Monday, August 30, 2021

The Bryce Harper Experience -- Recap (longish post)

    I've gone a while between posts. The Phillies are no longer in first but they aren't out of it. Harper is still hitting well but Hoskins is done for the year which is a big blow to the team. Who knows still might catch the Braves!

For those that read the blog, I had the incredible fortune to get my hands on a VIP Transcendent ticket to meet Bryce Harper and go to the event in Philly. I was able to purchase the ticket in July off of a member on Blowout because he couldn't go when they changed the date a few times because of covid. 

I arrived at the hotel in good time. I valeted the car and went to check in. I was hoping it was real and they had my name (Topps did confirm on an email but hey you never know). I was greeted warmly and got the room key.. 


 My one of a kind Harper room key. I was in the heart of Philly which was cool and about a 3 minute walk to Reading Terminal Market where they were holding the event. I was up on the 17th floor, which doesn't make a difference to me can't sleep well in hotels anyway! I got ready for the event. It called for business casual so I had to wear a button down and pants and not athletic shoes. I've spent most of the last year wearing gym shorts to work since I work at home for now. I quickly realized I left my dress shoes in the car. I went back down to the valet asked them to grab them out of the front seat and then went back up. 

I arrived about a half hour early cause I wanted to be sure I wasn't late. Found the place without an issue (really was a short walk). They wouldn't let anyone in until they were finished setting up. Spent that half hour talking to some of the people that were going into the event with me. It was baseball card chatter nirvana. Lots of fanatics talk since that was dominating the news cycle. Lots of stories of what was sold for crazy high prices in the pandemic. The market correction, all fun stuff. 

They let us in and check your ticket and give you a wrist band. The whole place was shut down except for this event which was pretty cool. Never seen Reading Terminal so empty (for those that don't know Reading Terminal Market has a ton of different eateries that you can buy from and is a popular Philly eating destination) There was an cocktail hour where there was waiters and waitresses offering all sorts of foods. Cheesesteaks, shrimp, etc,. I love cocktail hours so I ate a good bit of it. The bar was open for any beer or non alcoholic drink you wanted. 

Here's the Itinerary:



I treated myself to 3-4 or Stellas. The cocktail hour food was very good. They had about a box or 2 of random Series 2 and 2020 Update packs (Harper is on the wrapper) strewn about some tables. I grabbed 2 packs and actually hit a nice card. 


A Clayton Kershaw relic! The other pack had a Jonathan Villar Rainbow foil if you are interested. After chatting with some people, they announced that Harper would be coming to the stage soon and to grab a seat. 

Here is the stage --


They had about 90 chairs or so on either side of that pillar. There was not that many people there though. Blowout cards had 32 tickets and they did not send 32 reps. There was probably closer to 55-60 people there. It was very cool and very intimate setting. I sat front row. Before Harper came out, Topps raffled off 3 boxes. I didn't win but that's ok. A series 2 box, an inception box and a museum collection box. I had already hit the Kershaw relic so I was already a winner! (and I was there) 

Just to give an idea, I did not zoom in --


He was maybe 15 feet or so away. The Q and A, I thought was run really well. Topps started the conversation with some questions and then opened it up to the crowd. It lasted at least an hour, maybe slightly longer. I got to ask 2 questions myself. My first question I said "Mr. Harper (everyone else was calling him Bryce) I'm not a big guy so I won't be hitting any Home runs in the major league, what does that feel like?" He was very courteous with every answer and made sure to make eye contact with whomever answered the question. The 2nd question I asked was regarding how hyped he was when he was 16 years old and how that has shaped his career. He went into pretty good detail on how that's helped him deal with different things and learn how to act as he matured. I was already a fan before the Q and A but I am more of a fan now. He really just wants to win. Someone did ask about his free agency period and the biggest thing to him was he was not interested in any opt outs. He really wanted to sign a contract and be somewhere for a long time. He said in Washington all they talked about for 6 years was where he was going to go and he didn't want that chatter anymore (paraphrasing). 

After the Q and A we went back to our seats and they called each table 1 by 1 for a photo op and Harper hands you an autographed Transcendent card. 


I have many more on my phone, the Topps employee snapped a ton. Harper wasn't shaking hands, which I'm totally ok with, but he did fist bump me. I thanked him for coming out and said I really enjoyed the Q and A (side note, check out my hair been growing it since November of last year)

After the photo op, they served dinner. I got the Filet Mignon with the sides. It was just alright. Thankfully I wasn't too hungry since I ate so much of the cocktail hour. Also, they had an ice cream bar where you could ask for whatever you wanted. 

On the way out you had to present your wrist band, they cut if off of you and handed you the backpack full of goodies. Also, on the table was this -- 


A personalized beer bat mug. It's pretty cool. I am psyched to use it when the Phillies make the World Series! 

I opened the pack to make sure everything was there before walking out. It had what I heard to expect. Seven Silver packs. Another Harper auto and some random autos. The Harper through the years set. 1 box of 2020 Topps Update, a Harper Patch 1 of 1 and another rookie set. When I got back to the hotel there was some people breaking in the lobby. I chose not to participate because I owed 2 silver packs to a person and I didn't want to open them by mistake or get carried away with it. Also, I had brought exactly zero supplies if I happened to hit anything good. 

I was pretty beat from the night and I had to get up super early to drive home to work. I managed to do that. 

The next evening I did break the cards that were mine. (I have mailed the other 2 silver packs out, once the person gets them he said he will tell me what he pulls). 



The Patch 1 of 1 is pretty nice.


Clearly, the best random auto I got (also, my first 1 of his)


Just saw this exact card sell for 60 dollars today! Score!


Hope he gets healthy, he has potential.


The Transcendent autos are really nice. Very thick and sturdy cards and all on-card. I had never opened a box so haven't seen too many up close. 

This is a 9 card rookie set made just for the party. It's numbered to 95. I haven't opened it yet. 



Beat the odds pretty good on my 2020 Update box. The Jay Buhner auto is numbered out of 199. The Jesus Luzardo is the Mother's day Pink numbered out of 50. The Gleyber is a regular SP. Also, got a numbered Genesis Cabrera in the 1 silver pack. 

I then opened the 5 silver packs. I had my wife randomly pick 2 that I would mail off. 






They are all marked as 1 of 1's. Cool cards for sure. The best 3 I would say are Ohtani, Judge and Acuna. I did hit 2 Philles, one of which is on the Rangers and the other recently demoted. Also, got very lucky and hit these 2. 



Ryan Mountcastle and Tyler Stephenson Autos, numbered out of 20. They are also on-card in this set. Without looking I am unsure if the auto set is listed anywhere. I like the design of the cards though. 

Overall, I had an awesome time! I may never be able to do something like this again but the stars aligned and I was able to go. I will share the Harper through the years set at a later date. I opened it and put it in a binder cause I like the look of it. Its roughly a 90 some card set. They went from 1951 to 2015 but did include some parallels and inserts from certain years and every picture is different. It's an easy keep for me since it fits into my Phillies PC perfectly. 

Thanks for reading!








Friday, August 6, 2021

Phillies in First!

 The Phillies are in first at this very moment, so I had to tell everyone. If they lose tomorrow they will no longer be in first so have to strike while the iron is hot. 

Thanks to a home run from this guy..



I pulled this card myself back in 2012! I checked out the pricing on Topps Chrome today. I was in sticker shock. 350 dollars for the same content. I can't imagine anyone making money on it unless you hit 10 superfractors. This case in 2012 was 800 dollars if I remember correctly. I hit this card which was obviously big, but I also hit a much rarer card.. 




These were 1 in 8430 packs. I actually got the card graded for protection so it is still in my collection. It's not worth a lot since both guys had middling careers (both played for the Phillies though!) 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Grifffffeyyyy!!!! (huge card!)

 I know I've probably mentioned in every post possible that I need the Griffey Jr Ionix auto. I was hoping someone would reach out and have one available or point me in the right direction. Unfortunately, my blog isn't overly popular (thank you to everyone that does read though, it means a lot to me!) I ended up posting on blowout cards asking for help. I had a Griffey collector contact me after 2 days! I was shocked and happy all at once! He originally said it wasn't for sale but he would help me out to complete my set. I paid a fair price but I believe its the going rate so no complaints at all! It's actually my first Griffey auto and its a beauty. 


I tried to get the glare off the card and I think I did a good job. On-card, Mariners uniform, year 2000. Hard to beat all the positives going for this card. Big bold auto as Griffey usually does.


For good measure, here is the auto set. Adrian Beltre, Ruben Mateo, Jose Canseco, Sean Casey, Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey Jr, Derek Jeter, Shawn Green, Vladimir Guerrero, Scott Rolen, Pat Burrell, Carlos Beltron and Ben Davis. 

The Griffey was by far the hardest to find and most expensive. Jeter came in 2nd. I was glad I got a raw Jeter cause graded ones seem to be super pricey. 

I am now for all intents and purposes ONE card away from this master set. (missing some reciprocals but planning to grab them all on sportlots at some point) The Nomar Garciapparra Warp Zone. When I was on the fence about going after this hard to find insert set I actually lost an ebay auction back in December and haven't seen one since. I now have 14 of the Warp Zone's. Which is crazy, it's been quite the search. 

Thanks for reading!


Friday, July 16, 2021

Too long in between posts!

I'm always meaning to post but been busy with the kid and work and all. I have some things to post though. Been slowly but surely knocking out 2000 Upper Deck Ionix. I'm still in search of the Griffey auto but that's ok it'll turn up eventually! 

Transcendent! This is the Hoskins rookie card. Also, I may or may not be going to the Transcendent party in August (hint, I am!!!!!!!) Can't wait beyond excited! 

Thanks for reading, I will try and post more!

 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Philly Show Recap

 I know I'm a little late on this post. I went to my first card show in over a year and it was a blast. I literally spent opening to closing at the show and had a great time. Going into the show I knew prices were high like everything else these days. I brought my usual amount of cash but figured I'd be priced out of a lot or not willing to spend it. The show was full of dealers and people. There was as usual a nice selection of low to high end and dime boxes in between. Plenty to choose from. 

I did something I usually don't do as I mentioned in the previous post. I put together a trade/sell box of all my extras that I didn't really care for and figured other people might like. I had zero expectations, if I came back with every card no big deal and if I sold them all, great.  

I ended up trading about 2/3rd's of the box to 1 dealer in a pretty large deal for me. He had laid out in his showcase a 1986 Fleer set with the Jordan's for 15K or best offer. I asked him the question what would he take for the set without the Jordan's. He said no one had asked him that before it's usually the opposite question. I already have the Jordan's so no need to pay the big bucks for them again. (although mine I got years ago when they weren't big bucks). Eventually he came to a number of around 3,500. I did not have that kind of cash on me, so I just asked if he wanted to look into my trade box. He rifled through and started pulling cards. Had a nice little stack. He priced them out in his head to about a grand. I then went through and I was around 1,100 so close enough. It would've taken him a while to piece them out since it was a random selection of cards. After some back and forth (he really didn't want to give me a grand and honestly it wasn't about the money for me) he made an interesting offer and said he would give me the 86 Fleer set minus the Jordan's for 1,500 and the cards. I didn't have that much cash on me and wasn't willing to hit the ATM. He then offered to go through the trade box again and I talked him into a couple of the cards. He ended up with another stack of about 1,000 dollars worth of cards. Valuation wise we were super close. No deal breakers. I ended up giving him the 2 stacks of cards and 550 cash for the set and a Bryce Harper auto. 



Harper auto from 2018 Tier one. I liked the full signature and on-card (part of the stack of cards I traded him had a Harper sticker auto in it). 




Some cards were already graded. One being a BGS 9 Dr. J. The set also included all the stickers. Some of the key cards look real nice. Probably in the PSA 7-9 range. Some of the commons *maybe* I get a 10 in there somewhere. The hope and thought is get them all graded and see what shakes out. I could potentially score huge. If I piece it out right afterwards the idea would be to go after a 1952 Topps Mantle. This would be a years long project and that's ok but it's good to have goals! 

This deal took a good bit of negotiation and back and forth but I'm still really pumped about it. Happy to have this iconic set in my collection. 

I still had a few cards left to trade and went over to see a dealer friend of mine that's always at the Philly show and does online breaks etc. 

Ended up doing several small deals with him and ended up with some cool stuff. 

He likes to do box breaks and had some old school boxes. I gave him 40 dollars (literally after selling him a card for 40 dollars so in essence traded a card for these) to do a half box break of 2000 Topps Gallery. He let me split the packs randomly and pick the pile I wanted. I got lucky and pulled the Griffey Gallery of Heroes insert and the Jeter/Soriano insert. They are both real nice cards. 

He  has a re-pack product that he puts out occasionally and posts all the contents online for transparency. Also, you get entered in a drawing for a Jeter auto at the end when all the packs are opened. I ended up trading an Orel Hershisher refractor from 1994 Finest for 2 packs. Felt like gambling a little and I hit! 



Perfect card for me! I did not have 1 and Nola always has such a nice signature. The 2nd pack (forgot to take a pic of the card) was a lower end 2nd year Lebron card. I had no idea of the value so he looked it up for me and it came in around 60-80. I owned it for about 10 minutes and traded it to another dealer for these 2 cards. 



Randy Johnson and Trevor Hoffman rookies. They fit very nicely into my HOF rookie collections. 

I bought this card below cause I liked the look of it. It's made of cloth and just not something you see everyday. 


After wandering the show a bit more, I thought this Soto wasn't overpriced so I grabbed it. A fine 9 indeed. I think he's going to be a good one. 


I saw this bat at Hunt's auctions and I just really liked the look of it, so I grabbed it. I don't often buy bats but I have a few now in the collection. Something unique. 




Such a great Philly design. Just need a case now and some wall space to hang it. 

Oh yea and for fun, I dropped 2 million on this Tatis Superfractor (just kidding but I got to hold it) 

Maybe the most expensive card in the room? Had to be close to it. Saw some 1952 Mantles that people had marked over 300k. 

All in all, was a great time. Looking forward to the next one. I got rid of most of my trade bait that's been sitting around for years and turned it into an awesome set. Picked up some other fun things and it was just fun to chat about cards with people. I'm not a shy person so I struck up conversations with quite a few different people. 

Thanks for reading!



Friday, June 11, 2021

Going to the show!

I am hitting up the Philly show this weekend. Planning to bring some cards with but no expectations. If I sell or trade a few great if not, also great! Nothing too crazy, the "best" card probably being a Mike Trout blue refractor from 2013 Topps Chrome. I'm just excited the show is on. I'm fully vaccinated so I'm good to go! 


Here are some previous pickups from the Philly show (that isn't quite in Philly but thats ok)





No real rhyme or reason. I just picked some random pictures. I will be looking to complete 1952 bowman Phillies if I can. I want to put a dent in 1949 Bowman (I have the Ashburn and Roberts) so hoping I can get the other not as expensive cards! I'm always on the lookout for random things. Anything that catches my eye that I don't usually see or search on ebay. I will be absolutely shocked if I find that Griffey Ionix auto. I'd break out the ole credit card for that one! 

Go Phillies and yay for card shows coming back!

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Just feel like showing off a little .. Sandy Koufax Edition

 I have been slow on posting this month. Need to get my priorities in order. 1. Blog, 2. Everything else. Everything else is keeping me really busy. All good though nothing bad to report. Got vaccinated, built a swing set, saw some people after being vaccinated. I've been enjoying the fantasy baseball season. My 2 teams are competitive at the moment but not sure if they are championship competitive. Need to get some luck and some guys need to turn it around some in order to compete. 

This was the most recent player run that I completed during the pandemic. (also the only player run I completed during the pandemic) Very glad I bought these before the price increases. I know the price in general has gone down some but I don't think any of these have hit the previous levels. 

















They look good together! Thanks for reading!