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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:


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:


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.


1999 UD Ionix (Box 1)

When I think back to my favorite product of 1999, my first reaction is to say Ionix by Upper Deck. ¬†Everything about these cards is likable, from the thick stock, the colors, the refractor parallels, and the best high end insert made by Upper Deck, the Hologrfx. ¬† As you can see by the title, this will be the first Ionix box out of at least 3 that I will be reviewing. ¬†I have another en route that came at only $20, so I’m pretty excited to see what hidden treasures await in the future as well.

Price: $32 (20 packs per box, 4 cards per pack)


There’s a great story that goes with my love for this set. ¬†I remember when the sell sheet came out, and there was a Ken Griffey Jr. card on it. ¬†I told myself it’d be awesome to find that card one day. ¬†I was able to buy 2 packs of this at a card shop in Anchorage, and as fate would have it, there was a Griffey in one of the packs. ¬†Now back then a base card of Jr. was worth a lot to me and my friends. ¬†Safe to say I never stopped loving this set.

Here is what was in box #1, which came from a Canadian card shop:

Base: 71 (18 duplicates)

With a small base set of 60 minus the SP’s, it’s not uncommon to pull a bunch of dupes in a box, even if you’re only getting 80 cards. ¬†What’s really neat about these is that the technology used to make the “bubble|” effect on the background gave each card a unique look to them. This J.D. Drew was worth a pretty penny when he was on fire on his rookie season with St. Louis.


Techno (1:4 Packs)

These are part of the complete base set, but are short prints, so they fall at 1 per 4 packs. ¬†As expected, there were 5 Techno SP’s in this box: Derek Jeter, Sammy Sosa, Mo Vaughn, Mike Piazza, and Barry Bonds. ¬†These can also come in rarer versions #d to 100 which I will get to later.


Hyper (1:9 Packs) 

Man the inserts from Ionix look sweet! ¬†There’s something about a glossy, thick baseball card that just makes me love each and every insert set! ¬†Unfortunately, there was only one in this box, Chipper Jones.


Nitro (1:18 Packs)

Out of all the insert sets, these “pop” the least due to their darker backgrounds. ¬†I was pretty excited to get the player I did though ūüėČ


Reciprocal (#d to 750, no stated odds)

If you are a refractor lover, then these cars will make you smile! ¬†They sure stand out amongst the base, as these are parallels of the base set, but also feature a different action shot of the player. ¬†Here’s a comparison of the Glavine and a look at the Tino that also came in this box:



What wasn’t pulled:

Ionix has three REALLY TOUGH cards to pull, and up to this point I’ve opened 5 boxes of this and have never seen these come from a pack. ¬†We also didn’t find a Cyber insert which come in at 1:53 packs.

Techno Reciprocal (#d to 100)

If you want to see what these bad boys look like, take a look at this one currently on eBay: Alex Rodriguez Techno Reciprocal. It’s a little overpriced but there are only 2 on eBay, this one and a Nomar. ¬†I’ve rarely ever seen them on eBay which shows you just how tough they are to come by. ¬†I’ve never seen one with my own eyes, but I imagine they really stand out, just like the regular Reciprocal parallels.

Warp Zone (1:216 packs)

These are the best looking inserts in the set, even more so than the next insert set I’ll cover. ¬†The white border, foil text, and rainbow colors make this stand out more than any other insert I have of Alex Rodriguez. ¬†I payed a pretty penny for this, but it was definitely worth it! I’d really like to put this whole set together ūüôā


HoloGrFx (1:1500 packs)

Here’s the crown jewel of 1999 Ionix. ¬†Can you imagine what it would feel like to see one of these come from a pack? ¬†To add to how amazing these are, I used to have a Rodriguez and I’m still VERY upset at myself for not keeping it before I moved to teach 5th grade. ¬†If anyone knows where an A-Rod exists, I will pay a finders fee before I purchase it! ¬†Here’s an example of the Griffey that I found on photobucket:


Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: C+ 

Yeah….I literally pulled a duplicate two packs after pulling the same base. ¬†How does this even happen with such a small base set, that quick into the following packs lol? At least the inserts were all different right?

Condition: A

Two key elements in finding cards in good condition, 17 years later: Thick card stock, and no sticking cards. ¬†These didn’t stick together that much and the corners were all very sharp. Really happy about this even though the packs were all shifted to the top of the box.

Pulls: B-

Nothing major to note, and while there was two A-Rod base cards, and a Rodriguez insert, there was no Griffey.  Was hoping to have one to show off to go with my childhood story.  Next box hopefully.

Value: B

I’m not going to base this solely off of the fact that there wasn’t anything that had a high resale value, but the cards are all in excellent condition. ¬†If one were to be into grading cards, these would all grade extremely well. ¬†The B grade is simply for the fact that not inserts were pulled that are considered “high-end”.

BONUS: There was an original price tag of $136 on this box!! Now while this is Canadian currency, that still comes out to $105 in U.S. dollars when this set first dropped. ¬†Yeah, these were highly desirable cards in 1999 ūüôā


Old School Hits: 2000 UD HoloGrFX A Piece of the Series

Actual World Series game-used!

Actual World Series game-used!

Normally, I’m not much of a fan of game-used cards that feature non-personal items on them such as balls, bases, and DIRT, but this particular set is a very special one. A Piece of the Series is a 12-card set found in 2000 UD HoloGrFX. While the product itself is nothing noteworthy at all, this set is (in my opinion) legendary. These cards were seeded only 1 in every 431 packs on average and feature some of the biggest stars of the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves, who met in the 1999 World Series.

The reason this set is so special is that the swatches are of actual game-used bases from that particular World Series. There are several World Series-themed game-used sets out there (for example: 2002 Stadium Club World Champions, 2001 UD Subway Series among others), but this is the only one (to my knowledge, anyway) that specifically states that the material on the card was actually used in a World Series. I didn’t know this before checking out my friend Ravi’s page, but John Rocker was slated to be a part of this set, but was pulled after all the idiotic comments he made at the time. Therefore, only 11 cards found their way into packs. If you’d like to see scans of the entire set, check out Ravi’s page here. He has finished this entire set!

As for myself, I only own the Paul O’Neill at the moment. I used to have the Chipper, but traded it away (sorry dayf if you’re reading this). It should be noted that there is also an autographed partial-parallel to this set. These are randomly inserted into packs and four of them come with a variation which is limited to the player’s jersey number. These four are: Paul O’Neill (21), Tino Martinez (24), Brian Jordan (33), and Tom Glavine (47). Additionally, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera (and of course John Rocker) do not have an autographed version.