2013 Totally Certified: My 1st Case! (Part 2 – The Good Stuff!)

In the first part of this post, I showed (almost) all of the various non-auto jersey cards I pulled from my first full case bust.  There was some neat stuff, but nothing too spectacular.  I saved the best for last, but first – the worst.  This was sort of the height of the “redemption era,” and this case was full of them. Boo. Hiss. (Update: I’ve actually already received the Geno Smith jersey auto from Panini!)

I go to that low point, though, so we can turn around and head for the heights of hobby glory that came from this case.  First off, the base rookie autos.  Big names were all jersey autos in this set, but there are some pretty solid defensive players here.

Next up, the rookie jersey autos that were live in the box.  These are box hits (in a 12 box case), which shows the number that were redemptions. (#SadFace) Most of these would have been hits to celebrate back in 2013, especially the EJ Manuel.  At least it’s a fun time capsule back to a few years ago.

Now to the cards that apparently only come around once a case.  The base set has blue, red and gold parallels, with the gold numbered out of 25.  While his playing days may also be numbered, I was happy with this gold pull.

I pulled one vet auto, also numbered out of 25.  Again with the look-back to three years ago, Kaepernick was a hot commodity in the hobby.  Now he’s fighting with Blaine Gabbert to sit for whole games instead of just the anthem.  (Yes I know the pic is upside-down.  Pardon my politics, but I’m protesting him.  There is an ironic red, white and blue motif to this card, though.)

Like the Back to the Future movies, these last two cards take us even deeper into the past.  These were the two cards I mentioned in part 1 of this post that came from the same box in this case.  Really picked it up out of a lull in the case in a big way!  First off, the best of the Stitches in Time cards – a quad patch relic of four guys who combined for over 43,000 career rushing yards.  (That’s over 24 miles!)Once again /25, this would be hands-down my favorite card from this case, except that about two packs later…

…this bespectacled beauty burst forth from behind some base cards! (#Alliteration)  Hall of Fame QB, crucial member of the only perfect team in league history, and a guy who played well on Thanksgiving in 1977.  As I turned the card over to see exactly how well he had played in that game, a small, silver stamp caught my eye.WHAT?!?! WHOA! YESSSSS!!!! (I actually said these things in all caps, of course.)  Then I just sat and stared at the card for a minute.  It’s not the first one-of-one I’ve pulled, but definitely the best.  I love the ornate script “One of One,” too.  What I read in those three shiny words is not just “Meh, there’s only one of these,” but rather (in a fancy British accident), “Our congratulations on having acquired the sole and only specimen of this particular piece to have been brought into existence! Good show, good show!”



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How to Properly Autograph a Football Card

There are some truly awful “autographs” out there.  Rushed initials, single letters, indecipherable scribbles… these are the bane of the modern auto collector.  Here’s a prime example (on a sticker no less!):Mr. Maddy, I’m sorry – your autograph SUCKS.  (Nothing personal, loved your career at Tech.  Also, don’t squash me like a bug. Please.)  That said, a real autograph should look at least a little more like this:This is truly a Hall of Fame worthy autograph.  This man has some pride in his name.  (Being the league’s all-time career sack leader, he certainly should!)  Full name, mostly distinguishable letters and a distinctive look that clearly defines whose name this is.  I also like how his number is tacked on for good measure.  That is how you properly autograph a football card!  (Note that the autograph is inscribed directly on the surface of the card!)




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2013 Totally Certified: My 1st Case! (Part 1)

This is another one to add to my hobby baby book – my very first time busting an entire case of cards.  It came just a few short decades after my first box of cards, too!  I had been watching this product on clearance from Dave and Adam’s website, thinking about buying a few boxes, when it dawned on me – I should just spring for an entire case!  This was an exhilarating sight for me when it showed up:

Carefully cutting open the “Panini” tape revealed the top two of the stack of twelve whole boxes, each with six packs and a hit per pack.  72 total hits awaited me, and I was eager to see each and every one.  My wife jumped right in to help open them, too! 🙂

Busting a whole case is definitely a rush, but it can get just the tiniest bit monotonous.  If you go a box or two without a big hit, or where the box hit is a redemption, some of the excitement wanes.  I hit this point about halfway through, but then I opened a box (maybe box 8 or 9) that completely blew my mind! More on that one in part 2 of this post, though.  

The basic hit in this set is the vet jersey card.  Including parallels, I picked up two per box.  Here are the base red ones.  A couple pretty big names with Romo and Dalton, and all around solid players. I did get one dupe, though.The parallels were fairly exciting, with two golds and a few blue ones.  Another Romo in the blue.  The golds are nice, especially the Mathews patch.  I’m disappointed that the Kerrigan was a plain white swatch, even if it’s from a jersey number.

There were also rookie jersey cards.  This class has turned out to be pretty weak, but back in 2013, at least the top three would have been pretty decent ones.

The last category of jersey cards are the “Stitches in Time” cards.  These are some of my favorites in Totally Certified. There are single, dual and quad jersey cards of notable players.  The duals and quads usually have some connection between the players – same team, same college, or just same position.  Pulled a couple pretty good ones here, in my opinion. I did pull a quad (relic, not leg injury), but that will be in part 2.

Tune in next time to see the autos and the biggest hits of this case!


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Site Review: PackRip.com

I’m always a fan of new things in the hobby, especially new ways of getting great cards into the hands of collectors.  When I came across PackRip.com, I had to give it a try, and it’s been a great experience so far.  (Read through to the bottom for a gallery of my biggest hits from the site!)

PackRip has hobby products for baseball, basketball, football and hockey (with more on the way!) available for collectors to open on demand.  You create a profile and then load funds to your account on the site.  Next, pick a sport and product. There’s everything from single packs to whole boxes, and they’re divvied up differently depending on the product.  Anyhow, pick what you want, the funds are deducted from your account and your cards are revealed – all hits, inserts, numbered, parallels, and big-name rookies from the packs you selected.  (Common base and lesser rookies are donated.) For anything over about $8, there’s a video included of the packs being opened.  At this point you can choose whether you want each card to be added to your next shipment, mark it for sale, or put it up for trade on the site.

A recent trade I made on the site.

The trading platform has been one of my favorite features of PackRip.  Cards that any user on the site has marked as “For Trade” are searchable.  Find something you like better than a hit you pulled and offer the owner a trade for one or more of your cards.  The swap happens right there on the site; if the trade is accepted, the cards go into your account.  There’s no messing with shipping to each other or checking out a trade partner to make sure they’re legit.  It’s as simple and easy as trading sports cards can be!  (In fact, I really wish some of the bigger consignment-style sports card sites would implement this system or something similar.)

When you’re ready to get your cards mailed to you, it’s a flat rate of $6, whether you have one card shipped or 100.  (Clearly shipping is a better deal with a bigger lot.)  I’ve requested three separate shipments from the site over the last few months, and all have arrived safe and sound.  

The overall idea of PackRip does involve a measure of trust at first, which can be scary in a hobby that has seen its share of prolific scammers, but I’m definitely glad I gave it a try! (Pretty well hooked now!) The only other concern I’ve heard is over the base cards and lesser rookies that you don’t receive from your packs, but the shear volume of cards that would result from including those would be overwhelming on a site like this.  I have to say that my overall experience with this site has been awesome! In addition to all the great cards I’ve pulled and traded for (see my top hits below!), I’ve met several other collectors who have become trading buddies.  Also, the guys who run the site have been great to interact with.  They are very open to feedback and suggestions on social media, and they are keen on making PackRip.com the best experience it can be for collectors.  Keep scrolling to check out my best PackRip hits!

This is the biggest hit I haven’t had shipped to me yet.

Matthews auto, Hopkins RPA, Newton patch /10

Traded to get the Jones gold card (#/10!), pulled on-card autos of Sapp and Julio.

Cooper RC /10, Rivers auto /25, and that Mariota patch looks even more stunning in person!

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Singles Snapshot: 2009 Certified FOTG Nick Barnett

No, it’s not a 90’s card, but it was on my Cards I’m Looking For page!  I’m a huge fan of the Fabric of the Game team name die-cuts, especially the Packers ones.  I’m trying to get one of each of the cards like this for Green Bay, and this was one of only three I had left to complete the set.  I also have another set of FOTG cards, but that’s a story for another post. 😀

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The Unlikely LCS

Traveling to Ohio for Brett Favre’s NFL Hall of Fame induction this weekend (Go Pack Go!), my wife and I found ourselves in a small Ohio town in Amish Country.  Horse and buggies, Amish beards, bonnets… the whole nine yards.  There were also plenty of places selling all sorts of art-and-craftsy homemade wares.  Being good tourists, we stopped into just such a place, finding painted wall-hangings, handmade clothing, old-fashioned toys and the like.  (We even found crocheted Pikachu and Jigglypuff!)  

The place was huge, with three stories winding through several connected buildings.  We found a few passing sports references, mostly the local teams, and I talked myself out of buying a Packers cornhole set.  I thought we’d seen everything, but there was something urging me to keep looking. A subtle force pulling me further into the labyrinth of quilts and woodcarvings.  Out of the corner of my eye, a quick flash of sports memorabilia through a doorway that lead to a backroom.  Stepping cautiously into this uncharted chamber, I looked to my left and found this:

It was a veritable mini hobby shop! This one display case was packed with unopened wax packs and boxes, hundreds of binder pages of singles, a few dozen bigger name rookies and hits, and more stacked on top.  The small, pink note on the side heralded discounts and great deals on all of it, too!  Recognizing that I was irretrievably drawn in by its siren song, my wife graciously left me to this little slice of collecting serendipity I had stumbled across.  After just a few minutes (OK, an hour), here’s what I decided I couldn’t leave without:

A great mix of older and newer unopened cards, with a stack of singles to round it out.  I love the silver, refractive sheen of those 1996 SPX packs.  More on the specifics of the haul later, but for now I’ll say this was an added bonus to a great trip!

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HOF 2016: Brett Favre!!!

Brett Favre, legendary Packers (NOT Jets or, well, THEM) QB, my childhood hero, and Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016.  GO PACK GO!!!

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NFL HOF Week: 1994 Pinnacle “Canton Bound” Set

I don’t remember how or when I got this set, but it was in my original collecting days back in the mid-1990’s.  None of these players were in the Hall of Fame at the time, of course, and it can be a bold claim to say that even the best players at any given time will one day be inducted.  This set, though, has a pretty amazing track record.  More on that later, though.  First off, a look at the card design and a guy who was clearly one of the best from the moment he stepped on the field.
Each card features a solid action shot that focuses on the subject player. The player’s name and the company logo highlight the front with a little gold foil.  The “Canton Bound” bottom border is a little cheeseball, but this was 1994, after all.  The back features a portrait they had to squeeze into the left side, another action shot, and the requisite stats and info on the player.  In keeping with the 90’s cheesy design cues, the second letter of the player’s name is a different case and color, because, again, 1994.  Overall, a pretty typical design for the time.  What really distinguishes this set, though, is the checklist.

When they called these guys future HOF’ers, they pretty much nailed it!  Montana, Rice, Emmitt, Barry, BRUUUUCE, Reggie…  Of the 25 players, 21 now have busts in Canton, and not all were sure things in 1994.  Bettis had only one year under his belt, Seau and Kennedy were still in the fairly early stages of their careers, and Steve Young had really only been an established star for a few seasons.  

Only one player in this set never really belonged in the discussion.  Foster had just one spectacular year, and 1994 was his last season.  Sterling Sharpe’s career ending injury might have also ended his HOF chances, but he got high praise from his brother Shannon (HOF Class of 2011), who said “I’m the only pro football player that’s in the Hall of Fame, and the second best player in my own family.”  A few more years as Brett Favre’s top receiver would probably have done the trick!  Simms has consistently been a nominee, and will likely get a look from the old-guys committee, much like Ken Stabler did this year.  Even Rison looked like he could be one of the greats before a year in Cleveland seemed to derail him.  That Packers Super Bowl ring he’s got isn’t a bad consolation prize though!

Overall, this set is one I just keep coming back to.  At least one of these guys was inducted into the Hall of Fame every year from 2002 until 2012, and while I wasn’t actively collecting most of that time, I’d still pull out this binder and think “Yup, there’s another one!”

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Big Trade Mail Day

“Still alive!” -The Croods (Great movie.  Nicholas Cage as a cave man.  Perfect role for him!)

It’s been a little while.  Life gets busy, and there isn’t time for everything sometimes.  While I haven’t been blogging lately, I haven’t been living in a cave, either.  I have certainly still been collecting… and trading!  This is my latest big mail day from my buddy Sport Card Collectors.

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on one of these. Kinda crazy that this is even something we need in the hobby, but useful to have!
Some PC adds. Old school and new school Hokies, and a couple Peytons.
Of course, adding to my Packers collection is going to be the main gist of any trade with me, especially cards from the years I wasn’t collecting.  Pretty much anything Rodgers or Favre, too.
This is a new one for me.  Never been a huge baseball fan or collector, but what with this guy “making baseball fun again,” I’m getting into it. A little. Just PC’ing Nats, mostly Harper. Which leads me to this last card…
My first Harper (and Trout!) jersey card, which is, well, AWESOME! Also my first Tri City Sports card.  Not as polished as the main-line brands, but I like where they’re going, and this card is a pretty great one to make a first impression!


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1992 Pro Line Portraits Autograph Mike Holmgren 

This is a card I had been stalking for a while.  I missed one a few months ago on eBay, then another was listed that looked pretty rough (and wasn’t priced for the condition it was in).  Finally, I was browsing about two weeks ago and found not one, but two for sale!  Serendipitous! (SAT word, kids!)  I grabbed the cheaper of the two.I like the “Certified Authentic” stamp in the corner on these.  I also like how Holmgren signed this one very cleanly in a prominent spot on the card.  The autos in this set tended to be all over the place.  Some are on the fronts of cards, signed in dark ink and barely visible.  Some autos were squeezed into the tiny white spaces in the bottom corners on the back.  I think Holmgren called the right play here by signing boldly over the text.  I’m sure he wanted to leave that congenial smile unobstructed to contrast with this picture…
 …in which he is equal parts no-nonsense rookie head coach and Sith Lord lurking in the shadows, plotting to dominate the division for decades to come!  Already he was watching with great interest the career of a young QB from a back woods part of the galaxy called “Mississippi.”

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