Monthly Archives: February 2015

David Vs. Goliath (Hobby Edition)

I can’t remember how long it’s been but I have been waiting a long, long time for a Canseco card in Allen & Ginter. How desperate was I to see my player in Topps’ beloved set? So desperate that I commissioned a custom card maker to create one, which turned out adequate. Still, nothing beats the real thing. Just ask Upper Deck (Goodwin Champions), Tristar (Obak), and soon Panini America (Diamond Kings).

Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled Jose was finally included in 2014 Allen & Ginter. Well, that is until I saw the card, which featured the same, awful photo Topps used in 2014 Topps Archives. It worked well in Archives because it was a real photograph and it used Topps’ 1989 flagship design, which was a personal favorite of mine. However, I was hoping for something better in Allen & Ginter.

In the same package from CheckOutMyCards, I also had an “oddball” card from 1992 called High-5 which looks eerily similar to one of those early-90s Upper Deck cards. Here we have a card (actually a decal) that no one in their right mind would remember or care to that easily knocks my more expensive and esteemed Allen & Ginter on its ass.

I have no idea who the people behind these High-C cards were but they produced at least one, great decal. Okay, maybe two (the other one wasn’t as cool). The card itself looks great and features an awesome photo. Despite being extremely thin and not even being a real card, it sweeps the floor with Topps’s official, licensed card from Allen & Ginter.

So … which of these cards looks better to you?

Categories: The Hobby, The Topps Company | Tags: | Leave a comment

My Experience with COMC

Since returning to collecting last month, I have done something I rarely do … spend money. Maybe it’s because I am much better off today than I was during Wax Heaven’s initial run or maybe it’s because I am excited to be back. Whatever the case, I decided to try out COMC after a two-week, 4-win streak on eBay which resulted in three certified autographs.

The reason I wanted to give COMC a shot is because I wanted more than a card or two at a time. With eBay, you will almost always get a lower price but bringing home a bunch of Jose Canseco cards to my collection all at once was just something I couldn’t resist. In the end, I chose 63 different cards for a total of $184.89. All in all, I was out about $200 dollars (long story).

The reason for the high price is due to my selection. Sure, the “oddballs’ and base cards were pretty cheap but then came all the SPs and parallels, serial numbered cards, and ultimately a handful of memorabilia cards which came at a higher than I wanted to price. Most of the cards appeared to be Beckett-priced, so it was fun when I found something for half of that.

As for payment details, I paid by credit card on February 17th (end of the day) and received my package in a very safe and protected receptacle on February 23rd (paid extra for shipping but not much). The cards were absolutely gorgeous. Could I have gotten all 63 for less than $200? Yes, easily. I used COMC to save time and I am happy with the results, for the most part.

Below is a list of my top 5 cards from the 63-card lot, as well as runner-ups.

The Runner-Ups

These are my favorite cards from the lot which didn’t crack the top 5. Included are cards from Allen & Ginter and its wanna-be challenger, Goodwin Champions. There are two reprints of iconic Topps cards, one being extremely thick and the other being Chrome. There is also a loud and obnoxious Pacific Trading Cards piece which is fun and brings back some memories.

Finally, there is the Upper Deck Power Driven insert, which is a personal favorite of mine and one card that I seem to have misplaced over the years so I bought it again. I pulled a Mike Piazza back in 1996 out of a pack and found out it booked for $40. Needless to say, even in 1996 I didn’t get anything close to it in trade value but it’s still one of my favorite inserts of all-time.

Card #5 – 1999 Topps Chrome, Refractor

So as it turns out, aside from the ’93 Finest Refractor, arguably the best one to own, I don’t have a lot of Canseco refractors. I’m working on changing that which is why I jumped at the opportunity to own this one, from 1999 Topps Chrome. It features Jose with the Blue Jays, running the bases. That year, 1998, he hit 46 home runs and stole 29 bases at the age of 34. He would somehow be out of baseball by 2001. It cost me just $5.25. There are no recent eBay sales, so this is a definite win-win for me.

Card #4 – 2013 America’s Pastime, Combo Swatches (#125)

I wanted this card for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s from Panini America, a company who has been putting out new Canseco stuff for a few years now. The card features two boring game-used relics and a strange photograph. I paid $10.25 for this card, probably more than I should have since there is a similar one on eBay that sold for $1.99. Lesson learned? Absolutely. Fun card to own, yes … even if I overpaid.

Card #3 – 1998 Leaf Fractal Matrix, Copper

This is a card from a set I didn’t bust a lot of during its release because I had moved on but at some point or another I probably opened at most, two packs. I love the photo of Jose swinging a broken bat, the over the top Leaf design that screams its decade proudly, and the copper, Superfractor-like finish. ALthough the card is not serial numbered and there are better parallels from this brand, I can’t beat the $3.25 I spent on it.

Card #2 – 2014 Topps Archives, SP

I absolutely love this card. It features a photo of Jose in his prime (although it’s not the best picture), pays tribute to 1989 Topps, a flagship year I was practically raised on, and is a short-print. This is selling between $4-$6 on eBay. I paid $3.70. It’s a shame they used this same photo for Jose’s first ever Allen & Ginter card. That was extremely disappointing for me and shame on Topps but beggars can’t be choosers.

WINNER – 1998 SPx, Spectrum #’d to 2,250

I’ve been a fan of Upper Deck’s SPx line since its debut in 1996. Holograms were apparently all the rage so the technology was used exclusively by U.D. in its debut and the following year but by 1998 they veered way off that path and into high-end, thick and fancy card. The results are below.

For less than $4,00, I couldn’t be more happier. This was, essentially, Upper Deck in their prime and although Topps was killing the competition with Chrome and Refractors, clearly, Upper Deck was putting up one hell of a fight. This card cannot be appreciated by a simple scan so I will shoot a little video later to show why it’s such an awesome card.

Categories: The Hobby | 4 Comments

Big Top Flea Market Card Show Review

There was once a time, many years ago, when I didn’t have to travel far for baseball cards. I had three, respectably-sized card shops within a 7-mile radius. There was monthly card shows at two malls in my town. Every single retailer from K-Mart to Walgreens carried cards, some that carried their own brand name. It was a great time to be a collector. Unfortunately, it’s not 1991 anymore. Today, I live in a city with over 3,000,000 population and zero card shops. Last week, I traveled over 2 1/2 hours round-trip to buy a box of 2014 Finest at a store with a single display unit that carries cards. This weekend, I drove 140 miles to Tampa to attend a card show I had very little hope for.

My last card show was a depressing mess. A fellow Wax Heaven reader, back in 2008, emailed me to let me know about the show he was running in Dania Beach, Florida. The man, named Lou, I believe, had such enthusiasm and passion that I made it my mission to attend. The day was a complete wreck from beginning to end. For starters, my relationship with my significant other was deteriorating at a rapid pace so much so that she refused to attend. Second, my pockets were looking pretty lean. Those two things right there put me in a pretty lousy mood, which the show itself never helped recover.

The Dania Card Show was located at the Dania Jai-Alai, a building that should have probably been tore down in the mid-80s. Once inside, the place was actually pretty large and full of card goodness but there was maybe five people at the whole show (me included). To make matters worse, it was dead silent. The dealers never said a word, so the buyers were as quiet as mice. Everything was over priced and what was there was mostly new, unopened products (well above eBay prices), comic book related toys, and a fair share of singles. No vintage whatsoever. No old school wax or singles. Needless to say, I never returned.

The card show at Big Top Flea Market was completely different. It was bright, open air with a great breeze flowing through and all but ONE dealer was friendly and helpful. The set-up was small but the people there (buyers and sellers) all seemed happy to be there and the show even a table for Beckett Grading Services, who I would have probably had some fun with were he not near death (looked about 87). Apparently, this show is held once a month and I will definitely be going again next month. Two of the dealers even gave me their business card and told me they would find cards for me to bring to the next show.

Alright, let’s talk about the contents of the show. Unfortunately, I spent just under $200 at CheckOutMyCards three days earlier so I walked in with $116 in cash. The great thing about only collecting one thing (Canseco) is that unless someone happens to carry a ton of his stuff (never happens), I never have any need to spend money at a card show. I did need to get Top Loaders and such so I did have a reason for going. The place was packed with tons of unopened late-90s, early 2000 boxes for awesome prices, non-sports cards, big “hits” and new stuff. They also had more vintage cards than I have ever seen in my life. They had something there for every type of collector.

Despite the bad taste left by my last card show, Big Card Flea Market’s show was great, full of nice, friendly people (except one), stocked full of awesome things, and featured great prices. This is one show I will absolutely visit again in March, even though I spent two hours chasing a Jose Canseco card with zero luck. I did however, get a great price on Top Loaders and ended up spending $80 total. I unfortunately left behind unopened boxes of 1998 Finest, 1998 Bowman Chrome, and 2000 Bowman’s Best, which I plan on picking up in March for Wax Heaven’s first video box break in over five years!

Big Top Flea Market Sports Cards Show in Tampa, Florida – Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Categories: The Hobby | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Who Is Responsible for This Mess?

I love Topps Company. I have for most my life (34, collecting since I was 10). However, these autographs that came from the mostly positive-reviewed flagship are unacceptable. The first is a cut-signature of Joe DiMaggio, is a “one of one”, despite there being thousands of Joltin’ Joe’s signature everywhere, and features a cut signature with only 1/3 of his autograph in view. The odds of finding this card in a product like Topps Series 1 are like one in a billion and if I would have been the one to pull it, I’d be extremely disappointed.

In the eBay auction, which has one bid at $499, the seller includes a story about his daughter being diagnosed with a brain tumor but with a new GoFundMe scam popping up every other day, I never know what to believe. If I wanted to help, I’d just donate the money and let them keep the card or better yet … win the auction, seal the card and send it back to Topps so they can put out a decent Joe D. cut. I’d even accept one of those awful Upper Deck cut checks with the signature over this monstrosity.


Speaking of monstrosities, I don’t even know where to start with this one. Alright, here we go.

Hall of Famer with worst possible team picture? Check.

Tiny, little photo? Check.

Sticker autograph? Check.

White sheet of paper with sticker? WHAT.THE.HELL?

This is new to me. It looks like Topps grabbed a sheet of paper from their printer and stuck a leftover Reggie Jackson sticker autograph on top of it and then placed it inside a card and eventually into their beloved product. Why Topps, why? Is this the most meta baseball card of all-time or what? First of all, Jackson is alive and well … there’s no reason he can’t just sign something a little nicer. This is the worst baseball card I have seen in 2015 (it’s early) but I am sure there are more on the way.

This “card” is selling on eBay right now with a Buy It Now of $799. Yeah, good luck with that one. A much nicer Jackson autograph, which is also a “one of one” but features a huge patch, didn’t even crack $200. Please explain to me how you expect that FrankenCard from Topps Company is going to somehow sell for that much. It won’t, that’s the problem and if you spent big money on a case of Topps and pulled this, you’ve got a grievance. Now, if you just opened a blaster from Targer and pulled this card, just take whatever money comes and RUN!


Categories: eBay Treasures, The Topps Company | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

This Could Be the Biggest Hit of 2015

Brian Grey, please bid on this ASAP.

The company you now own had a hand in creating the Studio brand back in 1991. Unfortunately, it is now being used by Panini America but there is a humongous opportunity at hand if you act fast. We all know you love pop culture. How about owning a credit card once owned (and signed) by Kurt Cobain. Now, hear me out … how about including it in one of your 2015 Leaf releases and commemorating 1995 Studio on the 20th anniversary of its release? Talk about generating huge publicity.

You remember ’95 Studio, right? Credit card baseball cards. It was all the rage. Well, here you have an actual credit card with a signature of long-deceased but not forgotten, Kurt Cobain. The man changed music forever in just a few, short years. Just keep one side original and make the other one a bad to the bone recreation of 1995 Donruss. Hell, do a whole fucking subset of these cards. I’m sure there’s plenty of athletes and celebrities who would gladly sell you old bank cards.

The world wasn’t ready for 1995 Studio but we are all ready now. Only you can make it happen, Brian!

For the record, the card is currently at $6,600 with 7 days remaining.

Happy bidding!


Categories: Leaf Trading Cards | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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