Card of the Day: Kevin Garnett 1996-97 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice #89

2020 Topps Baseball’s Finest Flashbacks Hits A Home Run With Collectors

As a member of the Topps 582 Montgomery Club I was able to purchase (3) boxes of the new online-exclusive 2020 Topps Baseball’s Finest Flashbacks for $55/box.  The design pays tribute to 1993 Topps Finest which introduced collectors to the Refractor.

Not only is the design a nod to the original set, this new version also consists of (199) cards and contains (1) refractor per box.  With that being said, most people ripping find at least (2) refractors on average.  Parallels include Base Refractors, Gold Refractors #’ed/50, Black Refractors #’ed/25, Red Refractors #’ed/5, and Superfractors #’ed 1/1.  Even though the Base Refractors aren’t serial numbered, its speculated that no more than (50) copies exist for each card.

Opening a single box doesn’t guarantee an autograph.  Autographs fall about 1:6 boxes.  Base Autograph parallels include Base Refractor #’ed/20, Gold Refractors #’ed/15, Orange Refractors #’ed/10, Red Refractors #’ed/5, and Superfractors #’ed 1/1.  Base All-Stars Autographs are #’ed/20, and have parallels which include Gold Refractors #’ed/15, Orange Refractors #’ed/10, Red Refractors #’ed/5, and Superfractors #’ed 1/1.

Andre Dawson, Ivan Rodriguez, John Smoltz, Mark McGwire, and Roberto Alomar each have original Autograph Buybacks #’ed/20 or less.

Inserts come in the form of All-Stars Jumbo Box Toppers.

(18) packs come in a single box.

Pack Odds

Base Parallels:

  • Refractor (1:18)
  • Gold Refractor #’ed/50 (1:18)
  • Black Refractor #’ed/25 (1:36)
  • Red Refractor #’ed/5 (1:176)
  • Superfractor #’ed 1/1 (1:880)

Autograph Parallels:

  • Refractor #’ed/20 (1:296)
  • Gold Refractor #’ed/15 (1:381)
  • Orange Refractor #’ed/10 (1:573)
  • Red Refractor #’ed/5 (1:1,138)
  • Superfractor #’ed 1/1 (1:5,765)

The odds of finding an Autograph Buyback is (1:2,260).

Given that the odds of pulling a non-autographed Superfractor are (1:880) packs should tell you how limited this product actually is.  Normally that number is in the thousands.

This was a no-brainer buy for me.  Where else are you guaranteed (2) cards #’ed/50 or less for the price of $55/box?  The answer is nowhere.

Nostalgic design.  Colorful, low-numbered parallels.  On-card autographs.  It doesn’t surprise me that these boxes are selling for hundreds on the secondary market.  Nobody knows what the ceiling will be for these boxes.

BREAKING: 2020 National Sports Collectors Convention Postponed Due To Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The National Sports Collectors Convention issued the following press release today:

(Edison, NJ) – The National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) announced today its Board of Directors has voted to postpone the 41st National, scheduled to start Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at the Atlantic City Convention Center, a result of health and safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world’s largest sports and entertainment collectible show’s premier annual event has been tentatively rescheduled for Saturday, December 12th through Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic situation with our partners along with city and state officials.  It has become clear postponement is the appropriate course of action.” said John Broggi, NSCC Show Promoter.  “We have tentative plans to hold the National December 12-16, 2020, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, given state and federal guidelines indicate it is safe to hold our event.”

Open to the public, the Atlantic City Convention Center will be transformed into a collector’s paradise utilizing over 400,000 square feet, including 650 high profile exhibitors from around the country who will be buying, selling, and trading sought after sports and entertainment collectibles.

“It was a very difficult decision to postpone the 41st National but we feel it is the right decision given the number of critical unanswered questions and uncertainty concerning the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, said Dan Berkus, NSCC Show Promoter.  “We are currently working with Atlantic City officials and our NSCC team will be coordinating with exhibitors, attendees, and signing guests to ensure a smooth transition to the new December 12-16, 2020 dates.”

Exhibitors currently registered for the 2020 National will receive information pertinent to their participation and how to proceed going forward.  In addition, exhibitors and attendees can visit http://www.NSCCShow.com, and our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@NSCCShow) social media platforms for current news and up-dates concerning the National Sports Collectors Convention show dates, December 12 – 16, 2020, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

We thank you for your support and patience as we all work through these unprecedented times.  Our thoughts go out to those directly affected.

Well… this should be no surprise.  Honestly, I don’t think it will even happen in December.  People will still be recuperating from the coronavirus both physically and financially.  Given that its December the weather could be a potential factor.  Plus its the holiday season.  Lets not forget right now the Atlantic City Convention Center is being used as a field hospital for non-coronavirus patients.  I just don’t see it happening this year.  Wait until 2021.

I’ve attended seven Nationals.  Four in Cleveland.  Two in Baltimore.  One in Atlantic City.  I wasn’t impressed with the Atlantic City Convention Center.  I wasted so much power in my wheelchair just getting from the parking garage up to the room where the National was being held.  Cleveland will always be my favorite location.  As soon as you walk in the door of the I-X Center in Cleveland the National is right there.

Promos obtained through wrapper redemption programs are a huge part of the whole National experience.  I’m not a fan of Panini, but they are the only manufacturer so far to show-off what their wrapper redemption base set for 2020 will look like.  Take a good look folks.  This could very well be the most of any National promos you see this year.

Panini’s 2018 Illusions Football Autograph COA Mistake Continues To Screw Unknowing Collectors

In 2018 Sports Card Info helped to shed some light on this issue.  Even though not much has changed since the initial story broke, I believe its important to remind people that this continues to be a MAJOR problem in the hobby.  Especially when a collector was recently screwed out of $400.

On February 28, 2020 a Tom Brady 2018 Panini Illusions Living Legends Autograph sold for $393.  Too bad the autograph is a complete fake.  Panini made the huge mistake of printing the message “THE AUTOGRAPH IS GUARANTEED BY PANINI AMERICA, INC.” on the back of a bunch of cards from 2018 Illusions that were never intended to be signed.  But yet these unsigned cards with the autograph COA on the back somehow found their way into the product.  We’ve seen this error popup on the Living LegendsIllusionists, and Mystique inserts.

Panini allowing cards to ship out with their autograph COA yet lacking the actual signature itself opens the door to all types of fraud.  And that’s exactly what we’re seeing here.  Loser scammers will sign the athlete’s signature themselves, and then attempt to pass it off as the real thing.  Because that COA is printed on the back people will believe its authentic.

As you can clearly see the autograph here is on-card.  MAJOR RED FLAG as the authentic cards use stickers.  Another indicator is the absence of a serial number.  It should be #’ed/10 or 1.

Panini simply stamped their autograph COA on too many cards here.  Some were meant for legitimate pack-inserted autographs.  Others received the autograph COA by mistake, and are just basic unsigned inserts.

Tom Brady 2018 Panini Illusions Living Legends insert with a fake autograph (front)

Tom Brady 2018 Panini Illusions Living Legends insert with a fake autograph (back)

This is what an authentic example should look like:

Card of the Day: Brian Harper 1995 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice #181

Card of the Day: Dikembe Mutombo 1996-97 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice #205

Card of the Day: Randy Johnson 1995 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice Special Edition Silver Signature #123

2019 Topps Fire Baseball Collectors Box Break & Review

Heading to Target soon?  If so, take a wander over to their card section to see if they have any boxes of 2019 Topps Fire left.  This artistic set with designs by Tyson Beck is one of the most colorful products Topps issues.

As a retail-only product exclusive to Target there are a few different formats as to how you can enjoy this brand – Collectors Box, Blasters, and Fat Packs.  Each one has their own special stuff to look for.  Fat Packs are the only place you’ll find Blue Chip parallels.  Blasters contain Gold Minted parallels.  A Collectors Box is what a hobby box would be.  It has (2) hits.

2019 Topps Fire is a colorful explosion that features (200) cards.  Parallels include Blue Chip (Fat Pack), Gold Minted (Blaster), Flame (1:4), Orange #’ed/299 (1:11), Green #’ed/199 (1:17), Purple #’ed/99 (1:33), Magenta #’ed/25 (1:129), Onyx SSP (1:242), and Inferno #’ed 1/1 (1:3,568).

Autographs include Fire Autographs, Dual Autographs #’ed/20 or less, Triple Autographs #’ed/5, Flame Throwers Artist Autographs #’ed/10, and Fired Up Artist Autographs #’ed/10.

Relics include Fire Autograph Patch #’ed/25 or less, Fire Autograph Laundry Tag #’ed 1/1, and Fire Relics.

The inserts really shine with Fire.  En Fuego, Fired Up, Flame Throwers, Lasting Legacies, Maximum Velocity, and Smoke and Mirrors highlight the inserts.

Like I mentioned earlier, a Collectors Box is equal to what a hobby box would be.  One should cost $70.  If there isn’t a Target near you, they do sell them online.  The 2019 set seems a bit brighter to me when comparing it to last year’s set.  As nice as the base set and it’s parallels look, the inserts are what pop out to me the most.

Not everyone has access to a local card shop.  If a retail setting is the only place you purchase your cards, I highly recommend giving 2019 Fire a try.  Even if you don’t get a life altering hit, after all of those packs have been ripped there should be a nice selection of inserts and a decent amount of rookies to add to your collection.

Way above average box here.  Nice surprises!  Bonus hit!

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Alex Verdugo Fire Relic

Auto/Relic

  • Ramon Laureano Fire Auto/Patch Blue #’ed/15

Auto

  • Pete Alonso Fire Auto

Parallels

  • Taylor Ward Purple #’ed/99
  • Brandon Crawford Green #’ed/199
  • Joey Votto Orange #’ed/299
  • Manny Machado Orange #’ed/299
  • Stephen Strasburg Flame
  • David Fletcher Flame
  • Austin Hedges Flame
  • David Ortiz Flame
  • DJ Stewart Flame

Inserts

  • Giancarlo Stanton/Reggie Jackson Lasting Legacies
  • Carlos Correa Fired Up
  • Franchy Cordero Maximum Velocity
  • Corey Kluber Smoke and Mirrors
  • Luis Severino Smoke and Mirrors
  • Chris Sale Flame Throwers
  • Aroldis Chapman Flame Throwers
  • Ivan Rodriguez En Fuego
  • Miguel Cabrera En Fuego
  • Freddie Freeman En Fuego

Here’s What Your 2019 National VIP Badges Look Like

I wonder if they’ve ever given any thought to randomly including autographs, relics, or vintage cards in these badges?  Honestly, people would probably complain “certain” people were getting the special cards.  Less than two weeks to go until the greatest show in the world celebrates it’s 40th anniversary.

Topps, Leaf, Upper Deck, and Panini all have VIP sets.  Don’t forget to check out my tips on how to get your name on the list to attend the Topps Q&A.

Good luck to everyone going!

Panini’s 2019 National VIP Set (Something To Look At While Waiting In Their Customer Service Line)

I’m not a big fan of Panini.  Its been years since I’ve opened any of their products.  I think they’re sloppy, careless, and abuse their exclusive licenses to the max.  With all of that said, people continue to buy their stuff and complain.

Panini’s customer support (or lack there of) is so poor its almost impossible to get a hold of someone to talk to.  During the National Sports Collectors Convention its a common sight to see people lined-up at the Panini booth waiting to talk to a customer support representative.  I’ve seen people stand there all day.  Its sad.  Collectors don’t want to spend all of their time at the National waiting to talk to Panini’s customer support.  That time should be used for walking around, looking at all the cool stuff, getting autographs, picking-up singles, and opening boxes.  Its not like you’re going to be satisfied after talking to the Panini employee anyway.

While you’re waiting in that long line at the Panini booth, VIPs should redeem the coupon found in their package of goodies.  That coupon is good for a 10-card set that features Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Trae Young, Luka Doncic, and R.J. Barrett.  The tenth card is still a mystery, and will be unveiled closer to the start of the 2019 National.  I’m fairly positive it’ll be of Zion Williamson.