Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Capping my Christmas shopping at the Urbandale Card Show

While I usually keep pretty close tabs on when Urbandale hosts its monthly card show at the Urbandale American Legion Hall, it was my wife who reminded me it was going on the week before Christmas. It couldn't have come at a better time, since I had a few extra Christmas cards I had to get out to my blogging brethren.
While I was able to find those final Christmas gifts, one thing that was pleasantly surprising, was the fact one of the six dealers present had two huge boxes of hockey cards. Not only did he have two huge boxes of hockey cards, but they were marked 25 cents each. Not only were they marked 25 cents each, but since it was Christmas, he decided to sell them for one shiny nickel, each.
Needless to say, I bypassed my usual accumulation of mass quantities of San Diego Padres baseball cards, and instead concentrated on hockey cards.
'Tis the season, after all.
I've always liked pretty, sparkly colors, so I picked up these 2001-02 Crown Royale Retail Greens of Mario Lemieux, Felix Potvin, and Roman Cechmanek, as well as a 2013-14 Panini Player of the Day Alex Galchenyuk, 2013-14 Score Ben Street RC, 2012-13 Score Travis Turnbull RC.
And then I picked up a whole mess of Upper Deck Victory RCs, to include a 2007-08 Jiri Tlusty and Brett Sterling, 2008-09 Blake Wheeler, 2011-12 John Moore, 2010-11 Luke Adam, 2008-09 Jared Ross, 2011-12 Justin KiBenedetto, and a 2011-12 Chris Vande Velde.

Among the 2008-09 Upper Deck Champ's cards were these RCs of Darrol Powe, Brett Skinner, and Tabian Brunnstrom, and then a 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology Sidney Crosby, 1995-96 Emotion Xcited Mario Lemieu and 1996-97 SPx Jaromir Jagr

Here's a few more rookie cards, courtesy of a 2007-08 Ultra Curtis Glencross RC, Ryan Parent RC, 2013-14 Score Check It Luke Schenn, 2011-12 Elite Rookie Stars Brett Connolly, 2005-06 Upper Deck MVP Rookie Breakthrough Hannu Toivonen, 2005-06 Upper Deck MVP Rene Bourque RC.
And then yet another clutch of rookie cards, this time including 2008-09 OPC Marquee Rookies Matthew Hallischuk, Andreas Nodl, Vladimir Mihalik, and Ben Bishop, 2009-10 Byron Bitz, and a 2014-15 OPC Jordan Sundstrom RC.
Finally, I managed to find three interesting oddball cards in 1994-95 Assets Phone Cards One Minute for Radek Bonk, Manon Rheaume and Petr Sykora, I also found a1988-89 OPC Mini Patrick Roy and 1993-94 Parkhurst Parkie Reprint Gump Worsley. Phone cards are always interesting, but when you add hockey player photos to the front of them, especially Rheaume, it makes them just that much more interesting.
I doubt if I'll ever get a deal like this again from this particular seller, but hey, I'm more than satisfied with what I managed to find.
Here's to happy collecting in the upcoming New Year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A very Merry COMC Christmas to me!

With the Christmas holidays and an extra week of time off, I had plenty of time to hit up the COMC website. As usual, I helped out on their COMC Challenges, so I was able to give myself a very nice Christmas present - a stack of very nice, free cards, satisfying my hockey, Packers and Padres passions.

Starting out with hockey, I loaded up on some nice rookie cards.

How about three 2013-14 Upper Deck Young Guns, including Justin Fontaine, Tom Wilson and J.T. Miller. a pair of 2013-14 Panini Norris Contenders Victor Hedman, S/N 453/499 and Seth Jones, S/N 264/499, and a 2013-14 SPx Scott Laughton RC.

Two of my favorite players on the Chicago Blackhawks are Tony Esposito and Stan Mikita. I wasn't able to find any new Espositos, but I was able to add these Mikitas - a 1995-96 Parkhurst '66-67 Prototype, S/N 26/1966 and a 2007-08 SP Notables, S/N 478/1999. As for the Parkie, the only listings I can find for Mikita in this series is a #24 Mikita and a #125 Jen Believeau/Stan Mikita AS, so I need to do a bit more digging.

When it comes to football, I'm an old-school Packer fan, first and foremost. Of course, having lived in San Diego at one time, I do consider the Chargers my "AFC Team," so that's why I picked up this 2000 Donruss All-Time Gridiron King Dan Fouts, S/N 207/2500. My wife loved Fouts, saying he reminded her of me back when I had my beard.
When it comes to the Green and Gold, it was a no-brainer to add two of my favorites - Bart Star and Vince Lombardi. The Starr, a 2011 Topps Super Bowl Legends and the Lombardi, a 2011 TRISTAR Obak T212 Mini, are sandwiched around a 1959 Topps Dan Currie RC.
Besides a few older San Diego Padres cards, I was also able to include these Tony Gwynn cards to my collection - a 1993 Fun  Pack, 1997 Pinnacle Certified, 2006 Upper Deck Ovation Curtain Calls and a 2014 Panini Prizm Prizms Camo.

As it is, I already have another 19 cards purchased through my COMC Challenges and the great news, is I'm only limited by the amount of challenges I can complete. Here's to many, many more COMC cards in the upcoming New Year.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Return of the Geek and a November card show

I know it's been quite some time since The Hockey Card Geek has graced the sports blogosphere, so I humbly beg forgiveness and hope to make amends. You might say I was seduced by another writing opportunity and just couldn't motivate myself again to get this blog going. With hockey season well underway, I definitely hope to rectify this situation by joining my blogging brethren  in posting on a regular basis again. 
In any case, this past weekend was the monthly Urbandale American Legion Card Show. I always enjoy hitting this one-day show and have gotten to know several of the dealers. What's even more exciting, more of the dealers are starting to carry hockey cards, making this hockey card geek rather happy.
Unfortunately, a few inches of snow fell across the state the night before (I know, snow in Iowa in November? Who'd have thought...), so several of the regular sellers were missing on this Sunday. Among those missing in action were a couple of my favorite sellers, including one who has some really nice hockey and baseball nickel boxes.
While I happily filled a box full of San Diego Padres baseball cards during my three-hour stay, I was also able to find a few nice hockey cards as well.
Those included these 2013-14 Panini National Treasures Ryan Callahan S/N 148/199, a 2012-13 Certified Mirror Red David Backes S/N 97/199 and a 2014-15 Artifacts Emerald Peter Forsberg S/N 36/99.
I was also able to add this 2009-10 Upper Deck MVP Gold Script Braydon Coburn S/N 24/100, a 2013 Panini Black Friday VIP Alex Galchenyuk and a 2008-09 Collector's Choice Luke Schenn RC.

Hopefully, the weather will be more hospitable during December's show, especially since I hope to get some last-minute Christmas shopping in. I guess it remains to be seen how Mother Nature will have to say about that.

And I promise I'll make more of an effort to continue posting on a regular basis.

I promise!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Scoring with American Red Cross Mystery Pucks

Most recently, the Iowa Wild hosted a "Mystery Puck" night. Fans could buy a red-wrapped puck for $10, signed by an Iowa Wild player. A select number of these pucks also featured bigger prizes, such as trips, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross of Greater Iowa.

The back of the pucks featured the American Red Cross logo and the fronts contained the Iowa Wild AHL logo and an Iowa Wild player "mystery" auto. Some of the autographs were a bit hard to read, even with samples of each player's handwriting posted and most of the signers adding their uniform number on the puck.

My wife and I bought three pucks. While we weren't fortunate enough to win a trip or one of the other big prizes, we were pretty happy with the autographed pucks we ended up with.
My wife drew first blood with her puck, autographed by left winger Brad Winchester #22. Originally a member of the Chicago Blackhawks Rockford affiliate, Winchester was one of the those visiting players you loved to hate and we delighted in yelling at him whenever he'd take the ice in Des Monies. 
However, in February Winchester and defenseman Zach Miskovic were traded to Iowa from Chicago, in exchange for defenseman Brian Connelly. Overnight, Winchester went from being one of the "bad guys" to one our hometown "heroes." No matter how you view him, though, you have to like his style of play. 
As for Miskovic, I like him. Playing for the Wild gives him yet another hockey opportunity in the Hawkeye state, after having played three years for the United States Hockey League's Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Roughriders.

My first puck was rather easy to figure out - left winger Brett Bulmer #17.  Bulmer has 11 goals and eight assists in 43 games at Iowa, despite missing more than 30 games due to a knee injury. At 6-foot, 3-inches, he's a big body and may be better suited as a defensive winger.

Our final puck took a bit more to figure out. If it weren't for the autographs we got at a Wild Season Ticket Holder function, we wouldn't have been able to determine this chicken-scratch belongs to forward Raphael Bussieres #18.

A second-round pick, Bussieres has five goals and 14 assists, with a +/- rating of -5 in 58 games at Iowa this year. Not too bad statistically, considering this is his first pro season after having played his last three seasons at Baie-Comeau of the QMJHL. Last year, he was third overall in regular season scoring (69), third overall in goals and fourth in assists with the Drakkars.

I've already had an offer to trade this puck for one of left winger Kris Foucault. Even though I think Bussieres is younger and has more upside, I already have a couple of nice autographed cards of Foucault and feel an autographed Foucault puck would be a nice addition.

Those cards include a 2012-13 Dominion Autographed Rookie Patches Parallel S/N 31/72 and a 2012-13 Dominion Peerless Patches Autographs S/N11/40. The first, a buddy sent to me when he found out Des Moines was getting the Wild's top affiliate, the other, an E-Bay find.
Overall, I think the fans were pretty happy with this mystery puck promotion. It helped raise money for a very good cause and it helped get some nice collectibles into the hands of a lof of happy Iowa hockey fans.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Where have all the 'cool' collectors gone?

I guess you can say it's been a rather frustrating couple of weeks. After trying to get reconnected with my hockey card collection and the hockey collecting world in general,  I have one question.

Where have all the cool hockey card collector's gone?

When I was a hockey forum moderator on Sports Card Forum, there a bunch of great traders who were very active in the pursuit of their favorite teams and players. It didn't take much to strike up a trade and badda bing, badda boom, it was a done deal.

You could also find some great deals on E-Bay, including old card sets and collections were looking to part with, at a fairly decent price. Those were great in boosting my collection with older, established players, as the table in my collection room now holds eight, 5,000-count hockey boxes full of cards.

Hockey card collecting now has a completely different feel than what it used to. While hockey has always been the red-headed stepchild among the baseball, football and basketball collecting family, there was a sense of community and humanity among hockey card collectors. Now, it feels like everyone is out for themselves, trying to get what they can. This seems totally the opposite of the baseball card bloggers I correspond and trade with on my Bleedin' Brown and Gold baseball card blog.
Recently, I "liked" a hockey collecting group on Facebook and offered up the Alexander Ovechkin autograph I pulled from a box of Panini Hockey Prizm from my LCS' Black Friday sales. Serial numbered 20/20 and replete with a sharp blue pen autograph, I posted it up for sale or trade, hoping at the very least I could get a nice Tony Esposito auto, or something nice in return.

I had a couple of bites at possible traders, but I already had the Espo cards they were offering. I had one guy who was willing to buy it, so I threw a $100 estimate at him as a negotiable starting point.

Bottom line, I was told the card wasn't worth it.

"It does not mean anything that it is 20/20," I was told, "I will give you $40. Paypal right now."

While I don't take much stock in "book value," I'm not going to sell you a $100 card for pennies on the dollar. Ovechkin's regular Panini auto sells for slightly less than that, and at least to me, a card serial numbered 20 of 20 has a special significance, as there are only 20 of that specific card made.

I should have told him fine, if you have any serial numbered 1/1s or 5/5s laying around, that doesn't mean anything, I'll give you $10 for them.

Maybe I erred in joining this particular group. Besides SCF, what other good hockey card trading/collecting groups and/or websites are out there?

In the meantime, I once again ask, Where have all the cool hockey card collector's gone?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2012-13 Dominion Auto Rookie Patches

Even though I'm a fairly devout Chicago Blackhawks fan, I think I'm beginning to develop a warm spot for the Iowa Wild, Minnesota's American Hockey league affiliate who began play here in Des Moines this season.
Enough of a warm spot, I guess, to pick up this sweet-looking 2012-13 Dominion Autographed Rookie Patches Parallel Kristopher Foucault, S/N 31/72.
At 6-1 and 202 pounds, LW Kristopher Foucault was a fourth round pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2009 draft. Now in his third professional season, he played one game with the Minnesota Wild, on February 14, 2012 versus the Anaheim Ducks. However he failed to register on the scoresheet, skating12 shifts for the Wild in just under nine minutes of ice time.
Since 2010-11, he's played for the American Hockey League Houston Aeros, which became the Iowa Wild this year. In 31 games with Iowa, he's scored four goals, seven assists and recorded 12 penalty minutes. He also has 59 shots on goal and a +/- of +5.
We'll next see him in action during next home game, January 15, versus the Toronto Marlies.
One of the players whose cards I've been keeping an eye out for is G Darcy Kuemper. With current Wild goalie Josh Harding battling issues with his multiple sclerosis and medication, Keumper's been making quite a few trips to the Twin Cities.
As a matter of fact, there are currently eight Iowa Wild players on the Minnesota roster, to include LW Erik Haula (recalled recently due to Mikko Koivu's injury), D Jonathon BLum, LW Jason Zucker, LW Stephane Vellieux, F Taylor Matson, C Dave Steckel, C Mike Rupp and Keumper. 
Next Wednesday's game with the 19-11Marlies should be interesting, no matter how you look at it.