2007 Sweet Spot – My best tin yet!

December 5, 2008 at 10:56 am | Posted in Box Breaks | 6 Comments

     Hi kids!  Now that the brouhaha of my recent nuptuals is over and FINALLY paid off, I decided to celebrate my return to collecting and blogging by busting another tin of my absolute favorite product to open.  I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and for several reasons, 2007 Sweet Spot Signatures is in my opinion one of the best products to bust of the last several years.  The price of a tin is now down to $52.95 delivered to your door.  For less than the price of most boxes out there, you get 2 serial #’d base cards, 2 jersey cards(some with patches), and 2 guaranteed on-card autos.  All bang, no fluff.  Just the way I like it.  If someone just getting back into the hobby after a long break, or someone newly discovering it asked me what to bust, this would be my reccomendation.

     If you’ve read this blog before, you know I haven’t had the best of luck so far with the 2 tins I’ve busted.  My autographs thus far have been a bunch of nobodys.  I think my luck may have turned with this tin though, so without further ado, the pulls.

This is the first swatch card I’ve gotten of someone I consider to be a star player.  They aren’t worth much, but it’s always nice to pull a Jeter relic.

Here’s my rookie auto.  I love the design and idea of these cards.  UD has done away with them for 2008 in favor of a base card auto, and I think it’s a big mistake.  Their aren’t a lot of big name rookies in this checklist, but I think the on-card auto with the helmet design is fantastic.  Plus, I’m pretty sure I can find this one a good home .

This is far and away the best Sweet Spot auto I’ve pulled out of my 3 tins.  Not only a tough to pull bat barrel, but the 2008 NLCS & World Series MVP, and a cool sig to boot.  I don’t know what it is, but I love it when a player has a nice autograph.

I also managed to pull one of these stupid Buysner cards about 8 months after they were last worth something.  That may be my only beef about this tin.  It’s a funny card, but unfortunately it takes the place of a serial #’d base.

     So that’s it for now.  I think I did pretty well with this one, and I’m glad to be back to collecting and blogging.  I’m going to start making time to post more regularly again.  And I think one of my collecting goals for 2009 is going to be to bust an entire 20 tin case of Sweet Spot.  Should be fun!

Chicago Sportsfest – 2008

June 9, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Posted in Box Breaks, My Collection, My opinions | 1 Comment

     Hello all.  I was busy all weekend and haven’t had a chance to write until now.  I spent all of last week getting excited about going to Chicago Sportsfest in Schaumburg.  It’s a quick 20 minute drive from my house, and I haven’t been to a real big-time card show since April.  I hate to say that I was less than impressed.

     I left work at 5 on Friday psyched to add some new cards to my Dawson collection and hang out with my fellow collectors.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of either to be found.  I got to the show around 5:30, and even though there were only 2 1/2 hours left in the show that night, I was still asked to pay the full $12 admission price.  I was fine with that untill I got inside, and could see from the door that over half of the advertised 650+ tables were empty.  I approached one of the show organizers about this, and was offered several reasons in explanation, most of which I actually believed.  First, I was told that the Bears had suddenly decided to hold their fan expo the same weekend, so many vendors went there instead.  Secondly, a lot of the out of town vendors decided not to make the trip because of ridiculous gas prices, especially in the Chicago area where we are rapidly approaching $4.50 a gallon.  And thirdly, the most believable reason.  The National Sports Collectors Convention is being held in Chicago this year, and it’s only 6 weeks away, so most people are waiting for the much bigger and more highly anticipated show.

     Before I get labeled as being completely negative, I am glad I went.  I found an amazing card for my collection, and some incredibly cheap wax.  I only found 3 Andre Dawson cards at the entire show, and this was the only one not completely over-priced.

     This is my first of what I hope are many.  This is from the 2005 Leaf Century Collection, and there are several parallels of each player.  It has an actual 34 cent Wrigley Field stamp embedded in the card, along with a jersey swatch, and an on-card autograph.  It is serial #’d 6/34.  This is only the second on-card auto in my collection.  They seem to be really hard to find for Dawson.  Anyway, I love this card, and this whole chase set, and as usual, I really hope DLP gets back into baseball!!

     I also picked up some amazingly cheap wax, and struck out as usual.  One of these days I’ll learn to stop buying wax, but I couldn’t pass up these prices!  My first box was my 2nd tin ever of 2007 Sweet Spot Signatures.  I couldn’t not buy a tin for $55, but as with the first tin, my pulls were less than stellar.

     I still love Sweet Spot.  They are gorgeous cards, and I’m sure I will open more, especially if I find them at this price.  I just haven’t had the best luck so far.

     I also picked up a box of 2005 Diamond KIngs.  I love the design of this set, but I had never opened a box before.  I found a box at the show for $47, and figured now was the time to open my first box.  However, my usual luck continued.

     My first hit was a Laynce NIx auto #’d to 100.  This actually is a decent hit I suppose since your aren’t guaranteed an auto in the box.  There are a ton of different autos that I have seen from this set, but the only guarantee on the box is 2 game used OR auto cards.  So I guess I came out ahead in the game.  It’s just that there isn’t much hobby love for Laynce.  He’s not in Texas anymore, and he’s only played 29 games in the last 2 1/2 seasons for Milwaukee.  But, he does have a very neat, unique auto, and he could be on the verge of a career resurgence as he hit 24 HRs in less than 400 at bats in AAA.  So, who knows.

     My second hit was a much better player, but still not much hobby love.

     It’s a Tony Gwynn Heritage Collection bat #’d to 100.  I really like the card, but aside from the fact that bat cards just don’t seem to be all that collectible, Gwynn himself doesn’t seem to get much love from collectors, despite racking up 3,141 career hits and a lifetime .338 batting average.  He was a 15 time All-Star, a 5 time Gold Glove winner in right field, and a 7 time Silver Slugger.  He also played all 20 seasons of his major league career in San Diego, and oh, by the way is a member of the Hall of Fame!!  Yet, you can buy a sealed 2007 Topps Sterling Tony Gwynn box for about $120 on eBay, with the mystery pack!  That’s a $250 wax box selling for $120 because it’s Tony Gwynn.

     Anyway, like I said, I’m glad I went just for the Dawson auto/stamp.  And I had a lot of fun opening some wax, especially at the prices paid.  As usual, any of my non-Cubs cards are available for trade, including the one’s in this post.  Just leave me a message in the about me section, or send me an e-mail.

 

2008 Bowman – The pull of my life(so far, I hope)

May 29, 2008 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Box Breaks, My opinions | 5 Comments

     Hello all.  Sorry I haven’t written in a few days.  I’m a bit torn about the hobby right now.  I haven’t opened any new wax since I bought my Bowman jumbo.  I will still write about that at some point in the near future, I promise.  But anyway, I did get a few new Dawson cards in the mail, which you can check out here.

     Now I’m going to give you a little insight into the mind of a collecting addict.  I haven’t opened any new boxes or packs in almost 2 weeks, which is quite a while for me.  From February till now, I have opened an average of about 1 box per week.  So, after almost 2 weeks, I was starting to get that itch.  I’m sure some of you know what I’m talking about 🙂 

     On my way home from work yesterday, I drove right past the card shop, and then the rest of the way home I’m reasoning with my self in the car.  “You don’t need to buy any more cards right now”.  “But I haven’t busted any wax in almost 2 weeks”.  “Yea, but you haven’t been very happy with most of this year’s releases anyway.  Just concentrate on your Dawson collection”.  “I could just buy a few packs though.  What could it hurt?”.  And so on, all the way home.  I actually drove home, pulled into the garage and parked….and then the little collector in me won the argument.  I got back in my car, drove back the shop, and after BSing with the owner for a little while, bought 7 randomly selected packs of 2008 Bowman at my slightly discounted rate of $2.75 a pack.  And I’m so glad I did.  Out of those 7 Hobby packs, I got more good “pulls” than I did out of my entire Jumbo HTA box. 

     Out of a measely 7 packs, I pulled a Michael Buschmann Gold refractor #’d to 50, a Daric Barton on-card rookie autograph, and this.

     A 2008 Josh Vitters Bowman Chrome Prospect Gold Refractor Autograph #’d to 50!!!  Needless to say, this is the best pull of my collecting life thus far.  And as much as I hate to say it, it’s already sold.  Yes, I know I’m a Cubs collector, and yes I’m in the hobby for the collecting aspect of it, but I got so much for this card, there was no way for me not to sell it.  From what I’ve seen so far this year, there are maybe 1 or 2 BCP cards that actually gain value, however ridiculous the initial secondary market price is.  Plus by selling this 1 card and working my eBay magic correctly, I should be able to pick up at least 10 really nice Andre Dawson cards that I have had my eye on for quite some time.  Maybe even my White Whale 

     If Vitters ends up become the next (insert superstar’s name here), then I may end up with a little bit of seller’s remorse.  But, if he busts out or is just another average Major Leaguer, then I’ll be happy with my decision and my new Dawson’s. 

     But, I’d really like to know what you think.  Did I do the right thing?  Let me know.

2008 Bowman HTA Coming Soon

May 15, 2008 at 10:28 am | Posted in Box Breaks, My opinions | Leave a comment

     My local shop has finally gotten in Jumbo HTA’s.  So…by this afternoon I should have one of these

in my hot little hands.  As much as I hate to say it, I’m actually growing kind of weary of my local hobby shop.  The owner is a nice guy that I bs with every time I go in, but he has become increasingly lazy.  This is the 3rd release in a row that he hasn’t gone to pick up until the day after it’s released.  I may just be barking in the dark here, but when you’re an addict you gotta have your cards.  Look for my break and review tomorrow!

The Topps Company gets one right

May 14, 2008 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Box Breaks, My opinions | 3 Comments

     You know, sometimes it still pays to sit down and write an old fashioned letter.  For the last few years, most people just fire off an angry e-mail, or call customer service and scream at some 20 year old who’s making 6 bucks an hour.  I’ve done both.  But this time I was so pissed off and disappointed with a product, that I sat down and wrote this letter.  I mailed it to at least 8 different people at The Topps Company in New York and Pennsylvania, and to be honest, I never expected a response.  I was wrong. 

     3 or 4 days after I mailed the letters, I got a call on my cell phone from  Topps.  They started off by telling me how sorry he was that I had a bad experience with one of their products, and then how much he wanted to make this right for me.  He thanked me for taking the time to sit down and send a letter, and he assured me that his number one priority in his new position is to really crack down on production quality and overall customer satisfaction with their upcoming products. 

     Overall, I was pretty happy with the conversation, and more than anything else, happy with the fact that someone from the company actually took the time to read my letter and contact me to offer a response.  But that’s not the end of the story.  When I got home and picked up my mail yesterday, I found this.

A UPS package from The Topps Company corporate office in New York.  And inside I found these.

     2 boxes of 2008 Topps Finest.  Talk about customer service!!  They actually read my letter carefully enough to note that I really liked the box of Finest that I bought last month.  So they sent me 2 boxes to make up for my bad Co-Signers experience.  I was in shock!  A big corporation actually got one right for once.

     I opened both boxes last night and here are the pulls that I got.  No Mantle cut autos or anything spectacular, but I did much better than the box that I bought.

The Reyes auto and the Gordon gold refractor were very nice to pull.  I also got a ton of blue, green and black refractors.  Also, being that I have now opened 3 boxes, I almost have a complete set!  And I now have redemption cards 3, 4, and 8, so I feel like I have a pretty good shot at getting either Fukudome or Soto.  I actually didn’t mind getting the Rip Girl auto either.  Lots of people have been complaining about them, but it didn’t replace one of my regular autos.  It just made a total of 4 autos in that box. 

     All in all, I have always loved the Finest product, and I was just really happy to see that the time and effort I took to voice my concerns was rewarded.

Technical Difficulties – 2007 Sweet Spot

May 13, 2008 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Box Breaks | 2 Comments

     Right off the bat, let me apologize to those of you expecting my first video break.  I could not for the life of me, get the audio to work on my camera.  It’s ok really, you didn’t miss much.  I still love the card design of 2007  Sweet Spot, but being that this was my first box, I was a little dissapointed with my results.  I actually beat the odds and managed to pull a Gold Stitch / Gold Ink parallel.  Unfortunately, I managed to pull 2 of the least collectible players from 2 of the least collectible teams in the entire hobby.  Here is my Sweet Spot Signature.

Beautiful card #’d to 99, it just so happens to be The Boof.  He of a 17-22 career record thus far.  Really nice signature though.

I really love these Sweet Begginings Rookie Signatures too, and I think it’s a great value that you get 2 autos per tin.  I was really hoping for  Iwamura, Butler, Gordon, Daisuke, Miller, Pence, Igawa, Lincecum, Tulowitzki, any number of guys.  What I got was.

Travis Buck……with a .164 average this season and a roster spot with the Sacramento A’s.

I think the best I can hope for since they are young, is for both of them to get traded and/or have major career turn-arounds.  Like I said before, they are georgeous cards, and one bad tin is not going to discourage me from opening more when there isn’t any new product available.

Better luck next time 🙂   

P.S. – Both of these are available for trade by the way for a reasonable offer of Cubs or Dawson cards.  Just leave me a message in the about me section or send me an e-mail.

Inaugural video box break

May 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Box Breaks | Leave a comment

Hello all.  I just got the message that my very first tin of 2007 Sweet Spot Signatures was delivered today. 

So…I’ve decided to make this my very first video box break!!!  I’ll post the break and my review tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

2008 Topps Co-Signers……..Ugghhh

May 3, 2008 at 9:48 am | Posted in Box Breaks, My opinions | 2 Comments

     Hello all.  To be perfectly honest with you, I have not even felt like writing about this until now.  I opened my box of 08 Co-Signers Thursday night, and was so utterly disgusted that I could not even be bothered to write about it until today.  So, instead of posting my box break, I have decided instead to post a copy of the letter that I drafted to The Topps Company consumer relations dept in Duryea, PA.  I also sent a copy to every member of the company board in New York, including the C.E.O. and all of the VP’s.  So if and when I get a response, I will post it here for all to enjoy.  Till then, Have a great weekend.

P.S. – Think long and hard before plunking down $100+ for box.  I honestly think you may be better off buying another box of anything else that was previously released this year!

 

To whom it may concern at The Topps Company department of consumer relations,

           

            Thus far in 2008, I have purchased several boxes of each new Topps product as it has come out. I always purchase from my local hobby shop in Crystal Lake, IL. I always buy my boxes of cards at retail, and up until now, I have only purchased Topps products. I know for certain that I am not one of your biggest customers, and I don’t pretend to be. However, I live on a modest, middle class income, and yet I have purchased somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 worth of Topps baseball cards in the first four months of this year. This trend will not continue.

            I left work today and rushed to my local hobby shop to buy my first box of 2008 Co-Signers Baseball. I paid $110 plus tax, and was perfectly happy to, until I got home. This is without a doubt the worst of your products that I have opened so far this year. From my box, I received:

1.) A Martin Castillo Solo-Sigs Boxing autograph

I was fervently hoping that I did not even get one of these. I have no interest in boxing. That is why I bought a box of baseball cards. The real problem, however, lies in the fact that there is a giant scratch running vertically down the center of the card, which makes it entirely worthless.

2.) Out of my next few packs, I then received 3 of the foil parallel cards with badly damaged corners and edges.

3.) A Bronson Sardinha base rookie autograph – This card actually had no damage and is in good condition.

4.) Which brings me to number 4. There really is no number 4, because I did not receive a Co-Signature card!! A few of the boxes I have purchased this year had slightly less than the amount of inserts as prescribed on the packaging, but the whole point of this product is to get one of the dual autographed Co-Signers cards!!

            As far as I’m concerned, there is absolutely no excuse for this product being as bad as it is. At a suggested retail price point of $129.99 per box, every person involved in the decision-making process for this set of cards should be ashamed of themselves.

            For $149.99 per box, 2008 Finest delivered three on-card autographs, and a rookie redemption card. I was absolutely ecstatic about all of the collectible cards that I got from my boxes of Finest.

            I have to say that I am equally dismayed by Co-Signers. Every autograph is on a sticker. When you really think about that in tandem with the fact that the set is called Co-Signers, and the fact that the entire point of this product is the autographs, it’s kind of depressing. I have been collecting Topps brand baseball cards since 1987, and I have never been more disappointed by one of your products.

            While I was at my local hobby shop today, I also placed my reservation orders for 2008 Bowman HTA Jumbo, 2008 Bowman Chrome, 2008 Topps Series 2 HTA Jumbo, 2008 Topps Chrome, 2008 Topps Triple Threads, and 2008 Allen & Ginter. I will be calling my friend and shop owner to cancel all of them tomorrow.

            I don’t really know how much you, as a company, keep up with web logs and other websites dedicated to this wonderful hobby of ours, but there are thousands of people out there doing a lot of talking about Co-Signers and a lot of other Topps products from this year so far, and trust me when I tell you that most of it is not good.  Most informed collectors no longer bother to read Beckett or TuffStuff.  We already know that their opinions are tainted.  We are able to share our opinions of new products with each other instantly, and it doesn’t bode well for Topps or Upper Deck.   Most people hate sticker autographs. Most people do not like spending $100-$150 dollars on a product, and then being left to feel as though they did not get equal collectible value for their hard earned money. I’m quite sure you have plenty of customers with vast amounts of disposable income who are able to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars a year on Cases and Cases of Topps product so that they can turn them around for a profit. I can guarantee however, that by far the largest portion of your revenue stream are people just like me who can afford a modest amount of product per year to fulfill their own desire to collect something they cherish, and have a hobby they can enjoy.

            With the state of our country and our economy at this point in time, with gasoline rising to $4 dollars per gallon, frivolous purchases like hobbies are one of the first things to be cast aside out of necessity for most of your customer base. I am 29 years old, and am able to afford an indulgence or two every month, but I don’t personally know anyone younger than myself who still buys sports cards. I have never seen anyone younger than myself at my local hobby shop, and to be perfectly frank, there has never been more than one other person in the store with me at the same time.

            Maybe the time has come for you all to re-evaluate and decide what’s more important. For you to keep your thousands of hard-working middle class customers happy, or to continue to keep your profit margin as high as you possibly can for as long as you can. Let me know how it turns out, won’t you?

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles Philpott – Topps Baseball collector 1987-2008

 

Box break #1 – 2006 UD Future Stars

April 14, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Box Breaks | 1 Comment

I went to a small local card show yesterday, and since there wasn’t any new product I was interested in breaking, I decided to catch up on some things I missed while I was away from the hobby for so long.  So I bought a box of 2006 Upper Deck Future Stars.

2006 Upper Deck Future Stars – 24 packs / 4 cards per pack – Paid $60 for the box

Base set: 61 out of 75 –  81% w/no duplication which is nice.  Plus it’s a pretty nice overall design.  All of the base and parallels are printed on foil board.

              

Parallels/inserts – There are several different colored inserts(some of which seem kind of pointless)

Jeremy Bonderman – purple # 1101/1799

Manny Ramirez – purple # 340/1799

Vernon Wells – purple # 1547/1799

A rod – purple # 1251/1799

Curt Schilling – purple # 4/1799

Chase Utley – green # 172/499

Michael Young – green # 307/499

Travis Hafner – red #80/299

Key Rookies:

Kenji Johjima

Daisuke Matsuzaka – World Future Stars pre-rookie

Chin-Lung Hu – World Future Stars pre-rookie

I also got 15 or so other World Future Stars from all different countries

The Pulls: One of the nicest things about this box is that you are guaranteed 5 yes 5 auto rookies!!  There are randomly inserted triple rookie autos, but the base autos are nice and are called Clear Path to Greatness which are printed on PETG translucent plastic, which gives the cards a very unique look.

Boof Bonser auto rc

Will Nieves auto rc

Jeremy Hermida auto rc

Adam Wainwright auto rc redemption card

Chad Billingsley auto rc redemption card

The Verdict

Overall I was pretty happy with this box, especially with the 5 rookie autos for $60.  There are a few better autos you can get, such as Papelbon, Ryan Zimmerman, or one of the tri-signers, but there aren’t any huge pulls in this set.  I was a little dissapointed about getting 2 redemption cards in one box, but I don’t think that is the norm.  The nicest thing about it is that you can almost complete the set with one box, and it’s great for rookie collectors.

Overall Grade

Design: B

Value: B+

I don’t know if I need to buy another box, but this one was definitely fun to open.

 

 

 

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