September 27, 2012

Why So Serious?

 Last week I wrote about the last trade I completed before starting my travels about this awesome Mars Attacks Heritage sketch card but I was unclear about who the artist was.  Luckily, the artist of the sketch card saw my post and got in touch with me.  He is Adam Levine and works as a licensing manager with Topps.  I would certainly pimp his art but turns out Adam's an amateur artist living in the body of a licensing manager.  Here's a link to some of his other sketch cards from the set.

This particular card was inspired by this Dark Night poster and as I said before, is amazing.  

September 26, 2012

Random Andy Pafko Stuff

First, a couple of weeks ago on the '59 Topps: one f/g at a time I wrote a post about my thoughts on one of my favorite Andy Pafko cards...the 1959 Topps, of course.  

Second, a really rare Pafko relic card came up on eBay just before I was getting ready to leave the country so I never took part in the auction.  It was an Ebbets Field seat relic from the 2002 Topps set.  This is one I need for my collection and the first one I've ever seen listed since I started following Pafko card closely on eBay.

The auction ended at $58 which is more than I paid for my 1952 #1. It's hard for me to justify paying that much for a card that isn't a jersey relic of Pafko.

Next, I've got a new Pafko card that is on top of my shot list to obtain.  It's this weird little card printed in 1949 and given the odd name of R302-2.    The picture has Pafko in a Cubs uniform but the drawing itself doesn't look particularly like Andy.  These cards were made by Michael Presser & Company and came in sheets of three rows of eight cards and so each individual card has been hand cut.  There haven't been any recent or active eBay listings for these cards and so I'm unclear on what they currently but the next time one makes an appearance I think I'm going to go for it.

September 25, 2012

Would The Mystery Guest Please Sign In?

"Would the Mystery Guest please sign in?"  That's the line from the old game show "What's My Line?" in which panelists tried to guess the occupation or identity of the mystery guest.  Well, I have a similar game for you today.

I've been looking at an Andy Pafko signed baseball auction and the ball in question has a second signer for which the seller [and myself] have no clue about.  I thinking their name might be Ray _____

Does anyone have any idea who it might be?

September 21, 2012

My Travel Blog

If you are interested in following my exploits in Ukraine, you can find my travel blog here:

The photo above is, based on grocery store shelf space, the most popular cereal in Ukraine.

September 20, 2012

A Last Minute Trade

Max, a.k.a. jacobmrley, a.k.a. writer of the Starting Nine blog and I have been trading back and forth this summer and just before I left the country last week he let me know he had a card to send me.  It turned out to be the last trade package I received and as the saying goes, the best was saved for the last.  He sent me this awesomely detailed Mars Attacks Heritage sketch card that he pulled from a pack!  I'm a little unclear as to exactly which artist created this particular card as the signature is illegible.

Thanks Max and you'll eventually get some cards in return!

September 18, 2012

What Was My Last Pack For A Year?

As I was getting and closer to my departure date I had to determine which product would be my last packs for quite some time.  It had to be something fun and enjoyable to open and so the obvious answers for me were either Allen and Ginter or the newest product at the time Topps Chrome.  I had opened my fair share of A and G so I went with a blaster of Chrome.  

The blaster gives you seven packs and one extra which in the past meant eight packs of the standard retail packs.  This year they changed it up and that 8th pack is now four purple refractors.   I wish that that had been explained a little better on the box.  

And so I ripped into these seven packs fully expecting the Cardboard Deities would shine down on me a rookie autograph to commemorate this special occasion.  Turns out, I must have pissed off the Deities because I was able to full two standard refractors...

One X-Fractor...

And two notable rookies...and that was it.  

And so I moved onto the refractor pack which has to be better than the regular packs, right?  

And, yes, it certainly was better than the regular packs but it just wasn't what you would call "last pack ever" material.

I couldn't just leave it there with that bad Chrome taste in my mouth.  So the day before I left, I ran to Target and bought a jumbo pack of Allen and Ginter.  I enjoy the A and G jumbo packs because it gives you two mini cards at a lower than two pack cost.  Surely this would bring me the sense of closure that I needed!

First we have the base and I'm happy to got the Roger Federer card in a pack without tracking it down elsewhere.

This Roger Maris is my favorite base card of the group.  Allen and Ginter did a great job on the classic player cards in this year's set.

A great insert!

And last but not least I've got a Lou Gehrig mini that makes me feel a lot better than how I felt after my  Chrome blaster.

After having been in Ukraine for about a week it has been as I suspected.  I've seen no sign of sports cards of any kind, including soccer.  My city of Kharkiv was even one of the host cities for the 2012 UEFA Euro Cup and so I thought there would be an outside chance of finding soccer cards but no luck so far.

Bon Voyage Contest: Win This 1-of-1 Mars Attacks Heritage Sketch Card

**UPDATE, 9/18/12** Feel free to keep entering this contest.  I didn't get a chance to get the winner sorted out before I left for my trip so the contest entry will be ongoing through the end of December when I'll be returning briefly for the Christmas holiday.  ** 

As I take a step back from card blogging in the next few days I thought I would have a Bon Voyage contest to give away one of my 1-of-1 Mars Attacks Heritage sketch cards that I picked up on eBay.  This one is done by artist Howard Shum.

We are going to give everyone an equal chance at this so to enter just leave me a Mars Attacks related comment to this post and I'll randomize things on Tuesday night.

If you have a blog of your own or twitter please spread the word as I would love to get as many people entered as possible.

September 6, 2012

Mars Attacks vs. Vince Lombardi Sketch Cards!

To be honest with you, I didn't think I would ever get a custom Mars Attacks card that would come close to the beauty that Dayf, The Cardboard Junkie made me a little while ago...That was until I came upon two cards that were in the middle of a stack of cards I received in a trade with Jeremy of No One's Going To Read This Blog.  He went and took the Mars Attacks sketch card and cranked it to 11!  

First we have Vince Lombardi more than a little upset with what looks like the Martians taking out Lambeau Field.  

The second sketch card has a Martian with a Green Bay logo and wearing jersey #30.  NO! NO! NO!  HE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO MY BELOVED JOHN KUHN DID HE?????  Along with a football under his arm he's got a ray gun just waiting to blow someone away.

Beyond being great individual cards, when you combine the two sketch cards you get an even larger giant sketch card!  Thanks so much Jeremy!  These have become some of my favorite cards in my collection.

September 3, 2012

A Captured White Whale and The Future Of The Blog

First, let's start with the good news.  My quest for a 1952 Topps #1 Andy Pafko card...a.k.a. my White Whale...has reached a happy conclusion.  I won an eBay auction for a very rough copy and I think I am going to have it authenticated and slabbed for posterity.

I'm certain that a lot of you would pass up this card particular card if you were on the market for a '52 Topps #1...possibly at any price.  The front has tap on it and turning the card over...

1952 Topps #1 Andy Pafko can see that the tape got a used a little too much on the back as well.  This particular card was $39 on eBay and I bought it on a buy it now listing.  I saw this card listed and bought it immediately as if this particular card was screaming in my brain "BUY ME YOU IDIOT!"  Let me explain...

When I first started collecting cards in 1986 and 1987 my prized card was Roger Clemens' 1985 Topps rookie card.  I remember getting it a little after Roger famously struck out 20 batters in a game.  This was, of course, before the days of penny sleeves and top loaders that were available at nearly any large chain store so, obviously, the only option was to store your cards another way.

1985 Topps #181 Roger Clemens [Rookie Card]
My method of choice was to grab the tape and tape the cards into a notebook.  And so more than 20 years later, the Andy Pafko card I have been searching for reminded me of one of my personal all-time favorites.  It was fate!

Now that my great news is out of the way here's the less great news: I'm about to be giving up cardboard in my life for a year.  In about 10 days I'll be moving to...wait for it...Ukraine!  Bet you didn't see that one coming.

Long story short, my wife is a political scientist that studies human trafficking.  She is working on her PhD dissertation which requires some in-person research in Ukraine as well as a few other Eastern European countries.  We will be living in the city of Kharkiv and no, it isn't anywhere near Chernobyl.

So we are packing our bags and hitting the road for a year, meaning my days of easily accessible cardboard are almost over...The collection is boxed up in a closet currently and so the blog will be slow, slow, slow in terms of new card posts for the next year or so....  I'm not quitting the site altogether, I just don't think I'll have too much to write about card wise.

On the other hand, I went on hiatus before in 2009 and I turned out posting pretty regularly and finally just gave up on the whole charade so to be honest who really knows how active the blog will be in the near future?  To "celebrate" in the next few days I'll be posting a contest for a 1-of-1 Mars Attacks Heritage sketch card so keep an eye out for that.

September 2, 2012

Visiting The Field Of Dreams

Last week my wife and I stopped by the Field of Dreams outside of Dyersville, Iowa.  When I lived in Kansas I would travel through western Iowa all the time but we never made it to the eastern side of the state where the Field is located.  Finally the opportunity presented itself and we made the trip.

Here's the view of the Field from the main road:

Here's the farm house featured in the film.

 While we were there there were dozens of tourists also visiting and so it took quite some time to get a shot of the field without anyone wondering the outfield.  The field is open from 9am-6pm and the owners have made a point to allow people to play baseball right on the field if you want to.

And as we were leaving the field there were a bunch of kids arriving at the Field with matching uniforms that were going to play a game.

I fully expected someone to step out of the corn filed at some point.

The Field doesn't so much have a "gift shop" as a "gift stand" that you walk up to and tell the woman behind the counter what you would like and they would get it for you.  I picked an autographed baseball of Don Lansing, who owns much of the actual field [read more on that here] and the farm house featured in the movie.

September 1, 2012

Have You Ever Seen A More Expensive Blaster?

Down by the International booths at the Minnesota State Fair there is always a giant tent devoted to Minnesota Twins apparel and some clearance tables.  This year they had stacks and stacks of 2011 Topps blasters and I thought "Yes, $10 blasters!"  And sure enough, there were the wonderful 50% off stickers but then I turned the box a little more...

...and discovered the blasters were priced at $42.00 regularly!  Meaning with the 50% clearance sticker the blaster was still more than the regular retail price.  Have you ever seen a blaster priced higher than this?