Thursday, October 27, 2016

15-16 UD Exquisite Mikko Rantanen Auto RC /249

UD Exquisite is one of those value added insert sets that UD puts into their high end product much like they would do on occasion with UD Ice etc. They are a very nice card and when I saw a few out on the market I decided I might try my luck and see if I could find one. At the same time, I was reading lots of press about the potential Mikko Rantanen possessed and given the Avalanche are on the rise once again I could see his and the team's success tied together. In the end I was able to mix those two together and I ended up with this:

15-16 UD Exquisite Mikko Rantanen Auto RC /249

A great looking card with on-card auto and "Artifacts-esc" design. I've always like what UD did with their Artifacts product so going for this card seemed very natural with my collecting habits. His signature isn't the worst out there but apart from an "M" and a 96 the rest is up to the imagination.

Here's the back side of the card. Much like their The Cup cards, I see a good mix of stats and congratulations which is always appreciated by this collector. As you can see, Mikko is a large lad and I believe with him the saying "You can teach a player to skate and shoot but you can't teach a player to be taller" definitely applies to his potential. I think the sky's the limit and he could be as good as he is willing to work.

As time goes by, I can definitely see Mikko developing into a first line player and a 70-80 point producer. In recent days he has been called up and is practicing on a line with Nathan MacKinnon after injuring his ankle in the preseason and playing 4 games in the AHL.  Last season he lead the Rampage in scoring with 60 points despite only playing 52 of 76 games and finished 9th in league scoring. As we all know, AHL success doesn't always mean NHL success but I'm hopeful and am wishing Mikko the best of luck this season. Thanks for stopping by!

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.