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.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Viktor Arvidsson: SPx Auto

This is my first Arvidsson pickup since he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. While I'm not sure about his future cards, I still plan on picking up his Nashville stuff when the price is right. Hopefully that happens more often now that he's moved onto another team.

As far as specific sets, I've really wanted to pick up some of the more recent SPx designs. There is just something about them. Just like the Subban Radiant Materials I posted, the design of this set is really what caught my eye when I first saw the listing on eBay.

This one comes from the 2019-20 edition of SPx and is card #2 in the set. It is a sticker auto and not serial numbered. Not bad for just a few dollars including shipping.

Back to the design, this thing looks amazing in person. I love when designs crop the player out of the photo background and place them on top of a cool design like this. It's got a lot going on (hexagons, curves, bursts, foil, etc.) but it all works somehow. Definitely one of my favorite SPx designs out there. The only thing it's missing is a hologram.

Now I just need to track down some of the other versions of this card. There is the regular base version numbered to 149 as well as some others including jerseys, patches, autos and the Finite die-cuts. Those things look pretty cool too, but they're pretty limited.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Predators: P.K. Subban Radiant Materials

When it comes to plain jersey cards, there does not seem to be many designs lately that immediately grab my attention. Cards like these have become so common over the past two decades that they're no where near as impressive anymore. Outside of my PC players, it will really take an awesome design for me to want a simple jersey card for my collection.

Well, thanks to another excellent design from Upper Deck, I found one of those jersey card designs that I just had to have. In this case it was the Radiant Materials set from 2018-19 UD Black. Here's a look at the P.K. Subban version I grabbed for my Preds collection.

The background design is what immediately got my attention. I'm a huge fan of backgrounds like these and try to use them quite a bit whenever I'm throwing together my own custom card designs. I even use things like this as the wallpaper on my desktop and phone sometimes. Seeing it used on a hockey card is just awesome.

I like this background so much that I've been trying to reverse image search it to find the original design, although I haven't had much luck yet. There are a ton of cool images that are very similar, but nothing I've searched has provided the exact match yet.

When I bought this one, I intentionally chose the plain white swatch as it goes with the Predators away jersey that Subban is wearing in the photo. Maybe one day I'll grab a copy that has a gold swatch too. Those would look pretty nice together if you ask me.