Friday, May 29, 2009

Mail Day: Rainbow Edition


I’ve got a fever and the only cure is more mail day.  I’m starting this post off with my Mario Chalmers Topps Murad autographed mini framed card…

My Mario Chalmers Murad…

Wait, that’s not a Mario Chalmers card at all.  Since Topps is losing their basketball license after this season, it seems like they haven’t put a lot of effort in getting rookies to sign their sticker sheets.  Because of that, I was sent this Spud Webb (that’s not what his signature reads) autograph card from Topps Signature.  Can you believe that Spud is considered an A List signature?  The card is numbered to 1899 and there are plenty of them available on eBay for one dollar.  This was in exchange for a card whose redemptions were selling for around $10 on eBay.  Equal book value my ass.  (Now can you see why I’m hesitant to send in my Dwayne Wade card to be replaced.)  I would have much rather gotten a non A List card of a Celtics player such as Rajon Rondo or whoever else might be in the set.  With the number of Webb cards that were sent out as replacements, I wonder if Topps even packed any of these out or if they saved them all for replacements.


Even though it is my largest collection, Piazza has kind of taken a back seat lately to other collections where I can get cooler cards at an affordable price.  I can buy 10 – 20 Glen Davis autographs for the cost of one Piazza autograph.  I think my best chance of picking up a Piazza autograph is pulling some other great card and trading it.

This here is a nice Diamond King.  I grew up during the era when the normal Diamond Kings were treated like insert cards long before they became actual insert cards.  You can’t tell all that well from the scan, but the picture in the middle is framed by the die-cut outer frame.  The card looks great in person.



The same seller had these two cards for sale.  The same card with two different colored jersey swatches.  This lot was just over a dollar a card.

Plain jersey cards aren’t all that appealing anymore, but something like this is something interesting to add to my collection.


Here’s the final card that I picked up from that same seller.  1998 Leaf Heading For the Hall numbered to 3500.  It’s a shiny, refractory card and everything red on the card is embossed.  This is another one that looks great in person.


I didn’t pull this card when I opened a box of SP Rookie Edition so I picked one up for my collection.  I’d love this set if you got more than three SP cards in a box.  It makes much more sense to pick up the singles that you want.  This color coordinated card has a refractory border.


Colors, colors, colors.  Here’s a Big Baby Finest Blue Refractor numbered to 199.  I think I just might like the blue better than the red that the regular cards have on them.  Now I just have to find out how many other cards I need in the rainbow.


I’m really not a fan of rookie cards with college jerseys on them.  Isn't that what the Rookie Shoot is for?

Davis put up big numbers at LSU, a lot of them second only to Shaq, but weight and injury concerns caused him to slip in the draft.  He was a steal at 35 in the draft and Danny Ainge was very smart in getting him included in the trade that brought Ray Allen to Boston.


Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony.  While the 2007-08 Topps cards were black, the Chrome cards were… Chrome colored.  Here’s the white version of the Chrome card.  Everything really seems to pop off of this card as scanners really seem to like the grooves around the players.

This card is numbered to 99 and looks great.  I doubt that I’ll ever complete any of these rainbows, especially the ones that include a 1/1, but I’ll get as much of them as I can.


This is the “Wow, I’ve got a filthy and scratched up scanner” part of the post.  This card scanned horribly and showed all of the imperfections on my scanner.  One of these days I’m going to need to get a new one.

This card looks a lot nicer in person than it scans with a black and white picture of Davis ghosted in the background.  The card is numbered out of 1999.


I was very excited when I won this card and since it was through an offer, I didn’t have to deal with the drama of trying to win an auction.

I can’t afford these kinds of cards with any of the other players that I collect so I’ve enjoyed scooping them up for my Big Baby collection.


Dee Brown was the first Celtic that I collected.  I liked him from the moment that he stepped on the court for the Celtics and was thrilled to see him win the Slam Dunk Championship that year.  That led to Brown’s first card being released in a Fleer Basketball Update set.  Back in those days, early sets had no rookies in them.  Series two would have the lottery picks, but many lower picks would be ignored and that was the case with Brown.


Dewey!  2007 Sweet Spot Classic on a bat piece.  This is numbered to 75 which was a great year even if it contained one of the worst World Series travesties ever.

Evans’ catch in Game 6 of the Series should be as famous as Fisk’s home run.  Without that catch, the Fisk shot never happens.  Dewey did color the other day for a Sox game as one of many who are filling in for Jerry Remy as he recovers from Pneumonia related to recovery from Cancer.  Don’t smoke kids!  I’d have to say that he did a good job and I love seeing him back with the team.  This opens the door for the team to retire the correct 24, the one that roamed right field for most of 18 or so seasons.  Not the one that sauntered around left for 8.


This card here just arrived on my doorstep today and I love it.  This is numbered to 24 which is Evans’ jersey number and the silver ink looks great on the black leather.  I think this completes my Dwight Evans 2007 Sweet Spot Classic Memorainbow.  Now I can focus on picking up the cards from some of the other years he was in Sweet Spot sets.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Talking with Topps

WadeThe eBay auction for the Dwayne Wade card isn’t drawing a lot of attention.  I was honest in the description of the card and I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.  This card has a smudged autograph and lots of chipping on the back.  It’s great to pull such a rare card, but that excitement quickly fades when a card is in this bad of shape.

So, I was toying with the idea of sending the card back to Topps for replacement if there continued to be no interest on eBay.  Before sending it back, I wanted to make sure that I’d get the same card back and so I e-mailed Topps.  What follows reads like one of chemgod’s Craigslist Idiot posts.


I pulled a Dwayne Wade autographed mini card out of a rip card and it is in pretty rough shape. The autograph is smudged and there is a lot of chipping on the back. Can I send this card in to be replaced? I have all of the required items (box, receipt, etc), but am wondering if there are extras on hand of a card this rare.


Thank you for contacting the Consumer Relations department for Topps.

We are sorry to hear that your recent purchase of a Topps product contained damaged cards. Please note that the policy of the Topps Company regarding the request for replacement product items requires that the consumer include the following items with their submission:

1) A letter of explanation
2) A copy of sales receipt
3) All pack wrappers & or mini boxes from the product
4) The UPC code (bar code) from the Main box
5) All Damaged items

This should be sent to:

The Topps Company, Inc.
ATTN: Consumer Relations
401 York Ave.
Duryea, PA 18642
ATTN: Consumer Relations

We will then review your issue and begin taking steps toward rectifying it, please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. We hope this information is helpful to you. As always, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service team (By phone: 800-489-9149, or by Email: if you ever have any other questions, comments or suggestions. A customer service representative will be available to assist you between the hours of 9:00am - 4:30pm (EST), Monday through Friday.

Thank you once again for taking the time to write. We appreciate your interest in Topps and hope you continue to enjoy our products.


Consumer Relations
The Topps Company, Inc.

This is the standard copy and paste that Topps sends out if you contact them about damaged cards.  You’d better have everything that they request or else they’ll just send your card back.  No Joke.  Since this reply didn’t really answer my question, I decided to write again.


Thank you for the reply. Does this mean that you have replacements of this card on hand? I just want to be assured that I will get back the card that I sent (I can even send the ripped card it came in for further verification) because I have had issues with a redemption card due to Topps losing its basketball license. Can I please get a non-copy and paste answer assuring that I will be able to get the same card in return.



Please be advised there is no guarantee as to what you will receive, The only guarantee is that you will receive something of equal book value. Thank you for your interest in Topps.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service team (By Phone: 800-489-9149, or by Email: if you ever have any other questions, comments or suggestions. A customer service representative will be available to answer your questions between the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm (EST), Monday through Friday.


Consumer Relations
The Topps Company, Inc.

This answer got me wondering because when I checked Beckett this card was not listed due to scarcity.  So, how do they determine book value for such a card.  Here goes another e-mail.


The thing is that a card such as this one isn't listed in any book due to rarity and I can't find any previous sales on eBay. How do you determine the book value then?


The book value is determined by our team of experts, it is your choice as to if you would like to take a chance regarding your exchange or to hold on to the Wade card.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service team (By Phone: 800-489-9149, or by Email: if you ever have any other questions, comments or suggestions. A customer service representative will be available to answer your questions between the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm (EST), Monday through Friday.


Topps Customer Service team

Team of experts?  That kind of intrigues me.  I think that I’ve got to follow up on this further.  I’m really not comfortable with the answer “take a chance regarding your exchange or to hold on to the Wade card.”  I feel kind of like I’m dealing with Monty Hall and I’m going to get Zonked if I trade in what I have for curtain #3.

What would you do in my shoes?  Click on the picture of the Wade card and look at the full size scan.  The card is in rough shape, but is that bad enough to discourage someone from buying it?  If it was a card of your favorite player, would you want a card looking like this in your collection?  Would you send it back to Topps and hope that they send some loaded Echelon (is there such a thing) in its place?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Box Break: 2008-09 Topps Basketball Jumbos


At this point, I’ve probably hyped this box break up to the point where it is bound to be a major let down.  Thankfully I’ve got a limited readership and therefore not too many people to let down.  Here we go with the break.

To bump or not to bump.  It’s amazing what one little design change can do.  Instead of a bump down from the top of the card intruding on the picture, basketball has a straight top and a bump extending down from the bottom of the picture.  This design looks so much better than the one used for baseball even though it is very similar.

Here’s a card to balance out all of the Celtics from the last box.  Here’s Yao Ming dunking over Kevin Garnett.  Both guys had season ending injuries that will leave fans wondering “What if?”  The Celtics should have at least gotten to the Conference Finals with Garnett and the Rockets just may have beaten the Lakers with a healthy Yao.  This is just one example of some great action shots captured by the backboard camera.


I won’t miss these Own the Game cards at all.  Luckily they’re no longer in baseball either.  I pulled Allen Iverson, Andris Biedrins, Peja Stojakovic, Chauncey Billups, two different Dwight Howards, two of the same Chris Pauls, Marcus Camby, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson.

I’ve got way too many of these cards from various Topps sets over the years.  The design is never that great and there’s no secondary value.  If there’s a player you collect in the set that’s something, but mostly these cards are an unwelcome sight.


I’d much rather see cards like this one.  You won’t be making a fortune on eBay with these either, but at least it’s a fun theme.  I pulled the Bryants, Barrys, two of the Wilkins, Waltons and Greens.


Valuable or not, these retro cards are the best reason to purchase jumbo boxes.  You get a lot more of these beautiful cards than you do in the regular boxes.  Retro sets don’t have to be a separate set.  Sometimes they work better as an insert set such as this one or 2009’s Turkey Red.

I pulled 26 different cards including Chris Paul, Garnett, Boozer, Arenas, Howard, Carmelo, Kobe, LeBron, Baron Davis, D-Wade, Brandon Roy, Stockton, Bird, Isiah, Russell, The Admiral, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Joe Alexander, D.J. Augustin and Brook Lopez.  This is a set that I’ll definitely be finishing.


Baron Davis jersey card with square window.  Blah.


My second jersey card was much better.  It’s an Isiah Thomas with a circular window.  I have no clue why there are different window shapes, but at least they aren’t spelling out anything

There’s not much interest in Isiah these days with all of his off-court problems, but it is still a jersey from a Hall of Famer.  You can’t do too much better than that.  It’s not numbered, but you’ve got to be really lucky to pull something serial numbered in a base product.


My autograph was Mo Williams.  He was red hot in the first two playoff series, but of course has cooled off right around the time that I pulled this card.  If the Cavs are going to beat the Magic then they’re going to need big games from Williams and Delonte West.  LeBron can’t carry the team alone in the playoffs.

Here’s where things get interesting.  This is the second year in a row that I purchased a box of Topps jumbo basketball and it is also the second year that I was lucky enough to pull a rip card.  There are three levels of rip cards and this was from the easiest group to pull and was numbered to 99.  Last year I pulled a card with Camby, Okafor and Jermaine O’Neal on it and so there was no hesitation in ripping it open.  I pulled a red ink autograph and those are supposedly limited to 25.  The downside was that it was an autograph of Josh Howard.  An underachieving player on the constantly underachieving Mavericks.  The card wouldn’t even sell for $5.


This year I pulled Nick Young?  Who?  They put this guy on a rip card?  So, once again there was no doubt in my mind as to whether or not I was going to rip this card open.  Sorry Nick, nothing personal.


RIIIIIIIIIIP!  Miami Heat.  Looks like it is probably Dwayne Wade.  That’s already an upgrade from Nick Young.  But wait, what’s that silver squiggle on the middle of the card…


It’s a Dwayne Wade autographed mini card.  I couldn’t know less about this card.  There’s no information in Beckett (unless I missed it since I just looked quickly at the card store) and I couldn’t find any past auction information.  How many of these autographs are out there?  Are they all in silver ink or are there different colors?

I hate to nitpick, but the condition of the card leaves a lot to be desired.  The autograph is smudged and there’s a bit of a silver fingerprint on the card.  (Rare Dwayne Wade fingerprint card?)  There’s chipping around the edges on the back.  It seems like the journey in the rip card wasn’t a safe one.

I put the card up on eBay mostly out of curiosity.  It'll be interesting to see if anything comes of it.  I’ve also sent an e-mail to Topps to see if this card can be replaced, but I doubt that they’ve got any extras on hand and they’d probably send me a Wade from Topps Signature instead.  It’s been a week and I haven’t heard anything from them when they promise to reply within 24 hours.  This is one card that I definitely wouldn’t mind getting “stuck” with.

Design: B+
Photography: B
Collation: A+
Hits: A+
Overall: A

Monday, May 25, 2009

Box Break: 2008-09 Upper Deck


This is going to be a very Celtics-centric box break, but that’s Upper Deck’s fault not mine.  Normally, I have to at least make a little effort to focus on the hometown teams, but with this box I had no choice.

This year’s Upper Deck design in nice and clean and lets the great photography shine.  You get a lot of great action shots in basketball since the photographers are so close to the action.  Also, with the advent of things like hoop cameras and center court roof cameras, you get a lot of cool shots that you wouldn’t see in the past.

There have been a few too many full bleed sets over the past decade or so.  It does start to get old after a while.  No one will be talking about this set design ten years from now.

There aren’t a lot of inserts in Upper Deck basketball, especially compared to this year’s baseball where you get some sort of insert in every pack.  Upper Deck does have Electric Court parallels, but they aren’t numbered and are not very desirable.  I pulled Mike Miller, Jason Richardson, Linas Kleiza and Andre Owens.


The other inserts are the Dynasty cards.  There are three sets of cards focusing on the Bulls, Lakers and Celtics.  Each card lists the years that player won an NBA Championship.  Some of these Celtics cards are ridiculous with that span of 8 Titles in a row and 11 over the course of 13 years.  Here’s K.C. Jones who was both a Celtics player and later a Celtics coach.  The Celtics won 8 titles in the 9 seasons that Jones was with the team.  The other Celtic that I pulled was Tom “Satch” Sanders.  I pulled Kareem and Mikan for the Lakers and Horace Grant and Rodman from the Bulls.  This Celtics set is definitely one that I could see myself chasing.  The singles are probably pricey since you only get two per box.


Here’s the only non-Celtics card that I’ll be posting.  This is actually the second time that I’ve pulled this card with the first coming out of loose packs.  It’s currently up on eBay and I’ll be amazed if it sells for a dollar.  For one of the rarer “hits,” this one sure is a miss.


KG!  Once he went down, the Celtics chances of repeating dropped drastically.  His scoring can be easily replaced, but it is defense that was sorely missed by the Celtics.  Here’s hoping that he heals quickly so that the Big Trio can make one more run at the title next season.

I wish that card companies would stop using old jersey swatches once a player is traded unless it is in one of those lame “flashback” relic cards.  Who wants a Kevin Garnett jersey card that’s green all over with a blue jersey in it?  One of the main reasons that I haven’t picked up a Pierce/Garnett/Allen jersey card is that they all have Timberwolf and Sonic jerseys in them.  Hella lame.


The Truth!  This card does have a green jersey swatch even if it does look brown in the scan.  This card will go right into my collection.  At this point I was pretty excited about this box.  I couldn’t have asked for two better jersey cards.  There was just one problem.  I opened the final packs and… no autograph card.  I know that Upper Deck says one per box on average, but Topps guarantees their hits and I feel that Upper Deck should do the same especially since it reads “Find 1 autograph” in huge print on the box with “on average” in tiny print.  They’re using the autographs to sell the boxes and you are paying more because they are included and so you should get one.  I’m going to include this box with my horrible baseball box and see what Upper Deck decides to so.

I would give this set’s design a B.  It’s nice, but nothing original.  If the photography wasn’t so good it would score lower.  The collation was good.  I got a full base set of cards 1-200 and didn’t get any doubles of the short printed rookies and legends.  Hopefully I don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to finish off this set.  I think I need around 30 cards to complete it, but most of them are rookies.

Overall, I would have to give this box an A- because of the two Celtics jersey cards.  Even with a bum autograph (which I most likely would have gotten), this box would have gotten an A+, but since I didn’t get one at all I had to drop the grade.  Maybe Upper Deck will feel generous since they’re got to unload all of their basketball inventory anyway.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mail Day: Part 2 – Basketball and more


Well, it only took 19 days, but I’m finally posting the second half of the last batch of cards in the mail.  The only problem with that is a whole new bunch of cards have arrived in the mail.  I’ll be moving in just over a month so I’ll have to put the kibosh on eBay purchases so nothing gets lost in the mail.

Hopefully you enjoyed the thoughts and box breaks in the meantime, but without further ado, here’s a bunch of stuff added to my collection recently.

This first card technically wasn’t acquired through the mail.  It was given to me at my card shop.  I remembered reading about them and was happy to find out that my shop still had them lying around.  I don’t have any of the other caricature cards since I didn’t bust any 2008 Upper Deck, but with the prices dropping (especially on series 2), I’ll probably bust some before too long.


I thought that it was cool when Topps starting doing Allen & Ginter inserts in their WWE Heritage packs, but now they’ve gone a little too far.  This John Cena Xfractor is kind of ugly now that I have it here in person.  The plain chrome ones are a little nicer looking, but A&G just shouldn’t come anywhere near chrome.


Here’s a Paul Pierce jersey card from the Murad set that I love so much.  This one is numbered 42/51 and now that interest in Murad has cooled down, I actually obtained this numbered jersey card for a little less than the unnumbered version.  Go figure.  Now I just need the autograph cards to come down a little more.


Also from Murad, here’s a Rondo jersey in the unnumbered version.  Prices finally dropped a little on this as well so I snatched one up.  I’m not sure why Celtic Green comes out as brown on so many scanners.  Probably user error, but all of the other colors look right.

I like jersey swatches of the away uniforms so much better.  There are way too many boring white jersey swatches out there.  I wish card companies would stick to using just away jerseys except for things like autographed swatches because it would result in much better looking cards.


For some reason, every time that I see one of these Glen Davis Echelon rookies for ninety-nine cents, I forget that I’ve already purchased one.  I think two more have come in the mail since this one.  Oops.

This card came from a pack that sells for around $40 for 4 cards.  Yes, there’s one autograph per pack, but how many of those are going to be $40 cards?  If you can’t get more than a dollar for one of the top rookies in the set, what kind of value does the set have?  Topps was always fighting a losing battle in their high end sets without access to Jordan, Kobe and LeBron.  They never did seem to get it right.  I do love the design of Echelon, but the price tag isn’t quite so nice for what you get.
Always a sucker for throw-in cards, I picked up this Rondo card from the same seller at the ever popular ninety-nice cent price point.  It’s numbered to 2,999 and would be a rookie if it wasn’t an insert.

When the Celtics traded for Allen and Garnett the present looked great, but the future wasn’t so great without Al Jefferson.  With the emergence of Rondo and Davis, the Celtics future looks bright once again.  With a few more great draft day trades by Danny Ainge, the Celtics still be contenders once this new Big Three is dismantled.


Here’s a nice looking autograph card from Trademark Moves.  I’m not quite sure what the name of the set had to do with the contents of the set since I never bought any.  Did it have cards of player’s trademark moves?  Michael Jordan tongue wagging, Joakim Noah complaining, Reggie Miller leg kick and Shaquille O’Neal uncalled offensive fouls are just some of the cards that they could have used.

There’s another Big Baby that’s numbered to 10, but the price always climbs higher than what I’m willing to pay for another version of the same card.  I’m fine with that hole in my collection.


Here’s another card where the green swatch scanned brown.  This swatch is from the NBA Rookie Photo Shoot which I wish that I knew before purchasing the card.  Those patches are pretty lame as far as I’m concerned.  Do they really need to get jersey cards out that quickly?  If so, can you at least make them autographed as well.


Here’s an autographed refractor of Big Baby.  I find it strange that these aren’t numbered.  It’s a nice card though and a good example of a card using a clear sticker and still looking good.


On the opposite end of the spectrum is this Bowman Sterling card.  While I do like the Celtics logo behind the autograph, I’m not a huge fan of cards that have a little box for the autograph.  As the Finest card above shows, it is possible to leave a space for the autograph without building a little box for it or going to the extreme like this year’s Bowman Baseball.


I was so excited about Upper Deck Lineage when I first saw the sell sheet. but they really blew it when it came to execution.  The base cards just don’t look or feel right.  The best cards are the inserts which seems to be a common theme with Upper Deck (UD X Baseball as one example).  The SE autograph cards are a great example of this.  I’ve got a set of the originals and these are a great homage to that set.  The best part was after passing on the first Davis that I saw posted on eBay that sold for around $12, I picked up this one for just over $3.


Why are there so many songs about rainbows?  Probably because of all of the Topps rainbows out there.  Every year Finest and Chrome unleash a whole new wave of rainbows upon the world.

This orange refractor is numbered to 199.  I think there’s an autographed version as well.  There are some low numbered Davis cards that have some big price tags.  There are autographed patch cards from high end Upper Deck sets going for around $100.  I’ll pick up everything else for now until I hit the lottery.


This is by far my favorite card that I got in this batch.  Most auctions were ending around $12 - $15, but I picked this one up for just $4.  This is a beautiful autographed card numbered to 99 from a product that these days costs about $150 for 6 cards.  Seems like a huge bargain to me.

There’s currently a copy of this card on eBay that Davis signed with the inscription “Big Baby.”  The seller is asking for $200.  If that was the only one signed that way, it just might be worth it.  That is one thing that Upper Deck is doing right in their high end products.  They’re got more on card signatures with cool inscriptions.

There you go, there’s already a queue of box breaks and packages to post on here.  I want to get them out there so that I can get my Topps Basketball Jumbo break posted.  Good stuff in there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Box Break: 2009 Upper Deck Baseball Series 1

With series 2 right around the corner, I figured that it was about time that I finished series 1.  Since the cost of boxes have dropped a little lately, I figured that there was no better time to pick up a box and try to finish off the set.

This box was a complete disaster.  4 of the packs in the box only contained 10 cards.  On top of that, I only got one of the two jersey cards that you’re supposed to get and didn’t pull an autograph.  I sent an e-mail right off to Upper Deck after I opened the box and it looks like they’re going to attempt to make things right.  I’ll definitely update on that situation once those cards come in.

I got 247/500 cards out of the box towards the set.  I’m definitely not breaking open another box of this stuff to put together a set, but it seems like that’s what you need to do if you want a set.  Once I added in the cards that I already had from previously purchased packs, I had 330/500 cards and a healthy stack of doubles.  So, I’ll be looking to trade with anyone out there who might have a wantlist for this set.

HurricaneStand back, there’s a hurricane comin’ through.  I feel that this card perfectly sums up my experience with this box.  It was a disaster.  Why would anyone want a trading card of a hurricane anyway?  Stats: 145-mph winds and 35-foot tidal waves.

Along with Hurricane Iniki I also pulled Mike Bossy, Martin Brodeur, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Blue Jays, Pedro Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr. and George H.W. Bush.  If it were the younger Bush, I think I would have just burned all of these 20th Anniversary cards.


The one jersey that I did pull was that of Bill Hall.  I also had a piece of Bill Hall jersey on a quad SPx card that I pulled.  He seems to be haunting me this year.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these single window jersey cards this year are some of the ugliest cards that I’ve ever seen.  BH-J?  More like BS.  If you do have to cut out a window in a card, please make it something meaningful.


Next up is the Documentary update.  This set could have been nice if executed properly.  Instead there are cards with pictures that have nothing to do with the game.  Players who didn’t play, home uniforms for cards about away games, etc.  Upper Deck just wanted to sell lots of packs, but didn’t put in the effort to make the set what it should have been.  They made sure to include autographs though.

I pulled this David Price along with James Shields on a card about a game he lost instead of the winning pitcher Dice-K, B.J. Upton (I think) and a Dodgers player on a card about the Phillies winning 5-1.

I’m not even going to post pictures of the Predictors, First and Yankee Stadium cards.  Luckily, I only got one of each: Yankee Stadium Set Collector, College Football Playoff System (HA!) and Giambi game 6713.  I was shut out on USA Baseball cards.


These Rivals cards are pretty nice looking.  I hadn’t pulled any out of the packs that I had purchased previously, but I got 5 out of this box.  Dice-K/Markakis, Ortiz/Jeter, Santana/Chipper, Russell Martin/Bengie Molina and Peavy/Billingsley.  Two Red Sox cards that will go into my collection.  Not bad at all.


I like the Stars of the Game inserts a lot.  I could do without all of the other inserts if you got more Rivals, Stars and OPC inserts.

I pulled this Hanley Ramirez along with Evan Longoria, Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard.


I love the OPC inserts.  This might be an insert set that I just might have to collect.  I pulled regular sized Evan Longoria, Manny Ramirez, Jake Peavy, Josh Beckett and Chien-Ming Wang along with minis of Longoria and Brandon Webb.

Just based on the fact that I was shorted 40 cards and that most cards had the usual problems with soft corners that you find in most Upper Deck product, I have no choice but to give this box an F.  The design is nice and I got some nice cards from the three insert sets that I like, but I expected more even at the reduced price.  I may retroactively boost the grade once I get what I was shorted from Upper Deck, but even then this is C/C+ stuff at best.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Box Break: 2007-08 Fleer Ultra Basketball

My bowling league recently wrapped up for the year and I got a nice stack of prize money at the banquet.  I took that and some money that I had in my PayPal account and placed an order with Dave and Adam’s Card World.  I busted it all open tonight, but I’ll post the contents over the next few days.


The first box that I decided to open was 2007-08 Fleer Ultra Basketball.  The price on this has dropped greatly since it was released and now it’s an interesting break for hits.  You get 5 packs per box with a hit in each usually breaking down to 1 autograph and 4 memorabilia cards.  This was a Fleer set released by Upper Deck so you’ve got a chance at all of their spokesmen who are some of the biggest names in the sport.  I’m not a huge fan of Jordan, Kobe or LeBron, but those are the best of the best when it comes to cards that you want to pull out of a box and you can’t get them in boxes of Topps.

I’ve always been a fan of Ultra’s design and this set is no exception.  You’ve got nice looking, full bleed pictures with the trademark cursive on the front of the card.

BrooksHere’s a card of Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks.  He, along with Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Glen Davis, really showed a National audience what they could do this postseason.   I also pulled a Gabe Pruitt (Celtics) rookie, but the card is mangled and I think I’m out of luck because I doubt that Upper Deck is replacing these anymore.  One of the better cards in the box, a Tim Duncan Platinum Medallion numbered to 25, was also mangled.  I may as well send it in because no one is going to want it in the condition it is currently in.

Wow, those Oregon uniforms are really ugly.


This set is all about the hits and here they are.  I’ll post them in the order that they came out of the box because the two best cards were the last two that I pulled.

The box started off with a Jermaine O’Neal Scoring Kings memorabilia card.  It’s not numbered, but it is a cool purple swatch.  O’Neal has been a solid player, but he never quite lived up to the level that people thought he could play at.


Next up is an Andrei Kirilenko Ultra Stars card with a piece of memorabilia used in a T-Mobile Rookie Challenge.



My autograph for the box was Morris Peterson.  At this point, I was thinking that even at the reduced price I may have thrown my money away in purchasing this box.  These first three inserts are the type of cards that you find in dollar boxes at card shows.

Surely it must get better.

It does, and don’t call me Shirley.


Next up was a Dwight Howard Heir to the Throne memorabilia card numbered to 199.  This might be a gold version of the card, not sure.

Howard and the Magic just upset the Cleveland LeBrons in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Howard is still pretty raw and doesn’t have a full NBA center’s skill set yet, but he’s a freak of nature.  In a couple of years, players like Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis won’t be able to shut him down.  He’ll be able to score and rebound at will.  On defense, he needs to stop hanging back waiting for a block because it leads to him getting burned at times.  When he does line up the block, he needs to stop trying to kill it.  Swatting the ball ten rows back might look cool, but it doesn’t help your team unless the shot clock is low.  Block it and keep it in play instead.


Last and certainly not least is this nice looking Jordan memorabilia card.  It’s not numbered which is a shame, but I won’t complain.  Not a bad pull at all.

The Jordan and Howard will most likely find their ways to eBay.  I was hoping to pull some sort of Celtics inserts, nice rookie or something of other players that I like such as Al Jefferson, but it looks like I’ll have to sell these cards and then purchase the singles that I want.  That won’t be a problem since there are plenty of Big Baby cards to be had on eBay at the moment and most of them are affordable.

All said and done, I think I would have to give this box a B+.  I like the design a lot and the set is possible to put together if you buy retail boxes instead of these hobby boxes.  The condition of the cards wasn’t all that great which is typical for an Upper Deck product.  I pulled some great cards and some absolute clunkers.  Also disappointing was that the only two Celtics base cards that I pulled were player who are no longer with the team (Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West).  I’d buy another box in a year or so once I work through the list of older wax that I want to buy.

Stay tuned for two strange Upper Deck box breaks and a really nice Topps box break.  If anyone out there collects basketball and wants to trade, drop me a line.  If anyone wants to trade in general, drop me a line.  I’m looking to get some trades going to fill some sets and add to my collection.