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Welcome to Blowout Cards

Posted by houstoncollector on December 4, 2009

Today marks an important day in the growth of Houston Collector.  I am pleased to announce that starting today, Blowout Cards is a sponsor of Houston Collector, and we will be working together going forward.  Currently, there is a picture on the left side of the screen which will take you to their site, and I will be working with them on video box breaks and other projects in the future.

I already had plans to purchase boxes of 2010 Topps, Topps Heritage, and 2010 Upper Deck.  This partnership will facilitate this, and I would like to personally thank Chris Park of Blowoutcards, Inc. for the opportunity to work with them.

Again, welcome!

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A Salute to Wax Heaven

Posted by houstoncollector on December 4, 2009

One of the first sportscard blogs I read when I got back into collecting was Mario’s blog, Wax Heaven, along with a few others.  This was probably somewhere back in 2007, but I can’t recall exactly.  He wrote about what he knew, the love for the cards he was collecting.  He also wrote about his other hobbies (photography), and his wife and son, as well as other things.

Sure, his writing may not be the best thing you could find in the world, and a ‘journalist’ might not consider it to be ‘professional’, but his heart was in it, and you could tell that he truly cared about what he wrote.  He also had a knack for finding out things that other people didn’t want known, and finding things out before anyone else did.  In some cases, this included Beckett, which caused quite a few issues behind the scenes.

It was Mario that discovered the tie between Upper Deck and Razor originally, and Mario who was one of the first to be sponsored by the card companies, first with press releases and product information, then with actual product.  His reviews were insightful and to the point, and he was fair.  He even gave away the cards that he received, which I’m less certain I could do (I’d want to keep the guys I collect, after all).

Mario’s been able to take photos of the Marlins on the field, he’s been able to photograph his hero, Jose Canseco, during his boxing career.  He’s also had his car fall apart on him around us all, and introduced us.  Today, however, Mario has announced that for undisclosed reasons, Wax Heaven will be shutting down.  We don’t know the story.  We may never know the story.

It doesn’t matter, though.  Without Mario, many of us would not be blogging.  Without Mario, the card companies might not be as public with bloggers, Facebook and Twitter.  Mario has done more for the blogging community and collectors as a whole than almost anyone else since Beckett.  For this, I salute you, Mario.  You will be missed, and I hope that circumstances allow you to bring Wax Heaven back in the future.

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2010 Topps Finest In-Depth Preview

Posted by houstoncollector on December 3, 2009

That was fast, Topps has already released information on 2010 Topps Finest baseball, and it’s time for another in-depth preview here at Houston Collector.

It appears that in 2010, Finest will be similar to 2009 with a few wrinkles. You’ll still get 2 mini-boxes per master box, with 2 numbered autographed rookie patch cards, all signed on-patch. You’ll also get 10 parallels, and 1 rookie card redemption. The autographed patches will be numbered to no more than 299, and will also have the same parallels with everything else, although they’re replacing the superfractors with purple refractors, which are still one of ones. Reds are numbered to 5, Golds to 10, Blues to 25, and refractors to 75 for the patches. A new addition is In the Name X-Fractor Rookie Book Cards, where the foldout spells the player’s name, with each letter autographed. While I like the concept, there’s a huge problem with foldouts. First, unless they’re redemptions it’s entirely obvious which pack has them, which defeats the purpose. Secondly, the only way to show these off is to have them standing up and open unless you find some way to encase them. I mean, the idea itself isn’t horrible in theory, it just … isn’t something that works as a card, in my mind.

The rookie redemptions will have blue and gold refractor parallels which are numbered to 199 and 50, respectively. There’s a twenty player Finest Moments autograph set, which have red parallels numbered to 25, and purple which are one of ones.

The base set consists of 150 cards, with 25 of them being RCs and presumably short-printed. The refractors are numbered again this year, to 699, with blue refractors to 399, green to 99, gold to 50, red to 25, and printing plates and purple refractors as one of ones. It looks like xfractors are out of the picture for now. Each RC will also have logo patch variations, all numbered to 50, but also having a one of one purple refractor version. The autographed rookie letter patch cards are cards 151-170 in the set, as well.

As far as as what I’m going to be interested in, there are base cards of Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence, Roy Oswalt, Chris Johnson and Tommy Manzella, with the RC logo variations of both Johnson and Manzella. Still no Bud Norris, which is a bit annoying, since I don’t recall him being one of the redemptions in 2009 Finest. Still, it’s a decent checklist that I’ll be looking at, and a decent checklist for RC collectors with both Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey having patch autos among the list.

2010 Topps Finest will hit in late March, around the 22nd, and should be selling for around $90 per master box, depending on where you look.

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2010 Topps Heritage In-Depth Preview

Posted by houstoncollector on December 2, 2009

With 2010 coming closer, we have another in-depth preview of an upcoming product, this time 2010 Topps Heritage. Generally, Heritage is consider ‘Base Set 2’ because it’s more of a set-collector’s set than anything else, with the vintage style. To be really honest, I think Heritage has worn out its welcome, but it still sells well. Given that it’s going to be based on the 1961 Topps design, we can expect the set to parallel that in a number of ways. There were variations in the 1961 set, but they were all checklists, although the 2010 set has checklists in the same spot, so don’t be too surprised here. Also, card 426 (along with 587 and 588) were not created, so we’ll see if that holds true. The set consists of 500 base cards, and 100 Chrome parallels. There’s 14 Ruth Chase ’61s, a dual relic with Mantle and Maris, a triple with those and Ruth, a cut dual signature of Mantle and Maris and a triple with all three. There will be 208 Topps Stamps, as well as some buybacks.

New Age Performers makes a return with 15 cards in the set, and Then and Now also is here with 10. There’s going to be a 10 card Baseball Flashbacks insert set, and a 10 card News Flashbacks set. There’s going to be a series of five Flashback Auto-Relic cards, all featuring Hall of Famers, and a 10-card Clubhouse Collection set as well, with stars of the past and present. Following that is a five-card Clubhouse Collection dual-player set, featuring stars of yesterday and today on the same card. There’s a Real One auto set with only 10 of 25 players named, and a dual signature version with 5 of the 10 named. There’s a Flashback autograhp series with 5 Hall of Famers in it, and 8 1961 Cut Signatures, with only Mickey Mantle and Warran Spahn listed so far.

Clubhouse Collection will also have a relic variety, with 53 names featured, and 5 dual-player versions, wth stars of yesterday and today combined. Then there’s going to be 10 Flashback Stadium relics, and 4 dual ones. Given that you’re only due one relic or autograph per box, and there’s 140 relics and autographs in the entire series…

Personally, I think Topps either needs to bite the bullet here, and increase the hits from 1 to either two or three per box, or cut down on the number of relics in the set. Again, this is a base set, it’s not about the relics and autographs. There’s also a large number of parallels, with both black-border and refractor versions of the Chrome parallels. Short Prints (probably the last 75 cards in the set) will be 1:3 packs. The Chase ’61 relics will be numbered to 3, while the dual and triple relics will be numbered to 5. The cuts, on the other hand, are both 1/1. The Topps Stamps will be numbered to 50 and are likely taking the slot of the silk cards in this set. You’ll get inserts at a ratio of 1 per 4 packs, spread across the various types.

The Flasback Stadium auto-relics are numbered to 25, as are the Clbhouse Collection auto-relics. The Clubhouse Collection dual relics are going to be #’d to 10. Mixed in with the Real One autos are red ink versions, numbered to 1. The Rela One Dual autos are numbered to 25, as are the Flashbacks signatures. The cut autos, again, are going to be 1/1. As far as the relics go, the Clubhouse Collection Duals are going to be numbered to 61, and the Flashback Duals will be to 10. Along with these are going to be three different types of box loaders, seeded 1:2 boxes each…which doesn’t really make sense to me. If I read this right, though, each box will have an Advertising panel OR a Topps Stamp Album, and on top of that, 1:2 boxes will have a 1961 Topps Originals (presuming a buyback here). So you will definitely get one of the first two, and a 50% chance of the other.

So, with all that said, what am I personally looking for from this set? Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence all have base cards while Oswalt also has a 2004 NLCS MVP card which will be a short print. Given this is a 500 card set, I’m shocked by no mention of Bud Norris or Tommy Manzella RCs here.

Lance Berkman and Hunter Pence both have chrome parallels, so there’s six more cards there I’ll need. There’ll be stamps of Pence, Berkman and Oswalt, all of which I’ll want and a Clubhouse Collection of Lance Berkman. No autographs for the Astros yet, but we’ll see.

2010 Topps Heritage will hit stores on February 22, 2010 and will have 24 packs per box and 12 boxes per case, and all autographs will be on-card.

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Freedom Card Board and Box Breaks Contest

Posted by houstoncollector on November 30, 2009

Box breaks are an important thing to a lot of us.  Not only the bloggers, but Beckett, forum readers, people on uStream and Youtube….even people who just sit at home or go to the hobby shop.  We all love busting boxes of wax, and seeing what nifty nuggest of sweet sweet awesome we can find.

Well, I’m here to point out an avenue for doing so that has a chance of winning you prizes.  Freedom Card Board has a number of box break forums (baseball, basketball, football, hockey and even Nascar), and if you post your box or case breaks on their forums (helpfully linked above), you can win prizes.  Not only do they give away what they get from sponsored box breaks, they even buy cards from eBay and other places specifically to give away.  How easy is it?  I was chatting on their java chat app, and mentioned how cool the Brian Cushing letterman auto they got from their box of 2009 Topps Finest Football was.  The next thing I saw was “PM me your address, it’s yours.”  And it is.

They also have forums for general discussion, buy/sell/trade, guys that do group breaks, and just about everything.  Not only that, but FCB will have a presence at the 2010 National Sports Card Collector’s Show in Baltimore.  Personally, I’m hoping to put in an appareance, myself.  Now, there are a few things to note, and I’m not coming down on FCB in any means by this.  It does feel, to me, that a large number of the posters and collectors there are very heavy into book value and ‘sell before trade’.  That’s their right, first off, and again, I’m not coming down on them about it.  However, it’s something a new member should be aware of.

But hey, don’t let what I may say stop you.  Head over there and register for your own account!

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Topps Locks Down Minor League Baseball

Posted by houstoncollector on November 30, 2009

In a bit of news that … isn’t as surprising as I might have thought originally, Topps has announced that they’ve received the exclusive rights to produce baseball cards for Minor League Baseball.  They’ll have the rights to the team names and logos, as well as the Pro Debut logo, with the first set going to be 2010 Topps Pro Debut Series 1.

Here’s what I’d love to see:  Topps Pro Debut Series 1 and 2 replacing Bowman and Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects.  There’s little to no need for Bowman and DP&P with this license, since now Topps Pro Debut can be THE home of the pro debut, blah blah.  I’d like to see series 1 and 2 have 2 chrome cards per set, say 1-110 and 330-440 or so.  Then release Topps Pro Debut Chrome sometime in the summer with cards 111-329.  Remove the ‘RC’ cards from Topps PD Chrome and Series 2 Chrome.  Drop Bowman entirely.

What I’m afraid we’ll see:  Topps Pro Debut Series 1-3, Topps Pro Debut Chrome, Bowman, Bowman Chrome AND Bowman DP&P.  And all seven of the sets will be littered with prospect autographs that’ll never pan out.

I’m not against this move by any means, and I admit that none of us know what Topps is going to do with this.  Given that they own baseball entirely now?  Here’s what I’d do for products in 2010:

Base (3 series), Pro Debut (2 series), Chrome (base and Pro Debut, seperate sets), Topps Heritage (2 sets, counting high numbers), Opening Day (with some Minor Leaguers too?), Allen & Ginter, Attax, Finest, Triple Threads, Sterling (2 sets).  That gives you 2 entry level sets, 7 lower-end, 4 mid-range, and 3 high end sets.  I’d drop Ticket 2 Stardom and Unique, and would possibly drop one of the Sterlings.  Anyone else have ideas?

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Black Friday From Blowout and Beckett

Posted by houstoncollector on November 27, 2009

I don’t normally bring up other sites much, and there’s a good reason behind it, especially given the sites in question.

However, with this being Black Friday, no matter my personal opinion, it’s only fair that I give a shout out to Blowout Cards as well as the Beckett Blog for their efforts today.  Blowout, for their part, is having a absolute crapton of Black Friday deals in their forum, including such deals as a 12-box case of 2008 UD Documentary for $11.27, boxes of various product for that same price as well as other deals.  I’ve already spent $90 there today, with 2 boxes of 2009 UDx Hobby, 2 boxes of 2008 UD Goudey retail and 2 boxes of …. I know I bought something else.  I’ll figure it out when it comes.  They’re also running specials with other sites, including Sports Cards Uncensored, which is great for Gellman.  While I may not like all of the deals going on, there are enough people who do that deals vanish in minutes, and sometimes seconds.

As far as Beckett goes, every Friday they do giveaways, and they’re going above and beyond today.  They’ve given away a number of autographed basketball plaques so far, and a box of 2006 Playoff NFL Playoff football, with more coming.  Both Blowout and Beckett are donating prizes back and forth between the sites, and keeping the momentum rolling through today.  There’s still another four hours to go at Blowout, so get over there and get you some cheap wax, and go to Beckett and try to win something.

 

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Matthew Stafford, I Salute You

Posted by houstoncollector on November 27, 2009

I don’t follow the Lions, or Matthew Stafford, but I saw a video clip put together by NFL Films …. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m still a bit teary-eyed from this. This kid….he’s got stone balls, that’s all I can say. Watch this video.

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2009 Upper Deck Black Is Here!

Posted by houstoncollector on November 24, 2009

Get your gambling shoes ready!  The gambling products are starting to come out, with 2009 UD Black football first, followed by Triple Threads, Ultimate Collection and presumably Topps Sterling, Exquisite and National Treasures down the line.  While the cards themselves look very nice, and there are some I want, I have some issues with some of the cards.

While this card came out in November, and still has a college uniform, it has been pointed out to me by Chris at Upper Deck that these are all ON CARD signatures.  Personally?  I’ll take a college uni on an on-card signature as opposed to a pro picture and sticker signatures.  So, someone might ask, why not have some in college, and some in pro?  Well, here it’s a lot simpler.  You want your set to have a theme.  If they can’t all be in pro uniforms, you don’t want a half and half.  So, in my mind, ‘all or nothing’ looks much better.  These cards look much better than I originally thought, with that in mind.

By the way, Brian Cushing?  I love your play and your attitude.  Your signature sucks balls, though.  It’s lazy, and uninspired.  Show some of the attitude in your signature that you show in your game.

This is a nice card.  It’s a Hall of FAmer, numberd to 5, with a beautiful autograph.  Which is then ruined by having 4 grey swatches.  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say this again.  NO CARD NUMBERED UNDER 25 SHOULD HAVE SINGLE COLOR SWATCHES.  If the card can’t stand alone on the basis of the autograph, then give it a patch.  Make the damn card stand out here.

These, on the other hand, are absolutely beautiful.  I know they’re manu’d patches.  It just doesn’t matter.  The card fits the patch perfectly, and these look gorgeous.  Well done, Upper Deck.

The only thing I can say in UD’s defense here is that they didn’t use a card from Donruss, Topps, or another company they’re in competition with.  Still, this is piss-poor planning.

This is as close as I’ll come to a review of this, or any other ‘gamble’ product as it simply isn’t worth buying in a box for anyone other than the gamblers.  That being said, it’s not a horrible product, just you need to be aware of what you’re getting into with it.

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2009, The Year of Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Posted by houstoncollector on November 23, 2009

2009.

The season of shoulda been, woulda been, coulda been….

But wasn’t.

But for 2 fumbles, 2 missed extra points, and a stop, we’re possibly 9-1.

But we’re not.  We’re 5-5.  Staring down the barrel of Indy and Jacksonville, then a faint breather against Seattle and St. Louis, then Miami and New England.  We pretty much have to go 5-1 at worst here.  10-6 MIGHT get us into the playoffs, especially if we can beat Jacksonville to avoid the tiebreakers going directly to them.  9-7 won’t do it, I fear.

I make no excuses.  We’re 5-5 because we’re a 5-5 team.  Period.  We’re not a 9-1 team that just caught bad breaks.  We’re 5-5.   Live with it.  Time to prepare for Indy.

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