in length (22.5 meters).

Ahh the Dilophosaurus! This was a pretty cool dinosaur in the original Jurassic Park movie and could be best remembered for spitting on Newman. I originally embedded the clip like I have had so many others and given it didn't turn out well I am going to skip it this time and leave it up to you to find!

What is considered the largest land animal that has ever lived, the Argentinosaurus has been estimated to be 130 ft long and 150 000 lbs.  That carnivore looks frightened to say the least.

Artist Signature
I was able to land my second Benito Gallego auto and this time it is on his drawing of a Quetzalcoatlus which is pretty sweet!

Predators of the Sea
In three boxes I have opened in total, I pulled one of these and they are without a doubt a great looking card. They have a shadowbox feel to them and they are a well made card which both my oldest and I were really happy to have found.

1/1 Sketch Cards

My first was a Kronosaurus and like my last box I feel I really lucked out with an awesome sketch card. This is also my second sketch by this artist (Eric Van Elslande) which speaks to his talent as far as my eyes go.

Here is the backside of the card.

My second one is a Quetzalcoatlus which made an appearance earlier in this post as an artist signatures card. This sketch is different than the previous two both in terms of artist and style as this one feels slightly different in comparison to the previous two. However I still very much like this one as well and plan on keeping all three instead of trading them.

On the back side we see a signature but at this moment I haven't been able to determine which artist made this sketch but I will keep at it until I figure it out! Check back for an update/edit on this one.

That was it for my two boxes but that wasn't all in the package from Upper Deck...Upper Deck had one last huge surprise for me and I have indeed saved the BEST for LAST!!

08-09 Upper Deck Champs Fossils and Artifacts Woolly Mammoth Femur x 2

Yeah!!! That's a fossil in a card and I was so very very fortunately to receive two of them! The boys and I were in awe of this piece of history. The next part is you can actually see the texture from inside the bone where the marrow would have been.

Here is the second one, each piece as unique as a finger print.
The best part is the back which explains to you about the Woolly Mammoth and where the fossil was recovered which just adds to the coolness of these cards. It's almost (but better) than getting a jersey card and knowing exactly when it was worn. I bought many packs of 08-09 Champs just hoping to land a redemption of a fossil card and even bid on a number of them on eBay as well with no success. I think when you consider all that with the sheer coolness of these cards speaks to how much they mean to me and is a huge cherry on top of an amazing treat.

So that was my UDRAK package and I can't thank both Upper Deck and Tom enough for the kindness they have shown me in terms of nominating me and then blowing me away with the awesome contents of that package. I hope you enjoyed this post at least a tiny fraction as much as I loved receiving it. Thank you Upper Deck and Chris Carlin for the kindness you have shown me, and I hope to pay it forward in the coming months and years. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Lost a HUGE post.

Wow....I wish I had the energy to fire off a huge rant but alas it would be pointless. I started a great thank you post about my #UDRAK I received and after 45 min of working on it I lost it all....damn you Blogger. I will start from scratch and hopefully have something soon. *sigh*

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs Box Break and Review

A while back I heard that Upper Deck was making a Dinosaur set and I got a little excited. However, my LCS didn't happen to pick up any of this product and my early research had it out of my price range a bit so I figured I would maybe try and buy a base set on the secondary market some day.

Well as luck would have it, my BFAM Tom happened to received a box of Dinosaurs in a mailing from Upper Deck and I immediately asked if I could trade him for it. Being the great guy he is, he just wanted to straight up send it to me because he wasn't too interested in Dinosaurs but I wouldn't have any part of that kind of deal so in the end we made a very good swap for both sides and I got myself a box of 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs. As luck would have it, I would end up with two more boxes but I'll save that for my next post! Without further ado, here is 2015 Dinosaurs.

Each box contain 20 packs and each pack has 5 cards. On average a box should deliver 1 Artist Sketch card numbered 1/1, 1 Manufactured Patch Card, 6 Stickers, 4 Lenticular 3-D cards, 10 mini's and the rest are base cards with 1-100 being standard, 101-125 being short printed and 126-150 being super short printed. There are other surprises like Roar Cards which are like the Upper Deck The Cup Video Cards, and redemptions for Fossil cards. There are sketch cards that consist of multiple panels and all sorts of other goodies. While the cost for this product is around 100 USD, truth is most of the value is in the art you get in the box. Each box has it's very own sketch card created by an artist and I'm sure that added significantly to Upper Deck's production cost.

Base cards

In sports cards Upper Deck is renowned for their photography but since cameras didn't exist when dinosaurs were around (or people for that matter), the images you see are artist and computer generated. With that being said, the images are still awesome. Some have backgrounds and others are close ups. What I really enjoy about the set is the selection of creatures. Not all are dinosaurs and more importantly there are even ones I haven't heard of before and I am pretty well read in this department. Spinosaurus is one of my favourite dinosaurs (and my oldest son's too) so I am featuring it's base card.

Back side of base card
The back side of the card uses the image from the front and then includes some stats and facts about the creature which help give you some perspective. Upper Deck being an American company means all my facts are in American units (Imperial?) and not metric which may be my only complaint. To date, Spinosaurus is the largest known land carnivore which means it's even bigger than the T-Rex folks!

Base Card
Here is a bonus base card. The Quetzalcoatlus which many may not have heard of before, is one of the largest flying creatures ever on our planet.

Imagine a flying creature with a wing span of 30 feet and was a carnivore. It could nearly gobble an adult human whole!

 Each box has 10 mini cards and they are in the canvas style which we know from Masterpieces etc and it mirrors the base set completely. There are 150 mini cards you could collect. Given you only get 10 per box this is a tougher set to chase for sure.

Here is the back of the Allosaurus mini. As you can see the mini cards have stats and info on them too and the sunset with a roaring Allosaurus is another example of the great artwork the artists from this set have created.

Patch Cards
Each hobby box has one of these and I lucked into one of the more rare patch cards. There are 60 different patch cards in this insert set and they range in difficulty to hit. This one is a group B patch card and they fall 1:179 packs! The images on the patches are different than those of the base card which is also a nice plus!

Here is the back side and again what I love about this set are all the interesting facts you get on the backs of the cards. You can appreciate the art on front and get educated on the back.


Each hobby box should yield 6 of these. This insert set has 30 in it and they are all equally produced so this one might be very doable for the average collector. I went with another one of my favourite prehistoric beasts, Dimetrodon. Which some may not know this but it actually isn't considered a dinosaur and is more closely related to mammals. This synapsid lived millions of years before the emergence of the dinosaurs.

Another neat bonus is the backs of the stickers form a puzzle. I definitely want to try and complete this set to see what the images make on the backside.

3-D Cards
One of my favourite features of this release are the 3-D cards. They don't scan too badly but I assure you they are even cooler in person. This insert set has 42 cards and they fall 4 per box and depending on the type (Herbivores, Predators, Marine or Flying) they could be tough to pull. Much like my patch card, I lucked into the hardest pull and that is the Pterodactyl which is 1:150 packs. Herbivores are the easiest and make up 24 of the 42 cards in this set.  The artwork on these are amazing and in 3-D they are especially enjoyable.

Once again top marks to Upper Deck for the backsides of these. Lots of get stats and info about the different animals.

Here is my rare Pterodactyl.

You might be surprised at how small they actually were. When I was really young I always pictured them being much larger but obviously that isn't the case with them being much smaller than an albatross.

Here is an example of the great selection by Upper Deck. Prior to pulling this card I never heard of a Minmi.

A very cool battle scene between two Triceratops'.

As you can see the colour scheme is different on the back between Herbivore, Predator and Flying. I didn't pull a marine one in this box which have the odds of 1:50.

1/1 Sketch Card
In my opinion what really makes or breaks a box of this is the Sketch Card. Don't get me wrong, I am a very very poor artist and all the cards that I have seen are very nice. However, I've seen some sketch cards that look pretty juvenile and others that look amazing. I would definitely classify my pull as amazing. My Plesiosaurus is a creature that I really like in the first place and the way it was drawn by Eric Van Elslande is fantastic.  This piece of art is one that I truly love and makes my box a home run for me. On the secondary market the prices of these 1/1 sketch cards are all over the map because it is a one of a kind. In some cases many can appreciate the subject and the creation and they sell for lots and others less so. I definitely plan on keeping this beauty in my collection for the boys and I to enjoy for as long as possible.

Here is the backside of the sketch card which is signed by the artist.

Artist Signature Card
My box had a little bonus, an artist signatures card. These are not in every box so I was super excited to pull it and the fact that it's a Velociraptor is even cooler. The image is one created by Benito Gallego and was used to make the 3-D Velociraptor and is signed by him and numbered to 49.

Here is the backside information which again supports what you can guess is on the front.

So there you have it, my first box of 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs. I want to begin by saying that I loved this product and when I compare it to other Upper Deck products I am going to go out on a limb and say it is nearly as perfect as they come. Good creature selection, enough rareness to card to make them more coveted and I love the sketch card idea. I do wish I hit a fossil card of course but at 1:1000 which means 1 per 50 boxes, hitting one is pretty unlikely but that's ok, half the fun is the chance to do so.

One thing I really enjoyed about this break was there was no interest in money. When I break hockey and stuff like that, since the beckett has been around during my entire time of collecting, one factor that always comes up is...what are these cards worth? Did I get my money's worth? What could I sell this card for? In the case of these cards, that never occurred to me. I opened this box with my boys and we just enjoyed the cards for what they were. My oldest son who's 5 and can't really read could still name many of the dinosaurs thanks to the many BBC movies he's seen and that's another testamate to how well these cards are made. If you are a dinosaur fan or just want to bust something different, I complete recommend this product!!

At the end, I was about 37 cards short of a 1-100 set so I definitely plan on finishing that off and perhaps I will go after the 1-150 set and maybe even some of the insert sets like the 3-D or Stickers. I completely enjoyed this break and as far as the product goes I give it a 5/5. Well done Upper Deck and thank you Tom for the fantastic trade which I believe worked out well for both of us!