Thursday, November 25, 2021

Jimmy Howard: Victory Gold

One of the best feelings in this hobby is being able to cross a card off your want list that's been on there forever. In this case, I've been on the lookout for this card for almost ten years. I've seen one other copy in all that time, but it went way over my price range.

Thanks to another recent eBay pickup, I can finally add this awesome 2005-06 Victory Gold parallel to my Jimmy Howard collection. I was lucky enough to end up getting it for less than $10 too. Not bad for a card numbered to 100 from fifteen years ago.

I've always love the look of this Victory set with the colors split right down the middle and all the 45 degree corners. The only thing that would make this particular card better is if Howard was pictured in his team colored equipment and an official game jersey.

Now I just need to see if I can track down the black version numbered to 5. Now that is a card that I have never seen before. Hopefully that doesn't take another ten years.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Topps Rails and Sails Update

Time for another small update on my new favorite train related card set. Topps Rails and Sails is an awesome vintage set that I've been working on for a little while now. It's actually been over a year now since my last update. I'm only looking to pick these cards up when the price is right, so they are likely to be few and far between.

A little while back I was lucky enough to grab a lot of three new cards from eBay for just $8 including shipping. That ends up just over $2.50 per card, which is right around where I want to be as I'm building this set. It's nice to finally be able to show them off.

Up first is my favorite of the lot: card #26 featuring a diesel switcher locomotive from the National Railways of Mexico. The green paint scheme provides a nice contrast with the rest of the card and the artwork surrounding it is excellent. I love the logo in the lower right-hand corner as well. The cards in this set with actual logos look much nicer.

Up next is card #27 featuring a very odd looking rack-rail locomotive from the Mount Washington Railway. There is some really cool engineering going on with this design, especially the way the boiler remains horizontal while the wheels are on the incline.


The last of the three is card #28 featuring an electric coal mining locomotive. This is another one of the oddball locomotives included in the set. While I prefer the standard diesel-electric locomotives that common today, it is still neat to have cards like these.


While progress on this set has been slow, it is definitely one of my favorite side projects. These cards are the oldest in my collection and are a ton of fun to look at and sort through. While having 20 of them is great, there is still a long way to go for me to complete the set.

Rails and Sails Set Progress:  20/130 = 15.4%
Cumulative Cost (including shipping): $32.21
Average Cost per Card: $1.61

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Jimmy Howard: BTP He Shoots He Saves

It isn't often anymore that I can say I've added something new and unique to my Jimmy Howard collection. There are only so many different types of cards out there. Today's post is about something you wouldn't consider to be a traditional card. I'm referring to the He Shoots He Saves redemption points that used to come in packs of ITG Between The Pipes.

If you're not familiar with these, they are just like the puzzle back cards that Upper Deck has done with MVP lately. The only difference is these ones from BTP served as the decoys in the packs. You could also accumulate enough of them and send in for a prize card. 

Rather than post nine separate single card scans, I thought it would be easier to just throw them all together as they would be in a standard nine pocket page. As you can see below they line up pretty well. There are just some minor differences with the border.


I've had my eye on these for years now, but never pulled the trigger on picking one up. I thought about doing it piece by piece, but that would've ended up taking too long and costing me way too much in shipping. Luckily I was able to grab the entire set of them for like $10 a few months ago on eBay. I couldn't hit the BIN button fast enough.

The image used for this is actually the same as the regular base card for Howard. It is an awesome overhead shot and even captures the puck just off his blocker. Considering the alternative would've been a photo with the Red Wings logo photoshopped out, I'll take it.

I can't think of many cards where you can see Howard's nameplate like this. The only ones that come to mind are the Net Cam cards from Panini a few years back.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Jimmy Howard: More OPC Platinum

I'm ten years into collecting Jimmy Howard's cards and I am still excited every time I find something new. That's tells me I'm into the right hobby, at least for now. Anyway, thanks to a couple of new eBay purchases I've got two new awesome serial numbered parallels.

When it comes to serial numbered parallels, O-Pee-Chee Platinum is one of the best sets out there today. Howard was included in two of those sets: 2014-15 and 2015-16. Today's post is all about the latter. I actually only had one card from this set before this.

Up first and the more colorful of the two is this Red Prism numbered out of 149. These red versions are some of my favorites as they match the Red Wings colors. They also look pretty amazing when the light hits the rainbow patterned background.


The other was this White Ice numbered out of 199. This one has a cool ice pattern around the perimeter and also has a nice rainbow shine. While it does not stand out as much as the Red Prism, it looks pretty good on it own. It goes nicely with the Black Ice version too.


Now onto my favorite part of going after another complete rainbow for the collection. Below is a look at the full visual checklist. These things are actually fun to put together. I use Inkscape to make it and get all of the info on the various parallels from TCDB.


As you can see, I've got a ways to go for this one to be finished. Seeing how these things show up for sale at random, it's kind of funny that the first three I have are all grouped together in the middle of the grid. Maybe I should try to get the Traxx or Blue Cubes next.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Jimmy Howard: Some New Autographs

Continuing with the theme of catching up on accumulating mail, today's post is all about the newest autographs for my Jimmy Howard collection. Some of these have been sitting in the queue for several months now, so it is nice to finally get them posted.

There are five in total and they all came from separate eBay purchases over the past few months. They come from a variety of years and sets, which definitely helps diversify my Howard auto collection. A couple of them are even hard signed, which is always nice.

Up first and my favorite of the lot is this 2005-06 Upper Deck Rookie Ink numbered out of 35. I've seen one or two of these over the years, but was never able to acquire one until now. I think I got this for less than $10, which is a great deal if you ask me. I love the look of it too, although it would've been perfect if he was pictured in his full Red Wings gear.


Up next is another nice horizontal design, this time from the 2010-11 Crown Royale Scratching the Surface set. Again, this is one I've had my eyes on for years, but never was able to pick up a copy for myself. This one is cool because the signature is on a separate piece inserted into the card like a jersey swatch. I just wish it was centered a little better.

 
Going back to Howard's rookie year, we have this Parkhurst Signatures card. This one has a really cool design with the tan borders and the team logo plastered all over the background. It also has a nice look at Howard in his first full set of Red Wings equipment.
 

2006-07 is a year where Howard has next to no cards. This one from Black Diamond is one of just two cards from Upper Deck that season. This one is looks great. The black and white UD logo looks pretty cool. I love the cross hatch patters on here too, definitely one of the better looking Gemography sets in my opinion.


Last but not least is this nice hard signed auto from 2010-11 Zenith Yours Truly. Again, I've seen a few copies of this in the past, I just never really went after them. The price was good on this one so I went for it and was lucky enough to end up with the winning bid.


So there you have it, five awesome new autos for my primary player collection. Not sure how many I have all together now, I'll have to check on that one of these days. I'm still on the lookout for quite a few Howard autograph cards. Hopefully I can get some more soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Jimmy Howard: UD High Gloss

When it comes to player collecting, one of my favorite parts is tracking down those hard to find low numbered parallels. While expecting to get every one of one is pretty unrealistic, the other slightly higher numbered ones are just as fun to grab, especially when the price is good. My latest eBay pickup is another perfect example of this.

I think most collectors would agree that the Upper Deck High Gloss parallels are pretty desirable. I only have one in my Howard collection so far and have always been on the lookout for more. They just don't show up all that often, especially for good prices.

Luckily, I was able to grab this 2019-20 Upper Deck HG parallel numbered 02/10 on eBay last week. It was an auction listing so I wasn't sure how high the price would get. I was pleasantly surprised when it ended with just my one bid. Including shipping it was only $5.


I love the look of this thing. The rainbow foil, while kind of hard to see here, looks amazing when the light hits it. The photo on this card is also very nice. Picturing Howard in the home red uniform provides a nice contrast with the rest of the photo and card design.

So this is another hard to find card I can knock off the master want list. I also have the UD Exclusives as well as the silver foil version. I still need the base, speckled rainbow foil and clear cut versions to complete the full UD rainbow. That will be cool when it's complete.

Here's a look an my visual rainbow checklist for this one:


We'll see how long this one takes to fill in the remaining four spots. At least I have some of the harder ones out of the way now. I've at least seen them all available except for the Clear Cut Exclusives. Not sure how many of those are even out there.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Jimmy Howard: Panini Certified Parallels

I'm still slowly working on chipping away at my stack of incoming mail, especially for my Jimmy Howard collection. The majority of my purchases lately have been for that project. Today's post will focus on a trio of serial numbered parallels from Panini Certified.

Up first is a Mirror Blue parallel from 2010-11 Certified. This was Panini's first Certified set and I've been buying Howard cards from this set for ten years now. There are a ton of different parallels available from this set. The more the better if you ask me.

Skipping ahead a couple of years, I was able to pick up another Mirror Blue parallel from 2012-13 Certified. This one is Howard's base card, which is part of the Masked Marvels subset. It is serial numbered out of 50. The blue here provides a nice contrast.

The third was this sweet Mirror Red parallel numbered 036/100. One number less and this would be one of those sought after "jersey numbered" parallels. I'd have to check, I don't know if I even have any of those in my Howard collection right now.


So that's three great new serial numbered parallels for my Howard collection. I still have a ways to go before I can complete either of the rainbows for these sets. For the 2012-13 version, I know I still need the Gold, Emerald and Black versions. For the 2010-11 version, I for sure still need Emerald and Black parallels. Regardless of the year, these Certified cards from Panini look really nice and I would definitely like to add some more.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Jeff Gordon: Panini Chronicles Obsidian

I've said this before on here, but I definitely miss Panini being part of the hockey card market. They had some really great stuff for the few years they were around. Dominion and Prizm were some of my favorites. While they probably won't be back in hockey any time soon, I can still chase at least a few of their cards for my Jeff Gordon side project.

Today's post features an awesome new card from 2020-21 Panini Chronicles NASCAR. Specifically, it is an Obsidian card and features an awesome shot of one of Gordon's newer DuPont paint schemes. I had to have this one as soon as I saw it and wasted little time tracking down a copy for myself on eBay a few weeks ago.


The scan does not completely capture the awesomeness of this thing. It's printed on a premium card stock and the foil areas have a nice rainbow effect. The solid black areas look really nice and provide a great contrast for the rest of the design. This is definitely my favorite Gordon card so far. There are even some parallel versions out there.

This card is the perfect example of what this side project is about. I saw this card and immediately knew I wanted a copy of it. I'm not going after every single Gordon card out there, just ones that catch my eye and I think would fit with my vision for the project.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Jimmy Howard: 2004-05 Maine Black Bears

This year has been really great for my Jimmy Howard collection. I've managed to pick up some really nice cards including some that I didn't even know existed. In the case of my latest pickup, I knew it existed, but I had never seen a copy of it for sale or knew what it looked like. Then out of nowhere, it was listed on eBay with a Buy it Now option.

The card I'm referring to is this awesome college team card featuring Howard in action with the Maine Black Bears. It was sponsored by a car dealership based in Bangor, Maine. A quick check of the map shows the dealership was within 10 miles of the university. They're even still in business, albeit minus the Pontiac part. Fun fact, my first car was a '97 Pontiac Sunfire. I definitely had a lot of fun with that thing back in high school.

Here is a look at the front of the card. It is pretty simple with a nice solid white border and a large action photo. The text at the bottom is nice and neat. The team logo in the upper left corner is a nice touch and really stands out when you first look at the card.

In the past I haven't typically scanned or posted the backs of cards, unless they were a 1/1 or something special. Now that I've been using the Trading Card Database (TCDb) to catalog my Howard collection, I've found myself wanting to have the scans of the backs so I can upload them to the site and fill in some of the missing scans for Howard cards.

Given this was a promotional type team set, the back actually looks pretty nice. There is plenty of good information and a decent amount of stats. Even with all the ads at the bottom, it still has a decent overall look to it.


According to TCDb, this is Howard's only college card, so I guess I can consider that part of the collection complete now. This is nice because I've been on the lookout for this thing for years now. That's the fun part about player collecting though, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Jimmy Howard: Griffins Game Used

One of the best feelings as a player collector is stumbling upon a really cool card of your player that you never even knew existed. It's even better when it is listed as a Buy it Now with a great price. One of my recent pickups even took this up one more level with an almost impossible to find oddball minor league team set.

Between years of scouring eBay and other sites I've gotten a pretty good idea of most of the cards Jimmy Howard has. The Trading Card Database (TCDb) has been pretty helpful too. If something exists, it is likely already listed on there. Most of the time, at least.

Well, thanks to a recent late night eBay search, I actually found something not already in the database. It was from a set I had never seen or heard of before. I check my saved Howard searches on eBay multiple times a day, so to see this card was a complete surprise.

Here is a game-worn jersey card from the 2008-09 Choice Grand Rapids Griffins set. There is no card number and it is not serial numbered. After some digging around the internet, I found that these were given out at specific Griffins home games. There were a couple other players in the set including Derek Meech and Jakub Kindl.


I love the look of this card with the ghosted image in the background and the bright red jersey swatch. Even if there are a couple of small ads it is a very nice looking design for a minor league set. I wonder how many more sets are out there like this.

Getting back to the major trading card companies, I also picked up this nice game-used jersey card from ITG's 2007-08 Heroes and Prospects set. The most noticeable thing about this one is the huge piece of jersey. Even better is that it's not just plain white and is the same color as the Griffins uniform Howard is wearing in the photo.


The last of these is another ITG game-used jersey card. This one comes from the 2006-07 Heroes and Prospects set. It also has a nice big blue swatch, although in this case Howard is shown in the Griffins white uniform. I know it doesn't really matter in the scheme of things, I just think the overall aesthetic of the card is better when the swatch matches the photo.


These three provide a nice boost to the Grand Rapids portion of my Howard collection. While I never saw him play for them in person, or really even at all, I still like adding these cards. The Griffins uniforms back then were pretty sweet and look great on cardboard.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Metal Universe Update

It took over 10 years, but I finally completed my favorite 90's hockey set: 1996-97 Fleer Metal Universe. I remember getting a few packs of this stuff here and there as a kid and I loved everything about them. There was nothing like it at the time and ever since those few packs I've always wanted to complete the full base set.

Well, thanks to a fellow collector on Twitter (@mruzz), I was able to fill the last three holes in my base set. I am finally done with this portion of my Metal Universe side project after starting it all the way back in 2010. The best part was completing it via several different avenues. I bought a hobby box, picked up a few from the forums, and even got a few like these from Twitter. Even though it took what seems like forever, I'm glad I didn't just outright buy the full set. It seemed more appropriate this way.

My favorite of the last three is this Esa Tikkanen. It is card #160 in the set and features the Canucks skate uniform from the 90's. Those colors look great with this set. Not exactly sure what the background is supposed to be, but it looks pretty cool.


Up next with another cool 90's uniform is card #129 featuring Petr Nedved of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  This one has some awesome dragon wings or something in the background. The purple and green are a nice contrast with the Pens' black colors. 


And to bring things to a close for my set we have card #196 featuring Landon Wilson of the Colorado Avalanche. This one really makes me miss those old Avs jerseys. These make whatever they are wearing today look like garbage. The need that shoulder patch back too. I hated the Avs as a kid, but still bought a replica jersey because they look so good.

This was always my favorite base set as a kid and I'm really excited to have it complete and all in a single binder for safe keeping. It is a lot of fun to flip through all the pages and see all the names I grew up watching. There are a ton of big names in this set too.

The timing of this is perfect as the next iteration of this set is being released soon. Upper Deck's 2020-21 SkyBox Metal Universe. I'll be adding the newer version of this same design to my want list for the project. It even has the PMG's again like in 2012-13 Fleer Retro.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Jeff Gordon: Off and Running, Finally...

Well, this post is definitely a little overdue. My original post about starting a side project for Jeff Gordon cards was all the way back in February. While I was able to get my first cards for the project not long afterward, they've just been sitting in my queue ever since.

I've also spent some time searching through COMC and TCDb to get a feel for what's out there. Gordon does have almost 8,000 different cards listed so I've got plenty to choose from. Since this is just a fun little side project, I'm going to be a little more picky about what I go after. It is not like my Howard collection where I want everything. For Jeff Gordon, I'm just looking for cards that catch my eye.

I'm also not looking to break the bank for these so I'm looking for good deals at the same time. In the case of my first purchase for the project, I was lucky to find a nice mixed lot on eBay that had some cool stuff to get me started. There were 10 different cards in the lot.

We'll get things started with my favorite of the lot, a base card from 2000 Upper Deck Victory Circle. This design is very similar to the 99-00 Upper Deck hockey set.


Up next is another name that I associate with hockey more than anything: SP Authentic. This one is a base card from 1999 SPA. I love the idea of the oval in the design. The DuPont paint scheme stands out very nicely from the rest of the design in this case.



Here is yet another name that I will always associate with hockey: MVP. This is almost an exact copy of the MVP hockey design from 1999-00. The biggest difference is the horizontal orientation of the larger MVP text toward the top of the card.


Now we're getting to some designs that are completely new to me. The only thing familiar to me here is the Upper Deck logo in the corner. This one with some cool blue foil accents comes from the 1999 Upper Deck Road to the Cup set, one I never even heard of.


This next one is from the same set, but has a bit of a different look to it. This one has a more head on look at the car. It also has a cool pop out window with a photo of Gordon outside the car. I'm really liking the look of this bluish foil. Hopefully there is more like this.


Up next is a group of three cards from 2000 Victory Circle. This one has a cool shot of Gordon in what looks to be the winner's circle at the Daytona 500. I'm guessing this would be from the previous year when Gordon won the famous race in 1999.


The next one has a cool shot of Gordon in the middle of a pit stop.


The last of the three has another cool look at Gordon after winning another race. Not sure if it is the same Daytona 500 on the other card though. I really like the overhead angle of this photo. You can even see the Gatorade bottles placed on top of the roof.


This next one is from another set I had never heard of before: 2000 Maxx Racing. This one has a neat effect where the background behind the car is split almost along the middle of the card. The way they did this really makes the car stand out.


Last but not least we have a bit of an outlier with this In the Drivers Seat insert card from 1999 SP Authentic. I say outlier because this is the first of these cards to not feature an overall look at Gordon's car. It is a nice design, just not as cool as the ones with the car.


Now that I've gotten started, I can try to narrow my focus to some of the cards that are actually appealing to me. I was into the whole Gordon/NASCAR thing when I was growing up in the mid 90s, so I'm likely to gravitate toward cards from back then. There is also some overlap with the hockey products I collected as a kid, so those would be the top priority.

One thing I will say is that I tend to prefer the cards that feature the car more than the ones of just Gordon himself. I'll definitely try to get some of both, but as far as priority goes I will probably focus on cards primarily featuring that iconic DuPont paint job from the 90's.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Jimmy Howard: Black Diamond Ruby

Time for another pair of cool new serial numbered parallels for my growing Jimmy Howard collection. These two came from separate eBay purchases a while back, but go together very nicely. They are both ruby parallels from a couple different years of Black Diamond. Who doesn't like team colored parallels, right? I say the more the better.

The first one is from 2013-14 Black Diamond and is serial numbered out of 50.

The second is from 2014-15 Black Diamond and is also serial numbered out of 50.

Both cards look awesome in person, but I would give a slight edge to the first one just because of the photo selection. The white road jersey provides a much better contrast with the red colored background. It is interesting too that Howard was a single-diamond for the first set and a double-diamond for the second.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Jimmy Howard: UD Masterpieces Black & Red

Now that I've had fewer incoming packages lately, I'm slowly getting caught up on post the stuff that has been accumulating for the last few months. I'm always on the lookout for new cards to add to my Jimmy Howard collection, especially serial numbered parallels.

Between a couple of recent eBay pickups, I was able to add two new parallel versions of Howard's 2014-15 Upper Deck Masterpieces card to go along with the base version I already had. The first is the black framed version serial numbered out of 50.


The second is the red framed version serial numbered out of 100. Both are amazing looking cards in person, especially considering how they were constructed. There is actually some separation in the thicknesses of the different areas, which gives it some depth. That is something you rarely see on cards. Plus the artist's rendition of Howard looks amazing.


I think if I had to choose between the two, I would give a slight edge to the red version. The red trim, even though it is the same as the team color, just works better overall.

As far as completing the so-called rainbow for this product, I have all the non-auto and non-memorabilia versions for Howard. From what I have seen, he also has the following out there: regular memorabilia, memorabilia black /35, memorabilia red /85, signatures, signatures black /15, and signatures red /30. Quite a bit to still chase after.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Jimmy Howard: Panini Dominion Gold

Time for another one card mailday post as this one kind of stood out from the others I've got sitting in the queue. I say that because it comes from Panini's version of The Cup: Dominion. Back when they were making NHL hockey cards, Panini had some great stuff.

This one is a gold parallel from the 2013-14 version of Dominion, which was the set's last full release. It is card #35 in the set and is serial numbered 08/50. If only it was serial number 35, then it would have the double jersey number.


I have to say this is my favorite of the Dominion base designs and it looks even better here with the gold foil replacing the standard silver, although it is kind of hard to tell from the scan. The gold looks very dark here, but it is actually much brighter and better looking.

This one goes nicely with the base version I already have, which I actually picked up on eBay all the way back in 2014 around when this product was released. Now I just need to work on finding the other parallels. There is an emerald version numbered to 5 and a black version numbered to 1. Both would be amazing looking cards, but I have yet to see them.