2014-15 Panini Certified Basketball – Wow!


I picked up a box of 2014-15 Panini Totally Certified Basketball on clearance, 5 cards per pack and 4 packs per box.  Great stuff!  I like the design on the base cards.  The “clear cloth” GU cards for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Andre Igouodala (an acetate window with the players image, along with a uniform patch) look better than the standard GU card (although I am pleased with a regular Patrick Ewing GU :).  The color inserts were pretty cool in my particular box (included Shaq, John Wall, LeBron James).  The auto was a T.J. Warren RC (a former ACC player of the year who is having a breakthrough season so far for the Phoenix Suns).  I really like these cards!



2016 Panini Unparalleled – Huh? to Hmm… to Cool!

I bought a box of 2016 Panini Unparalleled Football, sight unseen, on Black Friday.  My initial reactions were “Huh?”, “Bizarre”, and “I can’t believe I bought this stuff.”  However, these cards have been growing on me since I first opened them, especially as I took pictures for this post, and now I think they are “pretty cool” and “I’m glad I got them.”

The cards are certainly unique.  The shapes and colors sort of remind me of those Phish concerts I enjoyed at the turn of the century. 🙂   Anyhow, I’d prefer a black or white default background for the cards (rather than the “pigskin brown”), but the default “rainbow spokes” refractor pattern is awesome.  Looks like a bunch of laser beams!

This set is all about the refractors and parallels, to the extent that all the cards have refraction patterns in some sort of geometric arrangement, and 6 out of the 10 cards in a given pack are parallels.  (A hobby box has 8 packs with 10 cards each, with 1 auto and 2 memorabilia cards “on average”.)  Parallels vary in terms of color and numbering (Purple, Teal, Orange #/99, Red #/49, Blue #/25, Green #/10, Gold #/5, Black 1/1), and patterns (rainbow spokes, ellipse, wedges, diamond awe, rapture, Escher squares, Galactic Windows, and many more).  That’s a lot of different possible combinations!

Further there are several neat insert sets you can collect, if you are so inclined.  I’m still deciding which insert set to focus on.  There are a lot of choices!  In addition to the autos and memorabilia cards, there are the All Pros (20), Draft Diamonds (25), Dual Threats (15), High Flyers (15), In the Moment (25), Perfect Pairs (15), Pivotal Drive (40), World Class Records (10), and Zoned In (32) inserts.  The Zoned In, Pivotal Drive, and Dual Threats inserts look best to me.  Most likely I won’t go for whole insert sets, and will instead focus on cards from the Seahawks and my favorite players from around the league.

My box was heavy on Raiders, Dolphins, Packers, and Saints, and light on most other teams, for whatever reason.  The autograph/patch was a RPS Kevin Hogan from Stanford (sssss….) in a Chiefs uniform (he is on the Browns now).  The second memorabilia card was a Connor Cook dual relic RC (black patches) from the Raiders.  The final memorabilia card was an……  Ezekiel Elliott relic RC (blue patch) from the Dallas Cowboys!  Probably the biggest hit in the box.


Below are more pictures from the 2016 Panini Unparalled series.  I think the legends and superstar cards in this set are cooler than the current players and RC’s.  I’ll see if I can trade for more Seahawks (did get a Germain Ifedi RC) and just enjoy, trade, or sell the rest.  Even in the process of writing this blog post, these cards have grown on me.  🙂




Black Friday!

Yes,  I enjoy shopping for cards around Black Friday and holiday season.  Plenty of occasions to celebrate – Thanksgiving, birthdays, Christmas, New Year’s, etc.  Already ordered some treats online at Dave and Adam’s Card World.  My local card shop, DJ’s Sports Cards, had its Black Friday sale this morning.  Great deals on just about everything in the store, got some singles and a couple of hobby boxes, so of course I got more than I had planned. 🙂  DJ had grab bags for the first 50 customers buying $10 or more, and mine included an Edgar Martinez auto #’d /75!  Also, there were special “Panini Black Friday packs” included with various hobby boxes, which were supposed to include various base-type, autos, memorabilia, #’d cards, etc.  I opened up the 5 packs (2 cards each) and was pleasantly surprised!  Some neat stuff, all labeled as “Panini Black Friday 2016” on the back.

  • Base: Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, Luke Kuechly, RG3
  • Insert?: OBJ
  • RC: DeAndre Washington Oakland Raiders RC #’d /499
  • Parallels: Antonio Brown #’d /50 on thick stock, Keenan Allen refractor #’d /10
  • Memorabilia: Allen Robinson Salute to Service GU(?) camo.

Pretty cool!  Looking forward to opening those boxes I got. 🙂


PS Of course when I looked online later in the weekend, these cards are just the tip of the iceberg.  The fancier Panini Black Friday cards I’ve seen out there are pretty awesome.

2016 Topps Update Series – Update

In a previous post, I wrote about my joy in breaking a hobby box of 2016 Topps Update Series.  This box was unusual in the sense that it had all 300 base cards, so I paid a little more attention to the inserts than usual.  After a trade attempt got me interested in the Kenta Maeda Fire insert (so what if I thought the dude’s name was Kadea Meada), I of course was even more interested when the trade fell through.  I was looking for that card. 🙂

It’s always nice to find a card that you want in a random pack!  I like to use those 50 cents off Topps coupons on single packs.  I was looking for a couple of packs of Allen & Ginter but could no longer find them.  After a couple of weeks of checking various Target stores (that’s where I usually go for my low-end packs), I surrendered and decided to just buy a couple of the US packs (even though I had the base already).  Lo and behold, the first pack had that Maeda insert!  I was psyched!  The second pack had a retro Trea Turner auto, which turned out to be an insert for the Target retail packs.  Also got plenty more doubles for trading.  Pretty cool for a couple of $1.99 12-card packs (minus $0.50, minus 5%, plus sales tax, something like that — not quite sure where the 5% Target discount comes into play).  Glad I finally used those coupons. 🙂


2016 Topps Archives Father-Son Inserts

Just completed a small seven card insert set, the 2016 Topps Archives Father-Son Inserts.  I’m old enough to know players from most of the generations represented.  Even though the phenomenon of professional athletes having children who also become professional athletes is well known, I still find it interesting in individual cases.  As a Mariners fan, of course my favorite case is with Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr., who were both stars, both played for the M’s and Red, and played together.   There’s also the 1992 Upper Deck “Bloodlines” card featuring Ken Sr., Junior, and his brother Craig (a minor leaguer in the M’s system who played at various levels, including Triple-A Tacoma).  Sometimes it really is in the blood, huh?


Meeting Edgar!

I recently had those distinct pleasure of meeting Seattle Mariners legend Edgar Martinez during a “meet and greet” event.  (Thanks to my man DW in AZ and Crave the Auto for the heads up.). Actually, I signed up for a pregame meet and greet with him last year, but it was cancelled because, well, he was the M’s new hitting coach.  The Mariners gave a signed baseball as a consolation prize, which was a nice gesture.  While it’s awesome to receive signed memorabilia through a purchase or as a gift, you know and I know that it’s way more meaningful and fun to meet folks in person while they sign.  I’ve seen Edgar plenty of times during BP at Safeco, but he usually scurries into the dugout rather than signing autographs.  Anyway, it was great to finally meet him!  Sometimes these events turn into assembly lines and you have just enough time to say thank you.  However, Edgar was really chill and cordial.   After he signed my mini batting helmet, I thanked him and also complimented the efforts by he and his wife Holli, through their Martinez Foundation, to improve public education in WA state by supporting the recruitment, training, and retention of teachers of color.   It turned out, as Edgar told me,  that the Martinez Foundation merged into the TAF (Technology Access Fund) which partners with school districts to help students across the state.  It was nice to hear that their support of education is still going strong.  I enjoyed our brief conversation, and the signed mini helmet is awesome!  Fun day 🙂


Gypsy Queen Framed Parallels

I am generally a fan of parallel versions of cards.  Of course, some manufacturers get carried away, but to me many parallels have a look and feel that is significantly distinct from, and better than, the base version.  For examples, here are 3 cards that I came across today that I really like, 2015 Gypsy Queen white framed parallels.  These were in the retail value packs.

These pictures don’t really do the cards justice.  In person, I like how the base of the card is recessed and the white frame is placed on top and makes it “pop”, especially against a black background.  Looks better than brown border on the regular base cards in my opinion.  The 2016 has blue borders (and sometimes green, and probably red, purple, and several other colors) in the retail packs.  They look nice too, but I think the white ones look even better.  I only have three of these and am willing to trade them.  If you are interested please contact me. 🙂

Cards pictured:

2015 Gypsy Queen White Frame Parallels:

  • 41 Ivan Rodriguez – Texas Rangers
  • 201 Marcell Ozuna – Miami Marlins
  • 232 Matt Garza – Milwaukee Brewers