Sunday, January 17, 2021

Pre-Opened Packs #4: 1993 SkyBox Marvel Universe Series IV

 Cards like these have a tendency to just show up.  I can't remember ever buying any packs, but I have a fair amount of comic cards from the '90s floating around the edges of my collection.  Let's see what we have here.

Frame #117 Peter Parker
Okay, right off the bat we have a card that doesn't belong here.  This has a 1994 copyright date and a Cookie Crisp logo on the back, letting us know that this came from a box of cereal.  Kind of automatically makes it the best card in the pack already.

132 Wild Thing
Here's what the proper card looks like in this set.  My Marvel knowledge isn't that great, especially when you get into the mutant stuff and anything that starts with "X."  She appears to never skip leg day.

149 Wolverine vs Sabretooth, 168 Daredevil vs Typhoid Mary
The first card here is great, two heavy hitters going at each other.  The Daredevil card is a significant letdown after that.  Issues where he's up against Typhoid Mary are typically in the quarter bins at any used comic shop.  I love Daredevil, but he has better adversaries.

57 Carnage, 42 Nightcrawler
The whole Spidey/Venom/Carnage thing I never got into.  Still have no idea.  And as for Nightcrawler: BAMF?

43 Havok, Nick Fury Promo Card
Again, if you have X's all over your costume, I ignore you.  Sorry.  
The promo card is advertising the then-forthcoming Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. monthly series that had a run of only four issues.  Whoops!

Frame #224 The Shocker

165 Spider-man vs Juggernaut
This house has gained a few Juggernaut fans over the past couple of weeks.  The boys have been playing a lot of Lego Marvel Superheroes, and Juggernaut became a favorite soon after his character was unlocked.
I'd have to say this is the actual best card in the pack, but opinions may differ.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Top Pulls of 2020: #1

 Card: 2005 Fleer Showcase #112 Reggie Jackson Autographed Legacy AUTO (14/17)
From: Hobby Box

Why I Like It: It was indeed a Merry Christmas to me.  I had a few Showcase cards in my collection from buying random lots, and it's a design I always liked.  There was a box I had my eye on for a few months, and since I had a few dollars left in the unofficial Christmas budget, I picked one up for myself.  It arrived on the 24th, and I opened it intermittently throughout Christmas Day, sneaking downstairs to bust a few packs here and there in the midst of the chaos of all the new toys and games in the house.
2005 Showcase was a one-guaranteed-auto-per-box product, and my box was bottom-loaded for sure.  I think the three hits came out of the last four packs.  This Reggie card is one of the shortest printed in the Autographed Legacy set.  A bunch of worthless exchange cards are floating around in unopened boxes, too.  It looks like there's a Pujols #/11, Nolan Ryan #/13, Kaline #/7, Berra, #/25, but really no one else super low-numbered and highly coveted.  The signature looks great, and the original card design can be seen on the left side of the card.  Leaving a large field of open space for an autograph is usually a design mistake, but since it's Reggie, I can forgive this one.

Thanks for reading along with me this year, and best of wishes for your card buying in 2021!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Top Pulls of 2020: #2

Once again, a box delivered so well for me from top to bottom that I have to include it as a single pull for the purposes of this article.
Cards: 2018 Topps WWE NXT Hobby Box
I think it would be a good idea to start with the best autographed cards in the box, and work our way down.
#A-DA Dean Ambrose Blue AUTO (08/50)
I didn't even know Deano had autos in this set, so this one was a nice last-pack surprise.
 #A-DM Drew McIntyre AUTO
Guy's the current WWE Champion, what more could you ask?

#A-BB Bianca Belair Bronze AUTO (69/99)
This woman is poised to be the biggest thing in wrestling.  Has an outside shot of becoming a household name one day.

#A-AC Adam Cole AUTO
This would be higher up, but I bought one of these earlier in 2020, not really anticipating buying another box.  Future WrestleMania Main-Eventer.

#A-AD Angelo Dawkins AUTO
Last year at this time, did anyone envision this guy playing a part in a Skittles commercial with Ric Flair?  Not me, that's for sure.

#A-TC Tommaso Ciampa AUTO
When a guy like Ciampa is only the sixth-best card in the box, that box is a winner.

#A-NC Nikki Cross Bronze AUTO (17/99)
I've sort of lost track of Nikki after she switched to Raw.  Kind of all-in on Smackdown right now.

#A-TY Taynara Conti AUTO
Made the switch to AEW earlier this year, needs to be featured on TV some more.
#A-ON Kassius Ohno AUTO

#A-KD Killian Dain AUTO, #A-TS Tino Sabbatelli AUTO
 If you're counting, these are autographs ten and eleven, so I did get an extra auto in the box.  The Dain I already had, and the Sabbatelli no one wants.

And let's round out this post with a few numbered parallels.  First we have #41 Drew McIntyre Returns Blue (48/50).  I'm not the biggest fan of these "year-in-review" cards, and would rather have the featured wrestler cards, but if it's a Drew, it's not bad.

Then there are two guy doing well on their respective brands, #R-16 Kyle O'Reilly Blue (13/50) and #R-5 Andrade "Cien" Almas Blue (13/50).

All things considered, a great box of cards.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Top Pulls of 2020: #3

 Card: 2016 Panini Select #DT-RR Cristiano Ronaldo / James Rodriguez Double-Team Memorabilia Orange Parallel (39/75)
From: Hobby Box
Why I Like It:
Back in late April or early May, I had my eye on some boxes of this stuff.  Remember, this is only a couple of months into lockdown.  I was watching a box on eBay with the hopes of selling some other cards to make enough to get the box for nothing.  Then, practically overnight, the supply dried up.  I was watching the price hover around $100 a box, but all of a sudden, they were gone.  No large online retailer had a box in stock.  A few days later some more popped up, but now asking over $200 for a box.
I did some deep searching and found an obscure store that pretty much only stocked Pokemon card boxes, but they had one last box of Select.  I nabbed it for about $120.

I was a fool to open it.
By the middle of summer, boxes of Select were commanding between $500 and $600 dollars.  Unless you hit a major major card (Pulisic, Messi AUTO, Ronaldo AUTO, or an insanely low-numbered superstar) there's no way to make your money back from that.
That being said, I was relatively happy with my box.  The Ronaldo/Messi argument will rage for decades, but I lean toward the Portuguese striker.  Messi is a better dribbler, but Ronaldo's movement off the ball, paired with an absolutely ruthless killer instinct, makes him special.  And with James joining my beloved Everton this season, it's enough to push this card into the top three.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Top Pulls of 2020: #4

 Card: 2020 Topps Chrome WWE #A-BY Bayley Green Parallel AUTO (50/99)
From: Hobby Box
Why I Like It:
In stark contrast to most of the other top cards I've shared so far, Bayley has had one of the most meaningful runs over the past year in WWE.  Whether she has held two titles, one, or none, she has almost single-handedly made Smackdown worth watching on Friday nights.  Her villain run has been believable and unexpectedly ruthless.
And let's talk about this card.  I mean, how gorgeous is that on-card signature?
One final word: GREEEEEEEEEN.  (It's my parallel weakness.)

Friday, January 1, 2021

Top Pulls of 2020: #5

Card: 2019 Topps WWE Smackdown Live #2 Aleister Black 20th Anniversary Parallel AUTO (20/20)
From: Hobby Box

Why I Like It:
So you have this guy who looks like he's straight out of a Norwegian black metal band (okay, he's Dutch), has a moveset heavy on aerial strikes and kicks, and comes packaged with an aura of mystery and mysticism, and... somehow WWE can't make this work?
Misuse of the wrestler aside, this card looks especially cool because the Smackdown 20th Anniversary parallels have a color scheme that darkens most of the color on the card.  Very fitting for this card's subject.  I only hope that Black gets a bigger push in the coming months.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Top Pulls of 2020: Honorable Mention

 Man, did we collectors who are in it for the love of cards have to be selective or what, this year?!  "Deliberate" was the name of the game when opening product in 2020.  Decisions had to be made, and they had to be wise.  So much has been written about the card (mark) explosion that I can't really add any insight on the situation.  Don't worry, things will change once people can spend their money on other things.  I still contend that when people are able to go to concerts and music festivals featuring artists who aren't complete asshats, the bubble will burst.  Luckily, I was able to make some card purchases pre-pandemic, when prices for wax were reasonable.  

It was a hard decision to select my top five this year, as there were a good number of very good cards, but few were transcendent.  Let's check out the ones that fell just short of making the cut.

Cards: 2018 Topps WWE Then Now Forever #178 Shinsuke Nakamura AUTO (12/99) and #162 Ricochet AUTO (69/99)

From: Hobby Boxes

 In a different year, these might have made the list, but unfortunately WWE has been bungling their treatment of two guys who should be can't miss superstars.  The amount of talent on these two card is staggering, but Nakamura is stuck in a "Tell 'em Steve-Dave" role in his tag team with Cesaro, and Ricochet is on Raw, which I don't really watch anymore.  I hear he was part of the Hurt Business storyline, but kind of got shoved aside once they got over.  What a waste.  These should be much higher, as these are the first autos I have of either guy.  Let's chalk it up to the no-audience struggles WWE has been having, and have high hopes that they get better pushes in 2021.

Card: 2018 Topps WWE Legends #A-JS Jake "The Snake" Roberts AUTO Silver Parallel (47/50)
From: Hobby Box
While I already pulled a Jake auto as part of last year's mind-blowing box, another one I opened in January had a better card in it, but not as good of a supporting cast.  This signature is on-card and, more importantly, contains his nickname.  We're living in a world where the WWE is not, creatively, at least, the top wrestling company, and where I saw Jake live on my television as recently as last night.  AEW is truly spoiling us.  It was really hard not to have this one in the top five proper, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Stay tuned for more great pulls coming soon!