Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Second Jumbo Pack of 18-19 Upper Deck

Here are the results from my second jumbo pack of 2018-19 Upper Deck Series 1 that I picked up from Toys R Us a few days ago.

Like the first pack, this contained one hit, and then about 35 or so base cards. The packs weren't too expensive for what they were, but unless you are building the base set then it is not really worth the price.

This was the pack hit, a Young Guns rookie of Evan Bouchard. Bouchard plays for the London Knights, my hometown junior team. He's back there this season after playing a few games with Edmonton early on. 

I want to build the base set, but Series 1 and 2 are always a challenge. The 400 base cards from the combined two sets are cheap, but when you get to the 100 short printed Young Guns rookie cards it can become a real challenge if you don't pull the Young Guns from the packs. This is particularly true if you don't pull the big name cards from the pack, as Young Guns are really the only traditional rookie card that still holds up in value.

With that being said, in recent years Upper Deck has brought the value down a lot by releasing Series 1 and Series 2 on epack. That means these cards are available inexpensively through COMC, which is great.

In a future post, I may even open a couple of epacks. That might actually be a better and more convenient way to work on Series 1, rather than trekking to Toys R Us or Walmart to pick up retail packs, or buying hobby boxes.

Posted above are four base cards I liked. The Okposo has great photography, and the checklist card looks sharp. The Gudbranson card is funny, and Brock Boeser was probably the top rookie in last year's product (I pulled two of his Young Guns cards last year from blaster boxes).

I still haven't pulled that many Leafs from this set, which is too bad.

I have two jumbo packs of OPC left from my Toys R Us trip. I intend to open these over the next couple of days, and will venture back to Toys R Us to pick up some more packs afterwards. Hopefully they have Topps Series 1 in stock, as I was only able to find a lone pack at Walmart last week.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Jumbo Pack of 18-19 UD Series 1

I picked up a couple of packs of 18-19 Upper Deck Series 1 at Toys R Us the other day. I haven't opened any Series 1 this year, even though Series 2 just came out a few days ago.

The base cards are really sharp this year, with a beautiful design and excellent card stock. The quality of the base set is much better compared to the Topps baseball cards released this year. I thought the Topps card stock seemed alright, but it's way flimsier compared to what Upper Deck releases for their main set.

I didn't pull much from this pack, though. In fact, I only got one card that wasn't base. If I wasn't interested in collecting the base set, I wouldn't bother picking up any more of these packs.

This was the only insert card I picked up, a Portraits card of Brayden Schenn. Not a particularly fantastic card, but it looks better in person.

I picked up about 35 or so base cards in total. I'm only showing a couple of them in this post. Connor Brown was the only Leaf I pulled. Above is the card front and back. The base set looks great and feels nice in hand.

This Carey Price is one of the better photographs I pulled. Most of the photography for the base set is great, but I thought this action shot with the colours of the Habs jersey look particularly sharp.

There are also a few horizontal cards, which frequently have better photographs just because of the nature of horizontal cards. This one is of Evgeni Malkin. The half-border design look pretty good with the horizontal photography.

And that's it. I could show a few more base cards, but it's really more of the same. Not a whole lot out of this pack, but I have one more to open and I'll see if I get anything better.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Pack of 2019 Topps from Walmart

This is my fourth pack of 2019 Topps. This time I found a hanger box at Walmart tonight. It was funny because I couldn't find 2019 Topps anywhere, and then I found this box kinda just randomly tossed aside in a bin of toys close to the aisle in the toy section where they have trading cards. I would have bought more, but I couldn't find any others.

I'm not going to post any base cards this time. I started picking up doubles for the first time here, which isn't bad considering I'm four jumbo packs in now. I think we've all seen what the base cards look like at this point, though. 

This is my fourth 84 insert set card. There are a hundred cards in this set, and I am definitely not buying a hundred packs, assuming these are one per pack. But I want to finish this set.

This is part of the Evolution of Baseball set, which has 25 cards. This is Wrigley Field back in the day, one of two cards of Wrigley from that insert set.

The above two cards are from a Walmart exclusive insert set featuring only Acuna cards. The set has thirty cards. Acuna doesn't do it for me, even though he's a hot player right now, mainly because I'm not a Braves fan (goes back to the 92 World Series and being a Jays fan). There is a similar set featuring only Gleyber Torres that was released for Target. We don't have Target in Canada anymore, so that would be a harder set to build up here.

I'm pretty sure this is a rainbow parallel, similar to the Judge card I pulled yesterday. It's hard to tell with these parallels. It's almost easier to just send this in with a pile of cards to COMC and let those people figure out what half these cards are, honestly.

I'm about 40% completion on the base set now, I would guess. I'm going to keep picking up packs until I'm close enough to finish by just buying a few singles. I can probably start collating pages at this point. When do you start collating pages for base cards that you are collecting?

Saturday, 16 February 2019

My Third 2019 Topps Jumbo Pack

I picked up a third jumbo pack of 2019 Topps. Not as much success as in previous packs, but a few interesting cards nonetheless. I'm at about 30% completion for the base set now.

This is my third 1984 subset card. It looks like these are one per pack in jumbos. I want to build this set, but most of what I pick up is going to be on COMC or Sportlots because they just don't drop enough in packs to build the set that way.

One of the biggest pricks in baseball history, here we have Ty Cobb. I'm not a big fan of reprint cards, which is something that Topps does way too much of. Overall I like what Topps does for baseball cards far more than what Upper Deck does for hockey cards, but Topps the reprint thing is one part of Topps I despise.

This was the pack hit. I believe it's a rainbow parallel, which are one-in-ten packs. Another thing about Topps I dislike is how difficult it is to tell parallel cards apart. Upper Deck has this problem, too, though. Honestly, if they just printed the name of the parallel on the back of the card, it would be so much easier. Like, "RAINBOW PARALLEL 1:10" or something like that somewhere on the back.

I pulled three stadium subset cards from this pack, after only pulling one per pack in my previous two jumbo packs. I love these cards, and the St. Louis card featuring Busch Stadium is particularly gorgeous with the Arc in the background.

These are a couple of nice cards from the base set. The Calhoun card has great photography and so does the Price card. I didn't pick up any Jays in this pack, but Price is a former Jay who was part of the playoff team a few seasons ago.

This is numbered to 2019, another parallel. The card looks sharp, but aside from Jays, I'm not collecting this parallel set.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Another 2019 Topps Jumbo Pack

I ripped a second jumbo pack of 2019 Topps the past few days. I'm working on the base set and plan to build it by ripping packs over time. I've been picking up packs when I can at the local hobby shop, as neither the Wal-Mart nor the Toys R Us close to me has 2019 Topps in stock yet. This is probably because I am in Toronto and retail stores are more hockey focused when it comes to sports cards.

Anyway, onto the cards.


This was the single 1984 insert I picked from the pack. This is a cool set, and I love anything Topps does that is a throwback to previous sets (Heritage, Archives, etc). It's going to take awhile to build this one because I think these only fall one per pack with jumbos.

The 150 Years insert cards are gorgeous looking. I love the design, the use of font and the way the typeface is set against Bob Gibson's picture. It's a really, sharp clean design of classic baseball players. This insert set is also going to take awhile to build because these are also falling one-per-pack in Jumbos.

On the other hand, I'm not a huge fan of the 150 years foil stamped parallels. If a company does a parallel card, it should look remarkably different from the main card. Adding a little gold foil stamp is not enough, as I'm not sure why anyone would want to be bothered building a parallel set of these simply because each card has a thumbnail sized stamp added to it. 

I will be keeping this one, though, because I'm a Jays fan. Devon Travis has been a utility guy for Toronto for the past few seasons and will probably be used in that role again this year during a rebuilding season.

I pulled about forty or so base cards, but I've only included a few in this post. I included this one of Brian McCann because I loved the horizontal action shot. Topps base cards have had great photography the past few seasons, and this year is no exception.

Always Sonny. Too bad this had nothing to do with Philadelphia, since that joke would kind of make more sense in that context.

Another of this subset, featuring the Red Sox.

I pulled a stadium card from my previous jumbo pack, too, so maybe these are also falling one per pack. I now have Los Angeles and Washington.

JD Martinez World Series highlights card.

Another from this subset featuring players horsing around on the field.

Another great action shot. The photography and design really blend together well here.

Shohei Ohtani, who was all the rage in the baseball card hobby last year. We'll see how he does when he gets to play a full season.

Collection of Jays World Series Winners

Living in Toronto, I'm a big fan of the Jays. I grew up watching the World Series teams from 1992 and 1993, and watched the Jays for years before that when they felt like perennial playoff contenders.

I have a small collection of cards featuring players from the World Series rosters, as well as other famous Jays who played for the team in the 80s and 90s. I'm always looking to add more to my collection.

These are three parallel cards featuring Roberto Alomar from 2018 Topps Salute. The one card is the base and the other two are numbered parallels. I'm not a fan of these parallels because Topps does so little to differentiate them, but whatever. I hate parallels in general, but these cards were an inexpensive pickup of one of my favourite players. Topps also features Alomar in a lot of their releases, so his cards are easy to come by.

This is an Alomar autograph card, hard signed and numbered to 99. I picked this up at the Toronto Sports Card Expo last year.

I also picked up this hard signed Dave Stieb autograph at the Expo last year, which is also serial numbered. Stieb wasn't a part of either the 92 or 93 championship teams, although he played with Toronto during the 92 season. It's weird because he feels like a part of that 92 championship club, especially since he played with the Jays for so long and maybe besides Roy Halladay, is the pitcher most associated with the franchise.

I picked up this Tony Fernandez autograph from COMC awhile back. Fernandez was traded away as part of the deal that brought Joe Carter and Alomar to Toronto. He came back to Toronto twice more, however, including once as part of the 1993 championship team.

I also got this card at the Expo last year, a hardsigned serial numbered card of the 1992 World Series MVP. Borders didn't do much of note besides that MVP, but during that Series he was a total monster, as it felt like he was hitting home runs everytime he stepped up to the plate. One of my favourite players, and a nice addition to my collection.

Monday, 11 February 2019

My Joe Carter Collection

As I noted in an earlier blog post, I grew up a huge fan of Joe Carter. I can still remember exactly where I was when he hit the home run that won the 1993 World Series.

I have a small collection of Joe Carter cards, and am looking to add everything I can, from expensive to worthless, as I continue to collect.

This is a Carter autograph I picked up from Ebay a few months ago. It's a really sharp looking card released by Upper Deck about ten years ago. Topps rarely features Carter in their card releases, so now the only modern Joe Carter cards come from Panini, which I am not a fan of.

This is another autographed card, from UD Premier. I normally don't bother collecting sticker autos, but this is a nice card and I will literally buy everything featuring Joe Carter. If it's another player, I wouldn't bother with a sticker auto as I dislike the concept. 

A Carter game used jersey card, featuring him with the Padres. They were the last team Joe played for before he and Roberto Alomar were traded to the Jays.

A nice looking game used bat card released by Fleer a few years ago, featuring a horizontal design and Joe with the Jays.

One of my favourite cards. This is a Sweet Spot Classic card released by Upper Deck, hand numbered to only 123 copies. I love the concept of the autograph on the piece of baseball. This is the card I've owned the longest now, as I got out of collecting a few years ago and sold off my entire collection. I decided to keep only this card, as I just couldn't part with it, knowing that it is hard to come by. 

This is a serial numbered card to nine copies, featuring a piece of Joe's uniform from his time with the Padres. The card was released a few years ago by Leaf. It doesn't feature a picture of Joe himself, as I'm guessing Leaf didn't have an agreement with Joe for his likeness. I actually do not like Leaf cards very much, as they focus on game used memorabilia too much and I find the design of their cards quite ugly. Leaf also has the bad habit of making cards for players they do not have likeness rights for, and simply do what they did with this card and include art of the player's jersey rather than a photograph of the player himself. I think Leaf releases mostly unlicensed junk and I am always skeptical of the authenticity of game used pieces from any company, but I will collect anything Joe Carter, which is how this card ended up in my collection.

And last, but not least, an autograph 8x10 photograph of Joe after hitting his famous home run. The autograph has been authenticated by Beckett. I picked this up on Ebay a few months ago, but have yet to have it framed. I need to figure out if I am going to put it on my wall, or stand it up on a shelf.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

My 80s Gretzky Collection

As a kid, I grew up a huge fan of Wayne Gretzky. I didn't start watching hockey really until after Gretzky had been traded to the Kings, but when I was maybe eight or nine years old I received Gretzky's autobiography as a birthday gift from my Grandmother.

I read it and became fascinated by the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the eighties. I've never been to Edmonton and live in Toronto, but to this day the Oilers team that won all those Cups during that decade remains my favourite hockey team of all-time.

I have collected all of Gretzky's O-Pee-Chee cards from the 1980s, except for a single one. No, not the rookie from 1979, which I have already posted earlier on my blog. I still need the Oilers team checklist from the 1980 release, which is one of the harder cards to find in decent condition since the checklist is frequently marked with pen.

Above are the five cards from 1980 that I do own. I am missing the team checklist. The quality of OPC's photography is quite bad and the card stock is grainy and terrible, but the 1980 design with the puck in the lower right corner is a classic. The 1980 Topps design features a scratch off for the puck, not included with OPC.

These are the six cards from 1981. Another classic design. The main card and the Super Action card are more expensive than the other cards, which only go for a buck or two apiece.

I've never been a fan of the 1982 design. Topps didn't release an equivalent set that year. The league leaders cards are particularly ugly.

1983 is a set with a better design, although Topps also did not release a hockey set that year. The Gretzky card pictured with Messier is probably my favourite Gretzky card released that decade. It's a classic shot of the NHL's two all-time leading scorers.

The 1984 O-Pee-Chee cards have a famous design, although the leaders cards are also particularly hideous. This set is also not particularly valuable, despite including many Hall of Fame rookies. Apparently O-Pee-Chee printed the 84 set in greater abundance than previous releases, making the cards tremendously common. I remember being a kid collecting cards in the nineties and always seeing tons of 84 OPC kicking around in dealer's boxes.

1985 is a better set, most famous for Mario Lemieux's rookie. It also has a classic design. We are now past the era when OPC printed a hundred million Gretzky cards in each set. The main Gretzky card from this set is one of the more valuable cards of the decade, probably because of the set's popularity due to the Lemieux rookie and its classic design.

1986 is another classic, clean white design with a famous Hall of Fame rookie. This time it's Patrick Roy. I would love to someday own both the Lemieux and Roy rookie cards. The Gretzky card is also worth a bit more than his other cards from this period of time.

1987 was the first time OPC released only a single Gretzky card in their set since his rookie card in 1979. This was also his last OPC card pictured with the Oilers. A relatively inexpensive card for what it is, as OPC sets started to become far more affordable at this point.

The 1988 set featured Gretzky with the Kings for the firs time, although it's not an action shot. The Topps version actually has a totally different photo of Gretzky, featuring him holding a Kings jersey at a press conference. It's the only time a Topps card featured a photo variation for Gretzky compared to the OPC release during the 1980s. I don't own the Topps card, but it is on my want list.

The final OPC set of the eighties, the 1989 release is the least valuable OPC set of the decade and teh entire set can be purchased for only a few dollars. They included three Gretzky cards this time for the first time in a few years. These are also the first action shots in an OPC release featuring Gretzky in a Kings jersey, although these can hardly be called action shots considering how little action was going on. 1989 is one of the ugliest OPC releases of the decade, with the carved ice border.

Do you have any Gretzky cards from the 1980s? What were your favourite hockey sets from that decade?