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Upper Deck National Hockey Card Day Haul

February 10, 2013

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Yesterday was about as good as you could get for a Canadian hockey fan and collector.

Not only was it the annual Hockey Day in Canada event on CBC, but it was also Upper Deck’s annual National Hockey Card Day (NHCD) in Canada, where free cards are offered up to collectors.

Needless to say I made the most I could of the day’s situation.

I watched my Detroit Red Wings beat the Edmonton Oilers in the afternoon affair before heading over to a friend’s place to take in the Maple Leafs/Canadiens matchup and the first bit of the Flames/Canucks tilt.

All of this exhausting hockey watching came after a couple of card-related outings earlier in the day that I dragged my wife along for so she could get herself some cards too. 

That’s not true…obviously it was so I could get more cards for myself. 

First up was a stop at local Toys R Us that’s up the road from our house were we cashed in on the jumbo cards they were offering with the purchase of any Upper Deck product.  Finding nothing to my liking in terms of blaster boxes, I settled on keeping things as cheap as possible and had each of us pick up a pack of 2012-13 O-Pee-Chee to meet the requirement of getting the jumbo card.

The packs netted a Vernon Fiddler Retro parallel and a Bobby Hull Legends short print and allowed us to take these two jumbo cards home with us:

12-13 UD NHCD Canada Jumbos

Pretty happy to receive those two!

After running a few other errands we then headed to The Ice Box, the local card shop that recently moved back in to the mall that’s just a few block from my house.

There we each picked up the free 5-card packs that Upper Deck was giving away on the day.  I then bought a pack of the 2011-12 Parkhurst Champions product that Upper Deck released last season so that I could secure the bonus Gretzky/Lemieux card that I would need to add to my brother’s Lemieux collection.

The only thing of note from the Champions pack was a mini of Terry O’Reilly (if you can call that “of note”), but I did get the Lemieux base set card from one of the NHCD packs, which eliminates my need to do any chasing for cards from this year’s set.

12-13 UD NHCD Canada Lemieuxs

The remainder of the packs netted the following, including a double of the Crosby card and the one-per-pack checklist:

12-13 UD NHCD Canada Cards

Aside from the pair of cards featuring Lemieux I won’t be planning to keep any of the other cards in my permanent collection. 

If you’re interested in getting any of them from me for your own collection before I get them prepped to be listed in my ebay storethen feel free to get in touch and we’ll see about working out a trade.  You can post a comment, connect on Facebook and Twitter, or email me at bb_bros@hotmail.com.

Until next time, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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Mail Day! Masterpieces Master Set Project Progress Report, V.4

February 9, 2013

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In an effort to clear the back log of collection addition related posts I have been intending to write, today I’ll be lumping a trio of separate purchases into a single post.

Each of the three purchases relates to my 2008-09 Upper Deck Masterpieces Master Set project, so I figured it was more than ok to condense things this time around.

First to arrive in the mail among the three purchases was this Clark Gillies Red parallel /25:

2008-09 UD Masterpieces Red Gillies

This card puts me up to 29 of the 87 Red Border cards; exactly one-third of the set.  It also leaves me with only the Green Border /99 variation left to chase of Gillies, which I expect will be a fairly affordable card to acquire should I ever come across it.

Speaking of the Green Border cards, the next purchase to arrive included a pair of them in the form of Ron Hextall and Dale Hawerchuk:

2008-09 UD Masterpieces Greens

The acquisition of these two pushes me past the 75% mark for the Green Border set as I now sit with a total of 66 cards in my collection.

Finally, a pair of cards from the once forgotten 5×7 Box toppers piece of this project arrived in the mail early this week to round out the cards included in this post:

2008-09 UD Masterpieces 5x7s

As I said in my post from way back on Canada Day, these cards are just incredible to look at in-hand.  Unlike some jumbo variations, everything that is great about the regular sized card is just accentuated when it’s blown up.  I’m very happy to have acquired these two cards (up to 15 of the 24 or 62.5%), particularly when the cost was less than $8.50 for both, which included delivery from the US.

I won a couple more Masterpieces cards in ebay auctions that I’m still waiting on, so stay tuned for another post related to this project coming soon. 

In the meantime, if you have any Masterpieces cards you’re looking to part with then please have a look at my want list and let me know if you have something that I need.  You can post a comment, connect on Facebook and Twitter, or email me at bb_bros@hotmail.com to get in touch.

Until next time, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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Mail Day! 2006-2010 Toronto Blue Jays Project Progress Report

February 2, 2013

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It’s been a bit of a mentally draining couple of weeks at work and as a result I haven’t done a whole lot of blogging because I’m just not in the mood by the time I get home from the office at the end of the day.

In fact, aside from using my mornings to pack up cards that I’ve sold on ebay to be shipped out, I haven’t done much of anything when it comes to my hobby the last couple of weeks. 

I’ve made no effort to make trades, no effort to update my want lists, and no effort to list new items.

Thankfully, some of the stresses I’ve been under appear to be letting up and with the NHL season now in full swing I can feel my desire and motivation to focus some time on my hobby growing.

Today’s article is another one of my collection addition catch-up posts, this time with a major round of additions to my 2006-2010 Toronto Blue Jays project that arrived in my mail box a good three-plus weeks ago now.

This was the other piece of the Check Out My Cards package that I mentioned in my latest Masterpieces Master Set update and contained a total of 29 cards that I didn’t already have for my Blue Jays project.

The 13 cards from 2006 that I added were heavy on the Topps Co-Signers parallels (what an incredibly confusing product this is!).

COMC Lot - 2006 Blue Jays 1COMC Lot - 2006 Blue Jays 2 

The 3 2007 cards included my first autograph for this collection in the form of an Upper Deck Masterpieces Strokes of Genius of Adam Lind.  Just as with the 2008-09 hockey product, Masterpieces features some truly beautiful looking cards in baseball too.

 COMC Lot - 2007 Blue Jays

I picked up 8 cards from 2008 in the batch as well and again the main products featured (Topps Co-Signers and Moments & Milestones) are pretty confusing when it comes to figuring out all of the different variations.

 COMC Lot - 2008 Blue Jays

Three of the four 2009 additions feature Roy Halladay, who was easily my favourite player both on and off the field during my time working for the Jays.

 COMC Lot - 2009 Blue Jays

To wrap things up, I found a single 2010 card to eat up the remaining few cents I had in my COMC account.

 COMC Lot - 2010 Blue Jays

This is probably the project that ranks at the bottom of my priority list when it comes to the amount of time, effort, and money that I’m willing to put in to, but with the prices I found on COMC (I paid less than $0.75 per card on average) it made sense to use my money on a bulk-add instead of blowing all of my funds on one or two cards for another one of my projects.

If you’ve got any cards of players in a Blue Jays uniform from 2006 to 2010 that you’re looking to unload then please feel free to let me know what you’ve got and what you’re looking for in return.  You can post a comment, connect on Facebook and Twitter, or email me at bb_bros@hotmail.com to get in touch.

Until next time, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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My ebay Shipping and Handling Fees Explained – 2013 Update

January 29, 2013

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The turn of the calendar at the beginning of January brought with it the inevitable increase in shipping rates from Canada Post.

As an eBay seller it is important for me to monitor these rate increases and determine how they will impact the shipping and handling fees that I charge to my fellow collectors.

The last time I updated my shipping and handling charges was back in June of 2011.  In 2012 I got a bit more creative with how I sourced my shipping materials (i.e. bubble envelopes, top loaders/plastic sleeves, team bags, etc.) and was able to find ways to mitigate the postal rate increases, leading to no adjustments being necessary for the year.

This year was a different story as adjustments were necessary, but I was able to find more efficiencies that have allowed me to keep those adjustments in check.

As a collector first and an ebay seller second, I know the frustrations of overpriced shipping fees all too well.  For that reason, I do my absolute best to keep things as above-board as I possibly can when I am on the selling side of the equation.

The most important thing that I ask customers to remember is that the cost of shipping an item goes far beyond the stamp on the front of the envelope (I went into detail about why I felt it was necessary to be up remind ebay buyers of that back in June of 2011).

With that in mind, I developed my shipping fees for 2013 as follows:

 

Canada

USA

International

Postage

$0.70

$1.25

$2.10

Packaging

$0.50

$0.50

$0.50

“Handling”

$1.05

$1.25

$1.65

TOTAL

$2.25

$3.00

$4.25

Additional Cards

$0.50 each

Most important to note about all of this is that I do not profit from my shipping fees.  The fee structure outlined above is based on the average sale price of a single item in my store and the prices you see are the actual costs I incur when selling a card, rounded down or up to the nearest nickel.

What you see summarized in the table breaks down as follows:

Postage – this is the cost of the stamp(s), taxes included, required to ship items to buyers.

Packaging – this includes the bubble envelope, team bag(s), top loader(s), penny sleeve(s), and anything else used to ensure the package arrives safely.

“Handling” – this refers to all of the other fees and charges I incur from ebay and Paypal that directly relate to the sale and shipment of an item.  Monthly item listing fees and my ebay store subscription costs are not included in this number as they are taken into consideration in the pricing strategy I use for the items themselves.

The base shipping rate for each of the three destinations is lower than what I had been previously charging.  This is due to the fact that I was able to find a supplier of #000 envelopes that allow me to use a smaller denomination stamp to get a card to its new owner.

Unfortunately, between the weight restrictions that Canada Post has on standard letter mail and the need to move from #000 sized bubble mailers to the more-expensive-to-mail #0 sized envelopes after just a handful of cards, a bump in the “Additional Cards” charge from 30 cents to 50 cents had to occur.  The price of postage simply rises to drastically and rapidly once I move in to the higher sized envelopes and weight classifications to leave the charge any lower than that 50 cent mark.

Just as was the case with my first iteration of this article more than a year and a half ago, the math required to establish a sound shipping fee structure is not all that complicated.

A relatively small amount of work has allowed me to establish a system that allows me to provide proof to my fellow collectors that I am offering them a fair shipping price while also protecting my reputation on ebay.

I simply affix a sticker to each package that I mail out that directs buyers to this very article and they are then able to provide me with Detailed Seller Ratings that are based on fact instead of an opinion about what they feel shipping rates should be.  It certainly doesn’t offer complete protection against potential problem-buyers, but it is a proactive method of ensuring that I’m doing all I can to protect my 100% feedback rating.

If you are interested in getting more information from me about how I calculate my shipping rates, simply leave a comment below, shoot me an e-mail at bb_bros@hotmail.com, or connect on Facebook or Twitter.

Until next time, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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Bad News for NHL Rookie Card Collectors in 2012-13

January 21, 2013

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I was catching up on my back log of hobby-related blog articles this weekend and came across something posted by Brian Price (President of In The Game) that included some information that came as a pretty substantial surprise to me.

Apparently the NHLPA has decided to restrict the players who can appear on 2012-13 Rookie Cards to those who appeared in NHL games between the 2012 All-Star Game and the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.

In other words, the only rookies who we’ll see featured on a hockey card this season are they guys we’ve already seen in the existing 2012-13 releases.

That means no Yakupov, no Huberdeau, no 2013 draftees at all.

My reaction can basically be called one of disbelief.  How in the world could the NHLPA deem this to be a good idea?  How can this possibly be good for the manufacturers?  How is this good for dealers?  And what about collectors who were looking forward to finally seeing new players appear in products?

I haven’t come across any sort of announcement from Upper Deck yet, but Panini has done their best to put a positive spin on the situation

I’m just not buying it though.  I’m not a major collector of rookies, but knowing that I have a chance to pull the latest first round draft picks in a product is definitely something I consider a positive.

With just two releases left to expect from Panini (which inexplicably includes “Rookie Anthology”), this announcement has certainly taken some of the collecting related excitement out of hockey’s return for me.

Sure, 2013-14 products are going to be truly impressive when it comes to Rookie Card selection.  It will be very much 2005-06 when two years worth of rookies appeared after the 2004-05 lockout.

But that lockout wiped out an entire season.  In this situation we have hockey, but all we’re left with for the remainder of the products is a bunch of guys who made their NHL debuts late in the 2011-12 season, who more often than not are just getting a cup of coffee with the big club before never being heard from again.

Sure there’s the Chris Kreiders and Sven Baertshis out there to offer collectors at least a couple of options when it comes to blue chip prospects, but the bulk of the players do nothing to make me want to rush out and buy a box for a chance at pulling one of them.

Even more reason for me to chase some Motown Madness in 2012-13, if I choose to chase anything at all.

###

What are your thoughts on this announcement?  Will you collect as usual or hold off until the dual rookie crop of 2013-14 arrives on the scene.

Let me know by posting a comment, connecting on Facebook and Twitter, or emailing me at bb_bros@hotmail.com.

Until next time, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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Mail Day! Masterpieces Master Set Project Progress Report, V.3

January 19, 2013

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I’m still working to get caught up on my project addition posts and today I’m knocking five cards off in one shot.

Shortly before Christmas I placed a couple of orders through Check Out My Cards, the second of which arrived early in the New Year and contained a five-spot of cards for my Masterpieces Master Set project, among other things.

Included in those cards were Blue Border parallels /50 of Peter Stastny, Steve Shutt, and Willie O’Ree, a Green Border parallel /99 of Rod Langway, and a Canvas Clippings Green Border /85 of Wendel Clark.

08-09 UD Masterpieces COMC Lot

Both the Shutt and the Langway cards finished off the rainbow for me (base, Blue Border /50, Brown Border, Green Border /99, and Red Border /25), while the each of the other three cards brought me within the Red Border variation of completing the rainbow for them as well.

At an average cost of less than $4.50 per card (shipping included), this purchase was a no-brainer for me.  Many of my Masterpieces acquisitions come in the form of one-offs at prices right in the range of what I paid for these.  But when those one-off acquisitions force me to pay shipping individually on each card, the costs really start to add up. 

By adding a batch of cards at the same time with a flat shipping charge on the lot I likely saved myself a few dollars that can now be put towards other items I want for my collection.

With these acquisitions I’m now up to 56 of the 87 Blue Border /50 cards, 64 of the 87 Green Border /99 cards, and 38 of the 67 Canvas Clippings Green Border /85 cards.

Slow and steady is the usual theme with this set, so five additions in one shot certainly ups the ante a bit this time around. 

If you have any Masterpieces cards you think I might be interested in then please have a look at my want list and let me know what you’ve got and what you’re looking for in return (trade or sale, with trade being my preference).  You can post a comment, connect on Facebook and Twitter, or email me at bb_bros@hotmail.com to get in touch.

Until next time, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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Mail Day! Masterpieces Master Set Project Progress Report, V.2

January 17, 2013

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My last couple of posts have focused on my thoughts about a pair of upcoming releases from In The Game, but with the mail steadily delivering new additions to my collection it’s time to play a little catch-up in highlighting the latest removals from my want lists

Today’s card arrived in the same package and was the reason that I stumbled across the Mario Lemieux In The Game Enshrined card I posted about last week.  That card is the second addition to my 2008-09 Upper Deck Masterpieces Master Set project; a Terry O’Reilly Brushstrokes Brown Border Autograph.

08-09 UD Masterpieces Brushstrokes O'Reilly

The Brushstrokes Autograph set is one of the most attractive sets of cards I’ve ever seen.

As I’ve said in the past, I am far from a retro themed product collector.  In fact Masterpieces is the only the third retro-themed product that I can ever remember actually wanting to put together, so there is no preexisting bias involved in that opinion.

The autograph is directly on the canvas-like card stock, well-placed in a clearly visible and prominent place on the card, and nicely framed in by the raised border that accentuated with gold foil.

This particular example only ran me $8, which is a pretty decent price for a Brushstrokes card at this point in time.  Don’t be fooled by “book value” on this product.  My experience in chasing this set tells me (and a quick review of ebay sales and asking prices can show you) how far off base Beckett’s pricing is on Masterpieces.

Acquiring this card puts me at 33 of the 81 cards from the Brown Border variation of this set now in my collection, or just slightly over the 40% mark.

One more step in the right direction of what is sure to be a long and expensive process.

Check out my want list and let me know if you have anything for me from Masterpieces or any of the other sets I’m currently working my way towards completing.  You can post a comment, connect on Facebook and Twitter, or email me at bb_bros@hotmail.com to let me know if you have anything I need.

Until next time, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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