The National: Day one.

In the run up to The National we had to update all of our checklists, and the blog feels a little rejected. Sorry blog, but we’re back and in full swing! Speaking of The National…

If you’ve never been you’ve gotta at least check out one show. It’s everything a local show could be with hundreds more card, memorabilia, and oddball vendors – more than you could want. Next year’s show is in Cleveland, followed by Atlantic City. While these cities are great hosts, there’s nothing like a Chicago show. GoGTS shared that they heard this year’s show was the most attended since 1991! With the crowds as they were, we were kind of suspecting a huge show as early as the first day.

After landing in Chicago, we took a shuttle to our hotel to check in early. As we were checking in with the attendant we bumped into our local show promoter Rich Klein. He’s a long time hobby member and we shared stories on the way to the show floor to get our passes. We had early access passes and there’s something unique about being on the show floor before they open the gates to everyone. Tables aren’t setup yet, there’s a hustle and bustle in the aisles, and busy employees shuffling around. After a quick look around, we decided to grab lunch and wait for general admission to open up.

A few hours later, and the show is in full swing. The first thing we hit was the Topps Party where several athletes were signing free autographs and there was food provided for all. Inside we bumped into Sooz and gave away our first trade package of the show. Anyway I can get rid of Derek Jeter and Yankees cards, I will. Angela checked us into the Topps Q&A set for that Friday’s show. We then decided to hit the show floor and meet up with a few friends.

After signing at the Topps event, Jose Canseco had a free autograph session on the show floor. It was here we bumped into Rich and Mel who had a package for us. Namely off-centered and miscut cards. While the Johnny Briggs is a buyback, it’s even off-centered being tilted left a few degrees.

Our friend Ben asked us to have him sign something unique. It didn’t matter to him what, just something different. Ask and you’ll receive:

There were several vendors at the show with .10 cent bins, and this is where we picked up this shiny Jose Canseco. The same vendor had a few cards for other people…

1975 Topps MVP subset, and 1975 Topps Bill ‘spaceman’ Lee buyback for NightOwl, Ron Gant for Dub, and Jason Heyward for CardJunk. I think I spent 10$ on dime box cards. Harmless. Wandering around the show floor I then saw what I would’ve bought if we were rolling in dough. A dual signed Goose Goslin, Walter Johnson baseball. Gorgeous. From the bottom left go right one, up one and try not to be sticker shocked.

As for actual pickups on the first day the best may have been a dupe for the Ryan Eades collection. A Bowman Sterling base auto for I believe 2$. Yes please.

While walking back to the hotels with Rich and Mel, we decided to grab a meal at their hotel’s restaurant. Between swapping stories, and enjoying the excellent meal we had the best waitress we’ve had in awhile so if you go to the Hyatt Regency across from the Robert E. Stephens convention center, Rosanna was top notch. After dinner, we retired to our hotel and we’d soon crash in bed dreaming of Thursday’s happenings. :).

#ben, #bill-lee, #david-ortiz, #jason-heyward, #jose-canseco, #mel, #rich, #ron-gant, #sooz, #the-national, #topps

Long lost, rediscovered Allen & Ginter

While cleaning out the cobwebs of the bat-cave here, I found two boxes of 2015 Allen & Ginter that we broke at that year’s National. Mothballed and not even sorted, I present you those boxes below. The entire thing is strange, because I was hugely into 2008-2012 Allen & Ginter, even so far as buying a case in 2011. Usually when I break a new set – one that I’ll actually work on – I’ll print out my checklist pdf and go about sorting them and making a checklist of needs shortly afterwards. Maybe it was that these boxes got ripped at the National and were stored alongside our other swag, eitherway, the set has been sorted now. :). I started with just


Not those Minnesota Twins.

While these are Minnesota Twins, these ones played baseball, not like the other kind. I didn’t do that great in this realm though, only pulling one a box. Danny Santana, and Kennys Vargas.

#ThanksTopps – Collation.

After collating the entire set, I ended up with several duplicate cards. I’m no mathematician, but the statistical probability that this would happen with two completely random boxes has to approach 100%. Even without cardboard companies’ collation issue history, unless there’s a guaranteed set per box, it’s gonna happen whether we like it or not. That said here’s a list of dupes for trade:

Pulled –

#3,5,10,14,16,18,23,24,25,28,29,30,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,46,47,49.
#58,60,61,62,65,66,67,68,71,72,73,74,76,77,80,81,84,85,86,87,88,89,92,94,95,98,99.
#102,109,110,113,114,115,120,124,128,130,131,135,136,137,138,139,141,142,143,144,145.
#155,157,159,161,162,163,168,170,171,172,175,177,178,179,181,182,184,185,187,191,193,196,197,198.
#202,204,207,209,211,214,219,221,223,224,228,229,230,233,236,238,241,243,246,247.
#253,256,259,264,274,275,276,277,279,282,284,286,287,289,292,293,296,298.

Completion – 134/300 – 45%.

Dupes –

#28,29,34,35,38,41,60,62,67,73,76,84,85,88,98.
#102,105,120,131,135,137,145,151,162,168,170,170,171,172,175,177,184,193,197.
#209,214,219,223,233,238,242,243,253,255,259,265,277,279,286,287,289.

Box Shorted Prints – Cards # 301-350.

Another staple of Allen & Ginter, the top 50 cards are listed as short-prints in 2015’s set. Although these don’t seem to be as hard to pull as in years past.

Pulled –

#302,307,312,316,319,323,324,325,327.
#330,332,333,336,337,339,341,342,344,345,346,347,349.

Completion – 22/50 – 64%

Dupes – #316,324,332,333,336,341,345.


Cardboard Quirks – Inserts.

Starting Points – Different player’s first game with their stats for their debut. By far the biggest insert subset of the entire 2015 A&G set, 100 cards.
Pulled – #5,6,13,14,21,22,28,38,53,54,60,61,77,82,84,91,93,99. Completion 18%.

Ancient Armory – This subset focuses on the different weapons and armor sets that civilizations have used throughout the years. Pulled – #2,4,5,7,14,15,16. Completion – 35%.

Great Scott! – Filled with scientific oddities, I only had one of these inserts despite the 1:2 packs odds for these inserts. Pulled – #5. Completion – 10%.

Menageries Of The Mind – Mythical creatures, legends, and the such.  Pulled – #3,5,8,9,17,18. Completion – 30%.

What Once Was Believed – Interesting ideas that were once thought to be truth, but were just imagined. Pulled – #2,7,10. Completion – 30%.

What Once Would Be – What people in the past believed would be invented with enough time, that haven’t yet. Pulled – #2,6,10. Completion – 30%. Dupes – #2.


Mini-Sodas – Minis, duh.

Base sod… I mean minis, complete copy of the base set, except mini-fied. Duh.
Pulled – #17,21,40,51,57,61,91,101,170,186,213,233,260,280,281,290,315,328.


Allen & Ginter Black border – Falling 1:10 packs, I think I did well in two boxes pulling five. Pulled – #6,8,55,127,208.


A & G Back variation – Slightly better odds pulling these, 1:5 packs. I pulled nearly double, with nine. Pulled – #68,157,179,186,190,236,251,257.


Of note, I didn’t realize until I sorted for this post that the above David Wright was a no-number A&G back. Those fall 1:72 packs, and are numbered to 50!


Mythical Menaces – Similar to Menageries Of The Mind, this set comprises of mostly literature based menaces. Pulled #2,7. Completion 20%.


First Ladies – The better halves of the 44 Presidents of the United States. I really wanna complete this set. #Americana. Pulled #1,5,25,36. Completion – 9%.


Magnates, barons, Gates, And Tycoons – Very sucessful businessmen throughout the past roughly 200 years. I pulled #9. Completion – 10%.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what about the hits? – Hits, duh.

Here’s where 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter excels, with the inclusion of bought-back cards solely from previous A&G sets. Of which, I pulled five buybacks – three base cards and two framed minis.

A good mix there. One rookie, one non-sport, a non-rookie, and two insert minis from different sets from four different years… Success!


Another good mix, with a base relic, a mini relic, a non-baseball relic, and an auto. Can’t ask for much better from Allen & Ginter!  Miguel Cabrera’s probably the nicest of the bunch, but the Lakey Peterson is underrated. Bright yellow, and unlike most cloth, I wonder if it’s not part of a wet suit. I’d easily consider these two boxes a success, minus the lack of Twins. :/.

#2015, #allen-ginter, #chris-young, #hubertus-wawra, #lakey-peterson, #maikel-franco, #matt-carson, #matt-holliday, #miguel-cabrera, #the-national

The National: fin.

Due to work responsibilities we had to leave around noon on Sunday, which is about the time that most of the vendors are packing up as is anyway. So, we made our way to the show floor early for once, and most all of the breakers had vacated. We met up with Eric, Ivan, and Mel and said our last goodbyes. We shopped around for the best price we could find on a box of 2015 Diamond Kings, and let Mel choose which one as they always seem to have ALL THE LUCK. Seriously, let them choose your box. Usually each box yields two auto, relic, or auto relic cards per box, one or two serial numbered cards, as well as two of each insert, and two short printed image variations from the rookies subset 151-200. We all gathered around the Topps booth for their luxurious floor mat, and I busted at an empty table. The highlights below:

A few packs in this Jameson Tallion #27/99 relic card popped up. Meh. Usually when there’s a relic card such as this, it’s not the best hit of the box. Don’t let your hopes fall down.

Then this mini Bobby Thompson #13/99 showed up. Usually these are an extra hit, and we had at least half the box left when we pulled it. Always nice pulling a long retired hitter’s jersey plus, “THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!, THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!” is an excellent home run call. But a few packs later, our third hit of the box blew everyone away.

Miguel Cabrera. Dual jersey. Autograph. 4/15! The DK streak continues.

Rounding out the rest of the day, we hit up the booth that had vintage and picked up the few we returned Friday. Some odds and ends Fleer issued pennants, game pieces for Mincher, Perry, Kaat, and Tony-O, and Eddie Yost’s tab-less Red Man. With the exception of the DK box, no new stuff on Sunday. Gimmicks and parallels-less fun day.

Before leaving we ran into Robert again, and chatted with him for a good bit about his Hall of Fame bat, cats, and the internets. We also slabbed Ivan’s mouth on the Mike Berkus main stage with blue painter’s tape. Best use of it all week.

The show’s end really sets home when you close your car door and the slow drive away from all the friends you’ve met up with, and all the sads(to borrow a phrase from Eric) start to kick in. We picked up our fair share though, enjoyed the honeymoon through the east coast, Cooperstown, and Atlantic City, and had another successful National Sports Collector’s Convention. With another year in the books, we look forward to 2017 in Chicago!

#2015-diamond-kings, #dalsubfan, #don-mincher, #eddie-yost, #fleer, #jim-kaat, #jim-perry, #melrises, #miguel-cabrera, #the-national, #thosebackpages, #tony-oliva, #watchthebreaks

The National: Day Three

We had intended to be at the show each day on time and early it just never happened that way. If you got to the show early enough, between 11am and noon one of the auction house had their major pieces on display – “The Ty Cobb 7”, a Honus Wagner T206, as well as a game-used Babe Ruth bat. The bat was used during the 1929 season, and hit at least 6 of his career home-runs. Way above my pay-grade, but despite being 2 minutes late, the show attendees allowed me to hold it and take pictures with it.
Excuse the moron, acquire bats. Well, if you can ignore the FBI agents standing nearby, you’d think you had a chance to run off with it. lol. The bat was heavier than I expected, was cool holding a piece of history.
My Babe relic visiting it’s cousin.
Two Babe Ruth autos next to my Babe Ruth relic.
Here it’s visiting the Cobb and Wagner…
…and here’s the Barry Bonds visiting one of it’s relatives.
We stopped by the main show floor to rest our feet later in the afternoon and George from Cryptozoic handed us this Ghostbusters authentic animation card. This was around the time that we got called onto the stage to discuss our National/Cooperstown honeymoon with Ivan.
We finished out our day picking a few vintage cards. I absolutely love these Red Man cards, and one vendor had an entire binder to pull from. Ignore the foods, these were taken shortly after leaving the convention center.
1962 Baseball Bucks, 1970 Stamp Album – with Rod Carew stamped inside it, and a few 70s Fleer issues.
Goudey and Play Ball cards from the late 30s and early 1940s. Made the mistake of grabbing a dupe of the bottom right card. Oops. Pre-war cards are now listed and added to the checklist up above.
1950s Bowman – the 1955 Bowman completing my team set. The 1954 removed one of two at this point that I needed. Win. With the addition of two 1950 Bowman cards, we only need 26 vintage remaining. I’d later finish off 1954 Bowman, as the checklist shows “Complete!” :).
Near the end of the day, we found a vendor near the end of the hall that had 5$ 1952 Topps. Down to high-series remaining with these four picked up. The 1962 Topps brought me down to a similar “Rookie Parade” left for my team set. The 1965 Topps Embossed finished off that set. Very helpful vendor!
I couldn’t resist going back to the cheap vendor from the previous day with 10/1$, or 60/5$. Almost of these were #/d and I know for a fact that the only product here we’ve actually opened were the 2007 Topps Opening Day.

Our final pickups of the day, not too much special here, but for 2$ a card… Logan Morrison adding to that collection, and the Fidrych went to my mom who idolized him as a child.

Of course, all three days we had to avoid the far end of the showroom floor, Topps hosted their several times a day giveaway chant-fest. I still hear “Topps! Topps! Topps! Topps! Topps! Topps! ….” in my nightmares.

#CollectFam Mel, Rich, Eric, and us. Ignore my snake eyes. I don’t selfie well.

For the most part we stayed according to plan and picked up mostly vintage cards, straying a little bit for cheap stuffs. Next year I think we’ll attend planning to *only* pickup vintage cards. Besides – at this point it’s practically all we’ve got left. After we left the show, we went to the boardwalk and dove into the Atlantic Ocean before returning to the hotel to pass out.

#babe-ruth, #barry-bonds, #baseball-bucks, #cryptozoic, #fleer, #goudey, #play-ball, #red-man, #the-national, #topps

The National: Day Two

After a late night, we made it to The National around noon for Friday’s show. After our box break yesterday we wanted to focus on either junk wax or vintage cards, preferably vintage. For the most part we spent the day looking around and checking out tables, but we did end up at several dime and quarter boxes pulling mid to late 90s #/d cards.
Two through-the-mail autographs. I understand the divisive nature of purchasing TTM stuff second-hand but I couldn’t complain about a 3$ gamble each. Plus, I mean… Rusty Kuntz – the jokes write themselves.
Some base card pickups, I’m pretty sure these were part of a 10/1$ or 60/5$ bin.

Part of a gift package from Matt. Cool enough dude, especially check out his music review tweets.
Cheap #/d Triple threads cards…. and I didn’t even have to open an over-priced gamble product.
A few of our relic and auto pickups, with one of the Ryan Eades Bowman Sterling autos coming from Jeff.
Angela found these cheaply on the show floor. 1987 set was added to the birth year collection, busted the ’86 set for the Twins inside them. Such a pain to sort due to the shrunken size.
A few pickups for our Austinite friend. Two miscut or misprinted vintage Topps cards, one of them a buyback.

Sir Rodney! Fleer 3000 Club, 1991 Upper Deck hologram error, and a BB-8. 3 for a dollar steals. Woot.

Normally I’d scan these, but most have been put away already since the beginning of the month, and besides these photos were taken during the show! …or some excuse like that. The first booth I remember stopping at had under 10$ Goudey originals, and despite an empty B14 “Blankets” section, the vendor gave us his business card and promised he had more at his store. We ended up leaving with a few 1933 Goudey Senators, and a few 1970s Fleer “Wildest Days” cards. R.G. Laughlin decorated these nice cartoon-y cards, but virtually half the set hasn’t been scanned front and back on any of the regular sites. This makes it hard to make a true 100% checklist for those with collecting problems – any mention of a Senators’ player and like Pokemon, we’ve gotta have it.

From there we hit up the cheap boxes, adding several Donruss, Leaf, and Upper Deck parallels. Our pulling only stopped by the 3 p.m. Blowout giveaway. Once the show closed we had intended to meet up with Robert and see Suicide Squad in the Tropicana theaters, but bought tickets for the showing after his and instead settled on food. The Broadway Burger/Bar was to die for – despite our mix-up. With 20 minutes to our show time I decided to order this tremendous 24 ounce burger – to be surprised by the waiter asking what size shirt I’d wear and warning that they’d be putting my face on the wall if I finished the burger. Oops. First time for everything – and yes I finished it with time to spare. :). The movie was pretty good too, despite what the reviewers have said. Saturday was our final full day at the show, and we intended to pull only vintage cards, wait till you see what we pulled.

#miscuts, #rusty-kuntz, #ryan-eades, #serials, #the-national

The National: Day One

We’re finally back from the wedding and it’s been a mild August for Texas. Low to mid 80s are a welcome change, global cooling for the temporary win. As part of honeymoon, we spent a few days attending The National Sports Collector’s Convention. Our first day at The National was Thursday, it was really day two of NSCC, but we didn’t attend the early preview Wednesday, as is our tradition…  We spent most of the day digging and searching through all the things, meeting up with some great peeps, and going to an after-party. Not a slight against our Dallas shows, but nothing compares to The National in terms of what you’ll find – both new and old – both cards and memorabilia. Plus, where else can you hold a game-used Babe Ruth bat? It truly is an almost mandatory, moldy junkie cardboard collector’s Mecca pilgrimage.

Our first sight of the show floor, we were greeted by Ivan and Rob on stage discussing all the things with a size-able group of minions hanging on every word. Before the end of the day we’d meet up with Mel and Rich, the Biggs family, Jeff, Kevin, Robert, Nick, and Shane. We love this part of the show, and it’s probably our favorite part of The National – maybe even moreso than card pickups.

Our first pickup of the show from the Blowout booth were these packs from Return of the Jedi featuring Wicket. It’s no secret in the Star Wars universe, and on Star Wars Card Trader I’m a huge Wicket fan. SEND ALL WICKET TO JunkWaxVikings! …I err, not sure what happened there. Matrix glitch? Probably. Not too bad though for older wax packs, unopened especially – plus since I was introduced to Star Wars Wicket and the other Ewoks were always my favorite – come at me haters.

Speaking of card pickups there were plenty, the first day we spent most of our time ogling vintage but purchasing dime and quarter box pickups. Our best pickup day one was debatably a 2$ Fred Frankhouse(Red Sox) 1933 Goudey or the final 1964 Topps Twin – #340 Tony Oliva. Only six Twins team sets remain – and only five Senators team sets! So close to completion!

We did also break a box of Panini Optic – pulling most of the team set, three or four numbered cards(including a #/d Carlos Correa) and two Twins autographs(Berrios/Kepler)! I’ll probably never pull two or more Twins in a box again. Fine product I must say. :). In our Panini National redemption packs we pulled a #/99 Larry Bird base, and a #/25 New York Jets Darron Lee relic.

During the Topps Q&A, there was talk mostly of redemptions, complaints, Santa Claus cards, Topps Now and digital apps. While we didn’t win any of the raffle stuff this year, they did have one of one Allen and Ginter cards and Mike Berkus In Memorandum cards for everyone. We of course asked for Twins Allen & Ginter cards and after some searching we left with Jose Berrios and Brian Dozier.

After the show closed we met up with Shane, Kevin, Nick, Robert, and eventually Ivan for an after-party for the ages. This is where the new twatter nickname comes from, “…at my junkiest…”, as someone brought the topic around to oddball errors and variations and I couldn’t remain quiet. 80s and 90s Donruss, Upper Deck, Fleer variation gimmicks, gotta love it. After a few hours long conversation about cards, trading back and forth, and receiving the below self-produced cards we headed for our hotel. All in all, everything made for an epic start for the National and that was only our day one! Look for day two and three soon! :).

For the wedding detail curious, our first dance song was Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”, followed by Florence + The Machine “Never Let Me Go”, mother/son was “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World” with Grandma standing in as mom was suffering from a nasty flu/infection. Father/daughter dance ensued and they danced to The Beatles “In My Life”. We finished up our dancing with Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight Reprise” and “Tonight Tonight” back to back before opening it up to everyone else. :). Day Two’s post due soon … only a month late!

#2016-panini-optic, #goudey, #star-wars, #swct, #the-national, #topps-qa, #waxcastle-wedding, #wicket