Sunday, January 31, 2016

Join My 2016 Topps Series 1 Group Break (Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, Giants, Nationals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Braves, Orioles, Tigers, Rangers, and MORE!!!!)

With the release date for the 2016 Topps Series 1 set right around the corner (this week actually), it's time to join in my group break.  I'm busting a full jumbo case (6 boxes, 3 hits per box = 18 hits total) of 2016 Topps Series 1.  In addition, for every claimed team from here on out, I'll be throwing in another unopened random pack into the mix (which adds even more cards and variety to the group break haul).  At the moment, I will be adding in one extra pack but I'm hoping to see that number grow quite a bit since there are still so many good teams available.  Speaking of available teams, here's what remains (go to the group break page to sign up please)!!

Available teams:

$45 tier:
Boston Red Sox  -
Los Angeles Angels -
New York Yankees -
San Francisco Giants -
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos -

$35 tier:
Pittsburgh Pirates -
Toronto Blue Jays -

$30 tier:
Atlanta Braves  -
Baltimore Orioles -
Detroit Tigers -
Texas Rangers -

$25 tier (buy any 4 and get a 5th team from this category FREE!):
Arizona Diamondbacks -
Cleveland Indians -
Colorado Rockies -
Florida Marlins -
Milwaukee Brewers -
Minnesota Twins -
Philadelphia Phillies -
Tampa Bay Rays -

Interested?  Go here to sign up.  And if you happen to be looking for any 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter, go here to see my full trade bait that I posted earlier today.

For Trade: 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter

Somehow, I never got around to writing a post detailing all my 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter cards that I have available for trade.  I'd love to clear out my extras/unwanted cards - so take a look at what I have and then peek at my want list.  Shoot me an email if you are interested in any trades!

Available for Trade:
Last updated:  9/2/18

Base cards:
14, 59, 73, 83, 92, 97, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300
Base short prints:
302, 304, 305, 306, 309, 311, 312, 313, 314, 316, 318, 319, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 328, 329, 330, 333, 335, 336, 338, 339, 343, 344

Full Sized Inserts:
Air Supremacy:  AS- 4, 11, 15, 15, 18, 19
Coincidence:  AGC- 2, 5
Festivals & Fairs:  FAF- 3, 4, 5, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 10
Natural Wonders:  NW- 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18
Pastime's Pastimes:  PP- ARO, CD, JMO, JMO, JRO, JS, JVE, LG, MC, MH, MM, MM, MT, TC
World's Capitals:  WC- 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20

Mini Inserts:
Larger Than Life:  LTL- 10
Little Lions:  LL-7
Outlaws, Bandits, and All-Around Ne'er Do Wells:  OBA- 5, 5
Where Nature Ends:  WNE- 1, 11, 12
World's Deadliest Predators:  WDP- 3

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Help Me Fill the Group Break: Bonus Packs Added!!

I ordered the 2016 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Group Break case earlier this afternoon with the assumption that I'll be able to see a number of more slots.  I definitely need to sell another big batch of slots in order to make this break not cost me a ton of cash!  I've added an incentive for people to pick up some of the cheap teams, buy 4 get the 5th free!  Seriously, I need to sell a bunch more slots!

Also, in a continued attempt to keep my groups full of great value, for every team that is sold from here on out I will add in an extra unopened pack of something baseball related.  Each bonus pack that I add in will be opened on video (as will the jumbo case) and I'll disseminate all the cards to the claimed teams in a single mailing.  Free cards = good news so spread the word and help me fill the break once and for all!!

$45 tier:
Boston Red Sox  -
Los Angeles Angels -
New York Yankees -
San Francisco Giants -
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos -

$35 tier:
Pittsburgh Pirates -
Toronto Blue Jays -

$30 tier:
Atlanta Braves  -
Baltimore Orioles -
Detroit Tigers -
Texas Rangers -

$25 tier (or pick any 5 teams for $100):
Arizona Diamondbacks -
Cleveland Indians -
Colorado Rockies -
Florida Marlins -
Milwaukee Brewers -
Minnesota Twins -
Philadelphia Phillies -
San Diego Padres -
Tampa Bay Rays -

Go here to sign up!

2016 Topps Series 1: Who's In?!

As you may know, I am hosting my first group break of 2016 in just a few days - and what better product to start the new year with than the flagship Topps set?!  That's right, this break is all about 2016 Topps Series 1 - we'll be ripping a full jumbo case which means 18 hits are in play!  At the moment, I have WAY TOO MANY TEAMS left unclaimed - in fact, you can see all of what is available below...

$45 tier:
Boston Red Sox  -
Los Angeles Angels -
New York Yankees -
San Francisco Giants -
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos -

$35 tier:
Pittsburgh Pirates -
Toronto Blue Jays -

$30 tier:
Atlanta Braves  -
Baltimore Orioles -
Detroit Tigers -
Texas Rangers -

$25 tier:
Arizona Diamondbacks -
Cleveland Indians -
Colorado Rockies -
Florida Marlins -
Milwaukee Brewers -
Minnesota Twins -
Philadelphia Phillies -
San Diego Padres -
Tampa Bay Rays -

Go here to sign up - you won't be disappointed, Topps' flagship offering usually provides lots of good stuff for all teams including hits, parallels, and a really nice base card design.

Also, those that haven't yet paid, please do so ASAP so that I can order the case this weekend.  Thanks!

Barry Larkin Collection 425: 1997 Donruss - #23

Barry Larkin
Year:  1997
Brand:  Donruss
Card number:  23

There aren't a lot of years of the Donruss brand that I actually like.  It's safe to say that 1997 Donruss firmly belongs in the "no thanks" pile along with most of Donruss' other offerings despite this set having a few redeeming qualities.

For starters, I do like the front image and the full-bleed photography looks good (and the faded border even works ok for me)...but that foil.  The cursed foil.  It's awful.  The foil Reds' logo is much to small, and there's no reason for it to be foil.  And the foil boxes?  Just why?

On the back, we all know that I pretty much despise diagonal text boxes.  There's no good reason for them.  Ever.

There's also no good reason to make the card number so small...and then using a difficult-to-read font on top of it?  Cruel.

On the plus side, the reverse of the card does have a different (full color) photo.  That's something I guess!  Still not enough to save the set for me though.  I'll be happy having this one Larkin card in my Barry Larkin Collection binder but I won't be actively seeking any non-Larkins from this set.  Ever.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Prehistoric Monsters from eBay!

If you were reading my blog around Christmastime last year, you would know that my wife bought me a box of 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs as a gift.  You would also know that I loved the box a lot - so I went out and bought myself a second box a few weeks later with the hope of completing my base set (plus ideally getting a bunch of new inserts).  While that plan didn't quite work out, I still have hopes of actually completing my set!

I also was hoping to get a cool insert featuring my favorite dinosaur (at least my favorite when I was a kid):  Ankylosaurus.  Since I didn't luck out in my own box, I turned to eBay one day and found a lot that featured an Ankylosaurus patch card (plus three other cards).  The ending price was pretty good, especially since two of the other cards that I got seem to command a decent premium on eBay on their own.  I'll get to those in a moment, but first - the reason I bought the lot:

Admittedly, that isn't the best looking of the patch cards but it was the one I wanted the most!  The lot also came with a second patch card - mosasaurus.

Unfortunately for me, that was one of the two patch cards that I already owned...seriously, what are the odds?!  If anyone is interested, the Mosasaurus is available for trade...otherwise it'll probably end up back on eBay.

As I said, the lot had four cards in total with the final two being from the spectacular Predators of the Sea insert set.  I was ecstatic to land a pair of new cards for my collection!  The first was Sea Scorpion.

According to the back of the card, Sea Scorpions could get very big - one version (Jaekelopterus) could reach eight feet long!  I don't think I'd ever want to see an eight foot sea scorpion heading my way...that's more intimidating than a shark in my book!

However intimidating a sea scorpion might be, I don't think it holds a candle to the second creature:

That's Liopleurodon, a creature with 20-centimeter teeth and, perhaps, a "sense of smell" that helped the giant monster hunt prey.  I love the look of the fish swimming out of the way of the big guy, a wonderful card for sure!

That does it for this eBay lot, but I'd say I did quite well.  Now, if only I could finish off the so-called easier parts of the set!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Barry Larkin Collection 424: 1997 Fleer - #727 - Checklist

Barry Larkin
Year:  1997
Brand:  Fleer
Subset:  Checklist
Card number:  727

Some people love checklists in their base set, others hate them.  For me, I prefer my checklists done exactly like Fleer did it back in 1997.  You get what is basically a player card on the front (it even says Barry Larkin) and then you get information about the team, plus card numbers of included players from the featured team on the back of the card.  The only change I would have made to the back of this card would be to have put the card numbers for series 1 as well.  That would have helped to fill all that empty space on the right.

Kudos for including the disabled list group of players on the Reds' team though.  I'm not sure I've ever seen another card in a baseball card set that gives a list of disabled players.  I told you, this checklist is virtually perfect!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Who's Ready for 2016 Topps Series 1??

My 2016 Topps Series 1 Group Break is still taking sign-ups.  In fact, there are still WAY too many teams available...and I definitely don't want to be on the hook for over half of the MLB teams.  So please, check out the original post and help a guy fill a group break!

Delivery Time! Everyone's Favorite Owl Sends Cards!

Anyone who has even accidentally stumbled across our corner of the internet probably knows about Greg from Night Owl Cards.  Greg is easily one of the best writers out there - and he's also one of the best traders out there!  In fact, by my count the package that Greg sent me was our 68th envelope that has been sent by one of us since 2009.

The great thing about trading with Greg is that we complete trades of all sizes and shapes - and we now basically have an ongoing "send stuff when find something for the other person" mentality which makes trading even more fun (no more pesky emails back and forth)!

In fact, the only bad thing about trading with Greg is that he always writes better "look what cards came in the mail" posts than I ever could!  Greg is a master at coming up with some sort of theme in order to tie together the cards he receives in a package - and frankly, I don't know he does it most of the time.

Just for fun, let's try using Greg's own tricks against him as we navigate our way through the cards that he sent me recently.  First up, a sparkly diamond parallel from 2011.

Back in 2011, I was smitten by the diamond sparkly parallels.  I thought they were pretty cool, and a rather unique idea.  Of course, Topps killed that by beating the proverbial horse to death by having ruby parallels, gold parallels, green parallels, pee colored parallels, you name it in the time since.  Even so, once I start something I'm pretty stubborn so I'm still working on the diamond set!

That's not a lot to work on in terms of a theme, so let's keep going through the package.

Next, we find a pair of 2001 Topps Stadium Club cards.

I actually got a brand new box of 2001 Topps Stadium Club for Christmas this year from my sister-in-law (a pleasant surprise for sure)!  Unfortunately, I've yet to crack it open so landing a couple of cards from that set before opening the box is much appreciated.  I did notice that both of these were Dodgers, so perhaps Greg's received a bunch of extras and happened to take the time to go through all his duplicates to find a few I needed.  Or, perhaps the Dodgers are just coincidence.

We can solve that little mystery with our next card:

Another Dodger, this time a short print from 2009 Upper Deck Goudey.  The Goudey set is another headache of a set that I'm still trying to collect.  However, just when I think I should give up on it someone sends me a card out of the blue from the set.  I think this surprise card is enough to keep Goudey on my want list for at least another six months!

Well, even going through those cards I don't have much in the way of the theme besides the "cards from my want list."  But if I pick that as my theme, how can I tie in some of these random Reds that Greg threw in?

Many thanks for all the great cards, Greg!  I appreciate them all - even if I'm thematically lame when writing my post.  Who knows, maybe by the time we send our 168th package back and forth I'll have this whole "blogging" thing down.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Another Original 1889 Allen & Ginter Card for my Collection!!

Long time readers of my blog will know that I am a set collector at heart.  I also enjoy puzzles and other challenges...and in the realm of baseball cards that usually equates to me collecting almost everything Allen & Ginter related.

It also meant that when I learned that you can buy original Allen & Ginter cards from eBay (original meaning cards from 1887 - 1890 or so) I decided to pick one of the sets and try and complete that set.

Did I mention that I'm a bit crazy?

It's been a long road ever since I chose my set (50 Fish from American Waters).

For one thing, my baseball card budget is extremely small so I don't have a lot of cash to spend on the set (which typically means any graded card is going to be above what I am able to pay).  Another thing working against me?

The fact that the cards are from 1889.  Yes, that's eighteen eighty nine.

2016 - 1889 = 127 years old!!

It's amazing to me that I've been able to acquire a single card that's 127 years old...but even more amazing is the fact that I'm approaching the end of the set!

(Also amazing, I still have some open slots in my 2016 Topps Series 1 group break - so go check that out too.)

That's right, thanks to a recent eBay pickup I am now only missing another 7 cards before I'll have a complete set of fish cards!  So what was the eighth-to-last card for my set?

None other than the rather boring named, Chub.

This card is actually in pretty good condition - much better than some of the cards in my set (when you are on a budget and collecting cards this old you can't be too picky with condition)!  If you like this card, be sure to check out my full online gallery of original Allen & Ginter fish cards!

Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Topps Series 1 Group Break: Help Me Fill It! (Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Giants, Cardinals, and So Many More Still Available)!!

I'm going to be hosting my first group break of 2016 which will consist of a full jumbo case of 2016 Topps Series 1.  Each jumbo box contains THREE hits which should give us 18 hits in total - including the possibility of some really nice hits!  On top of that, we should also get a ton of inserts and parallels, plus a full team base set for each team slot.  At the moment, barely any teams have been claimed (go here for all the details and to sign up).

For reference though, here are the remaining teams as of the time I wrote this post:

PS:  If you claim the Tampa Bay Rays before 8:00 AM EST tomorrow (i.e. before 1/26/16) I will guarantee the Rays slot a hit - either you get one out of the case or I'll throw in a hit (autograph or relic) from my own collection.  I'm sick of being "stuck" with the Rays so I'm willing to bribe someone to take them from me!

$45 tier:
Boston Red Sox  -
Los Angeles Angels -
New York Mets -
New York Yankees -
San Francisco Giants -
St. Louis Cardinals -
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos -

$35 tier:
Pittsburgh Pirates -
Toronto Blue Jays -

$30 tier:
Atlanta Braves  -
Baltimore Orioles -
Detroit Tigers -
Texas Rangers -

$25 tier:
Arizona Diamondbacks -
Cleveland Indians -
Colorado Rockies -
Florida Marlins -
Milwaukee Brewers -
Minnesota Twins -
Philadelphia Phillies -
San Diego Padres -
Tampa Bay Rays -

Barry Larkin Collection 423: 1997 Fleer - #296

Barry Larkin
Year:  1997
Brand:  Fleer
Card number:  296

In 1997, Fleer returned with another matte finish flagship set following its 1996 edition.  Unfortunately for me, Fleer couldn't quite go all the way old school - they had to still use an unhealthy amount of gold foil which completely detracts from the old timey feel that I believe they were going for.  All that said, I happen to have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for this set because it was still so very different from most of the flashy, guady stuff from the late 90s.  It also doesn't hurt that Fleer picked a somewhat unique fielding shot of Larkin for the card front.

The other good thing about the 1997 set (as compared to the 1996 edition) is that Fleer moved the card number back up to the top of the card where it belongs.  For that reason alone, I'd suggest the 1997 edition of the 1996 edition 100% of the time!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Trade Stack 69: A Full Baker's Dozen Now!

Here is how this works:
Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

The Trade Stack:
Last update:  1/24/15

It's been almost a month since I last updated my Trade Stack, so let's fix that right now.  Actually, before I show off the newest addition to the THIRTEEN card Trade Stack, I'd like to draw your attention to my latest group break - a full jumbo case of 2016 Topps Series 1.  Don't miss out, there are a TON of slots available (and I really need to sell a bunch more)!

For today's addition to the stack, we return once again to a great set from 1999 - Fleer Sports Illustrated.  If you claim this stack, you'll actually get two cards from the set!  I love the full-bleed photography and the team color-coordinated name banner.  It's a simple design, but it works well.  You get the two SI cards plus another 11 cards for a grand total of 13 cards in exchange for any one card off of my want list! 

If you want it, claim it!  Remember, you get the entire Trade Stack in exchange for at least one card off of my want list!

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated:
75.  Juan Gonzalez - Rangers

1998 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:
262.  Charlie O'Brien - Blue Jays

1994 Upper Deck:
282.  Mo Vaughn - Red Sox

2007 Upper Deck Goudey:
88.  Robinson Cano - Yankees
(Red back mini)

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated:
99.  Mark Grace - Cubs

2007 Topps Turkey Red:
181.  Mark Teahen - Royals

2012 Bowman:
BP86.  Gerrit Cole - Pirates

1993 Upper Deck:
315.  Checklist - Will Clark - Giants

2012 Bowman Chrome:
181.  Adrian Gonzalez - Red Sox

2001 Fleer Tradition:
278.  A.J. Burnett - Marlins

2015 Topps Archives:
53.  Roberto Alomar - Indians

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter's:
40.  Adam Dunn - Reds

2010 Topps:
US-244.  Mike Redmond - Indians
Gold parallel:  #1503/2010

If you want the stack, remember - all you need to do is offer up any one card from my want list.  

Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  You must leave a comment on the trade stack post in order to claim the card - no more claims via email!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!

Previously Claimed Trade Stacks:
Stack 01:  2 cards by dayf
Stack 02:  8 cards by Justin
Stack 03:  17 cards by Cam
Stack 04:  4 cards by Cam
Stack 05:  9 cards by Daily Dimwit
Stack 06:  4 cards by The Lost Collector
Stack 07:  1 card by Baseball Dad
Stack 08:  1 card by M. Spiegel
Stack 09:  6 cards by bwsmith25
Stack 10:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 11:  1 card by Patrick
Stack 12:  5 cards by Matt B.
Stack 13:  4 cards by Steve G.
Stack 14:  3 cards by ShaneK
Stack 15:  7 cards by Ryan G
Stack 16:  1 card by longlivethewho
Stack 17:  4 cards by hiflew
Stack 18:  4 cards by Potch
Stack 19:  2 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 20:  5 cards by by Play at the Plate
Stack 21:  5 cards by BA Benny
Stack 22:  1 card by IkesCards
Stack 23:  8 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 24:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 25:  2 cards by Jeff P.
Stack 26:  10 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 27:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 28:  7 cards by ThingsAreFunnerHere
Stack 29:  3 cards by TheBrooklynMet
Stack 30:  4 cards by Adam C.
Stack 31:  10 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 32:  8 cards by Josh D.
Stack 33:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 34:  1 card by Potch
Stack 35:  9 cards by Cool Breeze
Stack 36:  11 cards by Kev 
Stack 37:  6 cards by Tunguska
Stack 38:  12 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 39:  8 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 40:  1 card by Kyle4KC
Stack 41:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 42:  1 card by AdamE
Stack 43:  1 card by madding
Stack 44:  10 cards by Commishbob
Stack 45:  1 (almost complete) puzzle by Baseball Dad
Stack 46:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 47:  5 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 48:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 49:  9 cards by Swing and a Pop-Up
Stack 50:  9 cards by Commishbob
Stack 51:  3 cards by Need More Cardboard
Stack 52:  1 card by Play at the Plate
Stack 53:  12 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 54:  4 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 55:  9 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 56:  2 cards cards by Joe Frecker
Stack 57:  4 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 58:  2 cards by Chunter
Stack 59:  9 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 60:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 61:  13 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 62:  9 cards by Nick
Stack 63:  9 cards by buckstorecards 
Stack 64:  7 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 65:  2 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 66:  10 cards by Roger
Stack 67:  14 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 68:  5 cards cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 69:  ?? by ??

Box Review: 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs (Hobby)

The 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs set is a 150 card base set (with the final 50 cards all short printed to varying degrees).

As part of my ongoing Box Review series, this review is based solely on the box that I am opening for the purposes of the review (my second such box of 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs).  As you will see, I did better with my first box - but not by so much so as to change the overall score.

Anyhow, I bought this box off of eBay and it arrived with a massively damaged corner (mostly because the seller shipped the box in a padded envelope?!  Luckily, Upper Deck made the box have some empty space around all four sides which ended up acting as a bit of a cushion of sorts for the packs.  I'm pleased to report no damage to any of the cards in the box!

The standard base cards all follow the same basic design.

You get the set logo along with the name of the dino of record at the bottom of the card.  The rocks are actually a card design element that exist on all ground dwelling base dinosaurs.  The flying dinosaurs in the base set get a tree element instead of the rocks.  It's a small touch but it works well - and helps to make the set seem more cohesive given how many different styles of dinosaur images are used throughout!

The back of the cards is another highlight of the set - you get the same front image (albeit cropped a bit) but you also get the card number, dino name, and then a bit of a bio of the dinosaur (along with the "vitals").  I like learning about the various dinosaurs so I found most of the card backs interesting - especially for dinosaurs that I wasn't as familiar with (such as Cryolophosaurus).

My box came with a total of 63 of the 100 regular base cards (0 duplicates).  With a bit of luck, two boxes will give you the full base set (not in my case though).

The second portion of the base set (cards #101 - 150) are the short prints (#101 - 125) and super short prints (#126 - 150).  The short prints are seeded 1:2.7 packs while the super short prints are found 1:8 packs.  Upper Deck continued with a thematic approach to the short prints making the regular short prints all sea creatures and the super short prints make up the ice age creatures.

My box was disappointing on the super short print front - with 20 packs in a box you'd expect to pull two or three super short prints.  My box yielded exactly zero.  That's right, I got shut out which really sucks since I want to build the full base set.

Instead of getting my allotment of super short prints, I ended up with a ton of regular short prints (the sea creatures).  As you can see from the above card, the sea creature short prints are easy to spot at a glance because they have a water element at the bottom of the card.  Again, it's a simple thing but it works well.  My box provided me with ten of the regular short prints.

It should be noted that the wrapper actually states that short prints and super short prints are seeded at a combined rate of 1:2 packs which means I actually ended up with the ten short prints that I should have...unfortunately for me, all ten were of the more common variety.

While that does it for the base set, one of the real draws of buying boxes is the wide variety of inserts and "hits."  For me, the only insert set that doesn't interest me is the canvas mini cards (seeded 1:2 packs) though there is nothing particularly wrong with them, I'm just not going to chase after that set.
I ended up with the expected ten minis (though it is interesting to note that two of my ten minis were from the super short print portion of the set plus one more mini short print).  I guess Upper Deck counted the minis and the base cards together.  The other bummer thing about the minis is that all the minis have the same rock design at the bottom of the card - even the super short prints from the Ice Age portion such as the Smilodon that I pulled.

The next most common insert set is the Stickers set.  This is a 30 card set with stickers falling at a rate of 1:4 packs.  As expected, I pulled exactly five (again no duplicates).

The 3-D Lenticular Dinosaur insert cards are slightly rarer than the Stickers set (1:5 packs) but are way, WAY more cooler!  The 3-D effect works well on most of the dinosaur images that I pulled.  The downside to this set is two-fold.  First, it's size (42 cards but rarer than the stickers) and second, it's tiered into different levels of rarity.

The most common cards in the set (#1 - 24) are the Herbivores.  Three of my four 3-D cards belonged to this portion of the set.

The next most common cards (#25 - 33) are the Predators.  My final 3-D card was a Predator (Allosaurus).  I didn't pull any of the rarer 3-D cards (Marine #34 - 39 or Flying 40 - 42).  The Herbivores are seeded 1:7.5 packs, Predators 1:25, Marine 1:50, and Flying 1:150.  Needing 450 packs with perfect collation to nab all three of flying 3-D cards seems excessive to me.

Each hobby box of 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs promises two "hits" of sorts.  The first is a 1 of 1 sketch card.  Mine wasn't very cool (to me) - it's the Neanderthal Man as a single panel sketch (there exist two and three panel sketch cards as well).

I would have much rather had pulled a sketch of, you know, a dinosaur.  That said, it's still a one-of-one so I guess that's something to be pleased with.  I can't help but think this Neanderthal is actually an prehistoric version of Albert Einstein.

The second promised hit is a patch card.  My patch was of Amargasaurus.

Like many of the parts of the set, the patch cards also have a variety of rarities.  The cards don't go in numerical order according to rarity, so you need to consult an online checklist to know exactly what you have.  For what it's worth, my Amargasaurus is part of Group D which is the most common group and is seeded 1:32 packs.

As for promised cards in a box, that does it.  However, there are still some rarer sets that you could hope to pull including Artist Autographs, Authentic Fossil Relics, and "ROAR" Audio Booklets.  I didn't pull any of those, but I did luck out and get a single card from the final insert set:  Predators of the Deep.

The Predators of the Deep cards are AWESOME.  They have a shadow box design with two images (the dinosaur on top printed on some sort of acetate and the "background" on the bottom) which are separated by a cardboard frame which acts as a spacer.  You'll have to trust me that the scan does not do these beautiful cards justice - pulling one makes the entire box opening experience seem much more worthwhile (which is good because these cards are rather rare:  seeded 1:40 packs or one every other box).

As you can see, you get a whole lot of dinosaur goodies in a single box of 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs.  It's pretty clear that this set is only of interest to a rather small group of collectors - one that's narrowed even further by the approximately $100 price tag on a new hobby box of the set (I got mine for less than that but that is the going rate).

For me, my first box of Dinosaurs was so much fun I had to go out and buy a second box.  This one was undoubtedly worse than the first one, though I did luck out and nab my second Predators of the Deep card.  However, this review is based solely on the contents of the box being reviewed, so here goes - my final thoughts!

Overall, I give the 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs (hobby) box the following rating:
Set design:  A-
Collation:  A-
Opening thrill:  B+
Overall:  A-

Although there were no duplicates in the box (yay!), I had to knock the collation score slightly because I didn't get any of the (seemingly) promised base card super short prints.  I also think the set design suffers slightly because the minis not using the varied images on the bottom of the card (the rocks).  The opening thrill of this box also took a hit because of the disappointing (to me) sketch card.  All that said, this box was still pretty great - and definitely a lot of fun!  I probably won't go after a third box of the product (base set is too small, inserts too rare) but I could be convinced to buy another if the price drops substantially (and ultimately, that's the real kicker here - the price).  It's hard to justify this product being worth $100...but if you love dinosaurs, the quality of the set is good enough that you probably won't suffer from too much in the way of buyer's remorse!  I can't help but make this set highly recommended!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Avoid Shoveling Snow - Join My Group Break Instead!

Don't be blue because you are snowed in.  Be happy that you are able to join my latest group break - a full jumbo case of 2016 Topps Series 1 (to be released in a just a couple of weeks)!  I have a TON of great teams still available - go here to find all the details and to sign up.

I also have a $4 discount for any additional team slots after the first, so you could get a pair of teams for under $50 shipped - pretty great deal for a jumbo case!  Sign up now!

2016 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Case Group Break: Many Teams Available incl. Red Sox, Yankees, Pirates, Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers, Indians, and so many more!

I'm trying to fill my 2016 Topps Series 1 Group Break (and not having a lot of luck thus far).  However, slow and steady will win the race, or at least that is my hope.  Go check out the original sign-up post to get all the details but the upshot is I'll be busting a full case of 2016 Topps Series 1 and there are a ton of open slots still available.  Even better, the pricing is tiered so that some of the teams with a bit less in the way of representation in the set are available for a much cheaper price (and remember all the parallels that Topps stuffs in Series 1, those could go to any team on the board)!

Barry Larkin Collection 422: 1994 Fleer - #17 - Team Leaders Insert

Barry Larkin
Year:  1994
Brand:  Fleer
Insert set:  Team Leaders
Card number:  17

The 1994 Fleer set is most definitely underrated, though I don't think you can tell that by this particular insert card.  Seriously though, if you haven't checked out 1994 Fleer base set you should - it's pretty great in its understated simplicity.  While the base set is great, you can safely avoid the Team Leaders insert set (unless you are a player collector like me).  Speaking of player collectors, this is the third and final different Barry Larkin card from the 1994 Fleer set (the other being this All-Star insert card).

As I said, the Team Leaders insert set isn't the best set in the world.  In Barry's case, that's a kind of creepy, distant look in his eyes for the main photo and a much-too-small action shot over top of that.  Top it off with too much gold foil and you've got a fairly ugly front of a card.  The back of the card isn't so bad except again the image choice isn't great - Larkin appears to be fouling out in this picture.   And the final straw?  My card is pretty badly off-center.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stuck in Snow? How about a group break (2016 Topps Series 1 Jumbo case break)

I have a TON of great teams still available for my 2016 Topps Series 1 Jumbo case break.  The pricing is tiered so that I can (hopefully) sell all the slots.  You know I always add in some bonus stuff as well, so join now!

The Conclusion of the 2015 Topps Stadium Club Box (my Want List is Now Ready!)

I've had a blast ripping through my Christmas gift, but seeing as how it's now mid-January I suppose it is high time I finished off the set.

Pack 15:
11.  Mark Buehrle
42  Jordan Zimmerman
89.  Joc Pederson

Pretty cool card for a rookie card - I'd be happy with this one if I was Joc.
137.  Rondell White
145.  R.A. Dickey
237.  Mike Moustakas
Gold Parallel:  164.  Carlton Fisk

This is the seventh gold parallel card from the box.  The gold parallels are seeded 1:3 packs which means we crushed the odds in terms of gold parallels.  Of course, I think I'd actually prefer getting more base cards since I'm chasing the base set but I won't complain about getting some nice trade bait!
Autograph:  SCA-CB.  Carlos Baerga

There's the second (and final) autograph of the box.

I have to admit that the two autographs in the box weren't exactly awe inspiring.  That said, I didn't want the Stadium Club for the hits, I wanted it for the base set!

Pack 16:
31.  Albert Belle

Best photo of the pack, you'l have to trust me on that I guess.
78.  Juan Gonzalez
125.  Jake Arrieta
132.  Jered Weaver
214.  Brandon Crawford
232.  Corey Dickerson
261.  Jake Odorizzi
True Colors:  TCA-RC.  Roger Clemens

The True Colors inserts are seeded 1:16 making that yet another box hit!  

That completes the 2015 Topps Stadium Club box!  The next step will be to see how close this box got me to the full set...and by the time you read this, I'll have all the my set needs posted on my Want List.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015 Topps Stadium Club: I'm Really Dragging This Out, Aren't I?

Welcome to the penultimate post from my 2015 Topps Stadium Club Christmas present box!  I've stretched this box out about as far as one could - but it's been a lot of fun in the process so I have no complaints.  Plus, opening up only two packs at a time gives me a chance to better appreciate each individual card - and with Stadium Club, you should appreciate each individual card (at least the base cards)!

Here we go, only four packs remain - here's two of 'em.

Pack 13:
29.  Trevor Rosenthal
94.  Wei-Yin Chen
144.  Prince Fielder
151.  Andrew Cashner
219.  C.J. Cron
269.  Angel Pagan

Picture wise, this has been a disappointing pack thus far.  The Pagan is really the scan-worthy card.
281.  Yordano Ventura
Black & White parallel:  59.  Adrian Gonzalez

The Black Foil parallels are seeded 1:8 packs, meaning you should get two per box.  This is our second such parallel (the other being Jake Odorizzi).  At least this one is probably likely to generate some trade interest unlike the Rays' Odorizzi.

Pack 14:
12.  Giancarlo Stanton

Love this card!
19.  Scott Kazmir
33.  Cal Ripken Jr.
81.  Monte Irvin
103.  Kennys Vargas
128.  Cory Spangenberg
207.  Doug Fister
Luminous:  T-6A.  Bryce Harper

And my luck pulling Harper cards continues with this one-per-box Luminous insert (1:16 packs). The Luminous cards are the most common of the three triumvirate versions (the others being Luminescent and Illuminator).  

I suppose getting a box hit in a Harper insert plus a two-per-box parallel makes for a fairly strong pair of packs.  Only two packs remain - and yes, this is the actual order that I opened up each pack so you know I started to get nervous about not getting my second autograph.  The good news is that I did get the second autograph...the question is, will it be worth the wait?

Find out soon!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 Topps Series 1 - GROUP BREAK! Sign Up Now!

I am now taking sign ups for the 2016 Topps Series 1 group break held here at Nachos Grande.  I have barely sold any slots (though part of that is my fault for barely advertising - work has been keeping me extremely busy so far).  Anyhow, I have a TON of open slots yet - so check it out and join.  And, as always, you can expect some assorted extras to be added to the group break as slots are sold!

2015 Topps Stadium Club: The First Autograph of the Box!

Although you won't be able to read this post until January 20th (assuming Blogger's scheduler works), I'm actually ripping these packs on December 30.  You didn't think my self-control when it comes to unopened wax was that good, did you?!

Pack 11:
104.  Billy Hamilton

A pretty nice diving shot of the Reds' speedy outfielder.  It's a shame that Hamilton can't hit worth a lick though, he's fun to watch in the rare instances when he actually gets on base.
147.  Henderson Alvarez
160. Elvis Andrus
230.  Billy Butler
254.  Evan Longoria
267.  Corey Kluber
294.  Wil Myers
Gold Foil parallel:  134.  Mitch Moreland

Yep, another Gold Foil parallel - that is our sixth from the box!

Pack 12:
9.  Rick Porcello
100.  Alex Cobb
131.  Phil Hughes
174.  George Springer

Such a pretty photo, love it!
191.  Joe Panik
286.  Tyson Ross
Black & White parallel:  15.  Adrian Beltre

The Black & White parallels are seeded 1:46 packs which makes them a fairly tough pull.  This one is available for trade though as I'm neither collecting the Black & White parallels nor am I collecting Rangers cards.
Autograph:  SCA-JC.  Jarred Cosart

I'll be honest, I couldn' help but be disappointed by this card.  First, it's a guy that I've barely heard of.  Second, it's a freaking Marlin.  I pull more Marlin autographs than anyone...and all of them just sit around collecting dust because no one collects Marlins cards.  Ugh.  I almost think another base card that I need for my set would have been preferable to this so-called autograph (and for a no-name guy like Cosart, you'd think he could have at least spent a bit of time signing his name nicely).  

Well, that concludes 12 of the 16 packs.  There should be one more autograph remaining in the box but I'm not holding out hope it'll be anything spectacular.  I'm more interested to see how close I get to completing the full base set (you can find all my set needs here).