Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Topps Series 1 Three Hobby Pack Break

Two regular hobby packs, and one jumbo pack to be exact. My LCS had reasonable prices on hobby packs, so I felt that my money was best spent there rather than on more retail. Here are the highlights from the three packs:

This card was right near the top of the stack, and it was a huge surprise to me. In all honesty, I had no idea that the Great Lambino (like it?) had made the checklist. 

Why? Because he only has 30 major league at-bats. I'm not complaining, merely surpirsed. There's a lot of hope in Pittsburgh that Lambo will be able to adequately fill the gaping holes at both first base and in right field. In 2013 between AA and AAA, he amassed 31 dingers, which was tops in Pirates farm system by far. Because of the hype, I picked up a sick auto of him way back in September.

Above is the rest of the inserts and parallels. Nothing to write home about. For a minute, I thought the gold parallel was Kevin MILLAR, which got me really excited that he had made ANOTHER comeback. He did play for the Jays in 2010, so there was a ton of foolery here. Wikipedia even agrees with me!

Moving on:

Lastly is possibly the most interesting pull I've ever had. This came from one of the regular hobby packs, not the jumbo. What I believe we have here is an original Dave Ricketts card from 1970 Topps. The card itself looks old, feels old, and is terribly beat up- there's a complete fold running diagonally through the left side. The stamp on the top left corner is clearly modern, but the back of the card has no indication of it being a reprint. 

Also, I can't see a situation where Topps would make a reprint and then take the time to physically damage the card. Doesn't make sense.

This was really cool to see, mostly because it's a Pirate. Ricketts was a lifetime back-up, amassing a gargantuan ONE career homerun. 

My question to you is, have you seen vintage cards inserted into 2014 S1? Which ones? Is this some type of promotion? I'd love to hear what's out there.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Hanger Pack of 2014 Topps S1 and a Quick Puig Rant

A little late to the party, but not too late. Fashionably late, we'll say. I hope you're not sick of seeing these babies just yet.

Yesterday I picked up a hanger pack of 2014 S1 from the big blue box. From what I've seen and heard, this year's design is nothing to write home about. I decided to judge for myself:

It's nice to see a bonafide star gracing the cover, rather than a potential star. Let's get straight into the box contents.

Starting off the with base cards, they're not horrible. I've heard a ton from collectors about the design, and rightfully so. It's different, that's for sure. I don't have a huge problem with the wavy bottom, but it's the strange looking cut-out-tab looking thingy on the right side that really gets me. It's entirely unnecessary. In my opinion, one non-straight edge is plenty. It's also not necessary to have the team names spelled out on the right hand side when the logo is already in the bottom left. But I digress.

This was my only Pirate, which is disappointing. Better Cutch thatn no one though! I do like the Ripken insert, probably because it has the old-school look. Simple, colorful, effective.

Above is the new red sparkle parallels, which I prefer much more than the old emeralds. These look sharp. I also like the Upper Class inserts, which are also clean and effective. It's also cool to see Randy Johnson in a 'Spos jersey, about to hurl an 89 mile per hour slider (that will most likely break your knees).

And of course, the obligatory Puig insert. To be blunt, I am thoroughly sick of seeing this guy. I'm sick of seeing so much praise for a guy that hasn't even had 400 major league at bats. It's safe to say that I will root against this guy in 2014. Combine both his on and off-field antics with the fact he's completely reckless, and I've got plenty of reasons to dislike him.

The common rebuttal from collectors is often, "He's good for the hobby." Is he? Is he good for the hobby? Or is he good for Topps?

I'd argue the latter. Set builders in particular come to mind. It seems that set builders dread having to search for a Puig card to complete their set, because they're either too expensive or no will trade them.

Rant concluded. Moving on:

The top row is the good ol' blue Walmart blue parallels. Not much to see there. I also landed two canary yellow parallels, which are absolutely hideous. I will say however, that the Callaspo parallel looks excellent only because of the A's colors. I can't think of any other team that this would work with though; so A's fans, you've lucked out here. Everyone else: Sorry.

I was happy to see that the gold parallel was at least a relevant, everyday player. We'll see if Mr. Brown continue striking bombs in 2014 and stand out for reeling Phillies squad.

Every thing except for Cutch is for trade. Get in touch if you see something you like!

I'll be tearing open some hobby packs later tonight, so hopefully I'll have another post up sooner than later. 

Thanks for reading, 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Atomic PC Additions and Some Topps Series 1 Previews!

I haven't posted in forever. That's a fact. I feel bad too, because I was having some great interactions and building somewhat of a following. However, even when I'm not posting I'm constantly reading and browsing blogs, and you guys have provided some excellent reading material. 

I've also been neglecting eBay and COMC somewhat, but I was able to sit down the other night and put together a few orders. Here's what I hauled in:

I actually stumbled across these by accident, in a way. I was searching eBay for 2013 Topps Chrome atomic refractors, which are numbered to 10. I absolutely love the "cracked ice" look to these parallels, but the 2013's are generally way too expensive, being so rare.

 In my search I learned that in 2011 Topps, the atomic refractors are exactly the same design, but numbered to 225. Boom! There were several of each of COMC, so I was able to pick and choose. The best part is, the Liriano is 47/225, his jersey number! I absolutely hate when eBayers use this gimmick to jack up prices, but that wasn't the case here. Happy to have it!

I'm still looking for this same card, but of Pedro Alvarez. Please let me know if you see one!

Next up:

This baby. What to say here. This is more or less a case of, "Whoa. Shiny. Must. Have." It also satisfied many of my conditions for buying a single:

Price? The price was right. Really right (I think). The same card has gone on eBay for waaayy more than I bought it for, although the grades were higher.
Rarity? Somewhat rare. It's an X-fractor RC, at least.
Value? People f**kin' love this guy. I'm sure the 9 brings the value down. 
Unique? I've never owned a graded card! Plus it's a just a beautiful looking card all-around.

That was enough for me. I guess this is technically for trade if there are any Harper super-fans out there that are dying for a card like this. I'd need a great offer though. 

Moving on: How about 2014 Topps Series 1?! Who's excited?! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. I'm definitely a bigger fan of S2, Update, and Chrome... but the novelty of a new product is always exciting to me. I've been avoiding the card isle all week and WallyWorld in an effort to save up for some packs of S1. I may even consider a blaster. Thoughts? Anyone out there buying a hobby box? Joining a group break? I'd love to hear some opinions. 

I've been keeping up with Topps' updates throught Twitter, and here are some of the cards that have caught my eye:

All of these autos are pretty damn nice. I've seen a ton of complaints about all of the autos being stickers. I actually don't mind the stickers for S1 and S2, because it means that other Topps products with on-card autos will remain higher end (Chrome, Gypsy Queen Five Star, etc). It also cuts down on redemptions, I believe.

A few quick housekeeping items; I 've updated my Trade Bait. There are over a dozen 2013 Topps Chome sapphire blue refractors /199 on there, as well as tons of other goodies. Check it out! I'd love to get some trades going.

Also, if you haven't checked me out on Twitter, please do so! @big44cards

Thanks for reading! Nate

Monday, January 6, 2014

2 Jumbo Packs of 2010 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects

Today's stop on WallyWorld meant the inevitable trip down the card isle. I wasn't too impressed with what I saw, however I was able to find some discounted packs. My favorite. 

Those glorious, glorious red stickers. I simply can't get enough. 

I was really happy to see some familiar faces in these packs... you never know with Draft Picks and Prospects. I really like the design of these cards. Simple and crisp.

I had the luck of pulling a jersey card out of one of the packs, and this guy actually isn't a total no name. He's ranked as the 19th prospect in the Indians system. He's a lefty, and he's only 19. Could be worth hanging onto. It's also numbered out of 949. A nice little hit, but not my favorite card that I pulled...

This is. I laughed out loud at this one, for one reason only: That 'stache. Not only does this guy have an electric arm, he seems to have the personality to match it. Only a goofball would rock that type of facial hair in this era. If you didn't catch this 4-minute clip of Mr. Harvey back during the All-Star break, give it a watch, you'll appreciate it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Collectors, I Need Your Advice!

Set builders, hear my cry! This is new territory for me.

Last week I made my announcement about my newest and most ambitious goal. I'm attempting to complete a set of 2013 Topps Chome Blue Sapphire Parallels. I've been buying trading for them and scouring eBay daily for these cards. I'm enjoying the hunt, although it's proving to be an investment. One that I'd like to protect as best as I can.

Which brings me to my question: How should I store my completed set?

I fear that the biggest challenge here will be the infamous chrome bend. It seems that most Chrome products warp over time. I'm wondering if placing each card in a toploader would be helpful. Is there anything I should avoid?

The bottom line here is that I've never had to store a completed set that I care so much for. Any advice at all is welcome! A big thanks in advance.

Contest! Billy Butler Auto Anyone?

Free stuff! If you'd like a chance at some nice free cards or a sick auto, head over to It's like having my own Card Shop. You won't regret checking it out!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

PC Additions

Today's post will be a quick one, highlighting three cards that I'm excited to add to my personal collections:

This card is from 2013 Update, one of the retail only chrome refractors. Back in November, I posted about how much I love black Pirates parallels. Frankie didn't have a card in the 2013 Chrome set, so it's great to be able to add this chrome parallel, #'ed out of 99.  I'm still looking for the same card of Pedro Alvarez. The only one on eBay is a bit too pricey.

This beauty was sent to me by the wonderful Judson Meeks over at My Cardboard Habit. Judson has been sending me some awesome Pirates cards for a few months now, and gets more generous by the day. This card is also from Chrome Update, retail only. The gold border looks great, and so does the /250 stamp on the flipside.

 Thanks, Judson!

My final addition is terribly random. I'm not necessarily a superfan of Drew Brees, and I don't have a Drew Brees PC. But several Sundays ago, I was watching Brees shred Carolina's defense for over 300 yds and 4 TD's. As the broadcasters were raving about the future hall-of-famer, I thought, "It would be great to own a tangible piece of this guy's career." So I did what any compulsive collector would do... hopped on eBay and grabbed a jersey card! It's numbered to 249, so it carries a bit of rarity which I always appreciate. Less than $5 shipped- can't beat!

I recently created a Twitter account to coincide this blog, as well as my collecting in general. Give me a follow - @big44cards

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rippin' Retail

Christmas money = repacks. My local Target has a great selection of retail products, and I love to browse the isle whenever I have some extra cash. My selection this week was a Jumbo box retail pack made by Excell Marketing. Historically speaking, I tend to avoid these products. They're often packed with a bunch of gimmicky crap, but this one looked somewhat legit. As you can see below, it revealed a pack of 2012 Bowman Platinum. There's an identical window on the opposite side of the pack, showing 2012 Update. I also snagged two repacks of 2013 Update.

Here are all the packs within the box. Not a huge fan of Opening Day, but I was very happy to see two more packs of Topps products:

Moving on to the highlights:

One of the '13 Update packs had the Hairston emerald on the left, and the other had the Marshall. 

Same type of story from the 2012 packs.

The box was very generous with Bucco cards. Love the two Marte's.

 Aside from the four packs, there are 50 additional cards inside. Regardless of the sport you buy, the cards are typically a bunch of no names/semi-stars from the early 90's. This box was no different. Some of the cards were terribly warped, as seen above. This card almost looks like a half-pipe.

The pack of Platinum contained this very pretty Will Middlebrooks X-Fractor. The box promises a "Bonus", which must be this Albert Pujols Heritage Mini, because it was floating around the inside of the box. A nice touch, but the real bonus was inside the pack of 2012 Update...

The cardboard gods smiled upon me! The pack felt a little thick, and I was surprised it wan't a decoy. Getting a hit out of a repack is always a great feeling... even if it's a Carlos Ruiz All-Star workout jersey. 

All in all, a very successful purchase. This box alone has really changed my view on this type of product. If you haven't tried one of those retail boxes before, I'd definitely recommend it. I'm sure this wont be my last.

Everything here is for trade, like usual. Thanks for reading!