2009 was a pretty epic year for me, with good times had by all around me. Although there were some hard times in terms of the economy, in my personal life, things could not have been better. Although I hate doing posts like this, I feel that this year was a good enough adventure to put it in the blog just this once.
It all started with an explosion of awesome, as in the beginning of 2009 I had just gotten married, gotten promoted, and the blog and my collection were hitting their strides. The blog started 2009 at around 300 visits a day, and within weeks of the new year I was seeing record numbers at the site, and many people in the industry were even starting to take notice. In March, I had the first anniversary of the creation of SCU, and at that point I felt a keen sense of accomplishment knowing that I had kept it going for so long. I never expected it to go very far, and to have one year under my belt was crazy. I also started doing the blog bat arounds, which was meant to be a way to showcase the expansion of the card blogger network. Each time they happened, I found myself continually impressed with my collegues and their skills as bloggers. I think that due to the talents displayed on our sites, the card blogs have become just as much of a news source, if not more, for the informed collector base out there. Due to that fact, other sources have tried to keep up, and mostly failed in the process.
SCU Breaks also hit a chord this year with most of the people who participated, and the pulls we had were nothing short of fantastic. There was never any manufacturer involvement, just straight box breaks bought from the same places that everyone buys from. The highlight was probably the 2 box Prime Cuts break we did, with a Jim Thorpe/Joe Jackson pull and a ridiculous Cal Ripken Jr. pull. The recent 2009 Limited Football break was also amazing, netting us a low numbered Matt Ryan auto, a low numbered Percy Harvin auto, and a coveted Limited Letter auto as well. We also broke a few boxes of Upper Deck Exquisite (which we will do again), which were highlighted by a Chris Johnson Patch Auto, and a Walter Payton patch card.
Holy Hitter also organized the first monthly box breaking club, breaking everything from SP Authentic to National Treasures. One box pulled a Bob Waterfield cut auto, as well as a four color Trent Edwards patch auto, so you can see what I mean when I say that you should not pass up any of these opportunities in the future. He also managed an awesome Peyton Manning auto for the group as well as a sweet Bo Jackson, and a cut of Clyde "Bulldog" Turner and Sammy Baugh.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
2009 was a pretty epic year for me, with good times had by all around me. Although there were some hard times in terms of the economy, in my personal life, things could not have been better. Although I hate doing posts like this, I feel that this year was a good enough adventure to put it in the blog just this once.
A lot of people have asked me to do an article on displays, and I have always stayed away from it because of how awesome some of the creativity is in this part of the hobby. I have seen some of the coolest man-caves ever around the net, most of which make my "shelf" look like a complete cop out. I will talk about some suggesitions that I have, but when it comes down to it, organziation is always better than chaos.
First, for most of you, it would be impossible to display each and every card, so its important to have what most people refer to as their "personal collection" or "PC." Although I hate when someone uses the phrase to designate cards that are "OMG MOJO VHTG PC," the favorites of your collection should be recognized somewhere in your display. For me, I have taken my favorite cards for Adrian Peterson, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and now Percy Harvin, and used them to consitute most of the slots on my shelf. Because I have so many of their valuable cards, there isnt enough room for all of them, so I chose the ones that I thought looked the coolest, and also the top valued ones. I have each of them in magnetic snap cases, and I have yet to have a problem with that. Once my future son starts to crawl and put things in his mouth, im sure this will have to be adapted, but for now its more than adequate.
I didn’t buy these cards to sit in a box some place where they arent appreciated, and I needed some way to get them upright to be viewed with pleasure anytime I want. The way I did it was two fold, both of which I will explain here. First, because I don’t have the ability (or want) to use an entire room for display, I had to get a shelf that did what I wanted it to do. I went to IKEA and looked around, eventually deciding on a shelf that had eight cubes stacked in two rows of four. The cubes are big enough to hold a large amount of stuff, including a basketball in a lucite case. Its also short enough that I can display stuff on top, which was nice.
I set it up so that each cube slot holds one player, or in the case of Peterson two cubes, and then the bottom two cubes hold my boxes with non-displayed cards. To prop up the cards, I used ultra pro's single card stands which you can usually find at your local shop. They come in all sizes, and are absolutely great for making your display look professional. Just go into the shop, ask for card stands, and they should point you in the right direction. They come in packs of three or four, and are extremely cheap to buy a lot of. If you don’t have a shop by you, its easy to find them online, especially on eBay.
Over the years, I have collected quite a few autographed baseballs, so for my birthday this year, my wife bought me a display that holds twelve and can be hung like a painting. I picked my top 12, and hung the home plate shaped wood display above the shelf. She bought it on eBay in a cherry finish, it has a glass door that swings open, and can even be locked. I highly suggest it, because it looks amazing and is a great way to display your baseballs without all those annoying cubes.
The two toughest things to display were the mini footballs and mini helmets I have, and really, I only have makeshift explanations for what to do. For the football mini-helmets, ultra pro now makes a cube to hold them, but its just like the ball cube. I used that for my Peterson signed mini-helmet and still am pretty satisfied. For the Mauer helmet, when I first got it, I looked forever but couldn’t find anything. It doesn’t sit right because of the ear flap, and so I just left it in the box to display. The problem is that it collects dust, so I have to go in and clean it off every so often. Im sure there are designed cases out there, but I think it actually looks best still in the box. For the mini footballs, I have Percy Harvin, and a dual signed one of Stafford/Moreno, both of which are just miniaturized versions of the NFL signature footballs that you can buy at Dick's. The problem is that they don’t fit any normal dimensions of any case or cube, so I had to search forever for a case. I eventually found one on eBay that wasn’t too horrible looking, and have stuck with it. In all seriousness, ebay is the place to be for finding cases, as many hobbyists make their living creating holders for random things.
Other thing I had a tough time with finding a cheap option for were my two bats. I have game model bats signed by Kirby Puckett and Joe Mauer, and there werent many inexpensive ways to display them on the wall. For ten bucks, I found two things that hold the bats on the wall vertically, and they work great. They are hard to position without a level, so watch out, but they look cool when done right. The device is basically a wooden "C" that you hang from two nails, sized just big enough to hold a bat. The knob goes into the "C" and the rest of the bat hangs like it would on a vertical rack. Cheap and awesome, I highly recommend it.
For those of you who have a ton of stuff and a whole room in which to display it, I don’t think there is anything cooler than getting glass display cases. Although it can be expensive, there is nothing that looks better. Your local shop or card show dealers all have "guys" in the biz, so if you have built a relationship with them, they may help you get a good deal. If not, look on eBay first, but be prepared to build and be prepared to pay a lot in shipping. When you are done however, they look amazing. If you have cards to display, I would say to sway in a different direction, because who wants to feel like they are in a card stop when looking at their own stuff, right? I would say to get runners that have slots for your many cards that you can nail to the wall, or use the method I used above. How cool would it be to have a whole wall with cards done like wallpaper? Very cool. On the other hand, I think if you have a bunch of game used or signed authentic gear, the glass cases are awesome. They can really make a statement if you walk into a room and see cases filled with displays of your stuff.
What I forgot to mention throughout this whole thing is the importance of organization. Group your stuff together so that you don’t have random shit strewn about your displays. Group your cards, your helmets, and your photos all in one specific place, unless you have a lot from specific players. To have the room organized by player/team is very cool, but can get very cluttered very fast. If it looks like there is no space for new additions, there are probably too many items in that one specific display. Keep it minimalistic, as you will be just as overwhelmed as the people who come to appreciate it. Plus, it will be easier to maintain, as well.
Lastly, for stuff that isnt being displayed, keep it protected and in a non-damp non-sunlight exposed place. Sunlight is your enemy, so make sure that everything has protection. Fading is bad, as the colors will die a horrible death if left in the light day after day.
If you guys out there have rooms you would like to show, please send me them in .jpg format and ill post them on here if they are done well. My shelf will be up as soon as I have it finished from the move. I had to deconstruct everything, and not everything is back in its right place. Hope this answers all those emails I have gotten.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Here are the rosters as posted on NFL.com, there really arent many surprises. Glad to see Sid Rice, Peterson, Williams, and Allen make it, as they all deserved to go. Too bad Percy Harvin didnt get consideration as a KR, as he definitely deserved to make it as well. Usually they select a different returner than the players already selected, but Jackson has also done a great job for the Eagles. In total the Vikings got 8, which looks to be the highest of the NFC, but I didnt go that far into it.
Matt and his team "(Insert Witty Name)" is this year's champ, knocking off a few of the top teams on his way to the title. Matt has won a gift certificate to Blowout Cards (everyone chipped in money), to buy whatever he wants, hopefully he pulls something nice from the box he decides on. He also gets first dibs at a spot next year, and I can guarantee you that if SCU is around, we will do this again.
Well, 2009 Contenders has hit eBay, and that means that we finally get to see how bad this could possibly be. For those of you who have not followed along, Panini has touted through the whole thing that this set will feature on card autos, but then we find out that only a portion of the tickets are on card. The rest of the cards are stickers, and from what I have seen on facebook from the on card stuff, I think I actually prefer the stickers. The rest of the autos are bubbly and barely seen on the over crowded card, and I cannot believe that people are trying to get in on this product right at the beginning.
These new tickets feature a design that is worse than 2008's visual abortion, something I didn’t think was possible, and the autographs are mildly visible to hardly visible. I have no idea why you would even try on card autos on a foilboard surface, as the reflective coating will highlight every miserable defect of the bubbly signature. They also switched to a horizontal orientation that did nothing but give them a huge space to write 2009 ROOKIE in humoungous letters. I always like when a painted player is featured on a card, but why would you cover up part of the artwork with a font that takes away from the general design? That doesn’t make sense. Plus, if you really want to do well, how about just ditching the foilboard all together and giving us a card that doesn’t blind us in the sunlight.
I will give Panini their due for not rehashing the design, and for trying to up the on card content, but when your cards go from nice in 1998-2007 to awful, those smiles turn to scowls. Ive put together a retrospective here, and you can see what I mean when I say the design has tanked.
The Vikings had one goal going into Monday night, and that was to beat a struggling Bears team that they had destroyed once already that season. Of course, as every Vikings fan expected, they fucked it up, and now the two seed is out of their hands. Thankfully, they are going to be playing a bruised and beaten Giants team in the dome next week, a place where they have yet to lose this season, simultaneously watching the scoreboard to see if Dallas can beat Philadelphia. In a perfect world for us, the Eagles lose to the Cowboys, the Giants go down a la this past weekend, and Wild Card Weekend becomes R and R weekend.
Personally, I think that after the dismal first half, the Vikings did not deserve to win Monday’s game. The Bears played them like a fiddle from the beginning, running up and down the field and preventing anything from materializing on defense. Peterson was no where to be seen, Favre was floundering, and the scoreboard had a nice goose egg for the Vikings at the half. In true Favrian fashion, Minnesota storms back, scores 17 unanswered points and tied it up late in the fourth. At 23-23 with less than five minutes to go, Danieal Manning returns the ensuing kickoff into Vikings territory, and Cutler engineers a score two plays later. This is where it gets interesting, because in the next couple of drives, the Vikings should have ended up “game over” on a few separate occasions instead of forcing OT.
First, after the kickoff, a holding penalty and a sack puts them at 2nd and 20 from deep in their own end. Sure enough, they get a first down on a long pass play and short run. Second, Favre overthrows Percy Harvin while on their way to a touchdown, and Zachary Bowman drops a tipped pass that was in his hands. Instead of a game ending interception with less than a minute on the clock, the Vikings score on a sweet touch pass to Sidney Rice in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. Third, on the first drive of overtime, the Bears’ MVP of the game, Devin Aromashodu, sets them up with a field goal from inside the 30, but Robbie Gould could not seal the deal. Luckily for the Bears, the fourth time is a charm, and after a crippling Adrian Peterson fumble, Aromashodu catches the game winner with Favre watching helplessly from the sidelines.
Regardless of Peterson’s fumble, or Antoine Winfield’s poor decision to underestimate the player of the game, the loss was eerily reminiscent of the Saints overtime loss to 2-12 Tampa Bay. Both losses came to bad teams that should have been killed, and both losses could have very large playoff implications. The Vikings no longer control their own destiny to lock up the two seed in the NFC, and it has become probable that 40 year old Brett Favre will have two extra games to play in the 2009 season. Instead of sitting out for week 17 and resting up for the playoffs, he will have to play full speed ahead for the game against a team that has nothing to play for. It could also add in a new hurdle for the week after, where the Vikings now have to play instead of having the bye. For an aging body that has been beaten mercilessly over the past month, it could spell disaster for a team that once looked infallible.
As a lifelong Vikings fan, I have trained my mind to expect the worst in every situation. However, this time, having Favre is definitely better than not having him. I guarantee you that the 2007 and the 2008 Vikings never would have even made it to overtime last night, or have been in a position where the game actually mattered as much as it did. That is where Favre makes his magic happen, and I am eager to see what he has up his sleeve come next week and beyond. Although I doubt the Vikings have a Super Bowl run in them without linebacker EJ Henderson, I do think they have enough gas to make it to the second or third round of the playoffs. I think the Eagles have a great shot at beating the Cowboys to win the number two seed, and at this point its almost better that they do. That way the Vikings don’t have the time to think about what could have been, and they wont go soft watching others bang it out on Wild Card Weekend.
As we saw this week, anything can happen any given Sunday in the NFL, and maybe that “anything” spells a few more victories for the Vikings. Maybe that anything also means that Devin Aromashodu gets a flat tire on his way to the stadium, and gets stuck on the side of the road in 10 degree weather for week 17 as “payback” for his ridiculous game.
It could happen, right?
Monday, December 28, 2009
If you are on Youtube and watching card videos, you are familiar with ARPlatinum. Although a controversial figure in the hobby, he has run more group breaks on the 'tube than many of the other users combined. He breaks everything from Baseball to Hockey, and his followers are loyal due to the amazing pulls he has had.
EDIT: Auction can be found here.
This card was posted on Blowout's Twitter feed earlier today. I am in total shock as to the content of the card, but more importantly what someone (possibly the seller) did to this card. Take a look at the auction first, as the seller sure did a major hype job in the description -rightfully so.
We are one week away from the end of the season and the AFC playoff picture is starting to look like a new york city street during rush hour. There werent many stories worth talking about from the rookies this week, but there sure were a bunch of really good games. Next week is going to mean a lot for more than a fair share of the ROY candidates' teams, and you can bet that it is going to be a bloodbath.
Harvin plays tonight against the Bears in THE most important game of the season. The Vikings need to get the number 2 seed or higher, or I am going to say that they may be out in the first round of the playoffs after a very good season. Harvin needs to step up his game after last week's disaster, and im not sure how he will do in the freezing cold weather of soldier field. I don’t think he played many games like this in college, and even though Favre has LOTS of experience, Harvin may fall flat on his face.
Moreno had a key touchdown against the Eagles, but they still lost. After starting 6-0 the Broncos do not control their own destiny anymore, and they may be on the outside looking in if the Jets and Ravens both win next week. Moreno did not have a good enough game to have the TD offset, but thanks to the TD they actually had a chance to win. He was really outshined by Jeremy Maclin and his late game heroics, but I will say that Maclin still has little chance of overcoming what Moreno has done this season.
Another game, another TD for Beanie and I think he may be in a virtual tie with Moreno for second place on the ROY ballot. I would say that tie goes to the team who makes the playoffs, so this is going to be Beanie's slot. He has had a wonderful second half of the year, averaging over four yards per carry and almost one TD per game. For a rookie, that is pretty impressive. He has 7 TDs, but did not have a good enough start to the season to overcome Harvin at this point. We will see after tonight if Harvin drops past his current slot.
Collie had 94 yards in the loss to the Jets, and most of it came before they pulled the starters. Collie has truly put up one of the most surprising seasons of any rookie, but when you have Peyton Manning throwing the ball 40-50 times a game, he will get some looks as Wayne and Garcon draw the coverage away. Either way, Collie deserves some attention and he really has gotten nothing.
Nicks had the same kind of game as the Giants offense did, only putting up nine points on a suddenly stingy Carolina defense. Nicks is still in the hunt, but the Giants are not, so he will need a record game to have any consideration.
He had a good game in a slug it out win over the Ravens, with over 80 yards, but he didn’t really give any additional reasons why he should be considered over the people at the top of the list.
Freeman has no chance of winning rookie of the year, but holy shit, I cannot believe the Bucs beat the Saints. A team with 12 losses hasn’t beat a team with 13 wins in a long, long time, and Freeman has Cadillac Williams to thank for his second improbable victory this year. In their three wins, the Bucs have beat both the Packers and the Saints, two playoff teams. I guess this goes to show that any given Sunday truly is any given Sunday.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Rankings
1. Percy Harvin - Needs a good game not just for this award but for his slumping team (LW - 1)
2. Knowshon Moreno - Had a mediocre game in a loss with major playoff implications (LW - 2)
2. Beanie Wells - Another game with a TD makes four in a row (LW - 3)
4. Austin Collie - Had a good game though the Colts threw in the towel (LW - 4)
5. Hakeem Nicks - Crappy game for the Giants, but deserves consideration (LW - 5)
5. Mike Wallace - Good game in a win (LW - 5)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
For some reason, over the last year, cut autographs have gone from awesome pull to fucking ridiculous pieces of shit. When I mean fucking ridiculous pieces of shit, I mean that some of them dont break five dollars. Its not necessarily due to lack of rarity, but that is definitely a factor. I think its just as much a testament to the awful and disgusting designs that have overtaken the cut auto market.
This is a cut auto out Panini's recent release of 2009 Limited. In previous years, Limited cuts have looked like this, this and even this. Not necessarily that bad, right? Then we have this:
No more picture, looks like a soccer ball, done for the sake of doing it. At least there is a team logo and the colors are based on the team's. Since Panini puts fucking rainbow foil on everything, this card was not spared, and good lord is it bad. Unfortunately, this is the best of recent cards, and yes, it gets worse.
Upper Deck is usually thought of as the innovator and perfector of the cut auto. Their Legendary Cuts baseball product has always been a collector favorite. Recently in UD Black, all of that history went out the window so quickly that my head spun as I was projectile vomiting. Now, with newly painted walls, feast your eyes on this abomination:
No picture, odd looking hand numbering, and a weirdly shaped window that does nothing to help the cause. Just awful. For a set that looked as good as black did, there is no reason to include cards like this. I think this is the quintessential card to show that companies are now using cuts as a way to lure collectors in while delivering very little. Sad.
Triple Threads is one of my least favorite products of all time, without question. However, even I could not believe my eyes when I saw this next card. It takes the whole cut autograph concept and just sets it aflame. Its so bad that you may want to take any children out of the room before continuing.
I dont know where to start. First off, the card is printed on bright blue neon foil. Im sure Vince Lombardi would have been proud. Second, those "relics" are from seats of the old Packers' stadium, and I am not sure why this card even needed "relics" in the first place. Fucking stupid. Lastly, we have the crown jewel, the cut itself, and I cant even find a way in my mind to get the card the way it turned out. Obviously this is a check, but they mangled it so badly that you cant even call this his autograph anymore.
Seriously, if this is what we are forced to endure with cuts over the next few years, I want them gone. This has gotten to a point of parody, and I am not pleased that this is the direction things are headed. At least pay the money to put a picture on there, make the cards rarer, and dont use them in every fucking set. All three companies are such horrible offenders of this crime, that hopefully there is still time to make it back to the way things used to be. Wow.
Chris Johnson is 128 yards away from a barrier that only five other players have reached. This 2000 yard club is tough to become a part of, and it includes names like Sanders and Dickerson. Players like Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Jim Brown, who are generally thought of as the greatest running backs of all time, never got to the amazing mark Johnson is approaching. The question I want to look at isnt whether or not he will get there, but what will happen to his cards when he does.
In my opinion, a lot of his value is derived from his production, but it isnt really where it should be. That is the result of having a give up auto as he does, in addition to the team he plays for. Considering that he is a dynamic player, he should have prices in the stratosphere, but because his auto looks like someone said "initial here, here and here" people arent willing to pay the prices that they normally would for someone like Adrian Peterson. Johnson deserves it at this point, dont get me wrong, but when you cant even bother to sign the cards for the fans, the collectors are not going to give as much attention.
When he does break the 2000 yard mark, he might have a large spike, but when the year starts next year, things still may not be at the top of the spectrum where he left them unless he continues to shine. Look at Jamal Lewis, he ran for 2000 yards with Baltimore, but after seasons of limited production, his values have dropped. Having a great season or two does not make a career, though with Johnson, I would think he is more probable to have a better go at it than Lewis. Because Running Backs are now thrown into games in pairs or even committees, the punishment Johnson will receive is much less than someone like Lewis.
Because he will be a better player, barring injury, Johnson's cards should maintain much more of their expected value over a longer period of time. Does this mean you should hold rather than sell? Hell no. I would have an auction that ends right after the game next week for all of your Johnson cards, as he is pretty much assured to get close against Seattle next week. At that point, you will have a good shot at getting top prices even if he falls just short. My shadowbox auto and dual auto with Kevin Smith will be up for sure, though im not sure how much they will get. Hopefully a lot.
Even if Johnson doesnt get there, he has sure put on a show. I cannot wait to see what he will do next week, as it will be quite a spectacle if he does reach 2000 yards. Im even more excited to see if he will get close again next year, as he is truly an exciting player. Ill tell you one thing, if he does get there, his Offensive Line is going to get a nice gift for New Years care of their new favorite player.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I have mentioned a few times that innovation is the one thing that has fallen by the wayside as the industry has plowed forward. These cards from 2005 Exquisite were only produced once and I think are some of the coolest ideas for a card in a long, long time. They feature signed, game used pieces of shoulder pads and helmets, and they are VERY rare. The idea of using signed equipment had never been done before and has yet to be repeated, much to my dismay. The checklist was also pretty good to boot, but the concept was the best of all. The problem was that these were some of the most difficult and expensive cards to produce in the history of the modern era, which left this idea on the cutting room floor for 2006.
A notice to Topps and Panini: these cards feature HUGE windows for the signature equipment, yet still have enough room for a full size player picture and a nice and simple design. If only these would start coming back, I would be first in line.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Its been a long and convoluted love affair between Chrome and I, lasting over a decade. Since 1998, I have always chased the Chrome cards of my favorite players, even when I stopped collecting cards. Based on emails I have received from many of the other people in this hobby, they feel the same way. The parts of Chrome I always loved the most were the refractors, as the chromium technology made rainbow foil look like wrapping paper on other products. These cards were everything they were hyped up to be, and I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the refractor is quite possible the best tech feature in the modern card.
In fact, chrome rookies and refractors are possibly the only non-numbered card to still hold value in this hobby. It is very rare that a non-auto, non-numbered card has any value what-so-ever, but the refractor has bucked this trend since its inception in 1993 finest baseball. This also means that the low numbered colored refractors are worth even more, and the Red refractors from both Topps and Bowman chrome have been known to crack 100 bucks without an auto. Think about it, look at all the other low numbered parallels that are present in just about every set. Will any of them frequently draw big bucks without a jersey, patch, or auto? Rarely if any will have that power.
Of course, 2009 is the final year for Chrome in football, and I am very sad to see it go. I will always have a special spot in my heart if it comes back, but for now, this is the end. Although I havent ever had much success with pulls out of either product, I think the singles are always going to be part of my collection. I was lucky enough to pull a coveted red refractor auto last week, and I was happy to finally have the feeling of pulling something like that. However, knowing that those kind of singles will not be available for the forseeable future makes me pretty angry that Topps is out of football. I am very glad to see the end of Triple Threads and Sterling (both kinds), yet I cant help but think that I would be willing to put up with those fluffy turds if I could have another shot at some chrome cards of the 2010 rookie class.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I love game used memorabilia, and gameuseduniverse.com is by far the most interesting place to go read about that aspect of the hobby. Since most of the collectors on this site are so knowledgable, there are some great threads to read about their experiences with forgeries as well as their favorites from their collection.
I have already documented countless times the number of fake cards that are out there. They can range from cards with fake patches, trimmed vintage, or even the fake topps rookie premieres that have sprung up. This one is possibly one of the most unusual that I have seen in a long, long time. It has really made me wonder how it happened, or what the circumstances of the cards are, because I am actually shocked that this is going down.
First, some background on this situation. Back in 1997 the UD legends set was released to major fanfare, mainly due to its simple, yet awesome design, and on card signatures of many of the game's true giants of the gridiron. In fact, this set has become so popular over the years, that boxes now sell for a ton, and UD revisited it with an 08 Ultimate Collection update set. The crown jewel of this product has always been Walter Payton, and for most Payton collectors, its has never been challenged as Payton's best autograph card.
Then we have these cards, which I cannot quite tell what the fuck is going on. First off, the autograph is WAAAAAY off, not even close to the ones I know to be real. Yet, despite having seemingly fake autographs, the cards themselves look real. The foil logo is there, the front and back seem correct, with the signature being the only part of these cards that I am questioning. Then I saw that they seem to be cut weird, that there is a diagonal slant to the bottom part of the card, though that may just be my eye looking for something wrong. These are also from two DIFFERENT sellers with a similar looking auto, which raises more questions in my mind. Did the second guy buy one, and now realizes its fake? If the card is fake, how did they do the back hologram and the foil on the front? Why are the ink colors different? Im stumped.
There are a few explanations that I have come up with, however.
1. Payton signed some of the cards differently or these were problem cards that may not have made it into packs because of the awful signature - (very unlikely)
2. The signature on these cards faded, so this idiot wiped the auto off and horribly resigned it to make it look better - (More likely)
3. Upper Deck accidentally included a few cards that werent signed in packs (as has been known to happen), the seller bought or pulled them and signed the signature himself - (very unlikely)
4. Someone at UD leaked a few unsigned cards from the stock room and this guy finished the job - (possible)
5. The seller faked both the cards and the autos - (less likely, but more likely than the other ones)
7. The card is legit?
Im curious to find out what Upper Deck has to say because these auctions need to be pulled right away if they are fake. Of course, if you are going to spend 1200 on a Payton legends, you better make sure its real. I have always stood by the MO that you should never take a chance when it isnt necessary. Why not just buy the real one rather than taking a chance on one that has some questions? Doesn’t make sense to me. Saving money isnt THAT important on a card like this.
As always, watch your ass, and you will be fine.
h/t - FCB
EDIT: The seller came on to the FCB forums and explained that he had taken down the auctions. PSA quick opinion on these cards was "likely not genuine" and it looks like the seller was not the guy who had faked them.
Monday, December 21, 2009
We all know that production is the forefront of where value is determined in this hobby. If you produce, your cards will be valuable, so much so that if you producED at some point, they will still hold some value even if you are not producing now. However, there are a few things that can add to that value, most of which don’t necessarily stem from long term production, and some of them are pretty nuts.
Aside from sustained production, the main contributing value add on is dominance. If a player is good to the point where they are dominating the league, value jumps into the stratosphere. Look at Jordan, LeBron, Peterson, Tiger, Pujols, they are all incredible players that dominate the games they play, and are all the highest value in their sports. These guys have added that wow factor to their production, and they have achieved more in the hobby than the guys who just have that long period of sustained production.
Piggybacking on dominance, setting records has a lot to do with value. Look at what happened to Favre's cards when he set the TD record, it was very similar to what happened to Tom Brady's cards when he set the single season record. Peterson set the NFL single game rushing record in his ROOKIE season, and his cards almost became un-buyable because of the cost at that point. Its very comparable to things like the 500 home run/3000 hit club in baseball, as those "records" usually put you in a higher value class.
Another more interesting factor in value is attitude, both good and bad. The more flamboyant you are, the more your cards are worth, with a few exceptions. Its why people like Chad Ochocinco are worth more than people like Reggie Wayne - he is always in the news cycle at the beginning of the week, and the end of the week. This drives him to the forefront of people's mind when they buy, thus putting him in a higher tier. In fact, I believe his TD dances alone have raised his value 5-10% minimum. That’s the kind of effect a certain attitude can have on someone's cards.
It does work both ways, however, as people like Terrell Owens and Randy Moss have definitely gone completely the other direction. For both, their attitudes have been so poor in the past that card companies have pretty much stopped approaching them for autographs. Not because they don’t want them in the sets, but because the cost of dealing with them and the opportunity cost of maintaining a relationship with someone like that is very high. It goes to show that having fun will always net you more than complaining in any sport.
If you have production, dominance, attitude and you do it for a long time, you are going to end up in the HOF. Being in the hall adds that much more on top of everything, more importantly if the player is older and playing baseball. Even some of the least well known hall of fame baseball players are regularly sought by collectors, and this actually drives more of the business than most of the other factors. The HOF is like a stamp on your permanent record, and unless you kill someone or get arrested (or both in OJ's case), value will always be had.
In football and baseball, the position a player has on the team can also be a factor. In football, unless they play running back, quarterback or wide receiver, a guy is rarely going to be worth anything. In baseball, the corners, the OF, and the shortstops carry more value than a second baseman for instance, even many dominating pitchers don’t achieve much.
Lastly, and sometimes most importantly, production in your rookie year can do more for you than anything else. Players like LeBron, Derek Rose, Peterson, Matt Ryan, Rick Porcello, and others all had amazing rookie seasons, and therefore ignited a lot of people prospecting their futures. If you can get the prospectors on board, and you deliver for a few years after, things can get crazy. Its like a compounding of the different x factors, all of which are then exponentially exacerbated by a great rookie campaign. If a guy doesn’t perform as a rookie, it can take years before people in the hobby notice his production or even dominance. Because the hobby's success usually depends on rookie cards, rookie performance is that much more important.
In most cases, value is never going to be a formula, and that’s why it is so dynamic. Guides try to capture a fraction of that, and it’s the biggest reason they fail miserably. For something that changes as much as hobby prices do, there is little any static number can show. This is mainly because of how many of the above factors can change week to week, and this is only a short list. Because each collector values certain characteristics over others, prices can go every which way. In the end, its up to us to determine what we are willing to pay, and its up to the companies to provide the products that we love. It can be a vicious cycle, but ill take it.
Well, its been a long week for me, especially with the Vikings losing in epic fashion and both of my fantasy teams losing. I put up 134 points in one league and still lost, so you know the gods are not smiling upon you when that happens. Rather than going through and focusing on every rookie that plays, Im going to address the ROY candidates and some key others in the interest of time.
The whole Vikings offense struggled last night, and even though they secured a division title, they showed that they are also able to fall flat on their face. That is two Sunday night games with two losses, and after that horrid performance by the offensive line against Peppers, nothing is guaranteed anymore. Hell, there is still a chance they may not even win the number 2 seed. Harvin only caught 1 pass after missing the whole weeks worth of practice, so there was nothing of a surprise there. Hopefully the migranes are put away for now, and he wont have to miss any more time.
Like the Vikings, the Broncos put up a stinky loss to the Raiders, even losing to Jamarcus Russell in the final seconds. Moreno had 81 total yards, but didn’t really do anything spectacular. His team really didn’t do anything spectacular either, and therefore the ROY rankings really didn’t move all that much.
Wells had his best game of the year against the Lions, but I guess that should be expected. He ran for 110 yards, and a score, and did a pretty good job of setting up a win with a late 30 yard scamper. Wells has moved himself into to the ROY mix with his past two games, it will be interesting to see what will come of the rest of his season.
Another TD for this success story puts his total at 7 for the year. That puts him ahead of Harvin and Nicks for top receiving TD total even though Harvin still has the lead with 8 total TDs. I think he has had a ridiculous year based on expectations, though it doesn’t hurt to have the best in the game throwing you the ball.
With pretty much everyone on the list laying an egg, Wallace ended up with a great game. He caught two TDs on two passes, including the game winner against Green Bay in the closing seconds. Although he only caught two passes, he came away with 79 yards, and catapulted himself ahead of the two QBs who had shitty days.
Did not play - he has pretty much removed himself from the discussion.
Another bad game, another hard loss when the Jets should have won. Sanchez had 226 yards, a TD and 3 picks again, all of which add to his epic total of 20. Sanchez is playing like a rookie QB usually plays, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, but either way, that strong start was just that, a strong start. He is pretty much done with ROY talk as well.
Again freeman impresses by leading the 2-12 Bucs to win number 2 against the Seahawks. His two TDs were screen passes, but they still count regardless, so he deserves mention this week. He has surprisingly made the most of his games he has played, beating two teams that have much better records than Tampa Bay.
Rookie of the Year Rankings
1. Percy Harvin - a bad game, but body of work is still best. (LW - 1)
2. Knowshon Moreno - a mediocre game, but should rebound next week. (LW - 2)
3. Beanie Wells - great game, sets up a possible sprint to the finish with top three (LW - NR)
4. Austin Collie - had another TD, leads rookies with 7 receiving TDs. (LW - NR)
5. Hakeem Nicks - if he plays well tonight, could be higher come next week. (LW - 5)
5. Mike Wallace - a game winner gets you on this list (LW - NR)
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Most of you are familiar with Submarine Shane from his work with Mario over on Wax Heaven, and now he will have a similar place here on SCU. For those of you who havent seen his previous exploits, Shane loves breaking boxes, and busts just about every product that is released. He has offered his reports as an informative look into what people actually get when they go to the shop and bust wax off the shelf.
This past week, he was able to visit his local shop with the hopes of busting some of the new products, coming away with two high dollar breaks. For the first one, although he is a professed triple threads hater, he said he bought two boxes to try his luck and see what he could pull. He had some nice luck with one of his boxes, but the other had the normal triple threads content. In his words, "I opened those and wasn’t too impressed."
Here are the scans:
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
In terms of normal Triple Threads ideals, the Stafford is a good pull, but even in this case, I wouldnt touch it with someone else's ten foot pole. As I said before, spelling out "Prime" in diecut windows is absolutely the dumbest thing I have ever seen. When the "I" is the same size as the player picture, and the card looks like that, I cant believe people actually like this product. The other cards are the typical two dollar hits you usually get from a box, and overall, Shane took a bath on these boxes.
Shane also revisited an old favorite, 2006 National Treasures, with the hopes of leaving with something more than a story.
Here are the results:
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
The Theismann/Riggins card is probably the best pull, though the Roethlisberger logo /10 is a good one too. I would say this is a pretty below average box, though some of the cards like the Montana /25 are ones that I wouldnt mind having. Nothing spectacular, but at least its better looking than the Topps abortion from above.
Shane describes his day as, "I think it would be safe to say that I should have opened the Treasures first and forgot about the Triple Threads," and I wholeheartedly agree. Obviously.
Check back periodically, as I believe this is a pretty important service Shane is providing to the readers here at the site. Instead of relying on adver-breaks from companies that send their boxes out, here are actual breaks from boxes people buy every day.
Thanks again to Shane for offering to do this.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thanks to Aaron for sending this one in, I couldnt help but bust out laughing when I saw it.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Its very rare that I pull anything when buying loose packs. Its rarer that I pull anything to even recoup half the value of what I buy. Today was not one of those days.
Another year, another tragedy for the NFL. Just a horrible situation for everyone involved, no doubt about it. Chris Henry may have been a troubled and often disparraged receiver for the Bengals, but he was also a father of three kids that are now going to grow up without a father. Unfortunately, it’s the third time this has happened in the last few years, first with Sean Taylor, second with Steve McNair, now again with Henry. I don’t want to focus on their deaths, or even talk about potential team implications. I do want to talk about what happens in the market when someone dies, and my comments on the different schools of thought.
We were talking on Twitter this morning about how the frenzy on eBay begins each time someone dies, both expectedly or unexpectedly. Sellers begin posting as many cards as they can to try to satiate the new demand for a player's cards and signature, many starting right after the news breaks. Its understood that prices will jump, but I still havent decided what the practice actually says about the sensitivity of the issue. These sellers have already gained a new moniker for their tendencies, eBay Vultures, as they hover over the dead to collect as much money as possible.
First off, I see how people could be offended, especially when a person dies suddenly. These sellers are trying to cash in on a dead person's tragedy, and that isnt always going to be something that people like. The school of thought is that these people should wait for a more acceptable timeframe before dumping their stash, but I am not sure if that is necessarily something I think is required.
Lets take other situations as an analogy. Any time someone of stature dies, people will inevitably try to cash in. T-shirts, multi-million dollar concerts and funerals, tribute albums, movies, etc. Its all a huge money making venture, and most of the time it’s a million times more public and in your face. With this, it’s a few hundred people selling their stuff they have collected. Considering that the price is higher than it ever will be, consumerism says that this when they need to sell to attain the highest ROI.
Rob from VOTC stated on his Twitter that he didn’t think it was in good taste to produce a card like the Camelot Triple Threads card created after Ted Kennedy's unfortunate death. I disagree, even though I dislike the product it came from. I think that if the card spelled out "Cancer" or some thing horrible like that, it would be one thing, but to commemorate one of the most popular times in our nation's history, is another. The Kennedys are an American institution, and I think they had every right to pay tribute.
Of course there will always be good taste and bad taste in every situation, and the auctions for Chris Henry's stuff will definitely fall under that fact. But that doesn’t mean that it is particularly wrong to sell while demand is high. Its an inevitability regardless of the person, and I think to provide that service to the fans by selling, is not a bad thing. If people want it, someone should sell it, and this is just one of those situations.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I have always criticized the use of printing plates in a high end product. They are ugly, they are worthless to many people, and most of all, they are still considered to be 1/1s that really arent 1/1s. Basically if you are producing a base product, and you want to include printing plates for shits and giggles, fine. But if you expect me to spend more than 100 dollars a box for this piece of shit that you call a case hit, you gotta be fucking kidding me.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Check this auction out, brought to my attention by the guys over on FCB. Its basically a very similar situation to the fake Pujols card that I posted on earlier, only this time, the seller just re-signed the card in a different colored ink.
Though a huge checklist disappointment, last year's Mayo was one of two 2008 Topps football sets to feature on card autos. This year, they switched to the usual ugly ass stickers, and at the same time, allowed stuff like this to run rampant.
Like the Pujols, the guy took his cheaper LeSean McCoy blue auto that wasnt numbered, wiped off the auto with rubbing alcohol, and re-signed the card with red ink to signify a card numbered to 10. Because Topps was stupid enough to not foil number these cards, someone got screwed. Seriously, they have almost as many numbered parallels in their products as Panini, and yet the Rookie Premieres and cards like these continue to go unnumbered for some god forsaken reason.
On another, equally stupid note, who the fuck thinks that this card is real? Are people THAT fucking stupid? I mean, this one isnt even close. Then again, there are people who still pay 175 dollars for those ridiculous fake rookie premieres, so I guess Im not surprised.
Despite my feelings on the awful abomination that is Triple Threads baseball, there is a new scam that has been making its way around eBay. Basically, a scammer pulls one of about ten thousand shitty cards from the product, and they get very angry with their wasted money/life. Then, they take out their rubbing alcohol, wipe off the autograph of the crappy player, and re-write an auto of a good player. They call it an "error," leading uniformed people to buy it thinking its real, and that Topps made the mistake of putting the wrong sticker on the card.
In this example brought to my attention by Jeff from New Card Smell (a great blog - go check it out), this person has altered a Blake DeWitt to look like an error of Albert Pujols' sticker on the card. As you can see, the auto is a bag of fail, and the guy's other auctions are filled with other obvious fakes.
This has been going on for a very long time, but usually people are smart enough to avoid any purchases. Regardless of how obvious it looks, it still bears repeating to those of you who see them.
Remember, in all cases, check a sellers' previous auctions before bidding on a card you find suspect in any way. Usually these arent isolated incidents, and the sellers have a history of horrible fakes. Also, if a card has a red flag, just walk away. You cant get hurt if you don’t buy.
Monday, December 14, 2009
We are getting very close to the end of the year, especially now that some of our MVPs may start to sit out some of the games as their teams shore up home field for the playoffs. I think there is no real clear cut favorite, but quite a few players that do have the chops to be considered. Here is my list:
Its hard to argue with 13-0, very hard, only this year there are two teams! Who would have fucking guessed that multiple teams would be knocking on the door of Patriots and Dolphins territory? Regardless of record, Manning has had a phenomenal season, and there is a good argument that he is having a better year than Brees. The difference is that Manning has the AFC up against him and Brees has the NFC. I see the NFC as stronger this year, though teams like the Packers and Eagles have 4 losses on their record. Manning, despite playing in the AFC, has shown that he is worthy of our consideration due to his abnormally high QB rating (a weird stat), TD passes, and yards per completion, though the record speaks for most of it.
Over the last 3 years, Brees has redefined the QB position. He throws TD after TD after TD, and rarely gives up a pick. His team is also the other 13-0 contender, and I actually believe he means just as much to the Saints success as Manning to his team's. Brees leads the league in Passer rating, TDs, and just about every category, therefore making him the favorite, and if the Saints stay undefeated as it now looks like they will, who knows if there is a discussion even. The problem is that Brees and the Saints have come EXTREMELY close to losing each of the last two weeks to teams they should destroy, so things are maybe not as peachy in Saints land as once expected.
I wish Johnson could get some type of award this year, because he is so ridiculous in his stats for 2009. Im actually sure if the Titans were 9-4, his contributions would be more looked upon as an MVP, but like baseball, Wins in a team sport is all that matters. I will say this, without Johnson, the Titans are 1-12, so to say they have done as much as they have is a testament to his contributions to his team. So far, Johnson leads the league in YPC, Yards, gains over 40, gains over 20, and a bunch of other stuff, all while on his way to a possible 1900 yard season. Pretty nuts.
I would have been laughed off the internet if I said Favre was going to be in this position come December. Funny enough, he is here and actually healthy, which is all the better for the NFC north leading Vikings. I believe without Favre, the Vikings are a third place team, but he wont even come close to MVP consideration as long as Brees and Manning are doing what they have done. Favre's only argument is that he is doing all of this at 40 years of age, and to think that he only has 6 picks this whole year is crazy. If you look back to what he has done before, this is truly a great year for him, more so than many of his glory days with the Green and Gold.
Obviously, the MVP is going to come down to the last few games, and if Manning is pulled for rest, it could decide it. I still think Favre has a chance if the Saints lose a few of their remaining games, though I doubt that is likely at this point. I would think that as things draw to a close, Brees is probably going to run away with it, deservedly so, but Im not sure if that will translate into January. Remember, the MVP only means so much, and I guarantee you that every one of those players would like a playoff win more than some hardware.
I don’t really have much on the rookie front this week due to a number of injuries as well as a few that just didn’t perform. To be honest, the only rookies worth talking about were Hakeem Nicks and Austin Collie, which was disappointing, but we can look forward to next week when the playoff picture comes more into focus. Harvin was out with Migraines this week, and Sanchez may be back with the team as well. Stafford is still hurting from the shoulder injury he had, and Freeman might as well have been injured this week.
At this point I don’t think there is much Moreno, Sanchez or Stafford can do to overcome Harvin's case for rookie of the year, unless some how he loses the division title for the Vikings in the last game or something. On the defensive side, Brian Cushing is pretty much wrecking people on a weekly basis, so right now, I don’t think there is any question there either.
Its too bad that there isnt a second year player of the year award because Chris Johnson deserves some sort of hardware for his season. Manning or Brees will win MVP, but holy crap, Johnson has been ridiculous.
Lastly, it also looks as if the Steelers are not going to make the playoffs. That is pretty shocking considering how much of a favorite they have been since the beginning. However, when you lose to the Bengals (twice), the Raiders, the Browns and the Chiefs, maybe you need to rethink some strategies. That means a new champ this year, so I am even more excited than normal. The Vikings proved they are ready to play on the big time this week against cincy, even without Harvin and Tyrell Johnson in their weak secondary. After being torched by Arizona, im not sure if they can play against a team like New Orleans or Indy, but I guess we will see.