How Fleer Won the Parallel Battle but Lost the War

Wax Heaven

In the height of this blog’s popularity, Topps’ Superfractor parallel ruled the hobby. It was a craze which I didn’t understand. Looking back, I see it was all about the “1 of 1” and essentially having the best parallel, from the most popular brand of any given prospect that was hot at the time. These days, Topps has mixed things up quite a bit to keep collectors from getting Superfractor burnout. Panini America also has their own version of the Superfractor, which is like the Walmart version of a Target product. The “Gold Vinyl” cards look good, I suppose, but Panini came to the party WAY too late.

Ironically, while Panini America clearly ripped off Topps’ Superfractor design, the true Godfather of the Superfractor, in my opinion, comes from 1992 Donruss Elite inserts. Why is that ironic? Because Panini America owns and uses the Donruss license so technically…

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Is Upper Deck Due for A Comeback?

Wax Heaven

Like a lot of things in my life, I have a love/hate relationship with the Topps Company. For one, I have been absolutely addicted to their Finest brand since 1996 and have been a Refractor junkie for almost as long. These days, I classify myself more as a nostalgia card blogger than a bonafide card collector. I’d much rather write about cards from the 90s than spend money on 2018 products, it’s just a fact. If I were to buy cards outside of my Jose Canseco collection it would most certainly be from a late-90s Skybox/Fleer or Pinnacle/Leaf release. That being said, all you need to do is look at some of my latest posts to see that I am a fan of Topps baseball cards. With that being said, I am very unhappy.

I am collector who lives for the days of being able to choose. I love pizza…

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Someone NOT Named John or Roman Won the 2018 Royal Rumble

Wax Heaven

I have a tradition of taking advantage of WWE’s network trial. It’s not that I don’t want to stick around past their 30-day free trial but usually I am left with such a bad taste in my mouth that I end up canceling the network within a day or two of the whatever big event steals my interes. This year, I fell for the Royal Rumble hype and the constant buzz about a Daniel Bryan return, which now seems absolutely ridiculous. SPOILERS: It didn’t happen.

This year we did had some nice surprises including the return of Hurricane Helms as a joke entry into the Rumble and the shocking return of Rey Mysterio. Unlike Helms, Mysterio put on a great show and looked to be in excellent shape despite a lifetime of abuse on his body. I am not sure where WWE will go with him but I for one…

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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).


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 or***

Breaking into Pre-War Collecting: Tobacco Cards

Pre-War Card Magazine

Been a little while since I wrote one of my ‘Breaking into Pre-War Collecting’ articles. If you missed the first two, I first covered game cards and then strip cards.

Today, I wanted to tackle arguably the most popular of all pre-war cards: tobacco cards.

What Are Tobacco Cards?

t227-miners-extra-and-honest-long-cutTobacco cards, quite simply, are what they sound like. These are cards that were distributed by tobacco companies. These issues were mostly packaged with tobacco products and were typically placed inside boxes of cigarettes. Cards inside of cigarette packages served three primary purposes.

First, and most practically, they were a stiffener for boxes of cigarettes. Second, they were a collectible of sorts as companies encouraged buyers to collect entire sets of the subjects. Finally, they were an advertisement as they typically included the name of the tobacco brand somewhere on the card.

While cards were often produced for cigarettes, they…

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Are the Demmitt and O’Hara T206 St. Louis Cards Underrated?

Pre-War Card Magazine

In terms of the true rarities of the T206 baseball card set, most collectors break down this issue as the ‘Big 4 and Everything Else.’

There’s certainly no disputing that there are four pretty rare cards here. But two more in the set probably don’t really deserve to merely be lumped in with the remaining 520 cards.

About the Big 4

Honus Wagner T206If you’re unfamiliar with the T206 set, I’ve sort of written an FAQ article breaking it down a little. Much more in-depth information exists and there are websites solely devoted to this specific set. But if you’re new to it and want a place to start, here you go.

Don’t have that much time? Well, in a nutshell, the T206 set is arguably the most important and the most popular baseball card set of all time. While other sets such as the 1952 Topps issue or the 1933…

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Is Topps Big the Hobby’s Savior?

Wax Heaven

Sorry for the hyperbole.

Seriously, we need the return of Topps Big. Maybe these cards didn’t receive love from collectors because of their over-sized status but as far as cards from 1988-1990, nothing was more fun to read, front to back than a Topps Big card. Keep in mind, I was 10 years old at the time. If we are talking about bringing kids back to the hobby, how are $150 boxes of cards going to be appealing when they can get an Xbox One or PS4 video game for much less and spend WAY more time with it than a piece of cardboard.

Below are two, very crisp scans of Topps Big cards. Look at the effort that went into producing them. You have a very 90s design, which can’t be blamed. Everything was loud and gaudy during that era. Topps included a great head shot of each player…

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