Tuesday, August 22, 2017

So I Finally Decided To "Check Out My Cards"

I didn't just join the hobby and I haven't been living under a rock. Fact of the matter is, I live in Canada and I don't like buying credit before a purchase. Those two sticking points prevented me from using COMC for all these years. I have had an account for a very long time and did nothing with it. When I wanted new cards, I would trade, use Hobby Insider, LCS, Twitter or eBay and that always seemed to cover my needs. However, I have a number of partially finished sets and for my birthday I got a little coin so I decided what the heck, lets check this out!

Based on the amount of money I was given, I set up two goals. I wanted to finish my 77-78 Topps and my 79-80 Topps sets. I needed 18 cards for the '77 set and 9 for the complete '79 set. Thankfully there were plenty of options for nearly ALL the cards I needed and I could look at scan after scan and get the quality of card I wanted. In my case the both sets I wanted them to be as close to mint as I could find. I do say nearly all because there was one card I needed and there was only one available and man oh man did they price it that way too. All the cards I needed I got for very great prices except one 79-80 Topps Stan Mikita. The card was clearly an ungraded NrMt-Mt for sure and would probably book in the 2-3 dollar range given the quality. The ask, 15 dollars!!!!! I couldn't believe it. I wanted to finish these sets and when you factor in all the cards I needed, this was a huge barrier. I went on eBay and there were none too. What to do??

Thankfully I had a number of other cards from this buyer in my basket and they allowed you to make an offer. I made one and they countered and finally they accepted and left me with room to go beyond my goal which was nice. I also picked up another card which I will share in a different post.

Here is a look at some of the cards I needed.
When the cards arrived, they were in great condition much like their scans indicated and while I didn't pay for any extra packaging the cards were well packaged and exactly as expected. In all it was an amazing success and I definitely would consider using check out my cards again. My next two posts will be about my completed sets!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the next two posts!

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Local" Card Shops: How to Run and Not Run Them.

Where I live in rural Nova Scotia, card shops are few and FAR between. In a 45 min drive I have access to exactly three. One is my favourite, the owner and I are friends and he knows how to wheel and deal. In the end he deals with quantity of transactions rather than trying to triple his investment off one card. If you are the kind of person who likes to flip cards he "leaves some meat on the bone" if you want to turn a profit and I have been fortunate to get deals and resell and get deals and enjoy the card as is in my collection. The next one is not really a card shop, more of a junk shop. But awesome junk and I honestly love the place and can spend years in there. The third is a shop that pretty much deals in packs and he keeps little to no inventory so I don't tend to go there much. In all three cases, you can wheel and you can deal with my friends place being the best of the lot. 

This past week I was in Toronto and really hoped to get to a card shop. Sadly the trip was so packed with things and the location of the one I did find wasn't too close I didn't get any chance to get there. I did stop by the Hockey Hall of Fame and got my pic with the Stanley Cup! I also saw the REAL Stanley Cup and many many many other cool things. I'll post some of those things up at a later date. I did see some pretty awesome cards at the HHoF too which I took a few snaps of as well. 

Since I wasn't able to get into a card shop but I was itching to look at some cool cards I decided to check out a shop in Halifax I had never been to before and have only heard things about. I walked into the store and I must say I was impressed. A very large shop with loads of space, immediately I got my hopes up. But as soon as I walked to the first display, hopes were dashed. Every card had a large white sticker on them saying those dreaded and awful words "Book Price". Yep, every card in the store's many display cases had those ridiculous white stickers and Beckett High price. Some did have "Sale Price" on them too but they would be like this following scenario: Let's say you have a Marcel Dionne card in VG-Ex condition. Now, when you read the book price on this card it's 150 dollars (IF THE CARD IS IN NrMT CONDITION). However, they in this shop feel the book price is the book price so they have it listed at book price of 150 which more accurately should have been listed at  45-50 dollars given it was no where near NrMT condition in the past 30-40 years. Then they had the audacity to list it at a sale price of about 90 dollars. To put this into perspective, on eBay a Dionne rookie graded PSA 5 definitely nicer than this card sold for 46 dollars Canadian. 

As I went through the store more and more disappointment, nice cards and insane prices. A pretty decent looking Toews The Cup Rookie... Books for $2000. They didn't for some reason list a book price this time but instead had a $6000 price tag on it. It wasn't even the best swatch I've ever seen on a Toews The Cup and they want 6 grand for it. The best part was I asked about the prices and they didn't even blink when they told me they are all as listed. They did have a display case with 25% and 50% off BOOK PRICE and they were pretty sketchy cards many barely even VG. I can certainly find way cooler ways to spend $6000 on cardboard. Perhaps a Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr rookie for starters. 

So I did what most sane people would do and that was leave. Sad and empty handed. But alas there are two other card shops in Halifax and I went to a different one and found some fun. This stop is half cards and have shirts and memorabilia. They have only one display case filled with cards all sanely priced. There was a nice Terry Sawchuk Memorial card from 70-71 OPC. It books for 60 in NrMT condition but it was sadly only in Ex condition. Price on the card....$20 dollars. What? Should'nt this be a 60 dollar card? At the other shop it would be but in the sane world it's a $20 dollar card. Real Book Price would be about $24 which is a very fair deal given how old and nice looking this card was. I was tempted to buy but I held off because I found something even more interesting for the same $20 dollars it would have case me for the Sawchuk.

1934-43 Group 1 Bee Hives!!!

1934-43 Group 1 Bee Hive Gord Drillon
 First up was the answer to the following trivial question (thanks to the card shop owner): Who was the last Maple Leaf to win the Art Ross Trophy? Gord Drillon 1937-38. While these aren't considered true hockey cards by some, they are to me. Especially if you consider 39-40 OPC as hockey cards. This beauty is at least 70+ years old and looks alright considering. Like most Bee Hives, this one has a beige border and features the same photo as his rookie card:

37-38 OPC Gord Drillon RC (not mine)
                                            Image result for drillon rookie card

Second up is this HOFer which I was particularly drawn to:

1934-43 Group 1 Bee Hive Walter Turk Broda
A blue border! I haven't seen many of these ever and did a double take at first given the subject, colour and price. This isn't the exact photo on his rookie card but still is a pretty cool shot if you ask me. Again, it's hard to say when this card was created but it could have been from any time between 1936-43 given that's when he was active during this production run. However, much like Drillon this card also looks like his 37-38 OPC card putting it in around that time line. 

So I know Bee Hive cards aren't as desirable as other cards from the time period and they tend to be more numerous because people kept them more but these two were purchased for the same $20 as the Sawchuk and more importantly for way less than more things at the overpriced card shop I went to first. I applaud the owner of D&M Sports in Halifax for having reasonable prices and I am sure if I wanted to lump a few extra cards in I could have struck a deal. In the end I have two more beauties and another shop I am proud to call my LCS even if it's an hour away. 

Thanks for stopping by, a couple more fun and card related posts coming up soon! I am curious, do many of you out there have this same problem where there are card shops that are run properly and others that are just foolishly run?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Hidden Behind a Wealth of Talent - Kasperi Kapanen

With the exception of a few random successes in the past 20 or so I would best describe the Toronto Maple Leafs as nothing short of a mess. As a devout hockey fan who also used to be a part owner of the Maple Leafs (MLSE to be specific), I know I was often left scratching my head at the way the franchise was being run. However, a few years ago, they gutted the team from top to the bottom and I know Lou isn't getting as much credit as Shanahan (and the Shanaplan) but I honestly believe Lou has helped change the culture and through smart trades of Kessel and a little draft luck the Leafs are now loaded with talent.

IF you dig far enough into the Kessel trade you will see young Kapanen's name was involved as well as a draft pick which turned out to be Sam Steel. However, the pick ended up belonging to the Ducks as the Leafs traded the pick to land Frederik Andersen first and then the Ducks drafted Steel after. While this will never make up for what Kessel cost the Leafs in the first place, it's still a decent return which brings me back to Kapanen.

16-17 Upper Deck Series 2 Kasperi Kapanen Young Gun

I really really hope I am wrong about this but fact of the matter is I am always a realist first and dreamer second. The Calder Trophy for top rookie could be an interesting race this year. I don't believe it will come down to an amazing battle like last year where Murray, Laine, Marner, Nylander, Werenski or Matthews could conceivably have won it had they been paired against a different crop of rookies (ie like 2013 etc) but I do think that Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick and Kasperi Kapanen will be battling some of the other rookies for the Calder. With that being said, I don't know if anyone will be Kapanen for the Calder. While he may not be as talented as the other top picks, he does have a few years of pro experience under his belt which will help and the depth the Leafs have now will ensure he gets some pretty good match ups against the other teams which he could exploit. I am going to go out on a limb and say he's my early prediction for the Calder though I am hopeful that Nico will come out on top in the end!

What are your thoughts? Any extremely early Calder predictions (Strome? Yost? Keller? Someone else?) Thanks for stopping by, my next post will be when I return and hopefully have some stuff about the Hockey Hall of Fame!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

08-09 Upper Deck Ben Bishop Young Gun

Goaltenders are an interesting breed and that is probably true regardless of sport. To be willing to have a collection of athletes pound/shoot/fire objects at you as hard as they can in the hopes you will miss often bring out the most interesting of volunteers who are suckers for punishment. Not only are goaltenders subjected to this, they also have to wear wins and losses like badges of honour or scarlet letters. I believe it is because of these job hazards you get lots of players who just don't cut it and disappear and so very few players in this position go on to have lengthy careers.

However, I also believe to some degree what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger and that is why many goaltenders tend to have their best years during the second half of their career or if you are looking at numbers, in their late 20's and early 30's. This brings me to Mr. Ben Bishop.

Ben is a player who had a tough season last year and I believe is poised to have an amazing year this coming season for a number of reasons. First off, he is headed to a club that grossly under-performed last year and has the fire power to be a Cup contender. Secondly, Ben is now 30 years young in age and I believe he has a few 40 win seasons left in the tank and the next couple years could potentially be his finest which is saying lots because he already won 40 games once and finished as a Vezina trophy finalist twice.

08-09 Upper Deck Ben Bishop Young Gun
As far as Young Guns go, this one is pretty lame. The photo is very plain and almost depressing. Ben hasn't had time to paint his mask yet and he almost looks like he finished up the second half of warm ups and is on his way to the bench. Couple that with the fact that this is my least favourite Young Gun design in the past 15 years you get a pretty average card. However, it's in Ben I trust and this time it's the person that makes this card cool and not the design or photo.

What are your thoughts? Are the Stars contenders again thanks to Ben Bishop? Or will he be revealed as a good goalie because of a good system in Tampa and will be exposed as a fraud in Dallas? I know he is a bit unlucky with the timeliness of his past injuries but hopefully those are all behind him and he will have a great 4 years in Texas. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Load of Legendry Lumber

The 1960's were the final decade of the Original 6 and the golden age of hockey. Expansion would happen in 1967 and change the game forever. With that being said, hockey is still amazing today no matter who you are and while fights are down and talent is up, fans in the 60's were spoiled with some amazing players including these 4 guys:

2017 Leaf Stickwork Decade Leaders Points 1960s /25

Four NHL legends who are all HOFers on one card is cool. Having a game used piece of them is even cooler. The only thing that would have topped this in my opinion is a signature or four. However, it's still a nice piece and I enjoyed landing it. Two neat bits though, first is who is the leader of these four for the decade called the 1960s? I don't believe I would have ever guessed it myself:

By a pretty large margin (41 points) the winner is Stan Mikita. What's equally interesting to me is Stan also had more PIMs than the other three and the most assists.

While the card itself just features for generic pieces of wood which would be it's loan downfall in my opinion, its a relatively low production run makes up for that a bit. Second neat fact is ITG originally made the card in 2014 and it was released by Leaf in 2017 as apart of their Stickwork release.

Anyone else out there have any of these cards? What are your thoughts? Thanks for stopping by!