Sunday, June 21, 2020

2019 Topps Allen & Ginter: Chugging Along

I never thought I'd see the day when I purposely bought baseball cards for my collection. Well, that has finally happened thanks to a set of mini inserts from Topps.

After reading a recent post by Fuji, my love of trains had me doing a quick eBay search for the Shinkansen card. That was where I stumbled onto several cards from the 2019 Topps Allen & Ginter set, which unsurprisingly, I had no idea even existed until right then.

This set of minis is named "Chugging Along" and features different types of trains.

I love the look of this 15-card set set, everything from the artistic look of the photos to the gear designs in the corners. My favorite element might not be as obvious though. If you look closely at the fancy border treatment to the right of the words freight train, it looks just like a track diagram from a real interlocking tower. Click here for an example.

My favorite card in the set is #CA-10, the freight train. These are the types of trains that I first saw in person as a kid, so I've always been  into modern diesels more than anything.

As far as the backs of these cards go, the fancy border treatment is transferred there, albeit slightly modified. The title font is also prominent here. Otherwise the back is pretty straightforward and simple, which works really well for a set like this.

Rather than doing this one at a time, it was more efficient to just combine the remaining 14 cards into a single image. Plus, this gives you a great look at the set as a  whole. I'm even thinking about putting them into a frame and hanging them on the wall. 

I tied to put these in order of favorite to least favorite, although after the first two on top everything kind of runs together for me. All together there is a nice mix of styles and colors. The antique white background really helps complete the look.

These make a great addition to my growing collection of train cards. Hopefully there will be another set like this from Topps in the future. I'm not sure of any other modern sets that feature trains in such a prominent way. Kind of makes me want to just design my own.

Has anyone else collected this particular set of minis? I'm not in the know with baseball or this Allen & Ginter stuff. Are these non-sport minis popular with collectors?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

SCE Tribute Update

Time for another update on my MVP Stanley Cup Edition Tribute set. I've been on the lookout for these recently, but have been only looking to add them when there is a good deal to be had. Thanks to another purchase, I now have two Super Scripts.

Even though I don't care for this player or team, due to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final vs Nashville, I couldn't pass up card #45 featuring Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It is serial numbered 16/25 on the front as shown above. Also, the rainbow foil looks amazing in person compared to this scan. I wish I had a better way to get that to show in the scans. They all seem to end up looking like this.

This one only set me back $1.95 including shipping. When I saw that was the price I couldn't click the checkout button fast enough. Considering I would end up paying that much any of the Silver Script tributes, this was a steal.

In addition to the Super Script Tributes, I'm looking to add some of the neat Colors & Contours to my collection. These are also based on the SCE design and also look amazing in person. So far I only have the one Larkin I bought at a card show last fall.

I was able to find a lot of three on eBay for $3.49 including shipping. The first was card #58 featuring Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, which is serial numbered 046/249.

The second was card #70 featuring Ryan Johansen and is serial numbered 113/249. I think the Preds road jersey looks a little better than the home on these backgrounds. 

The third was card #50 featuring Matt Duchene of the Columbus Blue Jackets and is serial numbered 114/249. In this case the darker blue looks great against the background.

While these die-cut parallels are not the focus of my set project, they are pretty sweet and I plan on grabbing some more when the right deal comes along. Who knows, maybe I'll even add them to my official total and go after the full set.

Super Script Tribute Total: 2/100

Sunday, June 14, 2020

SCE Super Script Update

To go along with my last post, I was also able to land another Super Script for my set. These things are still pretty hard to find now, so anytime I can get one its a good day for my collection. Plus, its fun to see some of the names from back then.

This one is card #205 and features Michal Sivek of the Prince Albert Raiders. It is serial numbered 10/25 on the front. Fun fact about this one: the right half of this photo is on the Milan Kraft card from this set. That's something you don't see every day.


One of the fun things about the CHL subset is researching how the player panned out as far as an NHL career. In this case, Sivek was initially drafted by the Washington Capitals 29th overall in 1999. He never actually played a game for the Caps though.

The reason why: Sivek was one of three players sent to Pittsburgh in the Jaromir Jagr trade. He would go on to play 38 games with the Penguins in 2002-03 registering three goals and three assists for six points. That would be it for his NHL career.

He went from there to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL then onto Sparta Praha of the Czech league where he would play through the 2007-08 season. After that he retired from playing to become an agent for Eurohockey Services.

This one brings me to 83 total or just shy of 38% for the entire Super Script set. It also puts me at 11 out of the 23 CHL prospects subset, so at least that part is almost halfway done.

SCE Super Script Total: 83/220

Saturday, June 13, 2020

SCE Gold Script Update

It's been a little while now since I've had any updates to this project. While they are an important part of my MVP Stanley Cup Edition set, they always seem to take a backseat to the Super Scripts. I do still keep an eye out for them though and was happy to have two of them offered to me for trade on Twitter several weeks ago. 

The first was card #159 featuring Todd Harvey of the San Jose Sharks. This one was serial numbered 081/100. Not the greatest signature from Harvey if you ask me. 

The second was card #185 featuring Andew Cassels of the Vancouver Canucks. This one was serial numbered 061/100. Not a great looking signature here either.

I don't get the chance to trade for these things very often, so it was nice to get rid of some unwanted cards for once. I also want to give a shout out to Off the Boards Cards & Collectibles on Twitter (@OTB_Cards) for helping me add to my set. 

SCE Gold Script Total: 79/220

Friday, June 12, 2020

Metal Universe Update

Here's an update that's been long overdue. I mentioned this 2012-13 Fleer Metal Universe set way back in the spring of 2013 when it was first released. It is a tribute to one of my all-time favorite base sets: 1996-97 Fleer Metal Universe and I've wanted to build it since. 

While it is not as over the top as the original set, these are some great looking cards. I have some good side by side comparisons of the two sets in my previous posts here and here

I hadn't given it much thought until recently as I've had a bit more time lately for card shopping with everything going on. I also wanted to try and build the set on a budget so getting a good deal was a priority for this one. Some of the singles for this set are pretty expensive on COMC and eBay. This is where came in handy. 

I was able to find one seller with a ton of singles for sale. I found 12 that were $0.50 each and placed my order. This was one of my first orders from the site and I was really happy with the results. Definitely recommend this site for set building. 

Let's start things off with someone who was actually playing in the NHL when the original set was released. This one featuring Arturs Irber with the San Jose Sharks is card #12 and has a great look at this famous all white pads and his signature helmet/cage combo.

Up next is card #4 featuring Eric Lindros of the Philadelphia Flyers. He is shown in the Flyers awesome orange road jersey from the 90's. I will always remember him and these jerseys from the 1997 Stanley Cup Final when they were swept by the Wings.

More 90's goodness with card #15 featuring Doug Gilmour of the Toronto Maple Leafs. I love how the background works with the team colors on this one. The centering of the photo is also peferct here as none of Gilmour is cropped out.

The last of the 90's players is card #25 featuring Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, although he is pictured sometime in the late 2000's as evident by the NHL shield on the front of the uniform. This one also works well with the background.

As far as the modern players go, card #39 featuring Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins is probably my favorite design of the lot. This one has a great action shot of Seguin about to release the puck. It definitely looks a lot better in person than the scan.

Up next is card #29 featuring P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens. This one is a good example of the contrasting background. The black and white definitely make the Habs dark uniform stand out. The red around the set name really pops as well.

Then there was card #27 featuring Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils. I almost forgot he played there. I always picture him with the Atlanta Thrashers. Now that uniform mixed with this set would've made for a sweet looking card.

Card #26 has Ondrej Pavelec of the Winnipeg Jets. I'm not really sure why he was included in this set over some of the other goalies in the league at the time, like Jimmy Howard for example. Oh well, this is still a nice looking addition to my set.

Continuing with the goalies, card #8 features Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks. Just like the Irbe above, his white pads really stand out against the darker background of the card.

Card #23 features Jussi Rynnas of the Tornoto Maple Leafs. Again, another guy where I'm not sure why they decided to include him in the set. Whatever happened to Rynnas anyway? Regardless, this is still a great looking card and a welcome addition to my set.

Our final goaltender for today is Pekka Rinne as featured on card #42. This one makes me miss those Preds jerseys. I still think the ones they have now are way too simplified.

Last but not least is the magic man Pavel Datsyuk as featured on card #19. The red really stands out against the darker background here and that makes for a great looking card.

Not a bad start to my set, even if it is a few years overdue. I'll have to get back onto Sportlots to see if there are more good deals like this. I only have 48 more to commplete it now, but there are some bigger names in there, so we'll see how it goes .

2012-13 Fleer Metal Universe Total: 12/60

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

MVP Silver Script Update

Continuing with the 1999-00 MVP project I recently started, this post is all about the Silver Scripts that have been sitting in my collection for 20 years now.

I was 11 years old back when this set came out and received a hobby box of as a gift. Back then it was a big deal for me to get a full hobby box as it only happened once in a while, usually birthdays and Christmas. The MVP sets were a big part of my collection as I got boxes for this set, the original 98-99 MVP and the 99-00 Stanley Cup Edition set.

I always thought the Silver Scripts were pretty cool, so it's fun now to look back at these cards. Brings back some good memories about my early collecting.

We'll start things off with one of my favorite hockey jerseys of the 90's, the Phoenix Coyotes. This Nikolai Khabibulin is card #161 in the set. It has a nice overall look at his goalie gear setup. He definitely had some cool masks to go with those jerseys back then.

Up next is card #152 featuring Eric Desjardins of the Philadelphia Flyers. Here's another jersey that I remember watching on TV as a kid, especially during the 1997 Stanley Cup Final when the Wings swept the Flyers. I was 8 at the time and just getting into hockey around then. Definitely brings back some good memories.

Then we have former Red Wings goalie Manny Legace. He is shown here with the Los Angeles Kings on card #99. This is another jersey I grew up watching, so its fun to see again. Not sure his mask is a good match for it though, might be a good gallimaufry candidate.

Here we have card #54 featuring Chris Drury of the Colorado Avalanche. I have to say this set is really reminding me of my love for 90's hockey jerseys. This one for the Avalanche is far superior to anything they've had since.

Up next is Drury's teammate Milan Hejduk as featured on card #58. If I had to choose, I would say he as the better looking signature. I will always remember these two from some great playoff series against the Red Wings back in the late 90's and early 2000's.

Then there was card #82 featuring Tom Poti of the Edmonton Oilers. He is pictured wearing another jersey I grew up watching on TV. I always loved the shouler patch on those ones.

Here's an example of a 90's jersey that I was never really a fan of. Card #173 features former San Jose Sharks forward Vincent Damphousse. As far as the Sharks go, they should never have changed their inaugural sweaters. Those were sweet.

Up next we have card #102 featuring Vladimir Malakhov of the Montreal Canadiens. The name is vaguely familiar to me, but I can't say I remember him that well.

Then there was card #210 featuring Alexander Mogilny of the Vancouver Canucks. I actually don't mind these jerseys. While completely different than the flying skate, I always thought there was something neat about them. I even had a replica when I was younger.

How can anyone not like the original Mighty Ducks jerseys? I might be biased because I grew up with and loved the Mighty Ducks movies. Card #8 featuring Steve Rucchin has a great look at the home white setup they rocked back then.

Not a bad start considering I only had to sort through some old boxes and binders to find them. I might have a few more stashed away somewhere, just need to check again.

MVP Silver Script Total: 10/220

Saturday, May 30, 2020

MVP Super Script Update

To go along with my previous MVP Gold Script post, I was finally able to grab a couple Super Scripts from the same set. These two came from eBay and set me back about $6 each including shipping. Not bad considering ho hard these are to find nowadays.

Coincidentally, we have another Panthers card to get us started. This one features Oleg Kvasha and is card #89 in the set. It is serial numbered 08/25 on the front.

Just like the Golds from this set, the entire perimeter of the card has been made silver to differentiate it from the other script parallels. I am definitely glad they didn't do the same for the Silvers as that would've been somewhat confusing.

Next up we have card #197 featuring Daniil Markov of the Toronto Maple Leafs. What's strange about this one is the fact that the serial number is hand written. I've never seen that before on any of these MVP script parallels. Not sure why they did that.

Not a bad way to get things rolling for my latest collecting project. While this will always take a backseat to my Stanley Cup Edition set, these things are still pretty cool and I'll try to pick them up whenever a great deal comes along like this.

I wonder how many people are actually working on this set. Are you working on it or know of anybody who is? There has to be at least a few people doing it, right?

MVP Super Script Total: 2/220

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

MVP Gold Script Update

Now that I've decided to go after the regular MVP scripts from 1999-00, I thought I would start things off with the only one of these I've had in my collection up to this point. Plus, I've gotten a new scanner since picking it up, so why not re-scan it just for fun?

This one is card #90 in the set and features former Panthers captain Scott Mellanby. It is serial numbered 007/100 on the front. I grabbed this from a $1 bin at a card show several years ago just because they look awesome and I never had one before that.

As far as the MVP Gold Scripts go, this is probably my favorite overall design. Unlike the Stanley Cup Edition set, these are a lot more distinguishable from the base and other scripts. I mean the entire perimeter of the card went from white to gold.

When you add to that the contrast with the team colors, you get this amazing looking parallel. If only Upper Deck could go back to something more along these lines for MVP. That would get me immediately interested in buying some new product for once.

MVP Gold Script Total: 1/220

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Masks: 2002-03 BTP The Mask II

Who doesn't love the Mask cards from back in the day? I know I still do and I'm always on the lookout for good deals on them. Usually I try to find them at card shows, but that's not really an option right now or for the foreseeable future. In place of browsing the singles bins at shows, I've been doing a lot more searching eBay. 

That's where I was able to snag three awesome new additions to my Mask card collection. All three come from the 2002-03 BTP The Mask II set and feature masks that I grew up watching on TV as a kid. I was able to get all three for $5 including shipping.

Of the three it was hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to it would be Olaf Kolzig's Godzilla mask. What's not to like about a fire breathing monster? The bronzes stars and the Washington landmarks in the background are nice touches as well.

My next favorite would be Ed Belfour's iconic Eagle mask, although this one from his time in Toronto is as cool as the original Blackhawks version.

Lastly we have the "Bulin Wall" mask worn by Nikolai Khabibulin with the Tampa Bay Lightning. I always thought that was one of the cooler goalie nicknames and it was awesome how it was worked into his mask design.

These join the five I already had to bring me to a total of 8 out of 30 for the set. They also bring my overall mask collection total to 61. I still have a ways to go if I want to complete all the actual mask sets. One of these days I'll have to put together a full want list. 

Any one else working on collecting all the mask cards?

Mask Collection Total: 61

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Box Break: Golden Knights Inaugural Season

While this isn't the same as a traditional box break, it was still a box of cards with at least some randomness to it. I received this Vegas Golden Knights inaugural season box set as a Christmas gift, but never really got a chance to scan everything and show it here. 

In this box you are guaranteed a full 50-card base set as well as five Golden parallels. These were retailing for $19.99 at the time and can still be found for sale at various online retailers. I had always wanted to get one, but never got around to it for whatever reason.

Here is what's available in one of these boxes:

     - 35 Base Cards
     - 15 Season Highlights
     - 5 Golden Parallels
     - Autographs (1:20 boxes)

We'll get things started with the base set. There is a nice selection of players in this set, although now that we are two seasons removed from the inaugural one, some of them are no longer with the team. I chose to show Malcolm Subban here because he was one of my favorite players on the Knights while he was there.

As far as the base design, I actually like the overall look. The only negative would just be the amount of text all crammed together at the bottom of the card. I think it would've looked better with the primary logo instead of the full word mark.

The back of the cards are are very nicely done. I really like the use of both logos here. It's a shame they recycled the photo from the front though. I would've been nice to see a separate photo here, maybe with the player shown in the opposite color jersey.

Interestingly, Subban is one of 5 goaltenders featured in the set, all of whom actually did make at least one appearance for the Golden Knights during that season. Subban played 22 games and helped the team make the playoffs. The others were Marc-Andre Fleury (46 GP), Maxime Lagace (16 GP), Oscar Dansk (4 GP) and Dylan Ferguson (1 GP).

Of the remaining 30 base cards featuring forwards and defensemen, there are some familiar names and some not-so familiar names. Some of the key names in this set are William Karlsson (43G-35A-78P), Jonathan Marchessault (27G-48A-75P) and Reilly Smith (22G-38A-60P), all of whom are still with the team as of right now.

Some of the not-so familiar names would be Vadim Shipachyov (1G-0A-1P), Tomas Hyka (1G-2A-3P) and Stefan Matteau (0G-1A-1P). They combined for 21 games played and are names that I vaguely remember from that first season, but nowhere near as much as the core group that led the team to the Stanley Cup Final.

In addition to the base cards, there were 15 Season Highlights cards featuring significant moments throughout the season. This one focuses on the Golden Knights home opener on Oct 10, 2017. I remember watching this entire game as well as the pregame speech by Deryk Engelland. That game really cemented my fandom of this team.

Design wise these are very similar to the main base cards, just rotated 90 degrees with even more text. The front has a quick note listing the date and describing what is shown on the card. The back has a more detailed write-up as you can see below.

Lastly we have the golden parallels as promised on the box. Of the five I decided to show off Marc-Andre Fleury. These definitely look better than the scan as the gold foil pops a lot more in better lighting. They are not serial numbered or anything like that, they just have the gold foil VGK logo and some fancy decoration on either side.

If it were up to me, I would've gone with the primary logo instead of the word mark. This would work  out nicely for the golden parallels as you could just swap out the standard printing for the gold foil. This would also help cut down on the clutter caused by the current gold foil design sitting above all that text.

Overall I was very happy with this box, especially considering I didn't even have to pay for it myself. Its a nice way to commemorate that first season on cardboard and should be a part of any Golden Knights collection.

Beyond this awesome trading card set, there are some other great ways to relive that amazing first season. While game highlights on YouTube are always fun to watch, I highly recommend checking out the documentary film "Valiant" by Cruz Angeles.

Released in 2019, the film provides an in-depth look at the team's first season in Vegas. I bought myself a copy on Amazon and have watched it multiple times now. If you click on the linked photo below it will take you to the film's website for more information.

Hopefully things can start getting back to normal soon and somewhere down the road the Golden Knights can finish what they started that year and capture the Stanley Cup.

Golden Knights Collection Total: 94

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dominik Hasek: PowerDeck Auxilary Power

Time for more PowerDeck! In addition to the Patrik Stefan, the only other player I collect not named Jimmy Howard was also included in this set from Upper Deck back in 1999-00. Dominik Hasek is pictured here with the Sabres. He really did have some great looking goalie gear during those last few years in Buffalo, am I right?

This one is card #6 in the 20-card set.

I actually really like the look of this set with the split photos, especially the way they colorized the left one to match the team color beneath the name and number. Also, I can't think of any other set where the Upper Deck logo is in the dead center of the design, but it works here. You almost lose the logo on some of these cards this way.

While its been a few years since I added anything to my Hasek collection, I'm still always interested in adding lower end stuff. He was my favorite player growing up and has a ton of cards from the late 90's and early 00's when I was really big into card collecting.

I have a nice binder of Hasek stuff going so far, but have no idea how many cards are actually in there. One of these days I will need to go through and count them.

Dominik Hasek Collection Total: TBD

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Expanding My MVP Script Quest

Like a lot of people right now, I have a bit of extra time to spend on my hobbies due to COVID-19. Here in Michigan we're still under our stay at home order, at least until the end of the month. For me, this has meant spending more time admiring my current collection and continuously looking to add to it via online shopping. 

All of this extra perusing of eBay, COMC and Sportslots has me wanting to add something new to the mix as far as my collection goes. If you're a regular reader here then you may know that I've been working on the 1999-00 Upper Deck MVP Script parallels for years now. Its a really fun project, but progress has always been slow. 

In order to give myself a little bit more to collect, I've decided to start actively pursuing the counterpart to that set, which would be the regular MVP set from 1999-00. If you're not familiar with these, there were actually two entirely separate MVP sets from Upper Deck that season: regular and Stanley Cup Edition. Here they are side by side.

The regular MVP was released first at the beginning of the collecting season like it still is today. The Stanley Cup Edition came out later during the 1999-00 NHL season. I remember getting hobby boxes of both as a kid, so both sets provide some of that nostalgia factor. Of all the MVP base designs over the years, these two along 98-99 are my favorites. 

Now, as far as what the regular MVP adds to my want list, this was a 220-card so there will be 220 silvers, 220 golds and 220 supers to chase. I have several silvers and at least one gold from a card show several years ago, so at least I'm not starting from nothing. 

We'll see how this goes. At least for now this is fun and exciting because its new.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Patrik Stefan: PowerDeck Auxilary Power

Wow, I can't believe its been over seven years since I posted an update specifically for my often forgotten Patrik Stefan collection. While he was a part of a recent Gold/Super Script update, I didn't consider those cards part of the separate player collection for Stefan. 

Anyway, now that I'm trying to post a little more frequently on here this seemed like a good candidate. I actually ended up getting this without even paying for it. Back when I purchased the entire set for my SCE Silver Script project, the seller happened to include a complete set of these PowerDeck Auxiliary Power cards. 

This one is card #3 in the insert set and the the cardboard counterpart to those awesome CD-ROM "cards" from 1999-00. I had a few of those as a kid and remember thinking it was the coolest thing firing one up on our old Gateway computer.

Seeing this really makes me miss those old Thrashers jerseys. While the darker one with the "T" logo on the chest is my favorite, the whites were pretty nice too. Maybe one of these days I'll get one of my Thrashers jerseys upgraded with Stefan's #13 on the back.

Patrik Stefan Collection Total: 62

Sunday, May 3, 2020

SCE Tribute Update

Here's another post that's been in draft status for months now. I'm still actively working on the MVP Stanley Cup Edition tribute set and bought this lot of six from eBay back in the fall to help knock a few Silver Scripts off the want list. These six cost me $2.50 shipped.

My favorite of the lot was this one featuring Matt Duchene of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is card #50 in the 100 card set. For whatever reason the silver foil of the player's last name does not scan very well. These things do look great in person though.

The rest are in no particular order, so we'll start with Charlie Coyle of the Boston Bruins. This one is card #20 in the set. Unlike the original set which is sorted and numbered in order by team, these tributes appear to be numbered randomly.

Next we have card #8 featuring Marcus Johansson of the Bruins. I wonder if this photo was taken during the same game as the Coyle above. I'm guessing it's pretty likely as the Sharks would not play in Boston very often., unless the photos are from different seasons.

Interestingly enough, there are several clusters of cards from a specific team numbered in order. For example, following the Johansson, this Brad Marchand is #9 in the set.

Up next is card #34 featuring Jeff Skinner of the Buffalo Sabres.

Finally we have card #66 featuring Jake Guentzel of the Penguins. If I had to choose my least favorite of the bunch, this would be it. The only reason for that is every time I see this guy it reminds me of when the Predators lost in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

So that's it for today. This lot brings me to a total of nine for the set. Not bad considering this is only the second time I've purchased cards specifically for this set. That leaves me with 91 more to find. We'll see how long that ends up taking. 

It's still odd to me seeing one of my favorite set designs from 20 years ago with players from today. On the plus side at least its another relatively low end, simple set to chase.

SCE Silver Script Tribute Total: 9/100