Thursday, May 31, 2007

Don't you just hate it when your webhost goes out of business?

So I was all ready to post my review of The Card, and wouldn't you know, my site is down.

The webhost went under. Being that I worked at a webhosting company for two years, I guess I should have seen this coming.

Anyway, I'm back, and I'll have that review up soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

1st Impressions: The 2007 "Retro" Products.

With the success of 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter, it perhaps was inevitible that Topps and Upper Deck would try capitalize in 2007 with products that bear TA&G's resemblences. Well fear not, collectors. For Topps and UD are coming out with not one, not two, but three retro-themed products soon.

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter

Why mess with success? 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter is a virtual clone of the highly successful 2006 version. But, with a few new wrinkles.

The base set is unchanged at 350 cards and has the same design as the original 19th Century Allen & Ginter cards, with one notable exception. With the exception of the rookie cards, and the one-per-pack mini-parallels, all the base set cards will be horizontal, rather than vertical -- to distinguish them from the 2006 edition. And as with last year's A&G, the set will be interspercered with various non-baseball athletes and celebrities. Among those featured will be Bruce Lee, Dennis Rodman, Mia Hamm, and (my personal favorite) Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings.

All the other bells and whistles from last's years set are back. Each pack will contain the aforementioned mini parallel and one of 30 Dick Perez Sketches. In addition, each 24-pack box should yield two framed autogamers and an oversized N43 boxloader. Among the notable autogamers include a framed lock of George Washington's hair and a "paw-to-graph" of the 2007 Westminster Dog Show champion.

'07 TA&G will be out in late July. Six standard-sized cards and one mini-parallel per-pack; 24 packs and one oversized chiptopper per box. The MSRP is $5/pack, but expect to pay more.

2007 Upper Deck Goudey

Upper Deck is countering with Upper Deck Goudey. While not an exact clone of TA&G, UDG nonetheless, has TA&G's finger prints all over it.

The first 240 cards (40 of which will be short-printed) of the 288-card base set all have the design and appearance of the 1933 Goudey set. The remaining 48 cards (all of which are also short-printed) are in the style of the 1938 Goudey Heads-Up set. Each 24-pack box should yield six "Heads-Up" short-prints, and another six of the '33-style short-prints. In addition, each box should yield an autograph, a gamer, and a "Sports Royalty" card.

It's these Sports Royalty cards that give UDG it's TA&G feel, as they include (in addition to the usual crop of current baseball stars), such figures as Emmitt Smith, Tiger Woods, Gordie Howe, and future NBA draft pick Kevin Durant. I don't know if you know this or not, but in '07 UD Series 1, the 1989 Reprint inserts were to include cards of LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Sidney Crosby and Reggie Bush. However it appears -- probably due to licensing issues -- that all four of these cards were yanked. The sell sheet for this product shows the Gordie Howe Sports Royalty card with "Mr. Hockey" wearing a Red Wings jersey -- so maybe UD's worked those issues out.

There are also the usual "buyback" cards, and a pair of inserts based on the '41 Double Plays and the 34-36 Diamond Stars that you can pretty much forget about even collecting. Both the Double Play and Diamond Star inserts are numbered to only 15 copies each.

The street date for UD Goudey is August 10. Five cards per pack, 24 packs per box. The MSRP is $4/pack.

2007 Topps Turkey Red

Finally, there's the third (and hopefully final) installment of Topps' turkey of a retro set: Turkey Red. However this year's edition might actually be worth collecting. Among the 200 cards in the base set are 61 new Dick Perez portraits, and each box will have an oversized Dick Perez chiptopper.

Another thing '07 Turkey Red has going for it, is the "living set" gimmick has been scrapped. So the base set begins as a base set should, at card #1.

No word on either street date, or pack-and-box configuration.

UD just won't take "no" for an answer.

Looks like Upper Deck really, really, wants to acquire Topps. One month after being turned down, UD has, again, offered to buy out Topps for $425 million. (Props to Beckett for breaking this.) That's about $40 million more than what Michael Eisner and his partners at Tornante offered in March.

Stay tuned folks, this is getting interesting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Preview of "The Card."

Our friends at Sports Collector's Daily have posted an exclusive preview of the forthcoming book "The Card." The subject matter is the infamous Gretzky/McNall T-206 Wagner.
Looks like a must read.
I'll have a review, shortly.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

What I got at the White Plains Show: 5/19/07

Site: Westchester County Center; White Plains, NY

Yeah, I know. It's been six weeks since my last post. Sorry about that. Time flies when your trying to get into a halfway decent grad school.

First off, I didn't wake up until 12:30 PM. I went ten rounds with one Mr. Jack Daniels at the Phillies-Blue Jays game the night before. Let's just say, I lost. That, combined with the bad weather, meant that I didn't arrive in White Plains until 4:00 PM -- an hour before the show's closing.

Pulling off the Bronx River Parkway, the lot was nearly empty, and the attendant let me by for free. (Normally you have to pay $4 to park). I still had to pay the $7 admission to get in show though.

With my elusive six-year quest for the mysterious 2001 Donruss Albert Pujols RC finally completed, I've moved on to my next "white whale:" The equally elusive twelve-year quest for the mysterious 1994 Score Rookie/Traded Alex Rodriguez Call-Up redemption card. The backstory on this card is worthy of an entire post (hmmm...), but much like the Donruss Pujols, the SR/TCU is one of those cards that I've always wanted, but have never actually seen for myself. Granted, I didn't have time to look at every table, but I didn't find the A-Rod SR/TCU here.

One Box of 2007 Upper Deck Series One (paid $59)
One Box of 2006 Flair Showcase (paid $49)

These were my fourth and third boxes, respectively, of '07 UD and '06 Flair.

I was debating on whether to buy either a box of last years Topps Heritage; a box of this year's Topps Heritage; or the box of last year's Flair Showcase -- as the going rate for all three the same. I was one Eric Chavez card short of completing the 100-card Flair short set, and only bought it just to see what fracture cards and inserts I could get. This particular Flair Showcase box yielded a Dice-K WBC insert, and a David Wright Fresh Ink autograph. It wasn't until after I looked it up in the Beckett, that I discovered that the Wright was short-printed to 100 copies and worth $60! I still didn't get that Chavez card I needed to finish the short-set. In three boxes I've pulled two Billy Wagner Legacy parallels, each numbered to 150 copies, but zero Eric Chavez's base set cards.

A stack of '05-'07 commons and short-prints. (paid $40)

This was mostly '07 Fleer singles and '06 Ultra Lucky 13s. I also got the last few cards I needed to finish off '06 Topps Updates and Highlights and '06 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects.

A stack of various inserts, and short-prints. (paid $30)

Among these were three '00 SPx autographed "rookies" (Octavio Dotel and a pair of scrubs), and a bunch of '06 Topps inserts. However, the big find was a Roy Oswalt 2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition jersey card that books for $25. Not bad.

Total Spent on Cards: $178
Admission: $7
Parking: FREE
Tolls: $12
Grand Total: $197