Monday, September 22, 2014

Contest #11 Results

The contest is over and all the entries have been accounted for and now let's see who has won this autograph photo of Matt Kemp who happens to be one of the hottest players in baseball since the All Star break. I also have picked out 7 cards in addition to the photo. Thank you to everyone that participated in the contest. I tried a little something different this time by doing "where is Matthew" while I was in Texas a couple weeks ago. Didn't want the same old some old comment and retweet entries even though those options were still included. I will try to figure out something else for the next contest.

As usual Jesse had the most entries with a total of 21 but Aus came in second with a total of 15. Alex and Greg came in next with 9 and 6 respectively. Four others had one entry each but all it takes is one as Jesse has been top dog before pertaining to entries but did not come out the winner.

I put all the names in and hit the random button 27 times in honor of Matt Kemp. Here are the results :

Sorry for the small font but I wanted to get the whole list and the time stamp on one shot but as everyone can see Jesse climbed the mountain and came out on top. Congrats to him as he has won the spiffy autograph photo of Matt Kemp and some cards. Thank you once again to everyone that joined in and I will probably run the next contest sometime in the next couple of weeks. Till then, everyone have a great day.

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Chrome : Alexander Guerrero Base Autograph Black Refractor Parallel ( 80 / 100 )

Mmm... black parallel cards.

As stated in previous posts I will be concentrating on blue and black parallels of the Dodgers moving forward. Alex here is featured in 2014 Topps Chrome release and included with his rookie cards he has these autograph rookie cards in various colors. Black and blue are on my hit list and I was on the hunt.

Book value was just released and this particular card comes in at $40 which to me seems high for a 27 year old rookie that hasn't done much on the major league level. Still wanted the card though. Only 100 copies of this colored parallel and not too many to pick from on the bay but once again luck was on my side as this card's auction had minimal action on it and when the final day arrived the price was still highly reasonable. Put my bid in and even though it was driven up a tad in the waning seconds I came out on top and the card was mine.

It arrived a week or so later and looks to be in great condition. If Alex was younger I might get this graded due to the card's "rarity" but I will probably hold off and get something else graded that might have a little more upside. Still, this is a great addition to my collection. Now onto the blue parallel of the same card.

Eight Oh
One Oh Oh

Sunday, September 21, 2014

BGS Submission Update Seven - 2013 Bowman Chrome Mini : Corey Seager Base Black Refractor Parallel ( 20 / 25 ) Now Graded and Slabbed a Gem Mint 9.5

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $50

I love it when I can predict to a T the exact grade that a card will get.

I love these mini chrome cards that happened to only come in factory sets. No pack busting here. You had to buy the factory set and hope for these black goodies which are only numbered to 25. I knew the day I received this from a great eBay transaction that I would send it in for grading. I could tell it was a tad off centered and I knew it would get a 9 grade for that but from my examinations I expected the other 3 sub grades to come out as 9.5's. Well the results are in and they came out exactly to what I thought they would. Centering indeed earned a 9 but thankfully the other ones came out to 9.5 and in the end I now have another gem mint card of Dodger super prospect Corey Seager.

I have had great luck with Corey when it comes to BGS and I hope it continues in the future.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Card of the Day - 2012 Topps Museum : Clayton Kershaw Archival Autograph CK1 ( 57 / 100 ) BGS Graded Mint 9.0

I have decided (probably like a lot of other people in the hobby world) that I will focus on acquiring more and more Kershaw autographs and with prices going up due to him exceeding all expectations and raising the bar to Hall of Fame levels it is getting harder and harder to score a deal on the bay.

I have seen that people (myself included at times) would like acquire and to chance a raw aka ungraded card might grade out to be gem mint instead of purchasing one that has already been graded at a less desirable plain ole mint grade. Well with Kershaw he is the exception to the rule at least in my eyes.

Though I would love all my cards to be gem mint that is just not a feasible goal. Well this card itself books for $80 ungraded and that is assuming it is in NM/M condition. Well I saw this card which has been certified mint by Beckett and the seller's asking price was below book. Again, I believe that is because people like to gamble and hit it big with a possible gem mint grade but when it comes to Kershaw here I rather have an already certified mint card that I don't have to pay submission fees for than purchase a raw one and hope for a gem mint grade and then get a mint grade. Why go that route if I can get the finished product already? Plus the autograph grade is a 10 as well.

I didn't know what kind of traffic to expect on the auction but when the final day rolled around not a single bid had been placed on the card. Well I wasn't going to be in front of a computer but on a freeway when it was to end so I couldn't bid while driving (wife would kill me) so I put my bid in with about 25 minutes left in the auction. Well when I arrived at my destination I was informed by an email that I won the card as I was the only one to bid on it. Woo Hoo. Another great looking Kershaw autograph added to the collection. As stated in previous posts I will get all my Kershaw autographs slabbed by BGS and this one looks great next to the others. A great deal.

Friday, September 19, 2014

BGS Submission Update Six - 2014 Topps Museum : Adrian Gonzalez Frame Autograph Silver Parallel ( 7 / 10 ) Now Graded and Slabbed a Gem Mint 9.5

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $100 ish

Well for the first of many ( woo hoo ) gem mint returns I focus on the one I mentally labeled, no duh. I mean if a metal pre framed card can't get at least a 9.5 on edges and corners then it is really a messed up card or it was horribly handled somewhere down the road. Well those two sub grades not only received a 9.5 but they both earned a pristine 10. Nice. Centering came in a click under at 9.5 which was fine by me but surface almost cost me my gem mint grade as it only received a 9. In the end all is good and I got the grade I wanted and expected. I am now contemplating on selling off all my other Adrian sticker autographs as this now becomes my crown jewel when it comes to Adrian autographs.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Process of a Card Going From Raw (ungraded) to Graded

I am smack in the middle of almost a month of BGS submission posts and I was asked by a couple of people inquiring about the process of getting a card graded from beginning to end. Some of you might have no interest in this but I decided to write up a post about it and what I personally do when I have decided to submit a card for grading whether that card is already in my collection or one I see on eBay that I intend to acquire and have graded.

There are two different ways that I use the BGS system. One is the raw grade review (RGR) and the full submission version. The RGR can be used as a stepping stone to the full submission or used to verify what you think your card would grade out to be. Some people actually use this procedure to get a gem mint grade then sell it like that on eBay as they have no intention to keep it in their own collection and want to make a quick buck instead. I personally don't do that but I do use it occasionally for cards that I don't think will grade out gem mint and want to see what a 3rd party thinks the condition is. A much cheaper way too as you do not pay the full submission price. The only issue with RGR is that BGS does not do these as often in my neck of the woods and I am in a big city so I can imagine if someone lives far from a metro city it doesn't happen at all. The two places I use are South Bay Sportscards which does a RGR event at least twice a year with BGS and then there is a submission booth at Frank and Sons in the City of Industry which is there twice a week.

For the sake of this exercise I am going to use my 2013 Topps Five Star Sandy Koufax card as it is one I did research on and it has an autograph on it which is another step in the process,

This card went through the RGR service as I just wanted make sure it would grade out to gem mint first so if it didn't  I would save me a some money on a full submission and then not be disappointed when it came back less than what I wanted.

I sold my signed ball of Koufax but had to have Sandy's autograph somewhere in my collection and my pursuit of that eventually led me to this card. On the computer screen the card appeared to be in terrific shape but considering the price for it (even though it was nothing out of pocket as the sale of the ball covered that) I had to make sure of the quality of it. First off was the autograph. BGS has a "policy" that if the autograph ends at the edge of card it almost always gets knocked down a grade from a 10 to a 9 on the autograph sub grade. Nothing is more frustrating than getting an overall gem mint card (9.5 or 10) and then have a 9 autograph attached to it. The other thing that BGS looks at on the autograph front is if the pen that was used to sign the card is streaky. If it is then chances are your autograph will probably be knocked down to a 9 as well. Again, it has happened to me.

Next thing you have to do is know your product. Some brands are known for centering issues (Topps/Bowman Chrome, Allen and Ginter) while some brands have edges and/or corner issues (Five Star). Knowing the history of Five Star (last year was an upgrade from previous years thankfully) I had to make sure that the corners were crisp with no issues. Edges and corners looked good on the computer screen but I contacted the seller about my concerns on the condition. Another side note is if you are buying on eBay a seller's history might come into affect as if they don't have a long and/or good history that might steer me away from buying even if it is a card I really want. It's all a gamble either way but a good history gives me a little more peace of mind. The seller responded promptly which is a plus and we went back and forth for a good hour as he described what he saw on the card. I had to trust he wasn't fibbing just to make a sale but at the end of the day it was my choice and I chose to acquire the card and had it in my hands in no time flat.

Now that I had it and could see the condition of the card first hand I could see for myself if there were any issues that might arise in the grading process. Since it was a Five Star card I looked at the corners first. I suggest you use a jeweler's loop for this, Mine is a 10x one and with the card in a plastic case I examined it. If just one corner is bent/rounded/frayed you can almost guarantee a 9 sub grade on that with a chance it might even earn an 8.5. The corners checked out as they were sharp and very pointy. Next up with the loop was the surface. Have to look for any machine marks or scratches or any other defect that might deface the card in anyway. That checked out as well. Next up were the edges which is always the easiest for me as long as there is no fraying I haven't had an issue. Last up is centering. When the card has a border it is easy to figure out what your card will earn. As long as it's no more than 55/45 on the front and 60/40 on the back you are good to go for a gem mint grade, Last but not least is the separate grade of the autograph. There were no streaking or at the edge issues on the card so I felt I was good to go on a gem mint grade. RGR was in town that weekend so I decided to go that route just in case it didn't go they way I expected and wanted it to.

BAM !!!
Gem mint baby.
This is how a RGR card will come back to you. The process takes about 2 hours if there is no wait or you are in front of the line. Obviously if there is no autograph on the card then that extra grade on the right is not there. Here is where you get to decide what to do with the card. If it is a card that is not up to par grade wise in your eyes (not the case here) you can just take it out of the flimsy protector and just put it back in your collection or sell it as I personally have done. Let's say a card comes back an 8.5, trying to sell it at that grade you probably won't get top dollar anywhere, but if you sell it ungraded and "raw" (and honestly not lie about the condition) then you probably make a few more dollars on your transaction.

Obviously with the gem mint grade that I wanted on the card it was now time to get it fully graded and encased by BGS. A side note on the RGR service, they do not give you sub grades so you don't know how close or how far you are/were from a lower or higher grade until you get it fully graded by shipping it to their headquarters. I usually don't care about the sub grades as long as the card earns a gem mint grade but it is always interesting to see what they are.

Now the card is fully realized as a gem mint card. While a plain old mint 9 can actually drive resale value down a little, a gem mint can drive it a lot higher in most cases. Hotter the player the higher the value. Kershaw cards are going through the roof right now and thankfully I have a few gem mints of Kid K.

Now you get to see the actual sub grades and seeing them come out this way reaffirms to me that my process of pre grading the card myself usually (not always) gets the grade I expect. At the same time that is why RGR is a nice option if you are unsure and don't want to waste more money and time.

As you can see here everything checked out to my expectations and in the case of the corners even more so. That is one thing I haven't fully figured out yet as I can tell a pointy card from a non pointy one but the difference from a 10 and a 9.5 still eludes me but either way its gem mint.

The all important 10 on autograph

So with that you now have a fully slabbed and graded card. The process from start to finish from a personal point of view. Again, if you don't want to go the RGR way you can just submit your card(s) and cross your fingers that you did your work and everything will come out OK. I personally will be doing a full submission in the coming weeks AND a RGR when BGS comes back to town in early October.

In the end, the best advice is to do your homework. Look over your card(s) thoroughly and know your product if it has history with some tendencies i.e. thick cards have corner issues and chromes have border issues. Hope this helps out anyone that might have had a question and if not thank you for reading through all of this anyways and have a great week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BGS Submission Update Five - 2013 Topps Five Star : Bo Jackson Base Rainbow Parallel Autograph ( 18 / 25 ) Now Graded and Slabbed a Mint 9

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $120

While technically a disappointing result considering I was half expecting a gem mint grade this card also was one of the top 6 that I suspected might not earn that grade as I knew one of the corners had a little ding in it and that grade showed as it earned an 8.5. Overall though the card came out to a mint 9 with the autograph grade getting a 10. Even though I am disappointed at the final result I half expected it could and would happen.

The good news though is with this being the 5th post of 13 I am now finished with non gem mint results. That is a good thing. Would have loved a nice gem mint Bo as I have had my issues with in person autograph sessions with the man so I may try one last time at the upcoming Raiderfest in February to get a better autograph. Till then I will enjoy this card.

Upcoming Player Appearance / Signing : Tyler Toffoli @ Harry's Dugout On September 27, 2014

Hockey season is right around the corner and the L.A. Kings look to defend their crown.

Harry's Dugout will be hosting their 1st (I think I'm right about that) in store hockey player appearance and it's none other than King's center Tyler Toffoli. Tyler is only 22 and with his own personal future seemingly bright and promising what better place to grow than being with this 2x Stanley Cup Champion organization?

As always, Harry's events are well organized and fan friendly. I will be there for sure to get my first Hockey autograph of the season. Prices are on the flyer and below but if you have any further questions or would prefer to do mail orders feel free to contact the store.

Go Kings Go !!!

  • Trading Cards - $20
  • All Flats ( no size restrictions ), Bobbleheads, Minis, Caps and Pucks - $29
  • Jerseys, Sticks and Equipment - $39
  • Inscriptions - $15 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

8 Jumbo Box Case Break Of 2014 Bowman Chrome Over At My Cardboard Habit

Not gonna lie, this post is a little self serving.

Judson over at My Cardboard Habit announced back in May that he was planning to do a 8 jumbo box case break of 2014 Bowman Chrome. All of that can be seen HERE Well thankfully I saw it on the first day and I was able to secure the Dodgers (and a random team to be determined later). With 30 teams in the league Judson needed(s) 14 people to join and as of today there are only 6 entries. He needs 8 more people so he can go ahead and purchase the boxes.

I am sure some people are a little scared off by the buy in price which is $80 BUT the case is going to yield 40 autographs of various colors and that is on top of all the other parallels and inserts that Bowman Chrome has to offer. The entry fee also includes shipping. It's basically $40 per team and you just can't beat that when you are talking about the size of the case that is being broken here.

Lots of teams are still available so take a look and hopefully we can get 8 more people.

Thank you for reading both of our blogs and have a great day.

State of the Doders : 2015 Dodgers Schedule

There is a little less than two weeks left in the 2014 season with what I and a lot people hope and expect is deep run into the postseason following it. While the focus is on that, the Dodgers along with the rest of baseball released their 2015 schedule last week. Plenty of people have commented on it already but I just wanted to go over it with a few thoughts and what games I might be attending.

April :

Well obviously I'll be there for the first game of the year which will be on Monday the 6th against the Friars. Not going to take time off because I think that game will be changed to Sunday night so the Dodgers get the game of the week coverage due to them raising their 2014 World Series flag
= )
Always love weekend trips down to San Diego to catch our team and they will be down there on the 24th-26th so I guess that might be our first road trip.

May :

MLB do love their patterns. Yet another year that the Marlins will be here on the 2nd week of the month. Hopefully Jose Fernandez is back and healthy as he is a young player that is fun to watch. On top of that hopefully Stanton is back as well from a taking a horrendous ball to the jaw last week.

Not much on potential road trips as I want to go back to SF for a series but it is during the week and the ever so valuable vacation time must be allocated to other trips and can't be all used during the week. Weekend baseball road trips are so much easier to work around that issue.

June :

Unlike other years the Cardinals and Dodgers will be done playing each other for the season by the 7th of this month as they will conclude seven games within ten days that day.

If we didn't head down to San Diego in April then I am sure we will on the 12-14th as the Dodgers will once again be down there for a weekend series.

The 15th and 16th the Dodgers will have a unique home and home series with the Rangers. Unique as it is four games in a row (2 at each stadium) with no off day in between and they must travel from Texas to LA after the second game. If the wife and I didn't go to Texas last week we would have planned a trip for this one.

July :

As this is the year that the wife gets to chose an overseas destination for our main vacation I look to this month as the first opportunity to piggy back that with a one day layover for a game in a city we have really no interest in exploring. There are a few that fall into this category and the Dodgers are in Atlanta for a Monday-Wednesday series which possibly we can fly in Tuesday night, watch the game Wednesday and then head to our Caribbean vacation. We shall see.

To end the month the Dodgers take on the Angels in a 3 game series that carries over to August 1st and 2nd. We for sure will be there for at least one game.

August :

This is the month where we will be heading to West Virginia and we will be taking in at least one new stadium. The wife's friends live in the western part of WV which is close to Pittsburgh. Well, the Dodgers will be there on the weekend of the 7th-9th and we will for sure be taking in one game there. The question is do I try to sneak in another one as the Dodgers will be in Philly 4th-6th? Just one train trip away. But if we don't that will be alright with me as that will give me/us another excuse to visit friends out there another year.

The Dodgers do make a trip up to Oakland in the middle of the month but thankfully I have checked that stadium off the list. Terrible stadium and I already acquired my bucket list ball from there so no need to re-visit that stadium.

September :

The big game/series of the month is the one versus the Angels on Labor Day. Perfect day to take in a ball game and I have already earmarked that day to visit Anaheim and see our boys in blue beat the snot out of the Angels.

For good measure if we didn't make it down in either April or June for a weekend series against the Padres another opportunity is there for the taking on the 4th-6th. Very disappointing year when there are 3 weekend series in San Diego but none in San Francisco. There should always be one in each city per year.

October :

The Dodgers finish off the season just as they started, a home series with the Padres. I will probably attend one if not two of these as they usually have a big autograph session on the final Saturday of the season and Fan Appreciation Day will be the following day in which they give away loads of prizes.

Well unlike past years where the Dodgers play big name teams from the east i.e. Yankees, Red Sox etc this upcoming year is a little void of marquee games per se. No matter to me as I will be attending my fair share of games at Chavez Ravine and at least 2 games at other stadiums and if I am really lucky maybe one or two more on top of that. We shall see.

Either way I look forward to next year and hopefully I can actually watch them on tv as Time Warner needs to get their heads out of their asses and let the fans watch Dodger games. As always, Go Blue !!! and may 2015 be a celebration of the 2014 World Series Champion Dodgers and their victory tour through the league as they press forward to defending their crown.

Monday, September 15, 2014

BGS Submission Update Four - 2013 Topps Five Star : Miguel Cabrera Base Rainbow Parallel Autograph ( 19 / 25 ) Now Graded and Slabbed a Mint 9

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $150

I guess this card could qualify as the biggest disappointment of the batch considering I had it as a lock for gem mint and I had it second on my original post. Having Kershaw's card come back as NM made sure this wasn't the biggest and the corners of the 5 star brand has always been an issue and I suspected that if any sub grade was going to give me a problem it would have been that one. I just didn't think it was going to be that big of a problem.

Surface actually earned a 10 while edges and centering received 9.5. Autograph as expected was a 10 as well. All I needed was the corners to get a measly 9 and gem mint would be mine. Beckett said no and gave the corners a 8.5 which dragged the overall to "just" a mint 9. I was so sure this was gem mint but it is one strong 9 instead.

Well we are 4 cards in with 9 more remaining and I can thankfully say there are no more "disappointments" left.

Only .5 from a gem mint. UGH !!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Attended Game Recap : ANGELS 7 @ Rangers 3 On September 11, 2014

Outside of stadium.

Down in the heart of Texas is where the wife and I found ourselves for this year's trip to a new ballpark. For the second year in a row it involves her team (Angels) but next year its back to the blue as we head to Pittsburgh.

We wanted to see our granddad in Amarillo but headed to Dallas first to visit her mother and family first and with the Angels in town it was a perfect time to see all the family and catch a game in a new park for me. As always the main goal for me is to acquire a ball as that is a bucket list objective for me. Only parks so far I have yet to achieve that goal is San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona. At least though I will be heading there many more times in the future. Getting one at a ballpark where I probably won't be heading back is the problem. Batting practice toss up, batting practice home run, trade or foul ball. Doesn't matter just as long as I get one. The hunt was on.

Angels in the outfield

The wife dropped me off early as she and her mother did not attend batting practice. I headed in and the stadium is big. Everything is bigger in Texas right? Rain was in the forecast but thankfully it never materialized. Headed down to the 3rd base side to where the Angels were warming up and tried to acquire a ball from one of the players. No luck so I headed up to area behind the outfield to see if I could catch a home run ball. Again no such luck as when I was there no one was hitting them that far. Jason Grilli was finishing up his pre-game rituals when I caught his attention I was able to eventually get a ball from him. He gave me the third degree on it but it was all in good fun. So thankfully just 30 minutes in my hunt for a ball was over BUT the mother in law wanted one for herself so even though I had one I needed two now.

Grilli Ball

I headed back down to the third base side to see if I could get another ball but also to now work on acquiring some autographs. The only one of note to sign was Trout (as always) but he was mobbed both times I was down there and I did not have the Trout luck this time as I was shut out on autographs. No biggie, next time.

Headed to our seats where the wife and her mother joined me and we took in the pre-game festivities which included a moment of silence for victims of 9/11....

Great panoramic view shot by the wife.

During the game, which in the end the Angels came out on top 7-3 and included two HBP of Trout, I was able to get 3rd baseman and former Dodger Adrian Beltre to toss me up a ball. Now the mother in law was happy as I was able to acquire her a ball as well. Have to keep the ladies happy.

Beltre Ball

Mom in law with her new ball

It was a great time had by all as I/we got to experience a new ballpark, I got my hands on a ball for my bucket list collection, another one for the mother in law and some great memories. Enjoy the photos below and thank you for reading the blog and have a great day.

Yeah... everything is bigger in Texas

Looks like a jelly fish

Mmm... Taco, Texas style

Promotional race between innings. Blue won

I wouldn't mind cute girls at Dodger Stadium

Wife and I

Wife and mom

... and the three of us

Saturday, September 13, 2014

BGS Submission Update Three - 2007 Bowman Sterling : Clayton Kershaw Relic Refractor Parallel Autograph ( 81 / 199 ) Now Graded and Slabbed a Mint 9

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $200

Well this is becoming a broken record that I don't like hearing. Third submission result post and it is the 3rd Kershaw in a row. This card like the Allen Ginter one, I had higher hopes on. I didn't know what to expect on centering and that ended up coming back with a 9 grade and in the end the card itself received an overall mint 9 grade. That was fine by me as I just wanted all my Kershaws to grade out to that. The problem once again arose on the autograph front as like the Topps one this one also received a 9 grade. Again, what the hell Beckett? What is possibly wrong on the autograph?

Also irritating is I think with the 9 grade on the autograph it drops the book value a tad but on the other hand I received this card for free as I won it so I can't be too mad about it. In the end its another mint autograph card of Kershaw for my collection.

EDIT : I wrote these recaps prior to  actually receiving the cards but this is the first time that I have had to adjust the post. For some reason the card came in with a 10 on the autograph grade now. Was it a mistake that it was reported a 9? Or was it a mistake that someone put a 10 in the case when it should have been the aforementioned 9? Don't know, don't care. Now I am much happier with this card.

Well that is 3 of the 5 Kershaw cards shown already but thankfully the other two don't make their appearance till much later.