Sunday, November 30, 2014

BGS Submission Update Seven - 2013 Topps Five Star : Craig Biggio Base Autograph Rainbow Parallel (18/25) Now Graded and Slabbed a Mint 9.0

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $60

We are to the 7th post and thankfully to the last non gem mint return.

As seen in my original post I called it on this card but just a little too well. I stated that it will for sure earn two 9.5 sub grades which it did but nothing more with the other two sub grades coming back as 9's. With that the overall grade misses gem mint status by just half a point. So close.

Even with just a mint grade this is a great looking card and I am not that disappointed in this return. Anything less than a mint would make me shake my head but anytime you get a mint grade on cards this thick you should be happy. Gem mints are just cherries on top.

I look forward to watching Craig being named into the Hall of Fame next year as he is getting closer and closer each year and next years new crop of players shouldn't hinder him from earning that entry into the Hall.

A strong mint

Only .5 from gem mint

A 10 on autograph is always nice

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Card of the Day - 2001 Sweet Spot : Davey Johnson Autograph

It's been quite awhile since I have gotten my hands on a Sweet Spot autograph card as it is still one of my favorite brands to acquire. I love the look of a baseball contained within a card.

Once again I just did a generic search on eBay for any and all Dodger autographs and this 13 year old card came up. Even though Davey never played for the Dodgers he was part of the Dodger family for short period of time (2 years to be exact). He wore the blue so I wanted to add him to my collection but really didn't like the selection of photos or balls out there to chose from. Well thankfully this one showed up and with minimal effort and cost I now have the autograph of a past Dodger manager. For less than the cost of a lunch I will gladly add any autograph to my collection.

Friday, November 28, 2014

BGS Submission Update Six - 2014 Topps Chrome : Alexander Guerrero Base Autograph Black Refractor Parallel (80/100) Now Graded and Slabbed a Mint 9.0

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $40

This result would have been a bigger disappointment if the player was of bigger stature. I expected this card to come back with a gem mint grade but it did not. It only missed that grade by .5 so it wasn't like it was a total bust but being that close is still a tad annoying.

The edges is always a crap shoot with me as sometimes I can't tell what if anything is wrong but going in I expected centering was to be an issue and low and behold it did come back with a 9 sub grade which coupled with the edges grade brought the overall grade down to a mint 9.

This is still a great looking card of a player that may or may not amount to something in the big leagues.

So close to an overall 9.5

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From The Penguin

It's that time of the year once again and no I am not talking about prepping the course of action for tomorrow's Black Friday shopping onslaught. Ha Ha. No, it's Thanksgiving once again and no matter what the tv or the shopping ads say it's about family and what you have, not what you don't have or want.

Though I search each and everyday on the net especially on eBay for items I want or mentally deem to need I try to stop and realize how good I already have it and how blessed my life truly is. The most important person in my life is my better half as shown here in Penguin form.

The wife and I if we were actual Penguins

I am thankfully that she came into my life over 9 1/2 years ago and that she has been my wife for more than 7 1/2. Life wouldn't be as good if she wasn't in mine. Thank you for everything you have and will ever give me. It never has gone unnoticed and hopefully I can and will do the same for you.

There is so much more that I am thankful for and most if not all is here :

  • Mother - For raising me the right way and being there through the thick and thin of growing up
  • Rest of the Family - I am blessed to be in a great family and whether I mention it on any type of constant basis I am glad that you are my family and I yours
  • Health - For just turning 40 I am in pretty good shape and I am ecstatic and blessed to be able to say that. So many people can not say that and I for one know that I have it good when it comes to that.
  • Job - With the job market as it is I am thankful that I am employed and can pay my bills in a timely matter and not worry about where my next meal is coming from or if I have a roof over my head
  • Friends - Each and everyone of you have given something to my life that has made it better and/or I've learned something from something you have shown me. For that I am thankful.
  • You - To each and everyone of you that has read/commented/listened etc to this blog on any given day. I appreciate you all. I have made a small niche for myself in the internet and blogosphere worlds and you are a part of that, my blog family. 
I am sure I have forgotten something or possibly someone and to that I say sorry but nonetheless know that I am thankful for everything and everyone in my life good or bad. The bad makes you appreciate the good and the good makes you realize how blessed you are.

Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and your family !!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BGS Submission Update Five - 2014 Bowman Chrome : Julio Urias Base Autograph Refractor Parallel (111/500) Now Graded and Slabbed a Mint 9.0

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $120

If not for the four cards earning an 8.5 grade previous to this one, I would have made this the overall biggest disappointment in the whole batch.

With that said this card dropped 13 sports from the top spot to the 5th spot on my submission posts. I had this pegged as a no doubt about it gem mint card. Nope, didn't earn that grade even with a 10 and 2 9.5 sub grades. Surface for some reason came back as a 8.5. Really? I don't expect my gem mint grades to have all great sub grades and half way expect to always have at least a 9 in each one but a 8.5? I have looked this card over again now that it is back in my hand and I still can't see an issue on the surface to go all the way down to a 8.5.

With the Black Collection autograph coming back as an 8.5 I thought this Bowman Chrome card would salvage my Urias cards in this batch but it didn't. I am debating on selling it and trying again with another one as it really bugs me that this card is "only" a 9 mint card. I am even thinking of taking it to a Beckett Raw Grade event and get it regraded and see if another pair of eyes can upgrade it to a 9. We shall see.

Only a 9, really?

Damn surface sub grade

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Five Star : Sandy Koufax Base (56/75)

Man, this card took forever to track down.

I know it has a print run of only 75 and it features the immortal Sandy Koufax but I didn't think it would be this hard to acquire. I guess I should have expected that by now with anything that is a limited number in a high end brand of a hall of fame player that is still immensely popular within the hobby.

A seller located in Los Angeles (so I assumed that would hurt my chances as we are in Dodger country) had this card up on a BIN auction with a $50 price tag. Too much even though I wanted/needed it. At least he had an best offer option attached. Book is "only" $40 so I sent him a number at more than 50% of his asking price. He countered at over $40. Felt I had no chance at the card but I sent him one last offer anyways and stated the book price and what I was willing to go up to. Surprisingly enough he accepted it. Woo Hoo.

Almost done with this set. Only have Clayton to find and I am finished.

= )

56 of only 75

Monday, November 24, 2014

BGS Submission Update Four - 2014 Bowman : Julio Urias Black Collection Autograph (25/25) Now Graded and Slabbed a Near Mint 8.5

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $100

Well we come to the fourth and last card from this batch that came back with an 8.5 overall grade and the only reason this isn't the most disappointing is that Julio is not Kershaw and Puig's card had a frayed corner so his grade was expected. On top of all that this card is from the Black collection which has notorious history with issues.

Thick card
Black card

All that comes into effect when it got submitted for grading and this one came back with an 8 on corners. Yikes. I knew it would be an issue but didn't think it was that bad. When I won this card I wanted this to be my crown jewel of Urias cards and sadly it can and will not be.

This like the Puig card will be up for sale on eBay shortly. I will be cracking it open and selling it as a "raw" card and with the combined sales of Puig and this card I will be able to acquire at least one and possibly two autographs that I have my eye on. I might try my luck once again and try to reacquire this card from an eBay auction but for the time being I will be content with my other Urias autographs in my collection.

Looks great in a BGS case . . .

. . . just not with an 8.5 attached to it

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Chrome : Alex Guerrero Base Autograph Refractor Parallel ( 247 / 499 )

I went backwards when acquiring the 3 autographs I wanted/needed of Alex Guerrero in this year's Topps Chrome set. Black, then blue and now the regular refractor. Usually its the other way around as the colored parallels are "harder" to acquire since sellers want more for them which means I wait on the sidelines till the price comes down to what I am comfortable with. This time though I scored great deals on the black and blues and just had to find a copy of this one to complete my mini project.

With 499 copies there were plenty of choices on eBay to purchase but I bypassed the BIN auctions as I wanted to continue the trend on the Guerrero deals. Book has this card at $25 which I think is overpriced and there was no way I was going to pay anywhere near that. Found this good copy from a reputable seller and had a starting asking price of a penny. A few bids later and at the end of the auction I won the last needed Guerrero autograph card for single digits. A trifecta of good deals. Onto the next project.

247 / 499

Saturday, November 22, 2014

BGS Submission Update Three - 2013 Topps Five Star : Bob Gibson Base Autograph ( 22 / 50 ) Now Graded and Slabbed Near Mint 8.5

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $60

One of my bigger misses when compared to my pre-grading ritual that I do before I submit a card. This happened to be one of the 3 cards that I thought were on the fence between mint and gem mint status and when all was said and done it barely was a NM card.

I did not see any corner issues but I guess I closed my eyes when I looked at them as they only received an 8.5 and that coupled with an additional 8.5 on edges and 9 on surface made this card a "strong" 8.5 near mint card. I don't usually miss much but I did on this card.

The card has a book value of $60 and considering I acquired it for nowhere near that amount I guess I can't feel all that bad but I want/expect all cards I submit to at least earn an overall grade of 9. I am debating on cracking this card out of its case not to resell but it will probably annoy me knowing that that this 8.5 is sitting with all my other graded cards. Win some lose some and this one was definitely on the wrong side of that argument.

To crack or not to crack

8 point 5

Friday, November 21, 2014

Yet ANOTHER Trade with Fellow Blogger, Alex of Chavez Ravining

With trade number 5 just recently completed with Alex I was already going through his trade bait list to see if I could acquire some more cards for another trade. I found a few to my liking and it was time to reach out once again to Alex to see if he would part with them.

With my focus back to black and blue parallels from chrome brands and autographs in general I have most of my cards that don't fall into those two categories on my trade bait list (take a gander and maybe we can do a trade) so I am looking to move those to acquire my other needs. Looked at Alex's stuff and though he denied me on a couple (actually expected that but I had to try anyways) I was able to secure 3 with no issue with a 4th one needing a little arm twisting.

I ended up sending him 7 cards that he would accept and a few other toss ins and these are the ones I received in return.

2008 Bowman Sterling autograph of former Dodger Josh Lindblom. Even though this is a sticker autograph it still has higher value to me rather than the non autograph cards I gave Alex. I liked Josh when he played for the Dodgers. He was a decent pitcher and even a better person off the field as he contributed to the community.

2013 Bowman Sterling autograph of Dodger prospect Chris Anderson. Even though I have a couple of autographs from Chris there is no harm in picking up another. This being an on card autograph makes all that much better. He may or may not make an impact in the majors but he has always denied me an autograph when I have attended games in Rancho Cucamonga so hopefully this is not a trend he will continue if and when he makes it to the majors.

943 of 999

2011 Tier One autograph of current Dodger second baseman Dee Gordon. Though I don't really "need" another autograph of Dee as I have a couple already, I wasn't going to pass up on an opportunity to add one if I could and this card has a great pose of Dee accompanied with an on card signature.

2009 Allen and Ginger Mini Frame autograph of former Dodger Blake DeWitt. There are a few reasons why I wanted this card and this was the one that Alex didn't want to let go of but in the end he did thankfully. Firstly I haven't been able to find an autograph of Blake since I sold the signed ball of his during the ball purge. While not at the top of the list to reacquire he was still a priority. Secondly, Blake was the first autograph I got when I started going back to in store appearances way back 2008 when he burst onto the scene. He was a class act that day and I remember that when players are like that. And thirdly its an Allen and Ginter mini frame which are just nice in general.

4 more cards from Alex and another trade is complete. Thank you as always and with number 6 done I'm already looking forward to number 7.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BGS Submission Update Two - 2013 Topps Five Star : Yasiel Puig Base (75/75 ) Now Graded and Slabbed a Near Mint 8.5

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $150

Puig makes his one and only appearance in the latest BGS submissions. He went from top dog on the last batch to almost the bottom on this one. Only thing that saved him from that distinction is that Kershaw was expected to be a mint while Puig here I was hoping to just earn a mint. He didn't. While disappointed I was not surprised.

I knew there was going to be a corner issue as stated in the original post and I hoped it would earn a 8.5 on that sub grade but it did not and then other sub grades didn't help out as well and in the end the overall came out to be a NM 8.5.

When I submitted this I had already made a decision on what to do with the card. Since I already have a few gem mint Puigs and I don't need that many of him I made up my mind if the card came back as a mint 9 I would keep it as this is a hard brand to get a mint grade on but if it was anything less I would sell it. With the 8.5 now in hand I am going with plan B for the card. This will be a first for me as I plan to crack it out of the case. As a 8.5 Puig it probably won't get that much on eBay but as a "raw" card it will probably make an extra $15-20 in the transaction. I already have my eye on two autographs that I plan to purchase with the funds from this sale.

Not even really close to a mint 9

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Chrome : Alex Guerrero Base Autograph Blue Parallel (3/199)

With the black autograph refractor in hand it was time to pick up its blue brother and hopefully score a decent deal on it at the same time.

Prices had been falling for awhile on Alex's cards as I was able to pick up his black autograph parallel for well under its $40 book value. This blue one has a slightly cheaper value of $30 so I was hoping to beat the bargain I got on the black one. I lost out on a few of the blue's auctions until I found this one that was ending in a couple days and the high bid was just $2. Hmmm... could I be so lucky and pick up another autograph for a great cost? Why yes I could and did. I ended up winning it for the grand total of just $6.76.

Some people might think that is still too much to pay for a 27 year old rookie that hasn't done anything in the big leagues. Me, I don't care as that price seemed very reasonable to me for a blue autograph. 2 down and just the base refractor left.

3 of 199

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BGS Submission Update One - 2012 Topps Museum : Clayton Kershaw Archival Autograph Photo 2 (72/100) Now Graded and Slabbed a Near Mint 8.5

It's that time once again as I received my submission order back from BGS. It was a mixed bag as I ended up with more gem mints than I thought I would but some of the issues that I thought might come up did and others that I didn't think of also appeared.

This is my last big order for quite awhile and I wanted to go out on a high note but instead I end up with mixed emotions. I guess the best part is that even though I have Kershaw here as the first post (meaning the biggest disappointment of the lot) the other Kershaws fared better than I thought so I can hang my hat on that. More on that later obviously.

So like past submissions I will link to my original post and state the Beckett book value of each card. I will post a result entry every other day for the next 36 days. So with that lets get into it.

Original Submission Post
Beckett Book Value : $80

I really hate to start with Kershaw being the biggest disappointment but facts are facts. I originally had this pegged as the 3rd from the bottom to what I expected so it isn't that big a drop but I fully expected it to grade out to a mint 9. Hell it earned a 10 on surface but sadly it received 2 8.5's on corners and edges. I just need one of those to be a 9 and the overall would have been a satisfying 9 but it wasn't meant to be. It irritates me a bit now that I have its twin in mint 9 form while this is NM 8.5 but it is what it is.

Again thankfully my other Kershaws did better to offset my disappointment with this card. Nonetheless it is STILL an autograph of the greatest pitcher in baseball so I can't be that upset.

8.5 . . . Sigh

Just needed one more .5
Wasn't meant to be

At least the auto earned a 10

Monday, November 17, 2014

State Of The Dodgers : Social Rewards ... 900K and Moving Back Up

The last time I was in first was back on July 29th of this year

The last 100K threshold and I was more than 6000 points behind
But it was the end of the baseball season and I knew things might and probably would change

Well look who is back to under 2000 points behind the leader? As stated in my last post pertaining to the Social Rewards program I lost my stranglehold on first place back in July due to certain people finding a major loop hole in the system that I suspect will still be there when Opening Day comes along. I believe in hustling as I do it on eBay and other places but I won't go out of my way to break "rules" within the system. Well with the season over I have been able to chip away at the lead as that loophole option is not available at this time. One day the leader in points forgot to post points so I did earn a sizable jump that day but other than that it has been nickel and diming the past few months.  

Will I ever sniff first place again? Possible but even if I don't I can still hang my ego hat on the fact that I had the longest reign on top of the leaderboard. Once again promotions were there for the winning but like every past time I have entered the contests I have come up empty. I am at 450 tokens right now and that's even with me spending them in each and every promotion the Dodgers have had. Someday, that is my motto. Someday I will win and this will be all worth it. Till then let's see if I can be the first to a million. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Chrome : Zack Greinke Base Blue Refractor Parallel (185/199)

Even though they are not as limited as their black counterparts ( 199 vs 100 ) I still lean towards the blue as my favorite parallel color as the Dodger players just look better surrounded by a blue border.

Now that all the card issues with the exception of Topps Five Star have been released I can start to concentrate on the cards I want/need for my collection with these and Bowman Chrome blues being my main focus other than autographs. As usual I had to hold off for awhile as sellers were trying to maximize their sales with the high price that is normally attached to new releases but eventually the prices stated to come down and finally this one came down to my liking. A little less than $2 delivered to my doorstop and I can check this off my need list. One down and so many more to go.

185 of 199

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Trade With Fellow Blogger Alex of Chavez Ravining . . . For The Fifth Time

In who has become my most frequented trade partner, Alex of Chavez Ravining and I completed our 5th trade trade together with this one being the smallest volume up to now. A one for one.

Alex posted about a few recent eBay purchases he made as recapped HERE which featured 4 cards of our favorite outfielder Matt Kemp. As I have refocused my collection habits I am now only searching for certain parallels when it comes to non autograph cards. One of the four he acquired is one that was still on my to get list. It's the nice shiny black refractor from this year's Topps Chrome issue.

I have been looking for it on the bay for a couple months now and couldn't find a price that I was comfortable with but once I saw that Alex had it in hand I reached out to him to see if he was willing to part with it. I am sure it was with a little reluctance on his part but he said he would trade it to me. Now I had to find him a comparable card that was good enough for him to let the Kemp go. Thankfully with my new direction in collecting I have plenty of inventory to play with so I offered him a nice SP of the newly minted NL MVP, Clayton Kershaw. Alex said sure and within the week we both had our cards.

Thank you again Alex and look forward to working on trade number 6.

17 / 100

Friday, November 14, 2014

Card of the Day / Collection - 2009 Bowman Chrome : Mike Trout Base Autograph Refractor Parallel (28/500) and BGS Graded a Gem Mint 9.5

This being primarily a Dodger blog you would think that I would showcase something about Kershaw today considering he won the MVP award yesterday. At the very least something Dodgery right? Well I am going a different route and finally going to showcase my centerpiece of my autograph collection. And it's not a Dodger.

As we collectors have many items we consider main pieces or crown jewels I myself also fall into that category. I have many that I deem untouchable but this one is for sure never going to be traded and I am just mapping out how high in value it can go when his career is over. I present to you Mike Trout, the 2014 AL MVP.

I have shown the other two autographs of Trout that I have in my collection but this one has never seen the light of day till today. I have had it for almost 2 years now. Yes, that long and never did a blog entry on it. Something else always came up and I planned to do it on his birthday in but I forgot to so I let it ride for another few months. I was then going to do it last year at this time when he should have won the MVP award but he didn't so once again, no post. Well he finally won his well deserved first MVP award and arguably what should have been his 3rd in a row.

I acquired this card back in late February of 2013. Another one of my off season steals. More so now that the card has skyrocketed in value. I wanted to add this Trout card to my collection even when I wasn't collecting cards but the price was already high (far from what it is now though) so I had to make a decision. If I really wanted it I would have to part with some items in my collections to cover the cost of this one. At the time I still had loads of signed balls and comic paperbacks piling up in my spare room. That old saying of you have to give something up to get something came into play here and I had to figure out what I was comfortable with parting to acquire this card. First off, if I was going to purchase this card it had to be a refractor and it had to have already been graded by BGS as a 9.5. Nothing less would be acceptable. Would have loved the blue refractor but I had my limit and that one was beyond it.

I ended up selling a whole series of paperbacks to cover half the cost of the potential purchase of Trout and then the hard part of selecting what in my autograph collection would I be willing to part with to cover the other half. I ended up selling off my whole collection of signed bobbleheads which netted me more than I thought they would. Now mind you I hadn't secured this card yet, I was just hoping to have a chance at it but I wanted the funds ready to go. I still felt I needed more funds so I cherry picked a few cards that I knew would net me more money than others. I went more with quantity than quality so that would lessen the blow. I did end up selling off a prized Kemp autograph but it went for a greater cause.

Well with all funds in hand it was time to bid on this card. There were a few copies at the time so I had my choice of which one to go after. I lost out on one and then I zeroed in on this one as it had an odd ending time aka late at night on west coast. I put in a token bid which was low considering closed sales prior to this one. To my surprise I won it. I finally owned THE rookie card of the best everyday player in baseball.

Since the acquisition of the card the value of it has gone through the roof. I would love to see this hit 10K which may not be far fetched considering the value of it now with most of his career still in front of him. I told the wife when it does I will sell it and we will go on lots of trips with the funds from the sale. This is the one true investment piece in my collection with my Kershaw coming in a close second. I can't believe the deal I scored on it and look forward to seeing what the return is on it 15 years from now. Till then though it is locked up in a safe with a Magnum 44 next to it for additional security. Ha Ha.

28 of 500