Friday, December 31, 2010

Domo Arigato: Martyn @ Steal Second

This past year... since I started my blog, I've made a few blogger buddies. To help me remember who is who... I associate them with different things.

I associate Martyn (author of the blog: Steal Second) with soccer and England. Well a few weeks ago, Martyn sent me a Christmas card and a sweet looking pin of his favorite soccer team... The Blackburn Rovers.

I'll be honest... I don't know much about soccer. The only time I really watch it is when The World Cup comes around. However... if I do ever start following the sport, it'll probably be because of Martyn or G_Moses.

Martyn... I love the present and it's now in my official soccer PC... along with my Samurai Blue card set and my 1979 Topps San Jose Earthquakes sticker.

Domo arigato buddy for the wonderful Christmas present and of course your friendship. I hope you and your family have a great 2011.

Domo Arigato: G_Moses @ The Basketball Card Blog

I just got back from a quick trip down to Vegas to see my parents and when I came home... sitting on my dining room table was a stack of packages. Some were presents from friends & family... a few were bills... and I even had a package from Amazon (my Big Bang Theory Season 3 dvd set). There were also a couple of yellow padded envelopes too. One of those was a nice gift from my buddy
G_Moses over at
The Basketball Card Blog.

He mentioned earlier this month that he had a little something for me and I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't curious. Well... he hooked me up with a nice note and two PC items that (after scanned) went straight into my office on a shelf.

In the note, he refreshed my memory that he once followed one of my favorite teams: the San Diego Padres. During that time... he sent out a lot of TTM's and here are two of the ones he received:

Adrian Gonzalez

Kevin Kouzmanoff

I'm stoked, because Mr. Gonzalez was a fan favorite and the best hitter on the team since he joined the Padres 5 or 6 years ago. It's a bummer that they traded him to the Red Sox. His autograph in black sharpie really stands out and looks amazing on my baseball shelf.

The Kouzmanoff actually fits into two different PC's, because he's pictured in a Padres uniform... but he's currently on the Oakland A's (my other favorite baseball team). I'm a huge fan of retro sets and the matte surface on the Turkey Red rookie card of Kooz was an excellent choice.

Thanks again G for these wonderful and generous Christmas presents. More than that... thanks for the friendship. You're a stand up guy and I love reading your blog. I hope you and your family are enjoying the holiday season... and don't worry... I'll get you back one of these days.

As for everyone else... have a safe New Year's Eve... and I'll see y'all around.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Kurisumasu Omedeto Gozaimasu!

I'm about 5 hours early... but I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope all of you have a safe holiday season with your friends and families.

Since a lot of us will probably be busy opening presents and grubbing on high calorie food, I wanted to share with all of you a special Santa Claus Trifecta.

I bought it a few years ago for a white elephant gift exchange. Since... everyone else brought a bunch of garbage, I ended up stealing it back. It's a pretty cheesy set that includes an authentic Santa Claus autograph (signed by a Topps employee), a relic card featuring a swatch from a Santa Clause outfit (worn by a Topps employee), and a sixteen card base set that includes a Topps rookie card of jolly Saint Nick.

Santa Claus Rookie Card

Santa Claus Autographed Card

Santa Claus Memorabilia Card

And here's the rest of the base set...

1953 Topps: Father Christmas
1959 Topps: St. Nicholas
1965 Topps: Santa Claus Grows Up
1968 Topps: The Night Before Christmas

1955 Topps: The Santa Claus Story
1960 Topps: Santa Claus Is Born

1973 Topps: Santa's Important Friends
1975 Topps: Kris Kringle
1978 Topps: Santa's Other Work
1981 Topps: Santa At The Mall

1987 Topps: Santa's Workshop
1988 Topps: Santa's Reindeer
1993 Topps: Santa & Mrs. Claus
2001 Topps: Santa's Elves
2007 Topps: Santa's Future

There you have it... the 2007 Topps Santa Claus Trifecta. Merry Christmas everyone... and to all a goodnight!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nifty 90's Nostalgia #3: 1995 NFL Santa Cards

One of my favorite things about Christmas is that it brings people together. It's rare that my whole family comes together, but when we do... it's at Christmas. What makes this more special is that everyone is jolly and giving, in order to make things special for the kids. I'm convinced it's the magical power of Santa Claus.

Santa doesn't only affect my family... he also impacts the hobby. In the mid 90's, he brought all of the major card companies together and produced an annual set of cards. The first set produced was in 1993. This continued for five years straight and ended in 1997. I'm not sure exactly how these cards were distributed, but I've seen some eBay listings that say it was part of a wrapper redemption program.

I own the 1995 NFL Santa set. It came into my possession when I purchased a collection off of Craigslist a while back. You can find them on eBay for around $10/set.

Personally, I think the companies did an amazing job of producing their cards. But... I'll let you judge for yourself.

Here's the header card, which features all of the company logos on the back. This particular Santa reminds me of the 1990 Pro Set Santa, because of the white hat with the NFL logo.

The next three cards are from Classic, Collector's Edge, and Fleer/Skybox.

I really like the Classic card, because they used their 1995 Pro Line base card design. It doesn't hurt that the card also features Drew Bledsoe and Emmitt Smith.

Next up are Pacific and Upper Deck's contributions...

The Upper Deck card has a drawing of Dan Marino being attacked by the Chicago Bears defense. On the back of the card, UD wrote a Christmas Carol describing Marino's heroics.

Here are the Playoff and Topps cards from the set...

Playoff's Santa is my favorite. I think it's because he's fat and realistic looking. Topps' also included some players in their card. At first, I thought #25 was Rodney Hampton... but after some research, I found out it's safety Vencie Glenn. I think the other player is sporting a #95 jersey. If that's the case, then it's a phantom player... because nobody on the Giants wore #95 during the 1995 season.

And finally... I give you the 1995 Pinnacle NFL Santa card.

I love this card, because it features three Hall of Famers: Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, and Steve Young. And it has my favorite holiday word... "Ho!' written three times as well. A little trifecta in it's own right.

Wednesday's question of the day is...

What's your opinion on card companies collaborating and coming together to produce a set?

I remember that Topps and Fleer produced a hockey card set in 1996 together, called NHL Picks. The companies sold them in their own packs. You could pull odd numbered cards out of the Topps' packs and even numbered cards out of the Fleer packs. They chose to use separate designs and unfortunately... both were pretty bad. So, this concept wasn't brought back the following year.

Even though 1996 NHL Picks was essentially an epic fail, it was nice to see them try it out. I personally would like to see more collaboration between companies. Then maybe it's just the egg nog talking... maybe I just want to see bitter rivals come together and hug it out. I mean... that's what the Christmas spirit is all about... right?

Happy holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cheap Cool Cards #9: Tony Gwynn Diamond Kings

Dick Perez is one of the elite sports artists in the industry and he's showcased some of his best artwork in the Diamond Kings series. These pieces of art were part of Donruss' base set from 1982 to 1991. Then in 1992 things changed. In the midst of the "insert" boom, Donruss issued their Diamond Kings as an insert for the first time.

Donruss continued to make changes in the mid 90's. 1996 marked the first time Donruss serial numbered these inserts (#'d to 10,000). The biggest change in the history of Diamond Kings took place in 1997. That's when Dan Gardiner took over as the artist for the series.

Here are a few other key moments in the Diamond King timeline:

1999/2000 - Donruss filed for bankruptcy in 1998, so DK's weren't produced for two years.

2002 thru 2005 - Donruss created Diamond Kings as both an insert & as a stand alone set.

2005 - Donruss loses their MLB license.

One of the coolest things about early issue Diamond Kings is that they're cheap. You should be able to pick up most of them for a quarter or less and even the big name players can be found for under a buck. I was able to buy all four of these Diamond Kings for less the $2.

1985 Donruss #25

1989 Donruss #6

1994 Donruss "Diamond Kings" #11

1995 Donruss "Diamond Kings" #24

I'm still chasing down six more Gwynns:

1996 Donruss "Diamond Kings Insert" #9
1998 Donruss "Diamond Kings Insert" #4
2001 Donruss "Diamond Kings Insert" #11
2002 Donruss Diamond Kings #145
2003 Donruss Diamond Kings #169
2005 Donruss Diamond Kings #434

So... if you have any you're interested in trading... send me a message.

Tuesday's question of the day...

What's you favorite Diamond Kings card? Why?

I personally love the 1985 Gwynn card, because it features him in the classic brown and yellow uniform. I also like the dual image that Perez painted.

Well.. four more days to Christmas. I only have one more present left to buy... and I'll do that online. Have a great week everyone! Sayonara.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

PC Spotlight #5: College Memorabilia Cards

These days... memorabilia cards just aren't what they used to be. If you were fortunate enough to pull a game-used card back in the 90's it was a huge hit... because they were fairly scarce. Today... some products have several in one pack... while other have several in a box. They just don't hold their value like the good old days.

Then... throw in the fact that card manufactures have started inserting "player worn" and "even worn" cards... and that added more supply with less demand.

I know several collectors who don't even want regular memorabilia cards anymore. The only thing they're interested in are multiple colored patches. But... this brings up another problem... fake patches.

But... you won't see me complain... because that just means that collectors can now pick up a card that has a piece of memorabilia worn by their favorite players at bargain prices.

One of my favorite things to collect are Press Pass memorabilia cards that feature game used swatches from college games. The thing that attracted me to them were the numbers. My guess is that players go through less college jerseys, than professional jerseys.

Anyways, I started collecting these last year, when I was searching for memorabilia cards of SJSU, Stanford, and Cal players.

One of my first purchases off of COMC brought these into my collection:

Justin Forsett

The Forsett is one of my favorite cards, because it's actually featured in three different PC's of mine... my Seahawk PC, my CAL PC, and of course my college memorabilia card PC.

The Lopez Brothers

In addition to the Forsett, I was also stoked to find jersey cards from the Lopez brothers. Last month, I added another Cardinal to my collection:

Toby Gerhart
I didn't take me long to find this Colt Brennan card:

Colt Brennan

I have a lot of family who live in Hawaii and my mother even went to UH, so I pull for the Warriors whenever I'm not pulling for the Bay Area teams. However, these cards were pretty expensive when they first came out, so I had to wait awhile to add it to my collection. Then a few months ago, I was able to snag this one for a couple of bucks. I guess good things do come to those who wait.

My most recent purchases involve a bunch of college ballers, who became solid NBA players.

Russell Westbrook

Rudy Gay

Steve Francis

All six of these cards were purchased for a little over $15.

The last card in my PC is actually the first memorabilia card that I ever pulled. It's from back in the day. I'm pretty sure that I didn't even know what a memorabilia card was, but I knew it was cool when I pulled it from the pack. It's one of those cards that I'll hold onto until I pass on... because it's just too cool to give up.

Ray Allen

The white/red piece is actually the painted part of the jersey (probably his number), and the blue is the cloth. These babies were tough to pull. According to Beckett, they were inserted into 1 out of ever 640 packs.

There's a nice Shareef Abdur-Rahim on COMC, but it's a little out of my league. However... Santa if you're reading this... that card is definitely on my wish list.

So today's question of the day is...

What collectibles are on your Christmas wish list?

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend... Sayonara!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Set Showcase #6: 1989 Converse Basketball

I've been a huge fan of basketball shoes since the 80's. And I've always been a fan of Nike. They had almost everyone on their payroll... Kidd, Barkley, Penny, and of course Jordan.

However... they didn't have Bird or Magic... two players with different personalities and styles... two players who hated each other for all of the right reasons... two of the games greatest players... and two players who had contracts with Converse.

In 1989... these two were featured in a fourteen card set produced for Converse. I remember seeing these cards at shows in the mid 90's and always wanted to add the Magic Johnson card to my collection. If I'm not mistaken, I think the Magic single sold for around $5 and sets went for around $15 - $20 at the time.

Fast forward fifteen years and you can pick up these for about half of the price. I purchased the whole set for $4 off of a guy I met on the Sports Card Radio Forum, who has an eBay store (jellyscards).

Unfortunately... I don't know the history behind these cards. It looks like one eBay seller has sets that are still sealed in original packs. So my guess is that sets were either inserted into shoeboxes or handed out as promotions. If anyone out there knows more about this set... please comment and I'll update this post.

Let's check out the set...

Set: 14 cards (13 players + 1 checklist)
Hall of Famers: 29% (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, & Karl Malone)

Reggie Theus
Larry Bird
Kevin McHale
Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues

Rex Chapman
Mark Price
Mark Aguirre
Rolando Blackman

Bill Laimbeer
Bernard King
Jack Sikma
Karl Malone

and last, but not least... the whole reason I purchased the set... Mr. Earvin "Magic" Johnson:

I love the set because it features a simple card design on the front. The backs feature a brief writeup for each player, along with basketball tip from the player & Converse. The only issue I have with these cards are that they're not numbered and they don't feature statistics. Outside of that... I love these cards.

The small print states that these cards were produced by a company called... Sports Marketing, Inc. These cards also feature the NBA logo, the Converse logo, and the USA National Basketball Team logo. It's too bad, they couldn't put the team logo somewhere on either the front or the back of the card.

No complaints here though... I paid $4 (free shipping) and I received a card I've wanted for the past 15+ years. I just wish I knew a little more about these cards.

Saturday's question of the day:

Does anyone know how these cards were distributed?

Bonus question:

Do you think any of the other players in the set will eventually make it into the NBA Hall of Fame?

Happy Saturday everyone... Two weeks off... woo hoo!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Sayonara!