Which Tobacco Card Sheets are Best?

One of, if not THE, most commonly referenced phrases in the United States Declaration of Independence is that “all men are created equal.”  While I believe this to be true, I don’t believe it when it comes to my hobby.

Picture it…late September, 2016…Duane’s Sports Cards in Arlington, TX…

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That was where and when I purchased my first two T206 cards.  They weren’t pretty, but they were $5 apiece and after almost 30 years in the hobby, I owned two cards from arguably the most popular sports trading card set ever.  Continue reading

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Bean’s Assessment – Ultra PRO (@UltraProIntl) Black Border ONE TOUCH Magnetic Holders

A few weeks ago, Go GTS published an article about some new Ultra PRO items.  One Ultra Pro item in particular really intrigued me – the black border one touch.

I’m a guy that’s moved in the vintage direction in the last couple of years.  I understand that PSA is the grading company of choice for most.  Beckett appears to be the second most popular.  However, I prefer SGC.  The primary reason is the black bordered cases.  They are the most visually appealing to my eyes and I’m one that encourages collectors to collect what YOU like.

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I shared the tweet on Twitter from my card account (@beansbcardblog) and was surprised to receive a handful of replies.  In general, I don’t receive replies when I’m sharing blog posts or industry news on Twitter.  All replies were positive and I was thrilled to see others sharing my opinion.

I wanted to get my hands on one of these to review and was successful.  I bring you my thoughts on them and a few pictures.

When I first saw the post my thoughts immediately went to vintage cards.  I mentioned that I SGC is my grader of choice but that just applies to vintage.  I have no preference on modern cards but due to being close to Beckett, if I submit anything it’s to them.

If I’m going to show show pictures of a vintage card, I might as well go big, right?

 

I definitely like the look better with the black bordered case.  What I liked better on this particular card was the back because of the color.

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The red certainly pops against the black.  That leads me to where my thoughts went after vintage.  I am a Chicago Blackhawks fan and some of my favorite cards are ones with black or red borders.  It hit me that those red borders might look very nice.

 

Without a doubt, it lived up to my expectations.  In part due to a four year-old iPhone camera and part due to the shadow I couldn’t get around, the pictures do the actual look no justice.  If you’ve read my posts before, you know that I’m not here to blow smoke up anyone’s arse.  If I think something sucks, I’ll say it.

I do have one criticism of the product, but it won’t stop me from purchasing them.  Unfortunately, only the front piece of the two-part holder is black.  The back piece is clear.

This is the first time that I’ve reviewed something and assigned a “score.”  I’m going to use three beans as what I can assign, one for each “B” in the blog name.  I’m giving this product 2.75 out of three beans.

These aren’t out on the market yet but per the Go GTS post are scheduled to release in March.  So, what say you?  Do you have any interest in these whatsoever?  Why or why not?  PLEASE leave a comment below either way.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and maybe someone from Ultra Pro will read this.

Happy collecting!

Upper Deck Makes A Great Thing Better

No company does the rookie card better than Upper Deck.  I’m not talking the low-numbered, autographed, five-color jersey swatch rookie.  I’m talking the basic rookie.

Young Guns are THE thing to hockey collectors.  Yes, there are cards that are more valuable, but for as “basic” as Young Guns are, no other rookie cards in the hobby come close.

As of this writing, if you want a raw Auston Matthews Young Guns card, it’s going to cost you more than $150 at auction on Ebay.  If you’re in the market for a Connor McDavid, you’re looking $250.  If you’d like a sure-fire Hall of Famer, Sidney Crosby will set you back more than $600.  You get the idea.  (Prices are the most recent eBay completed auction of an ungraded card).

For years, you could compete a three card “rainbow” of Young Guns cards.  You needed to get the unnumbered base, the Exclusives parallel numbered to 100 and the High Gloss Parallel numbered to ten.  Depending on the player you’re looking for, you could consider the Canvas card a part of the parallel set.

Two years ago, Upper Deck added the “Silver Foil Board” parallel on ePack.  If you acquired five copies of the base Young Guns card, you could combine them into the silver.  Last year the gold rainbow version was added.  To get that you had to combine five silver copies (so, 25 base) to get the card.

At that point (and still this season), that’s the potential of a six-card rainbow.  Depending on your particular level of insanity it could be ten, should you also acquire all four printing plates.

“Rainbow” has become a generic term in our hobby that most know.  When I think of a rainbow, I think of color.  While I would have called a Young Guns Rainbow just that in the past, the cards all looked very similar.

I give you a “rainbow” of Nick Schmaltz from 2016-17 Upper Deck Hockey.

The cards, as though you’re reading a book, are the base, Exclusives, High Gloss, (ePack) Silver and (ePack) Gold Rainbow.  The two ePack cards do look significantly different in person, but the other three look about the same, other than the flag with the parallel set name and the numbering.  As a player collector you deserve to be proud when you complete a rainbow.  It’s not a cheap task.

Panini and Topps have done a much better job with color over the last few years.  Both companies have produced a multitude of colored parallels in their products.  Some love it, some loathe it, but you can’t argue that they look impressive when pictured together.  They were producing a better “look” but Upper Deck took the win.

Someone at Upper Deck either listened to others discuss this, or noticed it on my own.  I give you the 2017-18 rainbow of Alex DeBrincat (there is no image of the Gold Rainbow available currently, so I have substituted another player).

LOOK!  COLOR!

Could it be even better?  Absolutely.  I would love to see the ePack versions use a different color than the same blue on the base.   However, it is a much welcome change to this hockey collector.  I would also love to see Young Guns as a Midnight Parallel (/25) distributed through the same channel as the base Midnight cards.  I’d also love to see another layer added in as an ePack exclusive.  It could be /250, it could be /5.  It would just be something different.  I can hope for small changes.  I don’t know that adding two or three levels a year would make many happy, myself included.

In the last year, I’ve written a couple of posts that were not flattering of Upper Deck.  I felt a bit burnt a couple of times.  I’ve spoken with a company representative and felt fine after my discussion.  I feel if I’m going to be critical, I have to be fair give them a pat on the back for this.  I like what they did and I like Upper Deck.  I don’t want to bury them.

I’m not writing as much on this blog these days, but if you want to follow my personal blog I Feel Like A Collector Again, I try to post a few times per week.  Also, please follow me @beansbcardblog on Twitter!

***all images via upperdeckepack.com or comc.com***

Upper Deck Makes It Right

I’ve always been a fan of Upper Deck, but recently I’ve written a couple of pieces voicing my displeasure.  This post is to tell you that they’ve made things right by me.

I’m not pulling down the posts.   Thought I’m not in the journalism field, I do have a journalism degree and like to maintain a level of integrity (and more than many actually in the field).  Upper Deck, and specifically Chris Carlin, went out of their way and listened to my concerns.  I respect that.

Mr. Carlin took non-office time to talk with me via phone.  In response to one of my complaints, Carlin gave me an answer that I certainly understand.  I’m a skeptical person, but it was an answer that also occurs in occupation.  I understand and believe exactly what he said.

My other complaint was about how ePack free packs no longer contain cards that can be combined to make physical cards.  He gave me a couple of reasons why the change was made.  I don’t agree with the decision that was made, but I understand it.  If you’ve been in the forum on ePack, it’s something that many users predicted before it happened.

Something I don’t like about customer service employees are the generic, almost automated replies that we so often receive.  During my conversation with Mr. Carlin, I never felt that he was toeing that line.  He was honest and straight-forward.  As a person often pegged as negative, I really appreciate the honesty.

At the end of the call, I was happy.  I felt he did listen to my concerns, which weren’t just for me.  I felt that I was speaking for other collectors as well.  Whether anything might be different next time or not, I can’t speak to.  I do felt listened to and can’t ask for more.

He mentioned that they had sent a package to me as an apology for the Laine situation.  I never received it, but he mentioned (without me asking) that it was sent to an old address (the one on file with Upper Deck).  Unfortunately, I haven’t lived there in over a year.  Hopefully at some point the company will get that package back, or hopefully whoever elected to open it will decide cards are fun and join the hobby.

Upper Deck sent ANOTHER package, this time to my current address.  Inside was some product, apparel, and a few singles.  If you’ve seen #UDRAK, you understand the sort of package I am referencing.

Mr. Carlin said that he saw I am a Blackhawks fan and my lady is a Stars fan.  That is correct.  Those were the single that were included and it was a fantastic personal touch.  It wouldn’t be a card post without a card, so I present to you one of the cards…

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Jeremy Roenick was my favorite player as a teenager and still one of my favorites, if not my number one.  It is a wonderful addition to my collection.

In closing, I want to point out that at no time did anyone at Upper Deck ask anything of me.  They didn’t ask me to remove any posts or write a follow-up.  All discussions were about the situations I had written about.

Even before that, Upper Deck hadn’t lost me completely as a customer.  I’ve been trying to find O-Pee-Chees locally because I want to put the set together.  I haven’t had luck, but I’m still trying.

My concern is ePack.  I’m not sure how I will treat it going forward.  I know that I certainly won’t spend as much money as I have in the last 12 months.  I had planned not to spend any more money at all.  However, seeing today that Alex DeBrincat may make the Blackhawks roster means I may have to buy Series 2 so I can make a gold rainbow Young Guns.  Not many of them will reach the secondary market.

We will see what the future holds, but Upper Deck made this right by me.  If you shop online and haven’t signed up and used ebates yet, you’re missing out. I also use it on eBay to get money back from purchases there. Between referrals and cash back, I’ve gotten over $100 in about seven months. FREE CARDS! If you’re on Twitter, please give me a follow. Please check out my personal blog, I Feel Like a Collector Again.  Happy collecting!

Upper Deck Hoses ePack Collectors Again

Today, 2017-18 MVP Hockey came available on Upper Deck ePack.  Today, Upper Deck screwed ePack users again.

Previously, you could sign in daily and get free cards.  You could trade for cards, combine them and get a physical card you wanted.

Here is the information on MVP free packs from theie “News” page.

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It’s an entirely different set than the MVP cards that come in packs!  There’s only one way to combine, but getting every card in the Purple set.  So, what do you get if you get the entire set?

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Nothing.  You get nothing.  These cards are as worthless as the “virtual”  Topps and Panini cards on their platforms.

You had a great thing going, Upper Deck.  Congratulations on shooting yourself in the foot.

My Patrik Laine Auto, Not Signed by Laine

I’ve always been one of the people that loves Upper Deck.  All of the card companies have deficiencies but personally I’ve always felt that Upper Deck does the best job, until now.

I even gave them the benefit of a doubt a few months ago.  I had purchased some packs of cards and as I was opening them, the site crashed.  Once it was back up, all my packs were gone.  After about a week, I finally received a reply from Upper Deck customer service that even though I didn’t open the packs, the cards were there.  I highly considered being done with ePack.  I didn’t like their nonchalant reply.  I ended up spending more money with them.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have.

Last night I decided to buy three packs of O-Pee-Chee Platinum on the Upper Deck ePack site.  This card was in one of my packs.

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Once I went into my collection to look for it, this is actually what I saw…

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WOW!  My card is actually marked as a Patrik Laine autograph!  WOOHOO!  For those not in the know, Laine is the best rookie one can pull from this class, outside Auston Matthews.

I was excited, but not sure what to do, so I asked in the chat room. I was directed to the “news” page of ePack’s site and found their “explanation” of the situation.

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To me, they are hosing people.  I don’t really care what their excuse is, they are wrong.  I work corporate retail and if we screwed over customers and didn’t fess up to our errors, we’d be out of business.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, here’s my other complaint.  See the date in the screen shot above?  That was six days before my card came out of a pack.  Why was this not corrected?  If you knew about it and didn’t fix it, that is a problem.  This comes across shady to me.

I tweeted last night about it.  A few followers chimed in that they hoped Upper Deck would make it right or that they thought Upper Deck would.  I wasn’t optimistic, as I had already seen their “explanation.”   Not long ago, this was the generic reply that I expected to receive.

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I’ve been critical of other companies (particularly Panini) and because I love(d) Upper Deck, I might have gone a little easier on them that I should have.  I can’t see myself doing that anymore.  I’m also not sure that I will spend any more money on their products.  I haven’t spent as much as some others on there, but I’ve spent enough that I could have a really nice vintage card if I had all that money back.

Not happy.  Not sure what the future holds.

You can follow me on Twitter at @beansbcardblog.  I tweet out hundred of other bloggers’ post.   You can also read and follow my personal blog, I Feel Like a Collector Again.  I write much more there than here.

Have a wonderful day (hopefully much better than mine) and God bless!

Pitiful Panini

As I write this, we are about a week removed from the Dak Prescott autopen situation coming to light.  If you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  The story has made the Washington Post, ESPN and other outlets.  I even saw a local opinion piece from someone that has no idea what he’s talking about in regard to this situation.

Panini hasn’t said a word.   It’s been reported that a Panini employee hung up on a USA Today reporter.  None of Dak Prescott’s representatives have talked.  Nor has the NFL or NFLPA.  I guess they don’t realize that the longer they let this go, the worse it looks.  Besides, something tells me that Panini knew about this before word got out.  To me, the silence is deafening.

Less than a month ago, Panini acknowledged that some cards signed by first round pick Takkarist McKinley were not signed by him.

This morning I saw a tweet regarding signatures from a Panini Country Music product that may have also been autopenned.

Oh, and we are just months removed from Panini being called out for using Mitchell & Ness jerseys and calling them “game worn” on 2016 National Treasures product.

LINK:  MISTAKENLY LABELED EVENT-WORN TAGS INCLUDED IN 2016 NATIONAL TREASURES FOOTBALL

Is the a doomsday scenario for Panini?  I don’t think so.

All of the major card companies have serious deficiencies.  Not once has the collecting community said “enough is enough” and stopped purchasing any company’s product.  It’s sad, but I don’t believe that even all of these situations will keep people from buying Panini.

There are too many in the hobby just waiting to pull that next “sick hit” or “wicked patch” and they will be giving more money to Panini in no time.  If only the consumer had an option of something else to buy…

They don’t though, thanks to exclusives.  We can add this to the list of reasons that exclusives are bad for this hobby.  If Topps was still producing football cards, I believe that shops would have a hard time keeping them on the shelves after this high-profile boner.

You have nowhere else to go.  You won’t stop buying.  Why should Panini care or change anything?

Within the last year I sent my resume to Panini.  They never bothered to contact me.  The sports card industry is very much a “good ol’ boys” network and unless you have a connection, it’s next to impossible to get it.  Thank God for unanswered prayers.

Good luck to Panini at the National.  You’re going to need it.