Sunday, June 28, 2015

Digital Trading Cards (Wait, WHAT?!?)

i know, i know..... 

What? they aren't real cards Eric!  You don't own any physical copy, WHY would you want to collect them????

i used to feel that way as well.

The Star Wars Card Trader came along in March.  Free app, free credits, free free free!  i was in, hey it was free after all, right? lol
i enjoyed building up my daily credit ration, ripping packs here and there.   i had a good time and enjoyed interacting with some
of my card collecting friends on Twitter that were also playing the game.

There are plenty of places to go about reading "How To Play" and the like, so i wont go into that here.

As of this writing, i am totally enamored with Star Wars Card Trader (SWCT).  Simply cannot get enough.  The eCards look amazing 
on the retina screen.   They are fun to chase down, fun to trade and just plain fun to interact with others that feel the same way.

i understand that they are not "physical" cards and they are not for everyone, and thats fine.  its not anyones place to tell anyone else
how they should or should not collect whatever it is they like.  But if one can accept that they are not physical cards, there is a LOT of 
enjoyment to be had in many aspects of collecting.

Like to rip wax but hate all the space that can be taken up by whats left? Not a problem with digital
Like to buy singles, but hate to wait for them to arrive in the mail(or not get lost in it)? Not a problem with digital
Like to collect cards and are too ashamed to admit it to your friends? Not a problem with digital

A friend mentioned something that rings very true, ripping Digital Packs is like playing a Modern day Slot Machine, you land a "Hit" 
and your phone lights up/vibrates and confetti splashes all over the screen, its quite fun actually.  Its also cool to "screen cap" it and 
share it with your buddies.

Star Wars is Universally Popular, and with the new movie on the horizon and Disney backing Topps on this one, 
i see only Bright things in the galaxy far, far away :) 

There are also MLB/, NFL and Soccer versions of the app, and they're fun as well, but more geared towards what happens in 
the real life games then about collecting, but im sure there is a fair share of those collectors as well.  


As always, enjoy everything

-Eric


ETA:   This entire Digital Card Trading thing reminds me a lot of when MTG started up and had a ton of nay-sayers.   22+ years later, MTG is as strong as ever.






Monday, January 19, 2015

What is "Third Party Grading" when it comes to Sports Cards?

i get this question a lot.  
The gist of it is that they are companies that provide their "expert" opinions on what they view the condition of the card(s) to be. 
There are three Third Party Graders (TPG) worth bothering with.  There are also a bunch of others, and seemingly more pop up from time to time to try to take advantage of people. 
BGS/BVG, PSA, SGC
Now, everyone has their preferences, and thats fine, as there is no "wrong" way to collect.   Here are, IMO the Pros and Cons of each company:

BGS/BVG
Pros:
- Fantastic Protection for the card, easily the "best" of the TPG.
- They do not require membership to submit your cards.
- They provide Sub Grades (Centering/Edges/Corners/Surface) for each card they grade.
- STRONG Modern Release Presence.  They are the "go to" TPG for Modern Cards
Cons:
- for cards prior to 1981, BGS becomes BVG (Beckett Vintage Grading) and Sub Grades are not provided
- While they scale from 1 - 10, with half point grades, they use different color/material Flips (the slip showing the card description and grade)
Grade 1.0 through 8.0 = White, paper flip
Grade 8.5 & 9.0 = Silver, metalic flip
Grade 9.5 & 10 = Gold, metalic flip
i feel this can be seen as "punishment" for the owner of the card.... oh, it's a lower grade? "F" You, heres an inferior flip because of it. This
also creates a visual eye-sore when cards of various grades are displayed together imo.
- BGS/BVG Slabs take up a lot more room vs the other two.

PSA
Pros:
- Longest Presence in the hobby.  Started in 1991.
- The power of their Registry Program cannot be denied.
- Strongest following in the overall hobby, especially in post-war through the 1990s due to their Registry Program.
- They also grade from 1 - 10 with half point grades, but unlike BGS, they use one color/material for all their flips, this leads to amazing
eye-appeal when cards of various grades are laid out together.
Cons:
- Membership is required for card submission
- Lack of Sub Grades is a turn-off to some.
- Slabs are considered by many to be "flimsy"

SGC
Pros:
- They are very good with pre-war cards
- They require no membership for submission
- They have a black "frame" that surrounds the card
Cons:
- They use a numbering system that i have still not memorized, using a 1 - 100 scale, with various skipping depending on the strength of the cards grade.
- They have a black "frame" that surrounds the card

SO, which TPG should you use?  Of course there is no clear cut answer.  Use what YOU prefer!  As mentioned, each has their Pros & Cons.
NONE of them are "Perfect", and thats ok, because thats how it goes.   I own lots of slabs from all three, and there have been times that ive
gotten in a slab and said "WTF? how did it get (grade here)?"
i have friends that only collect PSA, some that only collect BGS and some that collect from all three.  

I've got gobs and gobs of worthless slabs of players that never panned out to anything.  It wasn't until 2008 that I started taking a serious
look at the players i was collecting.  it was then that i put my foot on the gas pedal and started seriously chasing the PSA Post War HOF RC Set,
which i i was fortunate enough to "complete" at the show last year.

With that completed, I am in a bit of a FOCUS limbo, going here and there, but it really does always come back to Rookie Cards for me. 
i love rookie cards, always have, always will.  i guess its just how it goes for collectors my age and how things were when we were young.

i am always willing to help out my fellow collectors however i can, please feel free to ask anything you care to.

Thanks Again for the read,
Eric

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Mind MGMT Volume One Money Back Guarantee

About a year ago (in fact it was October 23rd of 2013) i posted a blog about my love of the comic book "Mind MGMT"

This is a C&P of that blog: ================================================================== 

This is an independent monthly comic book released by Dark Horse Comics that you probably have never heard of.

it is 24 pages of STORY. there are NO ADVERTS within the front and back covers.  Any ads that are there are there to advance the story, and/or items related to the story. 



i will not tell you what the story is about, because i want you to experience it for yourself.  i will say that for the most part, it is most likely unlike anything else you've ever read when it comes to comic books.  That is especially true if you are strictly a "Big Two" reader, and more-so if you are all about the superheroes (not that there is anything wrong with that)



Matt Kindt writes, draws, colors and letters this book.  That's correct, he does everything that you see when you read Mind MGMT (pronounced Management).  Not only does he color it, but it is colored using water-coloring, pure awesomeness!



Now, his style may not be for everyone, but i for one, love it.  i have so much respect for the fact that he creates all aspects of this book.  That is a pretty rare feat in todays comic book world.



There are three trades out so far, which cover the first 18 issues (plus some neat bonus stuff).  The Trades themselves are a thing of Beauty.  They are Hard Cover Collections, at Soft Cover pricing. 

Not only that, but the paper stock used for the pages within are second to none.  To try to describe it here would be doing them injustice really.

i cannot recommend this book enough. 

i want this book to be read by as many people as possible.  if you have any questions, please feel free to ask, as i love talking about this book (and any of the other great books that Matt has done) ================================================================== 

Well, as a humble brag, i've turned on about a dozen people to the book in the last year, maybe more, i never did keep track.   Now i would like even more people to jump on board and read this masterpiece.  And in doing so, turn them onto the wonderful mind and world of Matt Kindt.

Matt has a nifty website ... www.mattkindt.com where you can order the Amazing Volumes of Mind MGMT, as well as most of his other creations (ALL of which are Brilliant).

For the purpose of my offer, i would hope you order it directly from him (it helps him out after all! :) But, if you must, you can also order it on Amazon. Order it, read it (and read it again!;) and if you absolutely do not like it, i will PayPal you $20

That's right, you will get your money back! i LOVE This Book and want as many of you people to love and experience this book as well.  There You have it! Order, Read, Re-Read, and most importantly, ENJOY!

Your Friend,
Eric

Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 NSCC Show Recap


The 2014 NSCC Show has come to an end.  The sads have already set in, but that is normal, as it always happens to me after attending the show.

Needless to say, i had a great time. it's really difficult NOT to have a great time when attending the NSCC Show.  This was my fifth one, and of course
it did not disapoint overall.

i will say that its times like these that i miss my scanner.  So i will be adding scans at the bottom  of this blog, incase its TLDR :) (Edited to add: This site will no longer allow me to add photos, sorry about that.  please ask me on twitter if you'd like to see pics)
Also, twitter has spoiled me into wanting everything to be 140 or less.  Speaking of twitter, you really need to be on it if you arent already. 
its a great way to interact with people WORLD wide, but thats for another blog post.

This was the first year that i drove to the show.  JetBlue doesnt fly there, and i didnt feel like taking a flight that required a changeover, just not a fan.
i packed up a bunch of commons that a friend said he wanted, rather than me throwing them away.  i also brought some other stuff to move that just
do not fit into my collection, or that i had dupes of that wouldnt be missed.

The drive there was about as smooth as can be.  Left home around midnight Tuesday morning, and got to Cleveland right around 8am. Met my friend
Dustin at his hotel for breakfast, while waiting for our friend Kirk's plane to arrive.    While waiting, Dustin called our hotel to see what time we'd be able
to check in and drop off our stuff.   It was then that we learned the hotel over-booked itself and we were not going to have a room.  Dustin solved that
issue (amongst others :) and we had a room for the week.  Kirk arrived on time, and we just about picked him up on time as well :)

After picking up Kirk, we headed right to the show, rather then dropping his stuff off at the room (his choice).  Tuesday at the show is dealer set up day,
and about 50% of the dealers were setting up, maybe less.  Its a good day to walk around and see old friends and possibly scope out early deals.
First thing i noticed was that the overall space of the place seemed "small".  Now when i say small, we are talking vs past shows, as it was not small
in any sense of the word (TWSS) when it comes to card shows.

My first pickup of the show was a memorable 1! After walking the floor without much success, i was pointed in the direction of a table that was blowing out
"junk wax" boxes, so i went to take a look.  and what did i find you ask? a SEALED BOX of 1991 Pro Set Music, for a BUCK! YUP! ONE U.S. DOLLAR! :)

i had a voucher to use with PSA and wanted to find some Mantles that i am collecting in SGC/BVG form to cross over (as it would be free with the voucher)
after looking around for a bit on Wednesday, i found a dealer that had a nice selection of what i was looking for.  Picked up a '62, '63 & '66.  in SGC 3/3/3.5's
respectively.  Sadly only the '66 crossed over to a PSA 2.5, the other two did not meet the "required" 2 or greater.  Oh well, thats the way these things go. i
may try them again next year, we'll see.  That was the extent of my pickups on Wednesday, so i went ahead and submitted everything to PSA because you
want them to get them back to you at the show asap.

Thursday and Friday turned out to be frustrating on the pickups side of things, as i was not able to find anything.  i know, i know, boo hoo lol   But i was starting
to think that i would not find anything more while i was there.  i was coming to grips with it, i really was (i know you dont believe me:)

On Saturday things started out really well as Kirk worked on a dealer that had a really nice Aaron Rookie.  He got him to lower the price some, but not enough
that Kirk was interested in it, so he passed.  i let him know that i was going to get it if he was going to pass on it (On wednesday, the same dealer that i got
those Mantles from had another that i wanted, but would not accept my offer on it (packaged with the other three mind you), but about an hour later sold it to
Kirk for the same price that i offered).  i guess that the whole thing was a wash as he took that Mantle i wanted, and i was able to walk away with the Aaron.
(price difference in the two be damned! LOL)

Also on Saturday i upped the search for a Paige rookie.  ive been looking to pick up a paige rookie for about five years now.  originally i wanted the Leaf, but
over time i was looking for either the Leaf or the Bowman.  it IS strange that as far as the Registry goes, both are equal weight, even though scarcity and
price differences are huge.  Sized one up that i would want, but the dealer was pretty firm on his asking price, so i let him know i would think about it, and
was on my way.   Having the Aaron in hand, i was totally content with how Saturday ended as far as the cards went. 

Saturday early evening though, mean that Dustin & Kirk were both going to be heading home.  That's always rough for me, the saying farewell.  ive never been
good at it, and i never will be, thats the way it is.  

Saturday evening was spent with card friends old and new, at a local eating establishment, followed by a nice "round table" discussion at the local DQ.

Sunday.  Ahh Sunday.  Sunday's at the NSCC can go either really well, or the opposite.  Last year in Chicago, Sunday was pretty flat/dead right from the time
the doors opened.  Many many dealers had already packed up (or were in the process of doing so) and left, leaving the place looking fairly barren.  That sucked
because i had my flight home in the evening, and with most of my friends having left for home early that evening or the night prior, i was there for the day anyway.
But in Cleveland, the floor still looked pretty good upon opening.  i had my car, so i could leave at anytime if i chose to do so, but i decided to stick around. 
There were still plenty of people around to talk to, and i was all the more glad for it. 

i got to talking to a friend of mine about the Paige, and the pricing that the dealer was asking.  He mentioned amongst other things that i should pony up and
get it.  he made some really good points and essentially talked me into it.  i thanked him, and headed over to the dealer to pick it up.  im glad i did.  its certainly
not the best looking "PSA 1", but its far from the worst as well.  i will go on record here (as i did at the show) that that will be the last "ugly" slab that i purchase.
ive been working on the Post War HOF RC PSA Collection since 2005 and it feels really good to be at 100% for the first time.  (This set grows with every new
inductee)   After picking up the Paige, i walked around some more, but didnt find anything else (and that's ok).  Also took time out to say my goodbye's with everyone and
hoped that id see them in Chicago next year.

in closing, i really had a great time and the best part really was meeting friends, old and new a like.  There are so many to mention, that i would feel awful leaving
anyone out to mention everyone by name here.  You know who you are :)

i hope you've enjoyed my take on this years show, and if i can help convince you rto go next year, that would be fantastic! :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

MTG ... Magic The Gathering

if you've collected sports cards over the last twenty years, you know damn well what MTG is.  Dont deny it, you know it.

As much as most sports card collectors dislike Magic: The Gathering, i have a news flash, it is NOT going away.  Not anytime soon, that's for sure.  i recently started looking at MTG again for the first time in 19 years (you read that correctly).  i was a casual player back in 1994/95.  Revised Packs were $3, and Starter Decks were ten bucks. 

Playing with friends was fun, and i never went in for the tournaments, but i still had a good time.  i started playing friendly matches with other people, and grew bored with playing against people that would for example, use an "all red deck" and be content with ending the game in 5 to 10 turns.  Great, you "won", but damn that was boring and quite unimagineative.  bleh.

So, back in 2003ish i wound up selling all my magic cards (whoopsie).  sure i should have held on to them, because some of them now are pretty big bucks, but it is what it is.

The game now appears to be more popular than ever.  MTG celebrated 20 years of existence last year.  That's pretty crazy when you step back and think about it.  Talking to others about it, its going to continue to get more popular and appears to actually benefit from the online version, go figure.

From the purely speculative aspect of MTG, take a look at all the releases so far, and how many of those releases that are still around in unopened booster (wax packs, essentially) box form sell for less than $100 a box?  Now, im not saying that "investing" in them (or anything really) is a "good idea",
but one has to wonder as the popularity fo the game  grows, what the corresponding pricing will be.

There are a lot of things about the game that have changed since i last played, and that means there are a lot of things to learn, but i seriously have to wonder about the future of the unopened product, as with each passing year, there is less and less of it.

Food for thought.

Modern NHL Rookie Card Discussion

After doing a fair amount of research, i feel that i have a good handle on the current state of NHL Rookie Cards.

Let me start with saying that "The Cup" is hands down, "the best RC" that anyone will have available from 2005 onward.  That being said, there are other options for people that want to collect NHL Rookie Cards, but dont have a huge bankroll to do so.

If oncard auto RCs are your thing, but you dont have pockets for The Cup, then i suggest SP Authentic.  They're numbered to 999, so there are a nice amount of the to go around.  They can get a bit pricey depending on the player(s) you want.

If you want a nice looking Rookie Card, but do not require an auto, and/or individually numbered cards, then i suggest going with "Young Guns".  With all the super premium wax being released each year, UD Series 1 and 2 remain one of the (if not THE) most popularly collected sets across the Hobby.  That's probably why Young Guns rookie cards are considered by so many to be the most popular rookie cards made.  They are readily available, not TOO pricey (debateable) and on top of all that, they LOOK FANTASTIC, featuring an on-ice action shot.  The colors just pop on most of them.
Im a big fan :)

There are other brands as well that have a nice assortment of RCs in them, but honestly the above sets have a long running tradition of quality/history that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Learning is Difficult (Steppin' back into NHL Cards)

So, ive been to two NHL games this month.  Given my addictive personality, ive begun looking at hockey cards again, because who doesnt love addiction? lol

it's been a learning process for sure.  i was a huge hockey card collector 20 years ago, and even dabbled it in a little back in 2009 when John Tavares was a rookie.  But then it kind of tapered off (again)

So, now its all new and fresh again.  lots of learning.  when starting a new focus, it gives you a fresh start, and you get to do it the way you want to.

NHL Hockey Cards are difficult.  Collectors are very very picky.  Team alliance is STRONG.  almost to the point of them HATING players on other teams.  that leads to a lot of hobby "coldness" for some players that you would think would be popular across the country.  that just doesnt seem to be the case.

There are a lot of really good young scorers in the NHL right now.  i wonder if there will ever be a day when the hobby comes to love a player that is not from North America, specifically Canada.   Sure Ovechkin is popular, but his card prices would be higher if he were not Russian.

Ive settled on two brands that id like to focus on.  Knowing me, this is bound to change.  Hell, it's changed a few times since last week even! ha.  .... Upper Deck Young Guns and SPA Future Watch.   That covers the base card, and the oncard auto card.  Naturally, then will be in BGS/PSA form, but with more desire to own them in BGS form.