Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Death Stare Cards Vintage Group Break #1

 Here are the details of the very first group break held here at Death Stare Cards.

1. This is a vintage group break.  I have purchased a large wholesale lot of cards that the seller claims contains cards only from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.  The seller provided a vague number of cards in the lot, somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000.  These will not just be a bunch of common cards.  There will be stars in this lot, probably nothing mega-high-buck, but legitimate stars.  If we end up on the short end of this range, I will make sure to throw in some cards to help compensate.
2. You can claim your team of choice in the comments.  It looks as if 99% of this lot will be baseball cards, but there may be a few basketball or football cards thrown in.  Please make your choice of MLB team, followed by a pro basketball team and a pro football team.  Heck, claim an NHL team, though I doubt any will pop up.
3. Send PayPal payment to bill13boehm at yahoo dot com with the correct amount for the team(s) you choose.  The price includes the cost of shipping, of course.  Please try to pay within 24 hours of making your claim.
4. Please, please, please include your address as a note with your payment.  It will be infinitely easier to get your cards to you this way.
5. All cards will follow the franchise to the person who claimed it.  Distinction will be made between Senators/Twins and Senators/Rangers, should an early-1960s Washington card emerge.
6. Cards with players representing multiple teams will be randomed off among all teams with a claim to the card, regardless of the status of the players appearing on it.
7. Checklists without any team representation will be randomed off among all teams.
8. If you wish to claim additional teams, please subtract one dollar from your second MLB team claimed, two dollars from your third team, and so on.
9. The opening of the box in which these cards will arrive (as well as any randomizations) will take place streaming live on Periscope.  I will give at least 24 hours notice before doing the live stream.
10. Please check the comments before claiming any team.  First come, first serve.

Braves 40 - jackal726 (Falcons, Hawks) PAID
Cubs 40
Giants 40
Phillies 40 - Jordan (plus Eagles, 76ers) PAID
Pirates 35 - Billy Suter (plus Steelers) PAID
Reds 35
Dodgers 45 - gcrl (plus Lakers, Rams) PAID
Cardinals 45 - madding (Trailblazers, Chargers) PAID
Yankees 50
Red Sox 50
White Sox 40 - JediJeff (plus Bears, Bulls) PAID
Cleveland Professional Baseball Team 35 - dfwbuck (plus Browns, Celtics) PAID
Tigers 30 - the sewingmachineguy (plus Detroit teams) PAID
Orioles/Browns 35
Athletics 30
Twins/Senators 25 - Zpop (plus Bullets, Washington Football Team) PAID
Rangers/Senators 25
Angels 25
Mets 30
Astros/Colt .45s 25
Royals 22
Brewers/Pilots 22
Padres/Mariners (West Coast Neverchamps) 20
Expos/Blue Jays (O Canada!) 20

By the way, for those last two on the list, the claimant gets both franchises.
Looking forward to this.  Good luck to all those who take part!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A Baseball Card Anachronism

The other night I was watching an episode of The Americans.  Specifically, Season 2, Episode 8.  Yes, I'm playing catch-up on this show, and I'm not the type to blast through a series.
In any case, I happened to catch a detail that throws the entire show into a paradox.  One of the themes of this season is the manner in which the Jennings family, which is comprised of a Russian spy mother-and-father duo and their unwitting, regular American children, is falling into the trappings of good old American consumption.  Earlier in the episode, the father, Philip, buys a brand-new bitchin' Camaro.  Toward the end of the episode, the son, Henry, who is about 12, enters a neighbor's house while they are gone in order to play an Intellivision video game.

Henry soon gets caught, as he falls asleep playing the game before the neighbors return home.  The follow-up scene is where my observations took place.  The dad goes to his son's bedroom to have a talk about what he did.  Then, in one shot, the viewer can see a baseball card taped to his headboard.

In a subsequent shot, the camera angle changes, and we can see the other side of the headboard, and with it, two more cards.

As any good collector would tell you, the 1987 Topps design practically jumps off the screen.  The card in the first shot is unmistakably a Philadelphia Phillies catcher.  A quick search shows that this is indeed 1987 Topps John Russell, getting his gear ready at Spring Training.  He looks a little unhappy, probably because he has to report earlier than the other position players.
The other '87 Topps card looks to be a Houston Astro.  To the best of my detective skills, this is pitcher John Calhoun.  The navy road "rainbow" uniform was very indentifiable, and the Calhoun card provides the best graphic match.  The background might look a bit different, but when looking at the thumbnail of this card on my desktop, it's pretty much identical.
With the third card, the show's producers change things up a bit by including what looks to be a 1985 Fleer card.  Red border, lefty batting stance, light blue jersey, and red cap and long sleeves.  This narrows it down to a couple of possible teams, and eventually leads us to Cardinal Steve Braun.

It's strange that a handful of commons made up this group, but that's only the beginning.  Here's the problem: This season of the series takes place approximately at some point in 1982.  Season 1 began in 1981.  Reagan has recently taken over as President, and is still in his first term.  I'm sure there is some database out there than can more accurately pinpoint the date of the episode, but that's not too important.  Somehow, inexplicably, this kid owns baseball cards that haven't even been produced yet.  This is a SERIOUS ERROR that should cancel out all of the accolades this show received during its run.

Hyperbole aside, what I'm guessing happened here was that the production designer wanted to give an authentic look to the boy's bedroom.  A production assistant was likely given the task of finding some baseball cards to stick on the bed, so he or she ran to Target, passed over the new packs, since those would be too obvious, and grabbed a Fairfield repack box because the cards looked older and fit the '80s vibe.  That's my best guess.

"In Mother Russia, baseball cards collect YOUUUUU!"

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.