Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Card of the Day - 2015 Topps Museum : Adrian Gonzalez Base Blue Parallel (85/99)

I am determined to complete my checklist of wanted cards (minus the autos) from this year's Museum set before Bowman drops next week. This post is being written up on the 23rd of April so we shall see if I can do it or not. It would be much easier if I could acquire them like I did this one.

At the time of this acquisition the prices for Museum had not been released. As I write this post they have since the purchase date and this card clocks in with a high of $8 and a low of $3. Personally $2 would probably be the most I would fork over for this card. I haven't seen too many copies on eBay but this one popped up and it was right at my sweet spot of a price of .99 cents with no additional shipping costs. Nice. Traditional 7 day auction and on the last day there hadn't been a bid put on it. Seconds left and I put mine in and low and behold I was the only one to bid. 99 cent purchases are the best.

I expected the card to come in a PWE but was pleasantly surprised that it traveled to me in a bubble mailer. It ended up costing the seller money to sell this card. Ouch for him and good for me. Now to make my goal of acquiring all these blue beauties before Bowman is released. The hunt continues.

85 of 99

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Movie Review : Ted 2

He'sssss back.
That's right, our favorite foul mouthed talking bear is back for another round of raunchiness and you know I had this date circled on my calendar to catch this flick in the theater.

Most good comedies, which the first Ted was, do not need sequels and are lacking if they do make a second installment but I held out hope that Seth McFarlane wouldn't let us down with his newest chapter.

Highlights :

  • Raunchiness is alive and intact. No filters here
  • Same characters are back other than Mila Kunis. Kept from having to set up story and was just able to jump right into it.
  • Numerous cameos (not as much as Entourage though) and most hit it right on the head.
  • Pop culture references front and center with none being too sacred to make fun of.
  • Even at almost 2 hours there was little down time as story progressed at a quick pace.
Low Lights :

  • No Mila Kunis
  • I know Seth loves them but opening dance number was dragging way too long.

Final Thoughts :

You would think with minimal low lights that this is a perfect or a great movie. It is not but I sure laughed my ass off for most of the flick. If you are a fan of Family Guy or the 1st Ted then you will most likely enjoy this movie. If raunchy humor is not your cup of tea stay far away from this movie as you will probably be offended.

The plot is pretty bare (pun intended) as Ted is trying to have a baby but is informed that he is property and not a real "person" so he is not allowed to have kids. As the story moves forward it places the Thunder Buddies in various scenarios that beg for bad taste humor to ensue which they make sure happens. Blind people, geeks, nerds, multiple races et al are not immune to their hijinks.

I needed an escape when I saw this film and with low expectations due to it being a sequel I was treated to a laugh out loud comedy which didn't hold any punches and I couldn't be happier. This film is definitely not for everyone but if you typically like potty mouth humor you will probably love this movie.

Final Grade : B+

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Five Star : Mike Trout Silver Signatures Autograph Blue Parallel (19/25) BGS Graded Mint 9.0

This is my third calendar year back in the hobby and now I have my third autograph of the reigning AL MVP Mike Trout. Each year (2013,2014,2015) I have been able to secure an autograph of this great and still improving superstar. With prices going up every time baseball season comes around it's probably safe to assume that this is probably my one and only autograph I will be acquiring this year of Trout's and I am okay with that.

After Kershaw, Trout is my favorite player to watch but his autograph cards are very pricey and I have to find ways through other sales to get enough funds to acquire another one for the collection. I ended up backing into this transaction as another mint graded Five Star Trout card that the seller and I agreed to in price reneged on when it was time to complete the transaction. In the end it was better for me as I picked up a more limited card, in a better color with the same exact grade. So I guess I should say thank you to the seller that doesn't stand by his word. In fact that card is still up for sale on eBay so I can only assume he is playing hardball with other potential buyers.  

19 of only 25

While the non parallel of this blue card is nice enough you just can't beat a silver autograph on a blue background. It just seems to pop better. After the bad taste from the reneged deal subsided a tad I went back to eBay with funds still in hand for a Trout autograph and found this one on a traditional auction. No BIN and/or best offer available so I would have to play the auction game for 7 days. Don't know how many people were watching this card but when the last day of the auction came there was still no bids on this card. With the knowledge that there are only 25 copies of this card and only 2 have been graded by BGS (other one is an 8.5) I expected more action on it but happy there wasn't.

Only one graded this high

The last hour approached and still not bids. Was starting to think I could really score a great deal on this card but I didn't want to get ahead of myself. 10 seconds left and I put my bid in and waited the remaining time left to see if it would hold. It did as I ended up being the only one to bid on it. Oh Yeah!!!. For 25% less than the agreed price of the reneged deal and a lot less than a raw version of this card I picked up my third Trout autograph and couldn't be happier. Can't wait for 2016 and whatever autograph I can score then.

Perfect auto

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Archives : Dave Parker Fan Favorites Autograph

While reading books can and usually fill your brain with knowledge or enlightenment it can also cause you to part with some pocket change and in my case especially if the book is baseball related.

I completed Up, Up and Away which is a book about the Expos franchise and Dave Parker of the Pirates played a prominent role in tormenting the young team during its early years. As I was reading the book I realized there are plenty of players being mentioned that I don't have an autograph of. Dave was one of many that I felt I needed to acquire. Off to eBay I went.

Even with 2700+ hits of this two time World Series Champion there wasn't much demand it seemd for his autograph cards. This was the first card that caught my attention and in the end the only one I had to search for. While Beckett has a value of $25 for the card sales of it on eBay are nowhere near that amount as I was able to pick this up for less than what it cost me to go to lunch.

Great on card autograph of a player that was feared in the 70's.

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Bowman Chrome Draft : Jeff Brigham Base Autograph Refractor Parallel

It was time to venture into the Dodger unknown once again as I was unaware of who exactly Jeff was/is even though he is in Dodger blue.

The more known names like Urias, Seager, Holmes etc were in the 2014 Bowman Draft checklist but there were two names that I did not know and Jeff happens to be one of them. He is a 23 year old pitcher that currently plays for the Ogden Raptors and to be honest this is the first time I have heard of him. Once again, I am bad Dodger fan for not knowing this. Since he is with Ogden that means there is a good chance that he will be promoted to Rancho in the near future which means an in person autograph might be in the cards for me. Till then I went the card route.

Considering he is not a big name I did not expect a big price tag to be attached to his cards other than the "rarer" colored cards which are still on my list to acquire. The base refractor seemed to me to be the easiest and cheapest to possibly purchase and I was right as I won this for less than a burrito at Del Taco. Two bids is all it took for me to win the card. Onto the colored autos now.

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Five Star : C.C. Sabathia Golden Graphs Autograph Blue Parallel (1/20)

Sometimes you have restraint which makes you have patience then there is patience thrust upon you because you have no choice in the matter. For this card it was the latter and not the former for me and I ended up acquiring a better version because of it.

I have never owned a C.C. autograph even though I always wanted one. Problem was that he doesn't have many licensed cards on the market and since I am out of the ball market (never found one to my liking when I was collecting them) I had to bide my time. Found out that my favorite autograph brand Five Star was scheduled to feature him in their 2014 issue. The only "problem" was that he was only going to be in the golden graph and silver signature subsets and not in the main set. That meant less copies to pick and chose from. I wasn't going to be deterred though.

I would have preferred the silver signature autograph or the non parallel golden graph as I would say I lost out on at least 15 different auctions as even with the Beckett book value at $50-$60 I continuously got out bid as prices soared past $30 with some touching $45. Wanted it but not that bad. One day this card came up for sale and had a very low starting asking price. With it being the lower numbered blue parallel there is no Beckett book but if there was it would be around $65-$70 I would assume. The only problem for me was that the auction ended at 4 in the morning.

Last day of the auction there was one bid on it so I put in what I thought would just be a token bid and when I did it made me the high bidder. Off to sleep I went "knowing" I would lose out again. I woke up and to my surprise I did not lose but actually finally won a C.C. autograph and for less than every other one I had previously lost out on. Go figure. So, my "patience" paid off and I am now the proud owner of a C.C. autograph.

First of only twenty

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Card of the Day - 2015 Topps Heritage : Zack Greinke Base Chrome Black Refractor Parallel (25/66)

Look at that smirk...
What does he know that we don't?
I do know that I finally was able to pick up Zack's card after many failed pursuits of other copies as they kept getting gobbled up far above my comfort level.

It has been awhile but I acquired this card on a best offer auction after about 30 minutes of negotiating between the seller and I. Book has this at $25 which I think is at least $10 too high but what the seller was asking for was reasonable. Of course since he attached a best offer option I wanted to see if I could shave off a few dollars.

I found this card on eBay about 15 minutes after it went live so that might have worked in my favor as I sent him an offer which he promptly countered. Still reasonable and the price was going lower but I sent him another counter at the midway point and told him I would pay him ASAP. Not a minute later I received the eBay email that he accepted and as promised I hit the "pay now" button and sent over the funds. Literally 3 days later from across the country the card was in my hands. One of the fastest transactions from beginning to end in recent memory for me. I am down to 3 black refractors left to acquire.


Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Five Star : Fernando Valenzuela Base Autograph (89/199)

Even though I picked up a High Tek autograph of Fernando awhile back it was always my intention to pick up a copy of his Five Star autograph for my collection. Of all the autograph cards that Fernando had come out in 2014 this was the one I really wanted and was determined to acquire.

With 199 copies (not including the rainbow parallels) I knew it wouldn't be that much of a hassle to get my hands on one. The question was how much it would cost me and if I was comfortable with it. Most of the closed sales on eBay seemed to trend towards the $25-$30 mark with some going over that. A little too rich for my blood so I had to wait till one of my high bids stuck at the end of any particular auction I chose to bid on. 3 weeks passed and each auction I was in on I lost out in the waning seconds. I knew sooner or later a card would slip through the cracks and that is what happened when I won this card for a little over $20 with none of it out of pocket.

Once in hand the card became my new favorite Fernando card (as expected) which makes my High Tek card available for trade if I haven't already committed it to a trade or a contest.

As always Five Star does not disappoint.

89 / 199

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trade with Fellow Blogger : Alex Of Chavez Ravining

A chapter in my collecting world is sadly coming to an end with this post. Hopefully in a few years that will change but this will be the last post for the foreseeable future when it comes to trading with Alex of Chavez Ravining. For those that do not know Alex has taken a temporary and possibly permanent leave from the collecting world as he will be concentrating on school and life in general. I also had similar sabbatical (for different reasons) back in 2001 and only came back to the hobby in 2013. Hopefully he will not be gone for over a decade like I was as we had a great trading relationship. 

With that said, Alex had cards he needed to unload and what better chance to do our final trade. He has plans to come down here next month for a Dodger game and he was planning to buy my season tickets for a game but we just switched it to a trade. Some cards for some tickets. The only card I "had" to have back is an Adrian Beltre autograph card that I traded to him back in August of 2013. Even though I since then have reacquired the same card I wanted to have an extra copy. Both are ear marked for BGS grading of course. To even out the trade I told Alex to just throw in whatever he felt like and we would call it even. He sent a couple handfuls of base cards which I won't go over (too many) but he did include more autographs and that is my collection priority so here they are.

Donruss Federowicz

First up is this on card/jersey autograph of former Dodger Tim Federowicz. As Alex knows I am not the biggest fan of non licensed cards but it still is an autograph which is always a good thing. I have a Tim autograph with him in USA colors so this is available for trade if anyone is interested in it.

Bowman Sterling Windle

Next up is an on card autograph of yet another former Dodger, Tom Windle, who is now part of the Phillie organization. I already have a copy of this card but it never hurts to have another for trade purposes so if anyone is interested this one is also available for trade.

Bowman Chrome Billingsley

One of my favorite former Dodgers makes an appearance. Chad is yet another player who is now with the Phillie organization but when he was a Dodger he was always a class act I am sure he still is on the east coast. This is a PSA 9 graded rookie card of his which I did not have as of yet. I am not a fan of PSA nor does the grade matter to me so I cracked it open and put it in my collection as a raw card. Great luck to the Defiant, PA resident unless he is pitching against the Dodgers.

Topps Fan Favorite Sax

166 / 215

Another great card of a former Dodger and this time its Steve Sax. While I have autograph photos of the Saxman I did not own an on card autograph till now. This card was never on any of my eBay searches and thankfully it wasn't as now I received it for "free". 

Topps Retired Lopes

Second to last card and the one I think has the best visual appeal. Love these retired autographs and even though I own an on card autograph of Lopes this one trumps it which makes the other one expendable. These came sealed but like the Billingley card I have opened it up and put it in my own case. 

Upper Deck Beltre

And lastly the card that started the trade off and the one I get to welcome back home after months away, Adrian Beltre in Dodger blue with an on card autograph. 

Thank you again to Alex for all the cards and it is appreciated as always. If this is our last trade then it was a great final one but hopefully in future years we can do another when or if you decide to rejoin the hobby. 

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Card of the Day - 2011 Topps Tier One : Albert Pujols Base Autograph (2/99) BGS Graded Mint 9.0

Pujols happened to be the biggest non Dodger on my to reacquire autograph list from the ball purge of last year and I ended up picking this up for a major discount as I stumbled upon it accidentally on one of many eBay searches.

A few requirements were attached to Pujols and his autograph. Obviously it had to be an on card autograph as it would probably be my only copy in my collection. Secondly I hoped to have it already pre-graded. A plus but not a need. The hardest part of it all though was that he had to be depicted in Cardinal red and not Angel red. That is where things got tricky. Obviously the past 3 years worth of Pujols autographs have him in Angel gear but he made his name as a Cardinal and will go in the Hall of Fame as one. Not because I am not a fan of the Angels but Pujols should have never left St. Louis. So with all that the market for me was a little pigeonholed as most "cheaper" autographs of Pujols were stickers and the on cards were from his rookie year in 2001 which had too high of a price tag attached to them.

I knew 2011 card issues had some on card autographs to chose from as I lost out on a few auctions over the past year plus but the day I found this card I was searching for something entirely different and as I hit enter on the computer keyboard this card came up instead of what I was really looking for. My mistake as the computer was pulling up my search history but a happy mistake for sure. This card had been "live" on eBay for a total of 12 minutes on a BIN auction and I was the first one to view it. The price the seller was asking for was so low that it was actually lower than some of the raw cards I lost out on. With no time to spare I hit the BIN button and finally reacquired my Pujols autograph. Week later it arrived and looks even better in person. A great deal indeed.

2 / 99

A 10 autograph

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Bowman Chrome : Zack Greinke Base Blue Refractor Parallel (79/250)

Some transactions are won and completed in a couple of days while others may take up to a week or so then there are those like this one where it took 3 months to complete and I am surprised I even received the card.

I won this card on eBay on afternoon for a little over $1. It was a set need and for the cost of a candy bar I couldn't pass it up. Paid the seller and he stated he mailed it and we were good to go. A month passed and I had yet to received the card. Contacted the seller and asked for tracking number which he did not have as he didn't pay for it. I ended up getting a refund a day later. I informed him that if the card ever came in I would send him his money back. I wasn't holding my breath though. 2 months passed and low and behold look what showed up in my mailbox? Opened up the envelope and the card was properly packaged and in great condition. I looked at the post mark and it was dated a day after the transaction was done. Once again, USPS drops the ball and had my card in limbo for almost 3 months. To their "credit" it finally arrived. Never expected to see it but thankful that it did.

Contacted the seller and gave him the heads up and asked what email he would like his money sent to. He declined stating that he was more "impressed" by my honestly and told me to keep the money (it was only a dollar). So in the end it took 3 months but I received a FREE card. Woo Hoo.

79 / 250

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Five Star : Troy Tulowitzki Golden Graphs Autograph (11/50)

Another long search to reacquire an autograph that was "lost" last year due to the ball purge has been completed. A tiring pursuit but well worth it in the end.

Tulo has one of the most simplistic signatures in baseball but unlike others (looking at you Wil Myers) this one looks good and you see how it could really be associated with his name. When healthy Troy is one of if not the best offensive shortstop in the game today. Problem is he keeps getting hurt. Even with that though I still wanted his autograph back in my collection. The problem was finding one that was affordable but still of good quality. Once again, enter Topps Five Star.

It seems (to me at least) that most of Troy's on card autographs are low numbered and hence higher in price. I tried the Allen and Ginter route but never got any traction there. Once the checklist for the 2014 issue of Five Star came out and I saw that Troy was on it with a base card and this golden subset I knew one of them would have to be mine.

I never saw many copies of the base autograph but did find a few of these golden gems. Found the one that had a none streaky autograph and luckily it was also on a BIN auction with a best offer attached. After a little give and go with the seller I was able to secure the card. Card looks even better in person and I might do a BGS raw grade review when they are out in my neck of the woods again. Looks borderline mint/gem mint. We shall see.

11 of 50

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Five Star : Hanley Ramirez Base Autograph (7/50)

There are four Dodgers in the 2014 Five Star issue that I was/am looking to getting my hands on. I already have the big one (Kershaw) acquired which left me with two lesser ones (Hanley and Fernando) and a maybe (Guerrero) left. I was able to snag Hanley finally.

Kershaw was the priority as he always is and should be but getting an on card autograph of Hanley was a close second. Even though he is no longer on the Dodgers I still wanted one of him in Dodger blue as the only other autograph I had of him is a sticker variety that was acquired as a place holder till I could get an on card one. Well I finally was able to get that handled.

With only 50 copies (making it the least amount of the remaining 3 Dodgers) out there I expected prices to be highish and most auctions closed at over $30 which meant I had to really push that other Hanley card I had on eBay so I could use those funds to pick up this one. That sale concluded and with it I acquired this much better looking Hanley autograph card. For a Five Star card it looks to be in gem mint condition but I have no plans or intentions to have it graded.

7 / 50

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Journey From Trade To Grading To Selling To Buying To Selling Again and Finally Acquiring Cards That Are Staying In The Collection

I post a lot about of when I acquire cards and at times the cost of said cards but sometimes it seems to me that I put it out there that I might have an endless amount of funds but that couldn't be further from the truth and I thought I would show how I acquire a high dollar card at minimal or no cost. Some people have also asked me on this subject as well so I thought I would put it down in writing. Most times it's all about timing and at the same time you have to have a little luck on your side as well which is what I had when it came to this journey's recap and how only a little purchase/trade at the end of last year turned into a handful of great cards that will not be leaving my collection anytime soon.

2014 Bowman Chrome Base Autograph

This all started back in December of 2014 when my good buddy Jesse informed me (and others) that he was going to put this bad boy up on eBay as he pulled it out of a box that his wife bought for him. Great wife BTW. It was a simple trade/purchase as we agreed that I would send him some cards in addition to $150. It was Christmas time and I had to account for presents so Jesse was kind enough to allow me to send him payments over the course of several weeks but soon enough it was paid for and I had it in hand. Now with the card in front of my eyes I thought it was beautiful that had a very good chance of grading out to a gem mint 9.5. I am not a prospector of non Dodger players so I only wanted one of Bryant's autographs in my collection and this was going to be that one. Mind you this was before Spring Training and his status blew up big time due to his performance.

BGS came to town in early March and I submitted the card (along with many others) and I "expected" Bryant to come back as a gem mint. Well it didn't . . .

. . . it came back as a PRISTINE 10. Holy crap!!! At the time of me submitting this for further grading which included slabbing the card the going price on eBay for these were $900+ with some touching $1000. The other hope was that it would come back with a black label 10 (that's when all the sub grades are a 10) which unfortunately it did not but still it did look quite spiffy in this case.

This was to be my 4th pristine return in my collection but I debated if I should sell high and get something more that fits into my collection. I only wanted a 9.5 but now I had a potential money making card in my hand. What to do? I went to Twitter to consult with my friends aka Jesse, Derek, Alex and Austin and they all confirmed my belief that I should move this as a 10 is nice but it is an unnumbered card. So I made a plan and went about to set it in motion as I noticed that sales of this card were starting to dip. Time to move it.

I had my eyes set on two cards with the leftover money to take my wife out to a nice dinner. Win win all around in my eyes. But first I had to make sure I sold this 10 for at least $900 which thankfully it did as the bottom has fallen out of it with a current sale (May 30th) at the rock bottom price of $485 and that is before factoring in eBay, shipping and Paypal costs. That is a $415 swing so I made the right call at the right time.

In return I picked up two cards.

I still wanted a Bryant card for my collection and again with advice from my Twitter friends I/we figured that a numbered (#/500) refractor gem mint 9.5 is a much better piece to have than an unnumbered pristine 10. This card ended up "costing" me $500 which to me was very reasonable considering what I sold the pristine at and what they are worth now. I was still on the look out for one more card that would really go well with my collection. I found this gem.

2015 Topps Tribute Joc autograph printing plate

This might end up being one of my better acquisitions from eBay as the years go on if Joc becomes a big star. For those that don't know this is a 2015 Topps Tribute printing plate. It is numbered ONE of ONE. It is the only one in existence. Also what makes this a potentially great card in the long run is that Topps recalled this product due to quality issues so only a limited amount of cards made it to the aftermarket. Also plates have a notorious history for scuffs and high grades are hard to come by. Then you have to factor in the Joc autograph aspect as his autographs tend to be streaky. All of that and this card seems to be void of it all. No scuffs, auto is crisp and clean and I think it will grade out to a 9.5 but again I will and still have my fingers crossed.

With that I believed I was done but then I got to thinking as I was searching for deals on eBay. While I do want a Bryant card in my collection we are in season now and prices are still inflated. Could I sell off the refractor now for a decent price, pick up another card or two and then pursue a Bryant autograph in the off season when prices cool down a bit? Back to the Twitter group for some brainstorming and I came away with yet another game plan and soon put it into motion and came up with these:

2014 Topps Finest Koufax autograph

If I was to let go of the Bryant I was determined to get a great card and that is what I ended up getting. I swapped out a 23 year old prospect autograph card for a Dodger great and Hall of Fame member's gem mint autograph, the immortal Sandy Koufax. I sold the Bryant for $500 which meant I lost zero dollars on it as that is what I acquired it for and snagged this Koufax on a buy it now for $340 after a eBay coupon was factored into it. Black, blue, graded and Koufax. A great combination and I am glad I pulled the trigger and can't believe it took me that long to do so. I still had a little more than $100 left over from the Bryant sale so I was still looking to max out my bang for my buck and finally settled on this card.

2015 Topps Heritage Trout black refractor

If I wasn't going to acquire an autograph card of Bryce in my Bryant sale then I would get the next best thing for my collection, a limited and numbered parallel of Mike Trout. And just like with the Koufax card I spent zero out of pocket at the time of acquisition.

Now this is just one particular example on how I acquire some higher valued cards at a bare minimum. The great thing about card collecting is that it is always in flux and your wants and needs can and will change as long as you are in the hobby. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose when it comes to the cost of a card purchase but I look at this particular example like this as I originally spent $150 on a raw card which I turned into :

  • A 1 of 1 autograph printing plate of a Dodger prospect which might possibly grade out to gem mint 9.5 which will make it even more valuable.
  • A BGS graded gem mint card autograph of a Dodger legend
  • A limited (#/66) parallel of probably the best everyday player in baseball in the form of one Mike Trout.
  • With the "purchases" of the Koufax, Joc and Trout card I also earned eBay bucks which I can use come July 1st for yet another card at no cost
  • and most importantly a paid night out with the wife  
So would you pluck down $150 for these three cards? Of course you would. Could they have been acquired with out of pocket funds while keeping the Bryant? Yes but why would I do that if I wouldn't have been happy in the end doing it that way. So basically I purchased 3 cards (4 including the one I'll end up getting in July with the eBay bucks I earned by acquiring these 3 cards) that have a combined value of $750 give or take (depending on the grades that the Joc and Trout card get) and a date night with the wife for $150.

In the end this and other transactions are all about timing with a bit of luck added in. If Jesse wasn't willing to part with the Bryant card or if I didn't luck out on it grading out to a pristine 10 or if I would have waited an extra week to sell it which would have been at a lower sale price none of this would have been possible. If my little insight on these cards acquisitions bored you I am sorry but I thought I would share my experiences with everyone on card buying. Thank you again to Jesse for selling me the card in the 1st place.

Thank you and have a blessed day.


Trade with Follower Gavino From Instagram - 2012 Topps Triple Threads : Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Dee Gordon Autograph w/Relics (16/18)

I recently completed my first trade and second overall transaction on Instagram. I think the both of us came out happy.

As long time readers know I am not a fan of sticker autographs and the only one I have left of Kershaw is the one I won from  The Dutch Card Guy as I spent over 8 hours online typing in over 400 comments and then got the luck of the draw and had my choice of cards that he was giving away which of course I took the Kershaw autograph. I earned that and sticker or not I am keeping that bad boy. All the others sticker ones in my collection though I have sold and picked up on card versions to replace them so when Gavino reached out to me about this card I was hesitant to the trade.

Gavino wanted a Joc autograph and I had one that I was not attached to so I was willing to spare it. But of course that would not have been equal as he wanted/needed a Kershaw autograph of some sort back. The only I was willing to depart with was an IP one I picked up a couple years ago and since I personally didn't get in person I was not attached to it. I offered it up to Gavino and he was good with it. So he received an IP autograph of Kershaw and a Bowman Sterling autograph of Joc and I received this nice card.

If there was only Kershaw's autograph on the card I would have taken a pass on it but having two of my favorite past Dodgers on it made it more desirable to me. It being numbered out only of 18 also made it attractive to me. So after I swore off sticker autographs I went out and acquired another one and I am OK with that. I had planned to submit it to BGS in my next batch and once the card was in hand I have not changed my mind about that. There is a slight fraying on one corner which will probably make that sub grade a 9 but I think everything else holds up to make this an overall gem mint card. We shall see in October. Thank you again goes out to Gavino for the trade.


Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Movie Review : Entourage

Another hit TV show makes its transition to the big screen but unlike some others Entourage has been off the small screen for a few years now. Will there be a  demand to watch and pay high ticket prices to watch the boys in a theater? I personally did not think so as I believed that the big screen couldn't bring anything new that couldn't be done on the small screen. I ended up watching this film 10 days after it's release and audiences seemed to agree with me as it was bombing (money-wise) at the theater. With that I went into it with very low expectations.

Highlights :

  • Pretty women are on the screen for the whole movie. 
  • The film gives a quick recap of the story lines from the show so just in case you forgot them.
  • Watching Haley "I see dead people" Joel Osment play against type.
  • The Entourage brotherhood is still strong and intact
  • Countless cameos from actors that guested on the TV show
Low Lights :

  • ???
Final Thoughts :

You would think since I did not have any low lights to discuss that this is the perfect movie. No it's not but when you go in with zero expectations the experience of a movie can be quite satisfying which this film was.

As a fan of the show I looked forward to watching this film at sometime and watching it with minimal people in the the theater made it more fulfilling as you could hear everyone laughing as there was not much downtown between jokes. The group still has the same dynamic and thankfully the director doesn't try to alter that as we the audience went in expecting what we have seen for years. The movie is basically one long episode as it contains the usual circumstances that you have seen for years. Naked women? check. Drugs? check. Trying to get a movie off the ground? check and the list goes on. If you are looking for something different you won't find it here but if you are wanting to laugh out loud at men being boys with little to no repercussions for their actions then you will enjoy this to the fullest. If you want seriousness or a love story you will find yourself stuck for a hour and a half.

I guess the only "knock" on this movie is that you could watch this on TV and you wouldn't miss a beat as the big screen does not add anything special. This movie does not leave you in awe but it is enjoyable for what it is which is a movie that doesn't apologize for itself and for that I say thank you.

Final Grade : B

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Card of the Day - 2015 Topps Heritage : Mike Trout Base Chrome Black Refractor Parallel (3/66)

As stated in yesterday's Koufax post (and if you missed it HERE YOU GO) I still had left over funds from the Bryant sale and I wanted to pick up one last big card that would cost me nothing out of pocket. I threw a line out and caught a big fish, Mr. Trout.

This limited (66) card from this year's Heritage set was always on my list to acquire but the cost was always too high and the timing was never right when one of the few ever to make it to eBay for me to even consider purchasing it. Well I timed it right as when I decided to sell off the Bryant card this one popped up on the bay with a high starting price. I hoped to myself that with that price it would scare off other potential buyers. Last day of the auction and no bids had been put on it but there were 7 watchers so it was still on people's radar. I was not going to spend more than what I had from the Bryant sale so in other words nothing out of pocket so I would put one bid in and hope that it would stick. Per the norm I waited till the last minute and entered my bid and crossed my fingers that no one else would bid and seconds later I was rewarded with a congratulations email from eBay stating I won the card. Woo Hoo.

Card has a Beckett value from $100-$250 and I thankfully paid exactly ZERO for it. Not...too...shabby. In the end I had a Bryant rookie card and turned it into a Koufax autograph and a limited Trout card. I think I made the right decision.

If interested tomorrow I will be posting about the journey of a trade to grading and in the end these last two cards (among other things) and how I am at times able to acquire higher priced cards. Of course only if you are interested.

And finally, this lovely Trout looks great in person and other than the ever so slight corner ding on the lower right which can only be seen underneath a loop this looks to be a gem mint card and I will find out in a couple months when I do another BGS submission.


Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Finest : Sandy Koufax Greats Autograph Black Refractor Parallel (72/99) BGS Graded Gem Mint 9.5

A few weeks back I did a post asking you the reader which card would you rather have in your collection. You can read about it HERE in case you missed it.

As stated I have/had a BGS gem mint card of Cubs prospect Kris Bryant. It was my only autograph of the young player but I was not emotionally attached to it as he is not a Dodger and I also think his market is over inflated right now. Don't get me wrong, I think he will have a very good career but not one that warrants current card prices. I want(ed) an autograph of his in my collection but I decided that I would sell that card and pick up another one of his in the off season when the prices come down a tad. If I was to sell it though I had to get a great replacement and I basically had two options. A BGS gem mint Bryce Harper Allen Ginter autograph or this BGS gem mint Sandy Koufax autograph.

I was already leaning towards the Koufax card before I asked everyone which way they would go if they were in my situation but I was still a tad conflicted as I still wanted to add another Bryce autograph to my collection. So do I go with a Dodger Hall of Fame member or do I go with an up and coming star? The overwhelming response was to go with Koufax with no one really on the Bryce side. So with that I went from 1 Bryant, 1 Koufax and 1 Harper autograph in my collection to zero Bryants, still 1 Harper but now 2 BGS gem mint Koufaxs to call my own.

I think I made the right decision and this card does look even better in person than it did on the computer screen. I want to thank everyone that gave me their opinion as I value it whether I agree with it or not.

Of course if you have read this blog long enough you know I always attempt to get the most bang for my buck. Just because I got one great card doesn't mean I couldn't get more right? More on that tomorrow.

Golden arm with a golden banner

72 of 99

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Five Star : Phil Nikero Base Autograph (62/299)

What I am sure is going to become my yearly autograph fix of past stars that I know will have their autographs on card instead of a sticker. Five Star is back and even though I will always get my Dodger autographs from this brand I look for those players I missed before and can't get elsewhere. First up is one of the Niekro brothers, Phil

Phil is a 300 game winner and though he was on my wish list of autographs to acquire he was far from ever being a priority but with the 2014 Five Brand release I saw that he was included in the set and once I saw the card I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I love these retro uniforms that the Braves wore back in the day. I attest it to the blue and white combination. Sound familiar?

With 299 copies and my presumed guess that there wouldn't be that much demand for Phil's card I waited on the sidelines for the price to come down from its initial out of the box high price. A few weeks dropped the price from the high 20's to the mid teens and soon enough I found this one's price to my liking and picked it up. Autograph is crisp and card is in overall great condition. Probably my one and only every Phil autograph in my collection but a welcome one.

62 of 299

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day


18 Cards Submitted To Beckett At Valley Sports Cards For Full Grading On June 6th 2015

My obsession of graded cards has reared its head once again as BGS was back in town (sort of) and my stack of cards I wanted to get graded has continued to grow since my last submission back in March.

The stack had a total of 29 cards (and I have more coming in) but that was too much ($$) to do all at once but half of that was doable and after a few sales on eBay I had the necessary funds to cover the transaction. First I had to pare down the stack and I came up with these 18 as the most desirable ones. While Tarzana is not in my neighborhood it was close enough to take a day trip to hopefully get 18 great results back from Beckett. I decided to go with the 10 day turn around instead of my typical 20 as I wanted these bad boys back in hand sooner rather than later. When this post goes live I will be one week out from knowing the results. Here are the 18 and my thoughts on each one and what kind of grade I expect from each.

2013 Bowman Inception Blue Seager

If this batch had to be named it would be the Seager/Urias batch as 9 of the 18 are of them. First up is this Bowman Inception blue parallel. Inception has notorious condition issues with the corners being the worst offenders. I was lucky on the Urias card from a few batches ago but I think since there are two corners here with issues I will not luck out on a gem mint of Seager here. I don't think the corners are bad enough though to knock it down to a NM result so I am looking at a nice minty 9 here.

2013 Bowman Inception Gold Seager

Same card, same player but different color. As with the blue one this gold one is subject to the same conditioning concerns especially the corners. The reason this one is higher on the list compared to the blue one is that while it also has issues on two corners one of them you can only really see while under a magnifying glass. Again, can it earn a gem mint grade? Sure but I am being more realistic in my thinking and it will probably come back as a mint 9 just like its blue brother. Still a nice card no matter the grade.

And let's make it three of the same card and player but yet another different color. Of the three colors this orange one appears to be in the best shape. As with the other two there is a corner issues but thankfully it is only on one and it is minimal at that. Hard to see with the naked eye so that works in my favor as if Beckett has to see only if its under a magnifier there is a good chance it will receive a 9 sub grade and hopefully the other 3 sub grades get a 9.5. At worst though I expect this will be at least a mint 9.

2015 Topps Museum Blue Archival Autograph Kershaw

A submission batch wouldn't be complete without a Kershaw autograph in it would it? Of course not and here is the one and only I included of him this time. I love the look of this card and as long time readers know I want a gem mint autograph of Kershaw from every year that there is an autograph released by Topps of him. So far this is my only 2015 of his and I hope it can earn a gem mint grade but since it is way down here on the list (15 of 18) I have reservations about it. Everything looks good but the lower right hand corner has some chipping. I am praying that is earns a 9 and the other sub grades bump it up but I am being realistic and know there is a better chance than not it will grade out to an 8.5 sub and 9 overall.

2015 Heritage Black Refractor Kershaw

I'm done with autographs of Kershaw for the batch but not of his cards in general and here is the first. This is a great looking black bordered card that at first glance looks to be in tip top shape but I can see it's off centered which will probably cause that sub grade to drop to a 9. For some reason I have a bad feeling that it will earn an overall 9 even though my research says it should still be gem mint. Hopefully its just me and not the card. We shall see. Fingers crossed.

2011 Bowman Seager

And now, yet another Corey Seager autograph and the one I really want to grade out to gem mint 9.5. The other 3 (Inception) are nice and all but this 2011/2014 (2011 Bowman but released in 2014 Bowman) is the one that has major upside in the future and I would love to pare it with my gem mint Bowman Chromes of Seager. What holds me back is the centering. I can tell its not perfect but I hope it still earns a 9 as I think the other 3 sub grades will get a 9.5. I have seen these in graded form and they are going for top dollar and will only go up in the near future. My hope is that I can own one as well.

2014 Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor Urias

We are to the point now in the batch where I think everything should be gem mint but there are a couple borderline ones and this purple Urias is the 1st. Top to bottom this cards looks to be centered perfectly but from side to side you can tell its not 50/50, Couple that with the back having the "same" issue we shall see what grade this one earns but I am still more confident than not that it will be gem mint rather than plain old mint.

2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects Green Refractor Urias

There are 3 cards that I feel are borderline and this is the second of the 3 and the second Urias overall. Just like the purple parallel this green one "suffers" from a slight centering problem. I do not believe it is enough to knock it down to a mint 9 but at the same time since I'm thinking it might I have to be ready that it might earn that "dreaded" 9. Come on Beckett, give it a gold as green looks good pared with it.

2015 Topps Tribute Autograph Printing Plate Pederson

Halfway through the batch and we have arrived at the card I REALLY want/need to get at least a 9.5. This is a 1 of 1 autographed printing plate from the 2015 Tribute release which was recalled by Topps due to quality problems. This card was pulled and put on eBay the 2nd day of the set's release and I was lucky enough to grab it. Printing plates have a notorious history of not so minty grades. When this card made it into my hands I could see no flaws. Everything looks great including the autograph. To be quite honest if this, or should I say when, grades out to a 9.5 I will probably flip it on eBay. Sell high, buy low. Joc's autograph cards have skyrocketed and if I was to have a gem mint 1 of 1 from a product that is basically not on the market anymore it should sell for a pretty penny. Fingers crossing and here's to hoping for that gold banner.

2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects Red Wave Refractor Urias

Alright, I am officially more than half way through the batch now and all I expected to see are gold banners on the rest of the cards from the batch starting off with yet another Urias parallel. This is a limited (#/25) red wave parallel that looks to me to be perfect all the way around but I don't want to be too confident so I'll say that centering is not perfect and cross my fingers. = )

2014 Topps Chrome Black Refractor Trout

It's a non Dodger appearance. Whaaa...? Other than Dodgers everyone knows I love me some Trout cards and once I finally picked this black beauty up I knew it was going to BGS for hopefully a gem mint grade, Card looks to be in great condition with no obvious issues other than one small blemish on the surface. We shall see what Beckett thinks but I will be disappointed if this anything less than a 9.5.

2006 Allen and Ginter Wooden

It's a very tense time when I submit an autograph of a person that will probably be my only one for my collection so its basically my only shot at a gem mint grade and once again this all hold true here. I would have put this great looking Wooden card near that top of the list as I see no issues whatsoever but with my history of totally hitting it or totally missing it I will leave it here. Seems like I get gem mints or near mints returns and totally bypassing the mint bench marker. With only a handful of these out there I really hope this card earns the former and not the former. I am confident just not too much.

2013 Bowman Chrome Yellow Refractor Seager

I did my research when acquiring this card and I hope that I don't disappoint myself as this would be a real big feather in my Seager hat. This is the last Seager of the batch and the one that I am most confident of at least earning a gem mint grade. Corners crisp, surface clean, edges nice and centering looks to be spot on. At one point I even thought that it should be a pristine card but I don't want to be greedy. I'll be happy with a plain old 9.5 here and would be really bummed if it didn't come back that way.

2014 Bowman Oversized Purple Ice Urias

You can't tell by the picture here but this is one big a$$ card. I picked this up on a trade with Frankie as it was my big get from that trade and when it arrived I knew it would be heading to BGS to hopefully earning a gold banner which would sit nicely next to my other gem mint Urias autographs. For a big card it surprisingly looks void of any problems. With only 25 in existence I sure would love to be one of only a couple to have a 9.5.

2015 Topps Silver Framed Pederson

Now to the top 4 and the next 3 are all the same per se with the exception of the player so it basically is just preference on my part to the order. Pederson is on his way to a ROY award the way he is swinging the bat and his play in the outfield and I picked up another limited parallel of his in the form of this silver frame. I still stand by the fact that unless the the actual picture is messed up I can't see these metal framed cards earning anything less than a gem mint grade. Corners, edge and centering are obviously perfect in my eyes with only surface being in question. Expect a gem mint but as always we shall see.

2015 Topps Framed Kershaw

As with the Pederson framed card the only difference between that one and this one is that this is Kershaw and Clayton will always trump Joc in my collection. I already have the "highlights" Kershaw framed parallel and I was lucky enough to have that one earn a gem mint grade and I would love to pare his "twin" here with the same grade.

2015 Topps Framed Trout

And the final one of the 3 framed parallels and this one features the reigning AL MVP, Mike Trout. Most times I would place Kershaw above Trout in my lists if I believe they are the same condition quality but this time Trout gets the nod as this card books for twice as much as Kershaw's. One other reason this time around is that Trout's photo looks better than Kershaw's as I do love me some horizontal cards. 3 framed cards and looking for 3 gem mints.

2014 Topps Strata Griffey

We have arrived to the final card of the batch. Number 18 of 18 and the only one I know will grade out to gem mint as it already has via Beckett's raw card review. Long time readers might recognize this card from my previous batch back in March. I received this back from BGS with the gem mint grade BUT they attached a note stating that it was too thick to slab. Wth? They slabbed my Pee Wee Reese strata but said no to this one? I thought I would hold onto this till Beckett came back in town and I could go and get a second opinion. Well from March till now I found another Griffey Strata exactly like this one that had been graded AND slabbed by Beckett and was being sold on eBay. I downloaded a picture of said card and when I dropped this off with all the other cards I included a picture of that other card stating if you can do that one you can do this one. So now we shall see if they do indeed slab my copy. Hopefully they do as this big plastic holder is an eyesore in my room.

Well that's it everyone. 18 cards and I get anything less than 12/13 gem mints with all perfect autographs I will be disappointed but as always these submissions are a crap shoot. Crossing my fingers and by next week I will know all the results. And with that I am already working on my next batch when BGS comes out in October.

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.