Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mail Day (aka Forgotten Spoils of The NPN)

Today @UpperDeckSports surprised me by hiding out in my mailbox. I came home from work to find a brown padded envelope. The stamped return address on the envelope threw me off for a second because I have zero outstanding redemptions right now. However, once I tore into the package I pulled out this congratulatory letter;

Now, admittedly I rarely take advantage of most "no purchase necessary" offers when it comes to contests. I tend to find them too much of a hassle. I seem to recall being spurred on to try an NPN entry into a card company's release by reading another blogger's success story. As usual I threw in an entry and never gave it another thought until today.

Quite frankly, I had completely forgotten I had done it. In all fairness it WAS in 2010.

After reading the above letter I was a bit excited to see what card I had lucked into.

Autograph cards have become a bit more of an interest to me lately, much more so than relic cards. Every time I hit a show I thumb through the $1.00 boxes looking for interesting signatures or unique cards featuring unique subjects and their signatures. This card fits perfectly into that role.

I believe this is actually the second autograph I have of a figure skater. I never bought any of the 'World of Sports' release but the uniqueness of the autograph subjects in the product definitely sets it apart. The signature on this card is clean and legible and the little heart gives it a nice personal touch.

2012 'World of Sports' releases soon and I doubt it will get any of my hard earned dollars. However, I will definitely look over the autograph list and see what is available.

UD also included a base card of Dustin Coleman in my prize package.

I guess the lesson here is that for the actual amount of time an NPN entry takes it may not be such a bad thing when it pays off. Thanks again to Upper Deck for the cards and rest assured I will do just as the letter suggests, I will continue to check out your NPN's.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Family Day/Presidents Day Goes Well With PIE!!!

Here we are chasing down the remaining days of February and I have yet to post anything. Suffice it to say I have been busy but that hardly excuses me from negligence. In the coming days I do hope to have a few product review box breaks as I have been told they are on their way. I also plan on beginning to chronicle my collecting adventure for 2012.

More on that at a later date.

What brings us all here today is another installment of my quest to complete my patchwork collection of Topps 'American Pie'. When we last left I had received a generous helping from Cardboard Connection Radio listener, Lou. What I did not share with you was the stack of 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' cards that Lou sent that put a big dent in my AP Wantlist. I got wayyyy too excited about "Shiny Zappa" and all focus was lost.

The 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' set is a 50-card set featuring an impressive checklist of Hollywood's greatest celebrities who are also featured in the base set. There is also a manufactured patch version of this set which has the star replaced with a stitched version of the star stuck into a cutout recess in the card. The manufactured cards are numbered out of 50. For ease of completion I simply chose to go with the regular cards.

One of the nicest features on the back of the cards, besides the write-ups on the individuals, is that the date of the dedication ceremony and the address location in Hollywood of the star itself are printed as part of the "stats" under the name of the card subject. Nothing like making a trading card purposeful.

The design of the front of the card is simple and effective. The star, as it appears on the 'Walk of Fame' is featured on the right half while a photo of the card subject takes of the left. My only issue with the card set is the lack of consistency in the photos. The use of black and white pictures makes the cards look much better than the photos featuring colour. I wish Topps had made every photo black and white. Other than that, 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' is a set that looks great paged in a binder.

10 more cards were knocked off my HWoF wantlist thanks to Lou. I scanned them as two separate groups to attempt to show you what I mean by the B&W v. Colour photo use. As far as I am concerned every single one of these guys is light-years beyond in the "coolness" department than any celebrity walking the face of the earth today.

HWF-7 Dean Martin, HWF-18 Jimi Hendrix, HWF-21 John Wayne
HWF-30 Walt Disney, HWF-33 Orson Welles, HWF-39 Clark Gable

Now, compare those with the colour photo used on the following four. I get that colour makes the picture more life-like but the classic black-and-white makes the cards look more "Hollywood" somehow. Maybe, I'm just weird.

HWF-4 Cary Grant, HWF-5 Christopher Reeve, HEF-9 Elizabeth Taylor, HWF-13 Gene Roddenberry

Minor issues aside this set fit perfectly with the whole "pop culture" aspect of 'American Pie' and it looks great paged into a binder. Thanks to Lou my AP binder looks alot less empty now.

Another donation of Pie came to me via the command center in Fairfax, Virginia otherwise known as the domain of the curator of 'Stale Gum', Chris Harris. Any time you get a package from Chris you have to open it with care as the potential to be "bipped" always exists. Thankfully, this Canadian was spared. However, what was inside really made my day.

I'm winding down in the number of base cards I need and besides the Frank Zappa/MTV card there is only one other card from this set that I truly MUST have, and wouldn't you know it Chris sent it my way....


Perhaps someday we might even see a Topps product that incorporates a Joey Ramone cut signature into it. If that were to happen it would cause a serious dent in my bank account, just saying.

One of my other enjoyments in the sporting world is horse racing. I grew up with my father enjoying horse racing and it is one of the enjoyments he has passed along to me. When I saw that Secretariate had a card in American Pie I new it was going to be part of my patchwork set. This is a beautiful card of a beautiful and amazing horse.

In an effort to make my completion of my 'American Pie' collection a bit of a challenge I have decided to tray and collect both parallels of each of the base cards I am seeking. Chris was kind enough to send along a handful of shiny goodness to help the cause.

Dr.Seuss, Jack Kerouac and Pong

Miracle on Ice, Mr. Rogers and Genomes

Perhaps the most challenging part of this collection will be the "spotlight" parallels which are serial numbered to a relatively meager 76 copies. The first one in my collection accompanied its shiny partner in this package. Card #99 features the godfather of 'The Godfather', Mario Puzo.

Chris also saw fit to knock another card off of my 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' wantlist as well. As the host of one of the greatest television shows of all time his place in pop culture was set. To go on and host an even more interesting yet less popular show in the 60's, Rod Serling was a part of my growing up and will always define "hip", for me.

'Night Gallery' was one of the first shows that I "discovered" as a young television watcher and I can remember sneaking into the basement to watch episodes on an old black and white television we liberated from my grandmother.

In a rather short period the generosity of fellow collectors has helped me eliminate a majority of my Topps 'American Pie' wantlist. If you have any of the cards listed in my original post that I still need, and you have no use for them, please send them north and I will gladly change them into something you want.

Thanks for taking the time to check out yet another post devoted to PIE and stay tuned for several box breaks coming soon to the blog.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mail Day (aka MOAR PYE!!!!)

Now, I realize that the entire collecting collective is collectively collecting Topps Series 1 flagship baseball, At this very moment the world is looking for Albert as an Angel and some rodent.

I am here to sober you all up.

I am here to slap you in the face and wake you the hell up!!!!


Let us not forget that not too long ago the darling of the hobby world was a little release known as......

Yeah!! Remember her?!?!

Remember how we were all hanging out together and saying how cool she was?!?


Well, I do!! And you know what? She's STILL cool!! She's STILL awesome!!! She's STILL my friend!!

Thanks to Lou who is a regular listener to Wednesday Night Card Talk show that I am a part of on Cardboard Connection Radio, I am now the proud owner of the one card I knew I had to have when I first saw it. The one card that has been on my mind since I ripped my first of 4 blasters of this stuff. Now, as I said, thanks to Lou I can proudly proclaim.......



Very rarely have I ever acquired a parallel version of a card before I have acquired the base version. Thanks Lou, you have no idea how much this card means to me.

After some research I have found the source of this photo. It is from the live MTV simulcast of the Frank Zappa Halloween Concert at the Palladium in 1981. Nina Blackwood (pictured on the card) and Sam Copper hosted. Even better a search of YouTube turned up the concert (was there any doubt??) and Frank being Frank.


Lou also sent me a bucketload of 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' cards that fit perfectly into the empty spaces of my 'American Pie' binder pages.

Thanks Lou!!

I am glad you shared this opportunity with me to revisit a sorely and rather abruptly neglected beauty in Topps 'American Pie'. If you have a chance please check out my original AP wantlist post and see if there is anything you are not using that perhaps I might be able to. I can also do the same with my spares.


This trading stuff works!!

Of course, like all of you I am now off to tear into some 2012 Topps Series 1 baseball that miraculously made it to Canada on "opening day".

Happy squirrel hunting!!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Joy Of The Completed Page - Ginter Style

As part of the lot I received recently from 'Check Out My Cards' there was one card whose purpose served that which all collectors strive towards and also allowed me to move on to other pursuits. Nothing feeds the completest in me more than having a binder page without a blank space between the cards. Also, there is no better feeling than putting a set to bed and marking it complete on your checklist.

This card......

completed both tasks.

The 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter 'World's Wordsmiths' insert set is a 15-card set highlighting the most influential and famous writers throughout history. From Homer to Victor Hugo collectors are exposed to some definite literary heavyweights. My favorite card from this set features one of my favorite authors whose museum will be a definite agenda item during my visit to the 2012 National in Baltimore this summer.

Any time you can combine culture and cards I am in favor of it. Hopefully, in some subsequent release of A&G Topps will see fit to honor some of the greatest Science Fiction writers in a similar set.

Until then, enjoy the 'World's Wordsmiths' set in all its completed page glory.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another Helping of Pie

When I first posted my wantlist for Topps American Pie there were two rather quick respondents to my request. The second of which showed up in the mail this week from my fellow host of Wednesday Night Cardboard Connection Radio, Rob Bertrand, better known to all as The Voice of The Collector. Rob absolutely killed my wantlist as I am now down to needing/wanting only 5 base cards. However, one card that is proving to be far too elusive is the one that features Francesco Vincent Zappa.


Most of the images from American Pie have been seen several times over so I will not bore you with scan after scan of the cards I received. But, I will show you two of the cards I am happiest to have in my possession.

Card #8 - Jackie Robinson

Card #109 - George Carlin

My main focus of collection for 'American Pie' is the Hollywood Walk of Fame 50-card insert set. Rob sent along 8 cards to help shrink my wantlist for those cards as well. The coolest part of this set is that the street location of the star in Hollywood is printed on the back along with a short but concise biography of the subject on the front. A nice touch.

#HWF-47 Leslie Nielsen, #HWF-42 Fred Astaire
#HWF-44 Harry Houdini, #HWF-40 Douglas Fairbanks

The black and white photos really work on these cards and give them the old time look that fits the historic nature of the set. Harry Houdini is one of 9 Walk of Fame stars to have their one-word stage name grace their star. I love trivial facts like that.

#HWF-34 Spencer Tracy, #HWF-26 Marlon Brando
#HWF-33 Orson Welles, #HWF-16 Humphrey Bogart

If you have not picked up a blaster of 'American Pie' yet I would suggest you do so. Not just to enjoy the product and the cards you get but also you may be able to help me finish up my set as well. That would not be such a bad thing, would it?

Thanks Rob for the trade and getting me closer to the finish line.

Follow Rob on Twitter @VOTC and give little old me a follow too @LongFlyBall

If anyone else is trying to complete 'American Pie' hit me up with your wantlist and I might be able to help you out. Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mail Day (aka Check Out MY Cards - Framed Autograph Edition)

I recently took advantage of a great deal on shipping from the fine folks over at CheckOutMyCards.com and emptied out most of the cards I had sitting in my account. Over the next little while I thought I would take the opportunity to share what exactly came my way.

When Topps released the Anniversary T-206 collection in 2009 it was right around the time I was first immersing my self back into the hobby and the though of collecting a tobacco card sized set really grabbed my attention. I also liked the look of the framed autograph cards, so, I dedicated myself to completing the 30-card set.

At first I tried to gather the cards from anywhere and everywhere which made it feel much more like a task than a pastime. I decided to try and take a step back and make it more about the pursuit and less about the completion. Hence why it is 2012 and I am still working on the set.

Well, thanks to COMC I am 5 cards closer to completion and I have yet to pay a price for any of these cards that I feel is unacceptable. THAT is the true goal here. I think this set is going to look really nice in pages once complete. The latest additions to be removed from the wantlist are;

#FMA-6 Glen Perkins & #FMA-21 Jason Motte

#FMA-13 Shairon Martis & #FMA-26 Rich Hill

#FMA-15 Mat Gamel

Unfortunately these additions still leave me short of that wonderful milestone that a collector can celebrate, the joy of a completed page. The closest I am on that is a centre-square vacancy awaiting one Mr. Justin Masterson.

If you happen to have any of these laying around gathering dust I would happily give them a home in a protective page alongside their brethren. I am over 60% complete now and I can see the finish line off in the distance. Here is a list of missing persons belonging to my T-206 Framed Autograph binder.....

FMA - 1 Gordon Beckham
FMA - 2 Koji Uehara
FMA - 7 Jordan Zimmermann
FMA - 8 Daniel Schlereth
FMA - 9 Chris Volstad
FMA - 11 Nick Evans
FMA - 12 Fernando Martinez
FMA - 16 Michael Bowden
FMA - 18 Chris Young
FMA - 23 Justin Masterson
FMA - 28 Curtis Granderson

Thanks for taking the time to stop by the blog and checking out my cards.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Helping of Pie

The first envelope has arrived from a very kind Nick, has made its way to my greedy little hands and it goes to knock a few cards off my Topps American Pie wantlist. As I stated in the last post, I am not building the base set but I am gathering certain cards that have significance for me. The set I am building is the 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' insert set and thanks to Nick I can look for 1 less of them now too.

Let's get right to the contents of the envelope and a pair of cards featuring one of the coolest actors that has ever lived. I think every Canadian who grew up in southern Ontario in the 70's holds a special place in their heart for Vincent Price and owes a HUGE debt to Ted Barris for putting him there.

I read a great deal, far less than I used to but I am struggling to get back to the levels I was at a year or two ago. Call it a "New Year's Resolution" if you will. I am impressed at the literary subjects that are peppered throughout 'American Pie'. Hopefully it spurs some people to find out just what these books and authors are about. I know I will be revisiting Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird' this year, as well as perhaps taking on 'The Godfather' as well.

Someday I would also like to own a Harper Lee autograph. Scarcity is definitely an issue but if a card company were to include her in a release you can bet I'd be a part of the chase.

If you were a child of the 70's then I defy you not to have a special place for this guy and his creatures.

While I do consider myself a Beatles fan, I mean really who does not like The Beatles, I am disappointed that there is very little if any cardboard representations of my favorite Beatle, George Harrison. Yes, he was the quiet one and sometimes the forgotten one, but as far as I am concerned he was the most talented one. This guy, however, runs a close #2.

Last, but definitely not least, is the greatest author you could do every child a favor and introduce them to. Every Christmas I look forward to 3 specials and his is one of them. It has aired practically every year since its release in 1966 and hopefully it continues to air long after I am gone.

Thank you very much to Nick for these cards and please take the time to go check out his blog 'Dime Boxes' dedicated to one of the most addictive and rewarding experiences I had introduced to me at the 2011 National.

As well, please take a look at my initial 'American Pie' wantlist post and if you can help me out I would greatly appreciate it. The base cards are almost gone but the parallels and inserts are going to be a challenge worthy endeavor.