Daddy Dearest

2004-05 Upper Deck card #196 – Denis Brodeur

2004-05 Upper Deck card #196 - Denis BrodeurDuring the 2004-05 lockout, Upper Deck was at a loss for “Young Guns”. Since the NHL “wasn’t happening” that year, there was no fresh infusion of talent to depict on their hockey cards. At a loss for players to include in their “Young Guns” subset, Upper Deck made an interesting move, and created cards of people who were long overdue for one. Some of the cards – such as those of Lord Stanley, Hobey Baker and Cammi Granato -made sense. One interesting, if not questionable, inclusion in that year’s “Young Guns” set though was a card of Denis Brodeur – the father of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. Continue reading “Daddy Dearest”

Review: 2003-04 Topps C55 Hockey

Really, really, really old school design makes for an interesting distraction

2003-04 Topps C55 #68 - Jaromir Jagr

Retro-themed sets based on early 20th century design – such as Upper Deck’s “Champ’s” brand of hockey cards, or Topps “Alan & Ginther” baseball cards – are a popular trend with collectors right now. While few can afford the original cards of Art Ross or Georges Vezina, many still can appreciate the look and feel of current cards that base their designs on these old sets. Earlier this decade, Topps made an initial attempt to make a set of neo-retro hockey cards, naming it “C55” and basing the design on a set of cards that is almost a century old. Continue reading “Review: 2003-04 Topps C55 Hockey”

Mother Ducker

1999 Sports Illustrated For Kids card #792 – Paul Kariya

1999 Sports Illustrated For Kids card #792 - Paul KariyaSports Illustrated for Kids is a spin-off of the magazine Sports Illustrated, but aimed at the younger set. Each issue includes a sheet of nine trading cards featuring athletes from various sports. The magazine’s editors decided to have some fun, and put “April Fools’ Day Cards” in the April 1999 issue of SI for Kids. This card shows Anaheim Mighty Ducks captain Paul Kariya skating on the ice with other ducks – real ducks. Continue reading “Mother Ducker”

The Holy Grail

1990-91 Pro Set Stanley Cup Hologram

1990-91 Pro Set Stanley Cup HologramLast week, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings in game seven, winning the Stanley Cup – the third time the Penguins have won hockey’s “Holy Grail” since joining the NHL in 1967. Not long ago, I too acquired a holy grail – one for card collectors: 1990-91 Pro Set Stanley Cup hologram. Continue reading “The Holy Grail”

Not quite a "blast"

Today, after watching the Blackhawks lose 5-2 to the Red Wings, my girlfriend Shellie and I got some shopping done at Target.

And like a junkie, I am always drawn to the trading card aisle. I must need to get my head checked because I know that blaster boxes of trading cards are a waste of time and money. But as a fool and his money soon part ways, I purchases a blaster box of 2008-09 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey cards.

Here’s what I got:

— 51 base cards

— 2 Young Guns (Brad Staubitz, Teddy Purcell)

— 3 Victory update cards

— 3 Victory Rookie update cards (Petr Vrana, Dwight Helminen, Nathan Oystrick)

— 1 Tales of the Cup insert (Clark Gillies)

Wow…what a waste! Sure, you’re not always going to get an awesome rookie card in a box–especially a blaster box.

But let’s do a little math here. Don’t worry, I promise it will be easy.

A single pack of Upper Deck Hockey cards costs $2.99 and contains 8 cards. Young Guns are found in 1 out of every 4 packs (1:4).

A blaster box of Upper Deck Hockey cards contains 12 packs–but the packs only have 5 cards each. Additionally, Young Guns are seeded at a rate of 1 in 6 (1:6).

So, what’s the better “value”? Glad you asked.

A blaster box gets you 60 cards for $20.

To get 60 cards from single packs, you’d have to purchase 7 1/2 packs of cards. For argument’s sake, let’s just assume you could purchase a “half pack”. Your total cost would be $22.45.

Purchasing single packs would cost more to get the same amount of cards. Besides, grabbing eight packs at random from the shelf does not mean that you will get two Young Guns…it means you might get two Young Guns. And seriously folks, we know that’s why we buy these damn cards.

At least when you buy a blaster box, you almost always get two Young Guns.

But now, I must voice a few gripes that most of us are thinking anyways:

1. The blaster box does not state how many cards per pack. This is a recent development in the design of these boxes, as sets released earlier this year state on the blaster boxes how many cards per pack. This feels very “bait-and-switch” to me. One might assume that if a single pack contains 8 cards, then each pack in a blaster box also contains 8 cards. That’s a reasonable conclusion, albeit an incorrect one. The fact that Upper Deck does not state how many cards you get in a pack (or a box) should be illegal. Seriously. If you buy a box of tissue or a bottle of aspirins, it clearly states how many you get. Why are trading cards exempt from this?

2. The insertion of Victory Update cards. For those of us trying to build a set of Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey, it is frustrating to get one Victory Update card in every other pack–or every pack if you buy the 8-card single packs. Six out of 60 cards I got were Victory Update cards–that’s 10% of the box. Most of us would rather get another Upper Deck card–bringing us closer to completing our sets–than a Victory Update card. Plus, I got more Victory Update Rookies than I did Young Guns. Which brings me to my third point…

3. Cost of Upper Deck-brand cards. Really, what is the difference between the $2.99-a-pack Upper Deck cards and the 99-cents-per-pack Victory cards? Both are printed full-bleed, are ultra glossy and have full-color backs. The only difference is, Upper Deck sells the Upper Deck-brand cards for more. Sure, we have a 1-in-300 chance of getting some dumb memorabilia card. So what? That just drives up the cost. Upper Deck cards are really not any better than Victory cards, quality-wise. Therefore, they should be a buck a pack. But they are not, which leads us nicely to point number 4.

4. Cost per card. Time for more easy math. A blaster box costs $20.

$20 divided by 60 cards = 33.3 cents per card. That’s 3 cards for $1.

But, living in Chicago, I have to pay 10.25% sales tax. So let’s recalculate.

$20 plus 10.25% tax = $22.04 divided by 60 cards = 36.73 cents per card. That’s closer to 3 cards for $1.10.

Unless you live in Chicago like I do–which has the highest sales tax in the U.S.–you’ll pay less for cards than I do, but are still paying about 33 cents per card. If someone at a card show tried to sell me Upper Deck commons for 33 cents each, I’d have to lacerate them with a rough-edged OPC card from the early 1980s.

And yet today at Target, I willingly–and foolishly–paid that amount. Like I said, a fool and his money.

… … …

On a related note, I still need about 70 base cards from Series One and 60 base cards from Series Two. If you have any, please take a look at my Wantlist.

Likewise, if there are some 2008-09 Upper Deck Hockey cards you need for your set, check out my Trade List. I’d rather trade with someone than pay 33 cents a card.

Happy Secretaries Day!

1988-89 ProCards card – Sheryl Reeves

1988-89 ProCards card - Sheryl ReevesDuring the 1988-89 season, the ProCards company produced minor league hockey cards of AHL and IHL teams. Each was sold as an individually-wrapped team set. Many future NHLers would be featured, with players like Ed Belfour and Mark Recchi appearing on trading cards for the first time. Most notable, though, would be a card of one team’s administrative assistant.

Yes, that’s right – a hockey card of a secretary. Continue reading “Happy Secretaries Day!”

Walt Poddubny

1991-92 Topps Stadium Club card #177 – Walt Poddubny

1991-92 Topps Stadium Club card #177 - Walt PoddubnyFormer NHL player Walt Poddubny died suddenly on Saturday, March 21. He was 49 years old. The cause of his death is unknown.

I always get a strange feeling when a former NHLer dies before his time. Yes, people die every day – but someone who is (or was) an athlete should not just suddenly kick the bucket. Considering the incredible things that pro hockey players do, you almost think that they are invincible, that they will live forever. Or at least live past age 50. Continue reading “Walt Poddubny”

“In Action” Inaction

1982-83 O-Pee-Chee card #40 – Mel Bridgman In Action

Mel Bridgman In ActionFile this under false advertising.

At the top of the card it states – no, it practically screams – in uppercase letters “IN ACTION”. But clearly, Mel Bridgman is anything but “in action”. Maybe O-Pee-Chee erroneously added a space between the two words, and really meant to say “inaction” As in, Bridgman isn’t really doing anything except looking somewhat perplexed – perhaps by the misnomer that labels the top of his trading card. Continue reading ““In Action” Inaction”

Me and My Shadow

1990-91 Seventh Inning Sketch QMJHL card #46 – Martin Chaput

Martin ChaputCanadian-based card manufacturer Seventh Inning Sketch is best known for their trading card sets featuring major junior hockey players from the early 1990s. Whereas “police sets” from that era relied on posed portrait shots, Seventh Inning Sketch instead utilized action photography on the majority of the cards. This made for a more exciting set of cards, although a stinker did slip through the cracks every now and then. This is one such card. Continue reading “Me and My Shadow”