Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What's Bruin in My Mailbox? Episode II

A few days back, I teased that I got a great deal on a great card. To be honest, this might be one of the best cards that I've added to my collection. It does adhere to my "under $3" and "Bruin/Whaler player" rules so I decided that with a price just south of $2, that this was a steal and a half. Without any further ado, here it is...

2013-14 Panini Titanium Jonathan Toews/Patrice Bergeron Game Worn Gear #017/100

A beaut, if I do say so myself. I was able to score this Toews/Bergeron combo card with only a few hours left and didn't expect my bid to last. Imagine my surprise when I saw the winning e-mail come to my inbox from eBay! While the swatches of jersey are plain, I'm just happy they aren't both black. That would have seriously thrown off my interest level for it. Knowing that it's only one out of one hundred also makes it super sweet. I'm an easy collector to please, so a combo card of two of the best players in the National Hockey League, serial numbered to 100 will make me an absolute happy camper. As a Bruins fan, you have to like Bergeron. He's a hustle guy and I've always thought of Toews as a Bergeron-type player as well. Both guys are insanely likable and I haven't met anybody that has a bad thing to say about either.

Albeit quick, that is it for me today. With some cards currently in the mail and heading to my home, stay tuned for more!

Monday, October 19, 2015

What's Bruin in My Mailbox? Episode I

Please pardon the awful pun, but from time to time I check eBay for any dirt cheap deals on good memorabilia cards. 99.99% of the time, I'm bidding based on two criteria;
  1. The item in question is below $3
  2. The item in question features a Hartford Whaler and/or a Boston Bruin
Considering that Whalers relics are going for quite the pretty penny recently, I've decided to jump on as many cheap Bruins cards as I can find and this week I was able to purchase four. However, as of today (Monday) only three have reached my doorstep, though I'd still like to feature them and save the fourth (and in my opinion, best of the bunch) card for a later post. You know you've struck a good deal when shipping costs less than $5 and still overshadows the price of the item itself.

2006-07 Upper Deck SPx Winning Materials: Cam Neely

While I did love the Hartford Whalers more growing up, Cam Neely was still one of my favorite hockey players. What couldn't you like about him? He was one of the few guys who could stampede an opposing defenseman and go in and score; fifty times a season! While the patch is bland, it's still a great card and my first game-used Neely card in my collection.

2010-11 Upper Deck Black Diamond Quad Jerseys: Blake Wheeler

I did not like Blake Wheeler during his time in Boston. Not. One. Bit. I thought he never played physical and wasn't as good as he was hyped. However, even I had to admit this card was pretty sweet and for .99 cents, I couldn't argue against it. Though, there is a "tear" for lack of a better term, over the "U" in Quad Jerseys. Not really a big deal and not that noticeable.

2002-03 Upper Deck Foundations Canadian Heroes Cam Neely #058/150

Now THIS is the best of the three and even challenges the mystery fourth card as the best of the bunch. This snazzy Neely card comes from a set that I have no other cards from and is even numbered to 150! Cool! I mean, I guess I could complain about the dullness of the jersey swatch, but who am I kidding; this card rocks!

Now it's off to eBay to look for some more dirt cheap deals!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Card Show Finds

I recently decided to do something I haven't done in ages; attend a card show. Locally, there is a show held every second Sunday in Manchester, CT. I used to go to this show religiously in my younger years and have fond memories of the dealers with mountains of sealed, hobby boxes that I couldn't afford nor was my dad willing to drop $85 on. Since I am now an adult and have a steady income I can use towards cards, I had visions of scooping up some great boxes that would lead to riches.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way. The show is now about half the size that it was ten years ago and though I didn't score a great deal on a current-era box, I did get some junk wax goodness via a 1993-94 Parkhurst Series I box, which didn't yield anything special. However, there was one dealer selling vintage hockey cards for fifty-cents a pop. Since my pre-1989 hockey card collection is seriously lacking, I decided to throw $3 down and get six cards that I felt I couldn't pass up.

1973-74 Topps #50 Bobby Clarke NHL All-Stars

The first and oldest card of the bunch, is a 1973-74 Topps Bobby Clarke NHL All-Stars card. I saw this and was debating picking it up at first. After checking the internet, I saw that this particular card trades for $10 and up. For .50 cents, I figured that it was a steal and promptly picked it up. This is without a doubt one of the oldest cards I own and I love the design of Bobby Clarke inside the NHL shield logo.

1978-79 Topps #67 Mike Bossy, Phil Esposito, Steve Shutt

I'm a sucker for these old school cards of league leaders, so I decided to jump on this Topps beauty featuring three NHL legends; Bossy, Esposito, Shutt. There's really nothing to not like about this card. For such an old card, it's in incredible condition, too! Definitely couldn't pass this one up.

1978-79 Topps #70 Bernie Parent, Ken Dryden, Don Edwards, Tony Esposito, Mike Palmateer

5 goalies...on 1 card! What a find! Thanks to four goalies being tied for second in the league in shutouts, this card doesn't feature three players, but rather five. This might be one of the more unique cards in my collection, as I doubt I have a card with so many individually recognized players on it.

1978-79 Topps #140 Gerry Cheevers

The last of the '78-'79 Topps pickups for me was this beautiful card of Bruins goaltending great Gerry Cheevers. These three cards are my first '78-'79 Topps hockey cards to date.

1979-80 Topps #191 Charlie Simmer

Another card that trades for a lot higher than the asking price at the show was this Charlie Simmer rookie card. 1979-80 Topps is such a classic looking set (probably conditioned that way because it's Gretzky's rookie card) that any and all owners would be happy to own. I'm pretty sure Shoebox Legends has even built the entire 1979-80 set, too!

1982-83 O-Pee-Chee #64 Tony Esposito

I'll always make a purchase on a vintage card of a Hall of Fame goaltender like Tony Esposito. Despite being a card released later in his illustrious career, this OPC card was walking out with me from the show the minute I saw it! Couldn't pass this one up!

So, it wasn't exactly a "blockbuster" type of card show, but as you can see, I certainly got some cards that interested me. I feel that is the true mark of a great card show.

Friday, October 2, 2015

1996-97 Upper Deck

Upper Deck. To some, the newly-crowned overlords of the hockey card market. To others, the industry standard for what a hockey card brand should be. To me, Upper Deck is the premiere brand of card in the hockey world. The base set, the Young Guns, the inserts - it has it all. Nothing, in my humble opinion, has been more iconic since 1990 than the Upper Deck sets that have graced the hobby.

Maybe with the exception of the mid-2000s, most Upper Deck base sets are absolutely superb with one of my favorites being the 1996-97 set. As much as I admired it, I never owned many of the cards. That changed a few weeks back when I stumbled upon a Series II box on eBay for $22.99. For that price, I couldn't pass it up, promptly pressed "Buy Now" and waited a little less than a week for this junky goodness to arrive at my doorstep. I decided to rip it open and now, I'd like to share some of my favorite cards from the 1996-97 Upper Deck Series II break!

One thing that I did not know prior to the box arriving is that there is a subtle difference between Series I and Series II; for Series II, the "ice" portion on the side of the card is dull while the thin area that has the name is shiny. This is reversed with Series I. Pretty neat and a great way to make the sets similar, yet differentiate them in a small, yet quirky way.

#211 - Teemu Selanne: Here it is, folks. The infamous Wild Wing jersey in all its beautiful glory! I'm an absolute sucker for teal in sports, and the Mighty Ducks pulled it off beautifully with this jersey. You may see an aesthetic disaster, but I see a modern art masterpiece.

#229 - Cory Stillman: From watching hockey for a good portion of my life, I always pretty much assumed Cory Stillman was a grizzled veteran since the moment he played his first NHL game, but even the most experienced of vets started somewhere as a baby-faced rookie! That's what we have here with a young Cory Stillman eager to leave the bench and join the game.

#234 - Ed Belfour: A base Belfour always seems like a card I can never get in a set and end up purchasing on Not to fear this time! I pulled this stellar Belfour card depicting The Eagle participating in the 1996 NHL All-Star game in Boston. Those Western Conference jerseys are a treat to see, as well!

#240 - Joe Sakic: Here is a card that says it all. Sakic and The Stanley Cup. No words necessary.

#256 - Curtis Joseph: One of the things that separates Upper Deck from the competition are their unique and amazing photographs. This is certainly the case here as we get an overheard view of CuJo and his teammates during pregame warmups.

#257, #258, #259 - Dean McAmmond, Ryan Smyth, Mike Grier: Speaking of the Oilers, there are three consecutive cards of the boys from Edmonton depicting a player celebrating a goal. Pretty cool!

#268 - Paul Coffey: Well, this is awkward. I can never get used to seeing a legend like Paul Coffey in a beautiful Hartford Whalers uniform. Granted, he only played 20 games for the Whale before being shipped out to the Flyers, but still. This is just...not right.

#291 - Todd Bertuzzi: A great shot of future superstar Todd Bertuzzi. This is another instance of a jersey so horrible that you can't help but love it. The Islanders fisherman jersey is a complete classic. In fact, the Islanders brought the logo back for their warmup jerseys for a game this past February!

#299 - Mark Messier: Mess is show here as part of some pregame ceremony honoring him scoring his 500th goal a couple of nights prior. A nice break from "in-action" shots to produce a base card that celebrates a Hall of Famer.

#331 - Al Iafrate: "The Teal Appeal" will never wear off of me. Absolutely classic shot of Mr. Iafrate here, though I don't think I've ever associated him with the San Jose Sharks.

#354 - Olaf Kolzig: What a way to wrap up our discussion on the base cards in Series II with a great shot of Kolzig's "Zilla" mask from days gone by. Close-up shots of goalie masks will never go out of style in the hockey card community, so I was happy to pull this little "gem."

#370 - Joe Thornton: There were a few insert sets in the box. The biggest one being the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence series. I got a few names you may remember and some you may not. Amongst the Thorntons, Patrick Marleaus, and Andrew Ferences, there was also a smattering of Adam Colagiacomos, Pierre-Luc Therriens, and Daniel Tetraults. Look at that Thornton mullet! He looks completely different now than he did when he was a fresh-faced rookie on the scene!

So there you have it. A brief recap of the 1996-97 Upper Deck Series II base set. A classic look from a classic company. With the exclusive license to NHL trading cards, I hope Upper Deck continues their rich tradition of bearing the industry standard.