Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Predators: Subban Artifacts Ruby

Upper Deck Artifacts is one of those sets that seems to always have a ton of parallels. I kind of like that, especially for my player collections. It gives me a few more cards to chase and its always fun to line up the different parallels and get a look at them together.

For the 2017-18 edition, there were several different parallels available: Ruby (#/299), Emerald (#/99), Orange (#/55), Purple (#/20), and Black (#/5). That's a nice variety and they would make for an awesome complete rainbow. Who doesn't love complete rainbows?

Anyway, I was lucky enough to find one of these at my second card show of the year a couple weekends ago. This ruby parallel featuring P.K. Subban is card #101 is the set and is serial numbered 013/299 on the front. I was able to get it for just a few bucks.

This one will go nicely with the Subban OPC Platinum Red Prism parallel that I got from Chris over at The Collector back when I was just starting my Predators collection.

While this set is from 2017-18, Subban is shown playing during the previous season. This is evident by the old away jersey that he only wore for that one season. I have to say I miss that set of uniforms from Nashville. The ones they have now are a little too simplified. I'd give a slight edge to their current away jersey. 

Predators Collection Total: 35

Monday, March 11, 2019

Box Break: Topps Stranger Things Season One

I know I've caught the collecting bug again when I start branching out into things that are outside the world of hockey cards. I've dabbled in a few non-sports sets in the past (e.g. Lost and Jericho), so I'm always on the lookout for anything trading card related to my favorite television shows. For whatever reason, I really like these kinds of sets.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was shopping at the local Target and upon inspecting the trading card section, I was pleasantly surprised to see a blaster box of trading cards for my current favorite show: Stranger Things. I know some people aren't all that into this show, but I love it. Season one was great and I think season two was even better. Now I'm anxiously waiting to see what happens when season three is released on July 4th.

I wasn't even aware of this set until now. Apparently, it was released around the end of October 2018, which is interesting because season one of the actual showed debuted on Netflix all the way back in July of 2016. Better late than never I guess.

As I've done with my previous box breaks, I wanted to show the front of the box itself. The bright yellow color is what really made it stand out on the shelf at Target. Beyond that, it has painting like images of the main cast over top of the iconic Stranger Things wordmark.

This retail blaster box comes with 10 packs of 7 cards each, plus one pack with a special commemorative patch card. Not a bad deal getting 71 cards for just $20 if you ask me. Here is a breakdown of the cards available in one of these blasters:

  • Base Set: 100 cards
  • Parallels: Upside Down (#/99), Waffle (#/11), Christmas Lights (#/1)
  • Character Cards: 20 cards
  • Character Stickers: 20 stickers
  • Scene Stickers: 10 stickers
  • Commemorative Patches: 24 cards
  • Parallels: Orange (#/99), Green (#/50), Purple (#/25), Blue (#/10), Gold (#/1)

There are some cool autographs and memorabilia available in the hobby boxes, but I'll leave those off of here for now since this was a retail blaster. For more information on the hobby version, click here for a great breakdown from Cardboard Connection.

Before I get to scans of the actual cards I pulled, I thought it would be neat to show the wrappers. These are something that you don't get to see that often when box breaks are posted online. Maybe not the most exciting thing, but still interesting to me.

On the left you have the main packs. The design uses the same yellow as the box, but has a slightly different look to the picture. The black behind the Stranger Things text and the black silhouettes are a nice touch as well. On the right is the pack that contained the one commemorative patch card. Not as exciting as the other one.

Now its time to get into the good stuff. I'll start with the base cards. I was able to knock 57 of these off the list. As far as I can tell, there were no duplicates. They are printed on the old school card stock so they definitely feel like they came right out of the 1980's. There were both horizontal and vertical base cards, which seems a bit odd to me. You would think for a set like this they would've kept everything the same.

Below is an example of one of the vertical designs. This one titled "Signs of a Struggle" is card #12 in the set and focuses on Hopper searching the Byers' shed for any signs of what may have happened to Will. I love the simplicity of the design and the bold colors. Seems like it would fit right in with any other Topps set from the 80's.

If you ask me, the horizontal cards look just a little better. I guess because this is for a television show after all, the horizontal design better accommodates the widescreen shots you would see on TV. The example below is card #46 in the set focusing on the time when Will spells out the word run via the Christmas lights Joyce had strung up on the wall.

The backs of the cards are all the same horizontal design. Below is an example. I really like the simplicity here, nothing seems unnecessary. It has a nice and quick description of the scene shown on the front. The trees on the bottom are a nice touch.

Unfortunately, I wasn't luck enough to pull any of the base card parallels. That's too bad because I really wanted one of the Upside Down (#/99) or Waffle (#/11) parallels. They look pretty sweet from the scans that I've seen on eBay lately. And that's right, I did say waffle. You'd have to be familiar with the show to understand the reasoning for that one.

For the character cards, I ended up with three: Steve Harrington, Mike Wheeler and The Monster. Here's a look at The Monster, which is card #20 of the 20 card insert set. 

For the character stickers, I ended up with eight of the twenty: Scott Clarke, Will Byers, Dustin Henderson, Benny Hammond, Ted Wheeler, Barbara Holland, Jonathan Byers and Eleven. These are a pretty simple design, but look great with the bold color combination. These kind of remind me of Topps hockey cards from back in the 60's and 70's.

For the scene stickers, I ended up with two of the ten: Goin' for a Ride (Will Byers) and Determined Dustin. These are neat because the have the film reel look to them and definitely stick out with all the red. The only thing is that it does not have any kind of description on the back, just the basic set information and sticker number.

I saved the best for last. Each blaster box comes with one commemorative patch card, also known as a manufactured patch. I know some people hate these things and I would tend to agree for anything like this taking the place of a piece of actual game-used memorabilia as a "hit" for a given pack or box. However, in this case I think these are great. It almost feels like and added bonus for a blaster like this.

These are actually pretty cool to see in person. They are nice and thick and the patches look great. This one with Mike Wheeler has a Hawkins Middle School patch. The blue and white provide a nice contrast to the rest of the card design so the patch really stands out.

All in all, this was a fun break. I got some new card for one of my favorite shows and since I haven't seen the first season in a while now, it was nice to look through the set and see some key moments from the show. Now I just need to complete the base set.

Also, from what I've read, it sounds like Topps will be producing another set like this for season two. Definitely going to looking at getting at least a blaster of that as well.

Anyone else into Stranger Things, the show or the trading card set from Topps?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Golden Knights: Card Show Pickups (18-19 UD)

Time to get back to my other new favorite team, the Vegas Golden Knights. I've been saving these for the last post of the card show pickups from a few weeks ago since they are a bit nicer than the Parkhurst cards from my last VGK post.

As the title of the posts suggests, these are all from 2018-19 Upper Deck.

First up we have card #237 featuring Zach Whitecloud. This is first time in what seems like forever that I've bought a Young Guns card for myself. The last few were for my Gallimaufry project, so its nice to get some that actually belong to one of my team collections.

Whitecloud is an undrafted defensive prospect for the Golden Knights. He's only ever played in one game for Vegas and that was back in April of 2018. Since then he has been with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. Click here for a nice article on NHL.com from back when the Knights signed him to a 3-year entry level deal.

Up next is another Young Guns, this time card #224 featuring Tomas Hyka. I'm a little more familiar with Hyka as he's played in 27 games so far over the last two seasons. He was originally drafted by the Kings back in 2012, but never signed with them.

Hyka was signed as a free agent by the Golden Knights back in June of 2017, making him the player in the team's history after Vadim Shipachyov and Reid Duke. 

Now we're onto the regular base cards. Up first we have card #183 featuring Erik Haula. This one is another great example of the photography you can expect from the flagship Upper Deck release year after year. I really like how the background is slightly blurred so the player image stands out.


Last but not lease we have card #178 featuring a really neat low angle shot of Alex Tuch. It's not every day that you can see the underside of an arena's scoreboard on a card. You can even see a little bit of some banners hanging from the rafters in Philadelphia.

These four bring my Golden Knights total to seven. Not as many as I would like to have by now, but I'll take it and continue to be on the lookout for more. If anyone has unwanted Golden Knights cards, or Predators cards for that matter, I'd always be up for some base-for-base trades. I've got tons of cards from the other 28 teams that I'd love to get rid of.

Golden Knights Collection Total: 7

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Predators: Card Show Pickups (18-19 UD)

This post wraps up my Predators pickups from the first card show of the year. Even though they have been primarily base cards, its still fun to add them to one of the newer projects in my collection. These are all from 2018-19 Upper Deck and came from 10 cent boxes. 

My favorite of this group is card #107 featuring Ryan Johansen. It's got an awesome shot of him celebrating another goal in Smashville. I do like that the main Upper Deck set mixes in horizontal cards with the standard vertical ones. This gives the set some nice variety and an opportunity for some excellent photography. 

Up next we have another great horizontal card. This one is #102 and features Calle Jarnkrok. Gotta love photos like this one that showcase the intensity these guys play with.

The last of the horizontal cards is #106 featuring Mattias Ekholm. While I understand they are trying to mix things up with a photo like this, I've seen this exact same type of shot on quite a few cards. By that I mean the knocking over of the stack of pucks during warm ups.

Card #101 featuring Kyle Turris is another example of a type of shot that's been on plenty of cards. While its neat to see some of the players shown during warm ups like this, I would almost prefer in-game action shots over something like this.

Roman Josi is featured on card #104. As I'm posting more and more of these, I'm starting to really like the overall design of this set. The curved shapes on either side of the team logo are a nice touch and I really like the way the images all fade out to white at the bottom.

The recently traded Kevin Fiala is featured on card #105. This is another good in-game shot, the centering looks perfect too. If it weren't for Zdeno Chara taking up some of the background, this would have had a really clean look to it.

So that's it for this run of additions to my Predators collection. I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. I've got a nice variety of sets represented and its been nice to actaully get out to a show and find these things the old fashioned way.

Luckily the show that I got these from happens monthly and is only a few miles from my house. I definitely plan on hitting it up a few more times this year as new sets are released. Once the dealers have finished busting their boxes and cases, the leftover and mostly unwanted base cards can be had for a pretty good price. Definitely beats paying around $0.50 a piece from places like COMC.

Predators Collection Total: 34

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Predators: Card Show Pickups (17-18 UD)

I'm finally getting close to the end of my first card show pickups of the year. Even though these have all been simple base cards, I'm really enjoying the whole process of finding, sorting and scanning them. I know they're not the most exciting things to show off on here, but they are part of my collection and represent the teams that I enjoy watching the most.

For today's post, I've got two cards from the 2017-18 Upper Deck base set. 

The first one has an awesome shot of Nick Bonino about to take a face-off. Its really neat how they captured him staring right at the puck in the official's hand as it is about to be dropped. Close ups can be hit or miss. This one on card #354 is definitely a good one.

Up next is card #356 featuring Ryan Johansen. This one's got a great action shot of Johansen playing the puck along the boards with a Calgary player in pursuit. One thing I've noticed about this set is the blueish green trim that Upper Deck went with seems to go well with any team's color. All in all, I really like the look of this set.

Hopefully posting these will bring the Preds some better luck in their next game as they were shut out 5-0 by the Avalanche last night. After this I've got at least one more post of Preds stuff from the show to get to. Now I just need to work on populating my collection website with all these new scans. 

Predators Collection Total: 28

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Predators: Card Show Pickups (OPC)

My first card show on the year is definitely one that keeps on giving. Even though I only picked up cards for two of my projects, its been nice breaking things up into multiple posts. I enjoy writing these things and its a bit easier to fit in several smaller posts instead of one extremely long one with dozens of cards.

Continuing with my Predators pickups from the 10 cent boxes, I've got a half dozen cards from 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee. These are the first OPC cards I've gotten in a couple of years now. I have to say this design is pretty nice. Its definitely an improvement over some of the designs I remember from recent years.

The first one of the group is #141 featuring Ryan Johansen.

Up next is card #159 that features Scott Hartnell.

Kevin Fiala is featured on card #173. This one appears to have been cut slightly wrong. You can see some of the next card on the left hand side.

Card #357 is Colton Sissons. I will always remember him for scoring a hat trick in Game 6 of the 2017 Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks. That was one of the highlights of that run for me as a new fan of the Preds.

Nick Bonino is on card #399. There is definitely a lot of gold in this photo between the Preds uniform and the top and bottom of the boards. The only thing that bugs me about that watching on TV is the slight difference in the color between top and bottom.

Last but not least we have one of the newer Preds, Ryan Harman, featured on card #419.

I like how for all of these cards the photo focuses solely on the featured player. This just gives them a cleaner look in my opinion. Sure, they may not be the most exciting action shots, but they at least make for a nice overall look.

Since this is O-Pee-Chee after all, I'm still going to need quite a few more cards to complete the Preds team set. There are 20 of them in the main set, so I've got a ways to go. At least it gives me something to look for at the next card show.

Predators Collection Total: 26

Friday, February 1, 2019

Predators: Card Show Pickups (SPA)

It's been a bye week for all three of the teams I follow (DET, VGK and NSH), so I haven't really been all that focused on hockey. It was nice to see some players from each team at the All-Star Game though. All three teams are back in action tonight, so it felt like a good time to get another one of my card show pickups posted. 

These two cards set me back a whopping 20 cents. I'm kind of liking this whole out of town team thing at the local shows. I feel like I'll be able to build all the NSH base sets for next to nothing. I just need to find the time to get to the shows.


Both of these cards from from 2017-18 SP Authentic. They are the first cards I've gotten from that set. The Bonino above is card #52 in the set and the Johansen below is #76.

The overall design of the set is pretty nice. The various geometric shapes make for an interesting background. I just wish for the Johansen they would've used a photo of him in the home jersey. With the away jersey and socks there is just too much white.

Predators Collection Total: 20

Monday, January 28, 2019

Predators: Card Show Pickups (Parkhurst)

Continuing the Parkhurst theme from my last Golden Knights post, I was able to grab some Predators cards from the same set at the show. I guess good things do come in three's because that's exactly how many Preds I ended up with. 

The first card was #137 in the set and features defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Interestingly, this one has a photo of Ekholm from the 2016-17 season as evident by Nashville's old road jersey. I actually really liked that set of uniforms and was kind of bummed that they completely overhauled them for the switch to Adidas. 

Up next was card #138 featuring Nick Bonino. The photo on this one is from the 2017-18 season as evident by the new road jersey. In this case, the green elements of the Parkhurst design make for a nice contrast against the gold on the Preds uniforms.

The last one is #132 and features defenseman and team captain Roman Josi. We're back to the old road jersey with this one. This is also the first horizontal card I've grabbed from the Parkhurst set. Now I'm not sure which orientation I prefer as they both work pretty well.

That's it for now. Not a bad haul for just 30 cents. I have a few more to find to complete this team set, so I'll be on the lookout for those now. After some quick research, I found that there are also red border and black border parallels for this set. I'll have to get some of those too. Black seems like it would make for a nice sleek and simple looking design.

Predators Collection Total: 18

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Golden Knights: Card Show Pickups (Parkhurst)

Looks like I chose a good time to be in the middle of posting my Predators and Golden Knights pickups as they just played one another last night in Vegas. Its not every day that I can root for both teams about equally. If anything, I would've been slightly more inclined to go with Vegas as they were the home team. Even though the Preds came out on top, I thought I would show off the beginning of my VGK collection today. 

Surprisingly, I was only able to find a handful of Vegas cards in the 10 cent boxes at the show. The first group all came from 2017-18 Parkhurst. With their green accents, they really stood out when flipping through stack after stack of singles. 

The first card for the collection is #232 in the set and features Reilly Smith. This one has a great look at Vegas' awesome home jersey. I absolutely love these things. I even bought one of the Adidas replicas and have been wearing it out and about a lot recently.

The next one of now former Golden Knight David Perron is #235 in the set. Here we get a good look at Vegas' road jersey. I might be in the minority on this, but I love the white gloves. They just work so well with the overall look.

The last of the group is card #236 featuring defenseman Nate Schmidt. Despite the fact that he was suspended to start this season, he is one of my favorite Knights. He bring a ton of skill and seems to always be a great source of positive energy both on an off the ice.

So there you have it, the start of another new team collection for me. I'm excited to keep building this project representing my newest favorite team. I've got a few more cards to get so I can complete this team set, so I'll be on the lookout for those in the near future. 

Golden Knights Collection Total: 3

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Predators: Card Show Pickups (MVP)

Back when I started my Nashville Predators collection after their run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, my primary focus was cards featuring pictures from home games that season. I've been following and rooting for the Preds since then, so I figured I would expand the collection to include any card showing anything from the 2016-17 season onward. 

This opens up quite a few more possibilities for the collection and means I can keep adding cards from new releases as they come out. 

The best thing about beings a Predators collector in Michigan is the lack of inflated prices for the local team. All of the cards I'm going to show in this post came from 10 cent boxes at a couple of different dealers. If I were to try and buy the same cards for the Red Wings, I'd probably be looking at five to ten times that price. 

The first group of new Preds comes from 2018-19 MVP. I'll start things off with card #161 featuring Pekka Rinne. I really like the look of this set, which is something that I can't say for most of the recent MVP designs. Those new Preds road jerseys look great here.

Up next is card #77 featuring one of my favorite current Predators: Viktor Arvidsson. Its always fun watching a smaller guy speed around the ice scoring a lot of highlight reel goals in the process. This one also has a nice look at the Predators new home jerseys.


I'm really liking the design on the left side of these cards. Its pretty simple, but it works somehow. Not sure what the five dots are for though, but they do look good in this case. Here is card #20 from the set featuring P.K. Subban, another one of my favorite Predators.

These and other ecent MVP sets make me miss the original MVP logo from the late 90's and early 00's. While the large script logo looks alright at the bottom of these cards, I feel like it would look better with the original logo. Up next is card #48 featuring Filip Forsberg.

We're back to the Predators new road jersey with card #114 in the set featuring Ryan Johansen. These cards also have the newer, full color, Upper Deck logo in the upper right corner. While I don't mind this logo, I feel like these would have been that much nice with some foil on there somewhere.

Predators captain Roman Josi is featured on card #129. Another thing I just noticed about this set is the slight fade to white around the Upper Deck logo. This is a nice touch and helps the logo stand out from the rest of the image.

Card #178 in the set features one of the newer Preds that wasn't part of the Stanley Cup Run. Kyle Turris was acquired from the Ottawa Senators in November of 2017 as part of a three team trade that also included the Colorado Avalanche. 

The last card for this post is #195 set and features one of the newer Predators: Ryan Hartman. He's only been with Nashville since February of 2018 after being acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. While he wasn't a part of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final run, he was a good pickup and I'm glad to have this card as part of my collection now.

I think these eight cards are most of the Nashville cards from the set, but I'll have to track down a checklist to be sure. I'm also on the lookout for the script parallels and the 1998-99 20th Anniversary Tribute cards. Those look pretty sweet. That original MVP set is one that I remember collecting as a kid and that design will always stick with me.

Predators Collection Total: 15

Saturday, January 19, 2019

First Card Show of 2019

Today was the first time I've been to a card show in well over a year. For whatever reason, I decided to get more active with my card collecting this past week and have been on the lookout for local shows. Some quick searching online and I found a relatively new local show that I've never been to. 

The card shows I usually went to were all at a local trade center, but that has closed since my last visit there. This new show was a bit smaller, but still had some of the same dealers I've bought from in the past. On the plus side, it was only 15 minutes from my house in an area I know pretty well. Another good thing about this show was the free parking and admission, which I always had to pay for separately at the trade center shows. 

I went in with a plan to hopefully find some cards for my newly started Vegas Golden Knights collection as well as some stuff for my Nashville Predators collection. I figured if anything was available, it would be priced decently with neither of these teams being local. Even the lowest end cards of any Red Wing is always overpriced at the shows in Michigan. 

While I didn't spend a lot of time or money at this particular show, I was at least able to grab some stuff to get my Golden Knights project going along with a few things to grow my Predators collection. Here's a quick look at the haul: about 30 cards all together. 

It was definitely nice getting back out to one of these shows again. I've been going to them since I was a kid and it's always fun to see what's there. You never know what you'll stumble upon. Now I just need to get started scanning this stuff so I can post some updates for these two projects. Stay tuned for that.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Side Project: Vegas Golden Knights

Wow, I can't believe we're already ten days into 2019. I just realized that I only posted on here once in all of 2018, and it wasn't even related to my card collection. I'd like to change that this year and be a little more active on here if possible. 

That being said, I've decided to add another side project to my collection: the Vegas Golden Knights. I've been a fan since October of 2017 when they came into the league. Before that I'd been following their development pretty closely since the franchise was awarded. It was really neat to see the whole process play out.

With my Red Wings out of the playoff picture again for 2018, I went into the first round rooting for both Vegas and my other favorite team the Nashville Predators. Like in 2017 with the Predators, it was a great ride to watch one of my teams get all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018. It's been 10 years now since the Wings were there. 

At least this time, the my team lost to a team that I did not despise. I've always been a fan of Ovechkin as an individual player, so it was nice to see him finally get his Cup in 2018. 

Now, as far as collecting, I'm not going to be as specific as I was with my Predators side project. I'll be on the lookout for cards from both their inaugural season as well as this year. I don't have anything to show yet, so here's an example from Upper Deck.

I'm sure there are a ton of cards out there for the Golden Knights by now, so hopefully I'll be able to grab at least a few this year and show them off here. I'll be happy if I can surpass my post total from last year, which shouldn't be all that difficult.