Friday, December 31, 2010

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 1

Picking my #1 purchase of the year was the easiest card to select in this list. It really wasn't even close. Brett Anderson is by far the main player that I collect. My collection consists of mostly rookie cards from 2007, but I'm always looking for anything rare of his. Right now I'm working on his 2009 SP Authentic By the Name set. I currently have four of the eight letters. I'm always looking for low numbered inserts and parallels of his as well.

Anderson was drafted in the second round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was traded to the A's in 2007 as part of the Dan Haren trade. Anderson made his major league debut in 2009 and didn't disappoint. He went 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA and 150 strikeouts with only 45 walks. He struggled with elbow injuries last year and only made 19 starts. When he started, he was dominant. He went 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA and 75 strikeouts with only 22 walks. His slider is his top pitch. It's a beautiful thing to see him drop that slider on the back foot of a right handed batter for the third strike.

The card pictured is his 2007 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Gold Status Autograph graded BGS 9.5 gem mint. Only five of these cards exist. I purchased this raw on eBay taking a chance that the condition was as good as the seller said it was. It turned out to be an accurate description as it came back a gem from BGS. I was thrilled to just own the card, having it grade so high was icing on the cake.

I'm hopeful that Anderson can stay healthy in 2011 and show everyone that he is one of the elite left handed pitchers in the game.

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 2

I know, here we go again with the Pirates. I told you when this all started that it would be obvious who my favorite team is by the end of this countdown. I can also reveal that Andrew McCutchen is my favorite Pirate. He plays the game hard and with a smile on his face. There's nothing to not like about this guy.

The Pirates selected McCutchen with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft. McCutchen finally joined the Bucs in 2009 and immediately made a huge impact. He finished fourth in the ROY voting, too low if you ask me. He's batted .286 each of his two seasons. Last year he eclipsed 30 stolen bases (33) and continued to be one of the best centerfielders in baseball.

The card pictured is his 2005 Bowman Sterling Autographed Jersey rookie graded BGS 9.5 gem mint. This card will the void in my McCutchen collection until I get one of his 2005 Topps Chrome Update Autographs.

The nice thing about collecting Pirates prospects is that their cards are always cheap. If McCutchen played for the Yankees or Red Sox you'd never be able to pick up his cards at their current levels. The bad thing about being a Pirates fan is that McCutchen could end up on the Yankees or Red Sox when he becomes a free agent. Such is life.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 3

This card may look familiar to those of you that read the blog regularly as I just picked this card up within the last two weeks. As I've already stated, I'm a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. I started my Jameson Taillon collection the minute the Pirates drafted him #2 overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. The Pirates haven't had a pitcher with this kind of talent in their system in a long time.

The card pictured is his 2009 Upper Deck USA Red Autograph numbered to 25. I try to pick one of these up for every prospect that I'm investing in. I know a lot of collectors/prospectors stop buying Upper Deck USA cards as soon as a Bowman card is produced of the player their collecting/prospecting. I continue to buy the USA because the prices on the base autographs drop significantly. Give me an autographed USA card over a chrome refractor any day of the week. The fact is, if the player becomes a star, the USA cards are going to rocket back up in value.

Baseball America doesn't release their Pirates Top 10 Prospects until January 12th. I'm guessing that Taillon will top the list. From all indications the sky is the limit for this kid and I can't wait to track his progress in 2011.

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 4

Grant Green immediately became one of my prospect targets when he returned a TTM request I sent to him at USC. Any modern player that signs through the mail is alright in my book.

Baseball America recently rated Green the #1 prospect in the A's organization. That bodes well for my ever-growing collection of his cards. He'll start 2011 in AA and work his way up to AAA at some point. He's projected to be playing shortstop for the A's sometime in 2012. Green's bat is there and consistent, the concern is his fielding. His arm is on the fringe to play shortstop in the majors.

For every prospect I collect, I always try to land a Donruss Elite Extra Edition Status Autograph numbered to 5. They're obviously very hard to find, but I've been successful with a couple of the players I collect. This is another one of those cards that I saw on eBay and knew that I had to win, no matter what the price ended at. The price, if I recall, was somewhere in the $65 range, a bargain in my opinion.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 5

This is another card that I knew I had to own when it hit eBay. I'd been looking for the 2006 Christian Colon Aflac regular version for a long time. I'd already picked up the promo version a while back. I couldn't believe my luck when the first one I ever saw was graded a PSA 10 gem mint. I really couldn't believe my luck when another one showed up on eBay just weeks later. I obviously bought both of them.

Colon is one of the players that I've been collecting for almost a year. I've amassed a huge collection of his Upper Deck USA autographed and memorabilia cards. I also picked up a nice stash of his 2010 Bowman Chrome USA cards.

The Royals took Colon with the 4th overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft out of Cal State Fullerton and quickly signed him for slot money. Colon got some good experience under his belt by signing quickly which should get him to AA this year, well ahead of his fellow first round picks. If all goes as planned, Colon could be the Royals stating shortstop in 2012. Their system is loaded with talent that will be arriving from 2011-2013. The Royals are poised to have a really good team for a 4-5 year span if they play their cards right.

I couldn't resist inserting a tiny rant about Topps before closing this post. Topps claims that only 250 of each Aflac regular version exist. This card absolutely proves that number isn't correct. Colon was part of the Debut Cuts set in 2010 Topps Pro Debut Baseball. That set used cut autographs from 2006 Aflac regular version cards and the Colon was numbered to 200. 2010 Bowman Draft also included Colon in the Aflac buyback autographs. Understandably, the Colon is low numbered (/49) because they used up a lot of them in the Pro Debut Cuts set. That adds up to 249 of these cards that Topps has released in their 2010 products. I obviously own two of these so that puts us up to 251. If you search eBay you'll find a couple more out there, putting us up to 253. How many were produced? Who knows. I know one thing, it's still a very rare card and I'm excited to have two gem mint copies in my collection.

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 6

When I saw this card on eBay I just knew it had to be mine. This is where I'll give away the MLB team that I'm a fan of, that's right, the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's been a tough 18 years, but things are looking up because of recent draft picks like Stetson Allie.

The Pirates took Allie in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft and Jameson Taillon in the first round. They were the two hardest throwing right handed pitchers available in the draft. The Bucs thought so much of Allie that they gave him a 2.25 million dollar signing bonus. Amounts like that are typically reserved for first round draft picks.

This card is Allie's 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Status Autograph. Only 50 copies were made and this one is graded BGS 9.5 gem mint.

Investing in high school draft picks can take a long time to pan out, especially if it takes the player a long time to adjust to the rigors of a full minor league season. In this case, Allie plays for my favorite team so I'm not worried about this one sitting on the shelf for a few years.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 7

This is the only card on my list that I actually pulled from a pack of cards. Sadly, it was one of my better pulls of 2010. Not to bash the card, but I'd hope for something better than this card for my pull of the year.

Zack Wheeler was rated the #3 prospect in the Giants organization by Baseball America entering last season. The two players in front of him were Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, now with the Giants. This means that Wheeler could earn the #1 spot in the Giants organization when Baseball America releases its 2011 Giants top ten on January 26th.

What really makes this card special is the grade given to it by Beckett Grading. It earned the elusive BGS 10 Pristine grade, my first card to ever receive this grade. This is his autographed Xfractor from 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft, only 225 produced.

I never could figure out why the autograph received a 9 grade. I've had a couple come back that way with no explanation.

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 8

Well how do you like that? Another Aflac card. Like I said yesterday, I love these cards because it's the very first card produced of every player in the set and the regular versions are limited to 250 copies. These cards are handed out at the Aflac All-American game so it can be challenging to find nice mint copies.

I picked up this Matt Purke BGS 9.5 on eBay early on in the 2010 college baseball season. I'm not quite sure what this card would go for today as you never see them. I just know that I was really excited to find this card, let alone graded BGS 9.5 gem mint.

TCU will enter the 2011 NCAA Baseball season ranked #1 in the country. Purke will look to build on his incredible 2010 freshman season where he went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA and 142 strikeouts with just 34 walks. Two of those wins came in the College World Series where he went 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA.

Purke was drafted 14th overall by the Texas Rangers in the 2009 MLB Draft, but Texas failed to sign him. You can be sure that he'll go higher than 14th if he decides to enter the 2011 MLB Draft in June.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 9

It's funny, the first two cards I'm posting are of prospects in the Minnesota Twins organization, but that's not my favorite team.

This is a card that I searched almost two years for. Topps/Bowman puts out their Aflac All-American set every year, only producing 250 of each card. More common promotional versions were released in 2006 and 2007 and I already had one of those. Landing the regular version at a reasonable price always eluded me. It wasn't until Hicks had a slow start to his 2010 that I was able to pick one up.

I'm a big fan of the Aflac cards as they're always going to be the first card produced of any player featured in the set. Being that they're limited to 250 make them even more desirable in my mind. Also consider that many of them are given to the players and many are purchased back by Topps and released as buy-back autographs, or more recently cut autographs in 2010 Pro Debut Baseball. This makes the non-autographed versions one of the most rare cards you'll ever find for players featured in the sets.

Hicks is rated the #2 prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America, formerly #1. He's 21 years old and will begin his 2011 season in HiA at Fort Myers. He's projected to be a five tool center fielder with good power.

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 10

Over the next five days I'm going to count down my ten favorite card purchases of 2010, two per day. As I was going through my cards tonight I realized that I'm partial to my favorite team and a particular type of card. You'll notice these trends over the next five days. I only have a couple players I collect and they both have a card represented in this list.

On New Years Day I'm going list a card, or list of cards that I'm most looking forward to purchasing in 2011. Hopefully I'll be able to show off those cards during the year as I obtain them.

Most of you are going to say who is Liam Hendriks? Well, as you can see from the card pictured, he pitched for Team Australia in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He's 21 years old, from Perth Australia and had a fantastic 2010 season between LoA and HiA in the minors.

Hendriks is in the Minnesota Twins organization. He split 2010 between Beloit (LoA) and Fort Myers (HiA), posting a combined 1.74 ERA in 108.2 innings pitched He had an 8-4 record, 105 strikeouts, just 12 walks and a 0.84 WHIP. Baseball America ranks him the #6 prospect overall in the Twins organization. Among pitchers he ranks #2 just behind #1 overall Twins prospect Kyle Gibson.

The card pictured is his 2009 Bowman Sterling World Baseball Classic Game Jersey Black Refractor numbered 24/25. This was his only card until 2010 Bowman Chrome came out this year. I've purchased quite a few of 2010 Bowman Chrome autographs but I still prefer this card as it is very hard to find. I spent almost the entire year looking for this version after I'd already picked up the base, refractor, blue refractor and gold refractor versions. I was thrilled to finally add this one to my rainbow.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2011 Topps Baseball Packaging

I hope everyone had a nice holiday. I spent time with family and ate a lot of good food. Santa didn't bring me any cards so I've had to get my fix reading card news online today.

The thing that got me most excited was the first look on the Beckett Blog at the 2011 Topps Series 1 Baseball packaging. This is obviously a blaster box, but still gives us a look at the design and a small peek at the odds.

The odds that we're given are for the Diamond Giveaway code cards, 1 per blaster box.
If my memory serves, the odds may have been better in retail last year. I seem to recall pulling two code cards per blaster in 2010. The odds for Diamond Giveaway in hobby (1:6) and jumbo (1:1) remain the same as they were this year.

We can also see on the packaging that the manufactured commemorative patches are back and fall one per blaster box. I find that the patches sell very well in the first few weeks of release. It's nice to know that you can pay for your whole blaster if you hit a desirable patch.

The other thing to remember with Topps Series 1 is that there are usually hidden short printed cards. Last year it was Abe Lincoln hidden in a handful of Cubs cards. I wouldn't go selling sets or base cards until these short printed cards have been discovered. On the flip side, it would be a good time to buy up commons and complete sets before everyone figures out what those cards are.

I always get excited for the flagship Topps release. This year should be a blast considering it's the 60th year of Topps baseball cards. It really fills the void for me between the end of the NFL season and the start of spring training baseball.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Awesome Upper Deck USA Mail Day!

I'm John and I'm a Nick Castellanos addict. You may think this is a repeat post, but it's not. I've bought a bunch more 2009 Upper Deck USA Nick Castellanos autographs. I also got some other really nice cards with this lot.

I guess it's time for me to start buying some chrome cards of these guys. I only have base chromes of Machado, Taillon and Colon, nothing autographed. I have a few Castellanos 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition autographs.

Here's what I got in the mail today:

10 - 2009 UD USA Nick Castellanos Base Autograph
1 - 2009 UD USA Nick Castellanos Red Autograph /25
4 - 2009 UD USA Manny Machado Base Autograph
1 - 2009 UD USA Jameson Taillon Red Autograph /25
1 - 2009 UD USA Christian Colon Red Autograph /25

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bowman Chrome Wrappers!

You guys have all seen the results of my Topps Chrome wrapper redemption packs. I redeemed enough wrappers for 24 packs. I was really happy with the results of those so I figured I should dive into the Bowman Chrome wrapper redemption program. I purchased a lot of 684 wrappers on eBay which will yield 38 redemption packs.

For the Topps wrappers I paid an average of $3.35 per box of wrappers. For the Bowman Chrome wrappers I paid an average of $6.75 per box of wrappers. I think the increase is price for the Bowman Chrome is very reasonable considering what these packs can yield.

Topps tweeted last week that the redemption packs will start shipping in January. I'll be sure to post the results of my packs as soon as they come. I can't wait!

Bowman Chrome Wrapper Redemption Program Details

For every 18 wrappers of the hobby version of 2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball set to the company, collectors will receive an exclusive 5-card pack of exclusive Black Bordered Parallels of 2010 Bowman Baseball cards. All 110 prospects from the Bowman checklist will be included.

In addition, Topps will randomly insert the following cards into 5-card redemption packs:

  • 37-card USA Baseball Bowman Chrome Black Bordered Autographs numbered to 25 featuring the 2010 Collegiate National Team as well as the 2010 18 & Under National Team.

  • 5-card Bowman Chrome Rookies & Prospects Autographs numbered to 100 featuring Buster Posey, Mike Stanton, Mike Moustakas, Miguel Sano and Dustin Ackley.

  • And due to a production error, the previously announced Autographed 2010 Bowman Chrome USA BUYBACK program will now be included as part of the wrapper redemption. Cards will be numbered to 100 and will include big names like Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon, Yasmani Grandal, Drew Pomeranz, Michael Choice, Christian Colon, Manny Machado and Bryce Brentz.

  • Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Blowout 12 Days of Christmas Break - (2) 2005/06 Upper Deck Hockey Series 2 Retail Boxes

    Below are the results of my 2-box 2005-06 Upper Deck Hockey Series 2 retail break. I was looking for the same card everyone is looking for when they break this product, the Alexander Ovechkin Young Guns rookie card. I got an Ovechkin rookie, but it was from Upper Deck Victory Update which are inserted one card per pack.

    This was a pretty disappointing break as I was really only interested in the Ovechkin Young Guns rookie card. It was nice to get his Victory Update rookie but it's not the same. You also have a chance to get Sidney Crosby's Victory Update rookie in these packs. His Young Guns rookie is in 2005-06 Upper Deck Series 1. Below are the highlights of the break:

    Victory Update Rookies
    Alexander Ovechkin
    Henrik Lundqvist

    Stars In The Making
    Sidney Crosby

    All-Time Greatest Finalist

    Wayne Gretzky

    Destined For The Hall
    Mario Lemieux
    Steve Yzerman

    Rookie Threads Jersey Card
    Ryan Suter
    Cam Ward

    Game Jersey
    Nick Boynton
    Tim Connolly

    Young Guns
    Adam Berkhoel
    Brad Richardson
    Gerald Coleman
    Greg Jacina
    Jakub Klepis
    Dennis Wideman
    Erik Christensen
    Eric Nystrom
    Dimitri Patzold
    Tomas Fleischmann
    Jeff Tambellini
    Danny Richmond
    Gilbert Brule
    Matt Greene
    Al Montoya

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Blowout 12 Days of Christmas Break - 2008 Topps Chrome Football

    Blowout Cards has been running their 12 Days of Christmas promotion for 10 days. You should check it out as there have been some really great deals. The deals on Day #9 were too good for me to pass up. I purchased a box of 2008 Topps Chrome Football for $39.95 and two boxes of 2005-06 Upper Deck Series 2 Retail Hockey for $39.95 each.

    Below are the results of my 2008 Topps Chrome Football break. This product is loaded with rookies that are having great seasons this year. Unfortunately, I didn't pull any great rookies from this box, but I still got some nice stuff. I'm a big fan of the box topper that comes with this product. It's a nice added bonus after you've torn through all of your packs. Here are the highlights:

    Autographed Rookie
    Eddie Royal

    Box Topper
    Tom Brady Gold Refractor /199

    NFL Dynasties Refractor
    Bill Bates /100

    Regular Refractors
    Chad Henne RC
    Adrian Peterson Pro Bowl

    Base Rookie
    Darren McFadden

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    2010 Bowman Draft Retail Break

    I didn't find any of this while I was on vacation in Phoenix. When I saw some at my local Target this morning I couldn't resist picking some up. I picked up four rack packs and two blaster boxes. You'll see scans of the odds for each pack below. The rack packs have far better odds, just as 2010 Bowman did.

    Blaster Pack Odds

    Rack Pack Odds

    I've included a scan of the base chrome, base chrome prospect, base chrome USA, blue refractor, purple refractor and USA jersey card below. The best card I got out of all the packs was a Manny Machado purple refractor. I really like the look of the USA jersey cards, even if they do use the same photo as the base card.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Vacation Mail

    I got quite the bundle of mail from Topps while I was on vacation. Most of it was Red Hot Rookie redemptions finally rolling in, the rest were autograph redemptions from 2010 Topps Chrome Baseball. Here's the funny thing, all of these cards came regular mail except one, the Stephen Strasburg RHR was sent certified mail. I guess Topps is making sure that they have proof of receipt for those. I think it would have been cheaper for them to send those first class with delivery confirmation than certified, but whatever.

    The Red Hot Rookie redemptions look great and they're on chrome stock. I wasn't expecting them to be chrome stock, but I've never had any of these cards from previous years to know if they always are. Topps has sent me #'s 1-8, I'm just waiting on #9 Mike Minor and #10 Brett Wallace. I hope that I get at least one Brett Wallace autograph as I sent in three for redemption. I'll keep you posted on those.

    The two autographs I received from Topps Chrome were Brian Matusz and Brandon Hicks.

    Vacation Breaks

    I've been on vacation for the last five days in sunny Phoenix, AZ. That's the reason for the lack of updates to the blog. Reality punched me in the face last night when I returned to temperatures in the 20's in Washington DC.

    While I was in Phoenix I couldn't resist the urge to check out a Target and Wal-Mart to see what they had. I ended up buying a blaster of 2010 Bowman Platinum Baseball and a 2010 Best of Chrome value pack.

    Bowman Platinum Blaster These come with 8 packs for $19.99. I've been seeing some great breaks in the various forums and figured I would give one a try. I really don't like the base cards. They're not chrome stock, just regular cardboard. The cards are flat silver but come off cheap looking to me. The nice thing is that these packs are loaded with prospects and rookies. It gives you a good shot at getting a base rookie or prospect card of many different players. I did end of getting an autographed refractor in my blaster, like many others that I've seen. Mine was Justin Marks of the Oakland A's. You'll see the card design below. I included a base rookie, base USA and the autographed refractor. The scan made the base cards look really dark, sorry for that.

    Best of Chrome Value Pack These come with a nice looking 5-card refractor set of Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, Starlin Castro, Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle. You also get 2 Million Card Giveaway Redemption code cards, 5 packs of 2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball retail packs, 5 Topps Chrome Baseball retail packs and 1 2010 Bowman Platinum Baseball hobby pack. All of this will set you back $29.99. I like this assortment. Kudos to Topps for putting a great Christmas gift out there for a young collector at a reasonable price. I would much rather open one of these than a blaster.

    I didn't fair so well from these packs. The hobby pack of Bowman Platinum yielded all base cards. The best card from Topps Chrome packs was a Roy Oswalt National Chicle refractor. The Bowman Chrome packs did yield an orange refractor but it was Ryan Dempster. Still pretty nice to hit a refractor that rare from retail.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Is Topps admitting their 2010 chrome baseball products are flawed?

    If you recall, I posted a picture a couple weeks ago of damaged cards from my 2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball retail box break. The front card on every pack was damaged with a vertical scratch. I opened over a case of these boxes and they were all the same. I mailed the key cards back to Topps for replacement. I was waiting to see how they came back before I sent the rest of the commons.

    Well, the cards arrived yesterday and they were all in nice condition. Of course, they all had the chrome curl and centering issues that have plagued Topps chrome products this year. The positive is that they were free of surface scratching and bad edges. They replaced the exact cards that I sent back to them as I sent them in batches of 25 cards or less with an itemized list. If you send more than 25 cards they will replace them randomly.

    The interesting thing about this was the letter that Topps sent with the cards, which you can read below. It's hard to tell from the scan but they highlighted "cards maintain the same errors." in the second paragraph. Essentially, Topps is admitting that the quality of their chrome cards this year is crap and sending in for a replacement doesn't necessarily mean you'll be getting a better condition card back. This is the first time I've received a letter like this with a replacement shipment. They usually include their form letter with the rules for the damaged card replacement program.

    Do you interpret this the same way I do? I'm curious to see if anyone else has received the same letter from Topps and how their replacement experience went. Drop a comment below.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Topps Chrome Baseball Wrapper Redemption Mail Day!

    I sure was happy to see these arrive in the mail today. I kept seeing results of breaks on all the bulletin boards and was starting to get impatient. I sent two cases worth of wrappers, so I received 24 packs.

    Topps sends them in a large manila envelope with a smaller padded envelope inside that contains the packs. They're definitely packaged to prevent damage. The cards overall are in great shape. There are some flaws, but nothing major. The really nice thing about these cards is that they're flat! The chrome curl doesn't exist on these. The centering is nice for the most part as well.

    24 packs should yield 4 complete sets, 2 green refractor packs and two other random packs. Well, that's exactly what I received. The bonus for me was that the two random packs both were the packs that contain Buster Posey. As you can see from the picture, I also received Buster Posey as one of my green refractors. I'm really happy with the results.

    4 - Babe Ruth
    4 - Lou Gehrig
    4 - Jackie Robinson
    4 - Ty Cobb
    1 - Ty Cobb Green Refractor
    6 - Mickey Mantle
    1 - Mickey Mantle Green Refractor
    6 - Buster Posey
    1 - Buster Posey Green Refractor
    6 - Ike Davis
    1 - Ike Davis Green Refractor
    4 - Stephen Strasburg
    4 - Mike Stanton
    4 - Jason Heyward
    4 - Carlos Santana
    4 - Mike Leake
    1 - Mike Leake Green Refractor
    4 - Austin Jackson
    1 - Austin Jackson Green Refractor
    4 - Tyler Colvin
    4 - Starlin Castro

    2008 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Break - 3 Boxes

    I got these from the Blowout Cards Black Friday sale. This was the one product I was really hoping they would offer at a good price, and they didn't let me down. They put it on sale a couple times during the day for $40 per box.

    The break was a lot of fun, yielding 14 total autographs from the three boxes. I was obviously chasing the big names - Buster Posey, Domonic Brown and Mike Stanton. Sadly, none of those appeared from the packs. I did pull a Gordon Beckham, but it's a couple years too late on that one.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    I feel like I've sorted cards for days...

    I literally just finished putting together sets from my 2010 Topps Update jumbo case. Everyone said you'd 5-6 base sets and that was exactly right. I was 16 cards short of the sixth base set, I'll pick those up on The master set was a different story, I was way short of that. I had to pick up somewhere between 40 and 50 insert cards to complete that. I was able to pick all of those up on for just under $30.

    All in all, I'd say it took me between 6 and 7 hours to put these sets together. I think the next time I buy a case like this I'll put cards in order as I open them, as lame as that sounds. I just can't stand sitting down at a table for hours on end sorting cards. Anyway, the picture below shows the aftermath of the sorting.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Awesome Mail Day!

    I came home from work today and was greeted by a mailbox full of padded envelopes. I got a few orders from filled with 2010 Topps Update inserts to complete my master set. The rest were full of prospects that I'm collecting. Here is the list followed by the pictures.

    BGS 9.5 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Status Signatures Stetson Allie 29/50
    2009 Bowman Sterling WBC Game Jersey Gold Refractor Liam Hendriks 07/50
    2010 Bowman Chrome Refractor Autographs Liam Hendriks 277/500
    2009 Upper Deck USA 18U Autographs Nick Castellanos - Lot of 11

    Interesting note about the Castellanos lot, you'll notice he added his number to two of his signatures. I'm not sure if that would command a premium or not down the road.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    2010 Topps Baseball Update Jumbo Case Break

    You really get a lot of of cards out these cases. Wow! I mean that in a good way as it's a really fun break and prices are incredibly reasonable on these right now. I picked up my case last week for $355.

    Topps did a great job this year with their core baseball product. The insert sets were all really cool and the Million Card Giveaway was the best hobby promotion ever created. These jumbo cases are loaded with inserts and the really cool bat barrel cards. You also have the chance at the always popular SP veteran base variations that seem to run 3 to 4 per jumbo case. Of course, the black and gold parallel cards are there as well. One last bonus is the Topps Chrome Rookie Box Toppers.

    I beat the odds on this case. You're supposed to receive one autograph and two memorabilia cards per box. I ended up with seven autographs, one being a redemption, so you could argue that I got six autographs. I also ended up with seven bat barrel cards which are supposed to fall one per box. The seventh bat barrel replaced one of my All-Star jersey cards, which I only got five of. I also got two silk cards and two black parallels. The case only yielded four of the original back CYMTO cards.

    I've read that you can make six base sets out of a jumbo case. I'm assuming that's true as I got six of the #661 Stephen Strasburg rookies. I'm not so sure about completing a master set. I got a lot of doubles in the Turkey Red and CYMTO sets. I'll report back after I've had time to sort all of these cards. I don't know how I'd manage breaking multiple cases of this stuff.

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    I picked up by BGS shipment this morning

    Here are the scans as promised. I'm really happy with the grades.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball Retail Box Break

    I know, you're already asking yourself before reading this, why did this guy get a retail box of 2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball? Well, I didn't just buy a box, I bought three cases. I pre-ordered these back in July for a really good price, well before Strasburg got hurt and the price plummeted. It was also long before I knew how bad the odds would be on the retail packs. I had faith that Topps would continue to release retail products with decent odds as they've been doing for a couple years. The odds are horrendous on retail this year. Pulling a prospect autograph, which are one per box in hobby, are 1:191 packs in retail. Even pulling a prospect or USA non-autographed refractor are 1:110 packs. Just insane!

    I decided I'd open one box before I started selling these off a box a time. The first thing I noticed after opening a couple packs was that the top card in each pack was scratched. Scratched actually puts it mildly, more like gouged. They look like someone ran a nail down the front of each card. I have 24 like this, one for each pack in the box. I already sent them all back to Topps for replacement. The good news is that the other two cards in each pack were free of defects.

    Enough of the bad news. As I started ripping packs I started getting good cards, defying the odds on the back of the packs. I first pulled Jason Heyward and Carlos Santana rookie refractors (1:6 packs). The next card that came was a Corban Joseph Autographed Prospect Blue Refractor (1:2,850 packs). I would have been happy at this point if nothing else came out of the box. Next came the A.J. Vanegas Team USA Autographed Refractor (1:1,620 packs) and an Andrew Cashner Gold Refractor rookie (1:837 packs). Amazing!

    I figured this box was all a fluke but decided to open one more to be sure. I was right, nothing came out of the next box other than the four expected regular refractors and a couple purple refractors. The box did yield a Stephen Strasburg base rookie as well as a Jason Heyward and a Starlin Castro. I decided to stop at that point as I realized I had simply run into a hot retail box with that first one.

    Hopefully this information is somewhat helpful to people reading. My advice - go with hobby boxes as they're down around $40 per box now and you're guaranteed an autograph per box. Don't count on being as lucky as I was with that first box of retail.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    My Friend's Amazing Topps Chrome Football Value Rack Break

    I just got this picture in my email and couldn't believe it. My buddy Bill presumably stopped at Target or Wal-Mart tonight and bought a single value rack of 2010 Topps Chrome Football. We should all have this luck. Congrats Bill!

    eBay Rant

    Why do people win auctions and not pay for them? I've never understood this and never will. Every time I win an auction I'm genuinely excited to add the card to my collection and pay for it immediately. The only exception is if I win something while I'm asleep or out of town. My payments may take up to 12 hours in those cases, never longer.

    I got a message from a buyer tonight that made me laugh. The buyer paid today for an auction that ended on November 4th, that's twelve days from auction end to payment. The total including shipping was $12.16. The buyer had the audacity to leave me this message after they paid - "I am very, very Sorry for the delay. Thank you for the great card. Please lmk when you ship it, I need this by Sunday for a Birthday present. Thank you again"

    You've got to be kidding me, right? You wait twelve days to pay and then ask for the item to be sent right away!? Of course, I'm going to send the card tomorrow because I also ship all items that I sell promptly. In cases like this I opt to not leave any feedback for the buyer. I won't leave a negative because they did end up paying, but I'm certainly not going to leave a positive either.

    The Results Of My Latest BGS Submission

    I took advantage of the great 10-10-10 deal Beckett Grading had last month. It was 10 cards for $10 each on 10-day service. I had just opened some 2007-08 and 2008-09 Upper Deck Hockey and a case of 2010 Topps Chrome Baseball. I also had a couple cards from recent eBay purchases that looked good enough to send. You'll see below that did really well evaluating my cards. I was hoping for at least one pristine but that didn't happen. I guess you can't complain when 9 out of 10 come back gem mint.

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