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Epic Mailday : 2 out of my top 3!

When summer break began, I knew I was going to have a little extra free time since we teachers get the summer to ourselves ūüôā ¬†It hit me that this was as good of an opportunity as I’d get to try and put my A-Rod collection back together. ¬†While it’s been a little spendy, it’s been a fun ride so far. ¬†I found my way to FreedomCardBoard thanks to Corockies, and ever since then my collection has taken a Huge step forward.

One member suggested I make a wantlist so I decided to make a top 3 most wanted cards. ¬†It’s been a month since I made that list and I’ve been fortunate enough to purchase 2 out of the 3 cards on that original list!

#1 on the list was this beauty:

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1999 Ionix HoloGrFx (1:1500 Packs)

If you’ve read my Ionix breaks from this year, you remember that I mentioned that this HoloGrfx insert was my most wanted card, after selling the first one I ever had 4 years ago. They fall at 1:1500 packs which isn’t even one per case! ¬†I wonder how many were produced…my guess is 50 of each player but it may be as many as 100.

A big shout out to gradedeflator on FreedomCardBoard for hooking me up. ¬†He originally posted it in the 90’s Insert Thread that has a huge following after I mentioned how nice his Piazza HoloGrFx was. ¬†We then cut a deal for it and it was waiting for me after my Alaska Cruise.

#2 on the wantlist was this sweet insert from 1997 Donruss:

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1997 Donruss Power Alley Die-Cut (#d to 250)

Donruss has some wonderful looking inserts and they, along with Leaf, are knowing for their serial #d inserts in the 90’s. ¬†These also come in a non die-cut version which are #d to 1000. ¬†While this card is #d to 1000, the first 250 were die-cut versions. ¬†I remember seeing Magicpapa’s Griffey and thinking I had to find the A-Rod. ¬†Well 7 years later, I finally have one in my collection.

A big thanks to George Kalfus at freedomcardboard for messaging me about this card. ¬†One just popped up on eBay and I knew it would cost a pretty penny or three for it. ¬†George messaged me the same day ūüôā I absolutely love it man, thank you!!

I bet by now some of you are wondering what #3 was right? Well just to get it out there that I’m looking for it, it’s this card.

The owner at the time was a user by the name of cubuffs13 who is on sportscardforum. ¬†I remember seeing this card for sale many years ago and passing on it. ¬†Let’s hope on shows up one of these days.

Before I sign off for a few days I have a couple of things to look forward to in the future.

First off, I have two 2000’s boxes coming in after I get back from my trip to Arizona. ¬†A box of 2000 Showcase, and 2000 Ovation. ¬†There’s a slim chance to find something spectacular but they should be fun breaks for me regardless.

Secondly, I will be in Arizona and should have some time to swing by some card shops while I’m there and also pick up my 1996 and 1997 Fleer Metal sets my buddy has been holding onto for me. ¬†I’ll be sharing those and the story behind them next week. ¬†Until then, thanks for the read and thank you to everyone who keeps me excited about collecting still, especially all of you are FreedomCardBoard.

~Matthew

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Old School Hits: 1997 Fleer Diamond Tribute

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In the 90’s it wasn’t game used or autographs that were the more sought after cards. ¬†It was the rare inserts and parallels that collectors paid the big bucks for. ¬†As a kid you were happy just pulling an insert seeded 1:9 packs rather than one that came at a rate of 1:100 packs or more. ¬†Luckily for me and my quest to put an Alex Rodriguez collection back together that I could have only dreamed of as a kid, I am now able to purchase and hold some of the rarities of the 90’s including this beauty that came from 1997 Fleer Series 2.

Seeded at a rate of 1:288 packs, these inserts made purchasing series 2 worthwhile as they are visually pleasing for any 90’s collector. ¬†You have a very reflective foil background with raised bumps on the card. ¬†That coupled with the gold, foil named at the bottom, make this one of the better inserts fleer put out in the 90’s!

Stay tuned for another update soon! I have one of the rarest inserts from the 90’s seeding wise coming up next. ¬†I’m looking forward to the readers following my progress of obtaining my collection once again. ¬†Thanks for checking the blog out!

1999 Bowman’s Best Baseball Review

Typically, I don’t open very many Bowman products but when I saw a box of 1999 Bowman’s Best out there for under $40, it was hard to resist. The rookie class of ’99 included the likes of Burrell, Sabathia, Holliday, Soriano, Burnett, and many more, all of whom could be found in this product. While they are long shots to pull, there are randomly inserted game-used cards and autographed cards featuring Mike Schmidt, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter, Pat Burrell, Troy Glaus, and others. Hey, I’ve beaten the odds before…

Box Details: 24 packs per box, 6 cards per pack, $37

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Base set: The base set is comprised of 200 cards: 85 veterans (gold background), 15 Best Performers (bronze background), 50 prospects (silver background), and 50 rookies (blue background). The last 50 rookies are shortprinted and seeded at a rate of one per pack. Altogether, I pulled 136/200 basic cards (68%) with just a single duplicate (Barry Bonds)! My notable rookies included Pat Burrell, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Pena, Matt Holliday, A.J. Burnett, Mark Mulder, and Nick Johnson.

Refractors (1:15 packs, /400): Seeded at approximately two per box, the refractors mirror the entire set and are serially numbered to 400. My two refractors were Tony Gwynn (071/400)(PunkRockPaint?) and Doug Mientkiewicz (RC – 015/400). Atomic refractors also exist in this product are numbered to just 100, but I did not pull any.

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Mirror Image (10 cards, 1:24 packs): The dual-sided Mirror Image insert cards returned in 1999 and they were very…..well….blue. Like always, these cards featured the pairing of a Major League star with a promising prospect from the same team or of the same position or in some cases, both, such as the case of my Greg Maddux/Bruce Chen card. These inserts are mirrored by Refractor (1:96 packs) and Atomic Refractor (1:192 packs) parallels.

Franchise Favorites (6 cards, 1:40 packs): There are six total cards in this set: Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Scott Rolen, Mike Schmidt, and combinations of the two Yankees and two Phillies respectively. I pulled Don Mattingly. Each of the six cards has a very rare autographed variation as well. Each of the four single autographed cards have a seeding rate of 1 in 1,550 packs while the duals have a seeding rate of 1 in 6,174 packs.

Future Foundations (10 cards, 1:41 packs, /3,000): This insert set features 10 of the game’s best prospects on a die-cut card featuring a brick background. The regular version of these cards is known as Mach I and is limited to just 3,000 copies. There are two parallels to this set:

Mach II (refractor): 1:124 packs, numbered to 1,000
Mach III (atomic refractor): 1:248 packs, numbered to 500

My pull was a Mach I of former Rockies prospect Derrick Gibson (1796/3000).

Franchise Best (10 cards, 1:41 packs, /3,000): The Franchise Best inserts are virtually identical to the Future Foundations inserts in that the set size, insertion ratios, and even the parallels are exactly the same. The only difference, of course, is that this set features veterans and not prospects. Once again, the regular version is referred to as Mach I and is accompanied by refractor (Mach II) and atomic refractor (Mach III) parallels. In this box, I pulled both a Mach I (1938/3000) and a Mach II (0528/1000) of Alex Rodriguez.

Final Thoughts/Grades:
Collation: A+

One duplicate. That was all. I don’t think I’ll ever have that kind of great collation again. This grade goes without saying.

Condition: B

Some dirty surfaces and scratches on the glossy backs bring the box’s grade down a little. Most of the cards came out of the packs fine but a few were downright terrible.

Pulls: A

There was no autograph or game-used card, but this box was still very strong: Maddux insert, Mattingly insert, two A-Rod inserts, a Gwynn refractor, and several good rookies. I now also have a nice starter set with minimal extras.

Value: A

I’ve seen this box listed in several places for about $50 or so but if you look, you could get it for as cheap as I did. For $37, you’ll be able to pull a nice array of attractive inserts, a couple refractors, and you’re sure to improve your rookie collection. Some cards may have condition issues but they’ll likely be far in the minority. This box is still a winner.

Final Grade: A