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Friday, April 19, 2013

Box Break - - 2011-12 ITG Between The Pipes

License or not, In The Game knows how to make a top-notch hockey product.  The design, quality, and value are almost unmatched in the industry.  Of course, this is all purely my opinion so you can feel free to think what you want.  


While at the last big Rosemont show in Chicago, I picked up what turned out to be my second 2011-12 ITG Between The Pipes box.  The first one I opened last year at some point and even video'd it.  I never posted about it though (maybe someday in a "lost episode").  At any rate, I wanted to share this now before I forgot. 



I'm not going to put a whole lot of commentary into this.  I think the cards speak for themselves.  I will just mention the fact that this is the 10th Anniversary of Between the Pipes and might be the best release ITG has done.  Each box contains 18 packs with 9 cards per pack, typical of a standard ITG release.  There are Masked Men inserts, of course, as well as Anniversary inserts, various types of autos, and GU cards.  As for guarantees, I believe there should be 2 autographs, 2 GU cards, and a host of inserts including 3 Masked Men cards  Lets check them out.
First, the base cards...There is a sampling of a few of the subsets you will find in here, Penguin heavy of course.







On the inserts, I got the 3 Masked Men I figured that I would as well as 2 Anniversary cards...check them out.



 

And now the "hits".  I received 2 autograph cards, one of a Future Star, the other of an almost forgotten goalie of the 1980s




And for the Game Used, I also received 2.  One was a Patch card while the other was a dual-memorabilia.  Here they are.  



As I said before, great product full of value and excitement to open.  If you can find these under $70, snag it.  You will be happy you did.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Again With The Classics

Since I opened that awesome box of Panini Classics Signatures at the last show I went to, I've been drooling over the autograph checklist.  I can't say that I'm going to chase the entire thing but I am not ruling that out.  I may want to eventually put it all together or at least attempt it.

That's why I've been watching them on auction to see what is out there and how much it will cost me in the end.  Some "lesser" stars are going for a few bucks.  The "big" name guys are into double digits, some reaching into the $40-50 range.  The "huge" guys are pushing the hundred dollar mark.

With my new budget..."lesser" stars it is.

Here are a few new ones...


Long time Penguin GM, mastermind behind two Stanley Cups and former Golden Seal Craig Patrick as well as Dennis Hextall.  Hextall was also a former Golden Seal as well as a host of other teams.  He spent larger amounts of time as a North Star and Red Wing.  Ex-Flyer great Ron Hextall calls him Uncle Dennis (I don't know if he really calls him that).


Here we have two guys that accompany their signatures with jersey numbers, in case you can't read their writing.  Dave Babych was drafted in 1980, a draft class with the likes of Larry Murphy, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, and Denis Savard (the Pens took Mike Bullard).  He was one of the most consistently solid D-men ever but will most likely never go into the Hall like those other guys because, well, he never won a Cup and never could match the offensive prowess of his junior career.

Our other auto is of Guy Carbonneau who, unlike his partner there, won three Cups and another three Selke trophies.  Carbonneau isn't in the Hall either because "shut-down" guys don't get any respect and Guy was one of the best ever.  No one in the HOF voting community cares about the guys that stop the opposing scorers, block shots, kill penalties, and make the locker room a better place.  


Finally, we have Marty McSorley.  Ahhh, the love/hate relationship much of the NHL players and fans share for Mr. McSorley.  I guess Marty's popularity depends a lot on whether you are also a Gretzky fan.  After Semenko was done in Edmonton, McSorley became Wayne's bodyguard, following him to LA as well.  The guy has his name on two Cups, almost had a third, but is more known as #4 all-time on the NHL's PIM list.  It's that reputation that follows any conversation about McSorley.  That, and the fact he tried to decapitate Donald Brashear (don't worry, DB doesn't remember).  If Dino Ciccarelli can be convicted of assaulting a player on the ice and still make it into the HOF, why can't Marty?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Tangradi PC Addition: ROXX!

A little while back (a few weeks ago) I put a bid in on a Tangradi item that I had never seen before.  It wasn't a card.  It wasn't a piece of memorabilia.  It wasn't a photo autograph or anything of the sort.  What I placed a bid on was this...

(This is my attempt at scanning the item.  As you can see, not so successful.)

This, my friends, is what is known as a ROXX (As "a" ROXX? Or "as" ROXX?  I don't know).

ROXX are manufactured by a company called TCG (or The Canadian Group) and were released last year in Canada with the NHL endorsement.  Here in the states, we now have our own version of ROXX only they are what the company calls, "edgy, collectible game pieces featuring unique art in diverse themes that appeal to school-age and tween boys, including skate, hip hop, grunge, humor, super heroes, action figures and much more."  Apparently, these are supposed to be modeled after the so-called "street game" of Skully.  I can't really speak to that because until I read that on their website, I never heard of Skully (other than Fox Mulder's partner). I will take their word for it.

(Here is a better shot of the item.  This is the auction scan.  Yes, I stole it, but I'm acknowledging that.)

But what they did remind me of was everyone's favorite alternative game of the 1990s...POGS!!  As it turns out, one of the partners in TCG, Michael Albert, is one of the marketing geniuses behind the once $50 million POG business.  For those of you too young to remember (or those too old to care), POGS was a game that was played using round discs (POGS) with all sorts of colors, themes, and marketing ploys to get parents to purchase more for their ungrateful children.  No one is really sure where the game originated (some say Hawaii, some say Japan) but essentially it started with juice bottle caps back in the 1920s or 30s.  After laying dormant for 60-70 years, the fad took off in the 1990s with major popularity, and huge profits for many of the manufacturing companies.

(Here is the back of the item.  You can see the copyright of 2012.)


I'm not sure what these retail for or where you can find them because, well, I don't live in Canada.  Maybe some of my awesome Canadian audience can enlighten the rest of us.  What I can tell you is they sell for a buck or two on the secondary market all the way up to double digits for some of the more "rare" pieces.  You can go to www.ROXXNATION.com to find out more about the checklist and see if your favorite NHLer was included.  But chances are, they were.

The checklist features 243 of what are called "Classic" ROXX, 71 Rare "Starzz" "Cage Masters" and "Trophy Winners" ROXX, 36 Ultra Rare "Starzz" and "Original 6" ROXX, and 30 Limited Edition "Starzz" ROXX which are a metallic gold color around the name area.  Essentially the LE ones are the same as the Ultra Rare ones but without the Original 6 pieces.

I think the scans do a good job of showing what these look like.  Essentially, they are small (the size of a 50 cent piece [remember those?]) disc-like objects.  They remind me of a good skipping rock you would find on a beachfront somewhere.  They almost have a "flying saucer" type shape to them with thin sides and bulging in the middle.  At first I thought there was something wrong with the back of mine with that white "stressed plastic" type crease in it.  Upon further investigation, that's the glare off the graphic of the hockey puck.  See, it pays to be observant. 

I'm not going to nitpick on these here (well actually I am) but I want to point out one thing about this Tangradi piece.  If you notice on the front under his name, it says "Rookie/Recrue", indicating that Mr. Tangradi is a rookie.  However, these were manufactured in 2012, supposedly beginning last summer.  At that point, Tangradi had already played 1 game in 2009-10, 15 games in 2010-11, and another 24 games in 2011-12.  I would hardly consider that to be a rookie piece.  I'm not sure how many others in the checklist have the same treatment but I'm not liking that because it makes it seem like these should be older than they are.  Not nitpicking.  I swear.

I think these are sort of neat but I won't be trying to collect all 380 of the NHL ones, partly because they just don't store very well, the other part being that I don't live in Canada (that's a theme of this post).  I wouldn't mind putting together all the Pens but that would require some work.  If any readers out there have any of the Penguin ones and want to trade for something, let me know. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's Not A Card, But Still Very Cool

At the Sun Times show a few weeks back, I mentioned I did some trading with some other collectors.  One of those fine fellows was Sal from Puck Junk.  Sal needs no introduction to the hockey collecting community so I will save my breath and just link to his site.

At any rate, Sal generally takes the trading thing to a whole new level with not only the cards you are looking for, but even more rare pieces that you don't see everyday.  This time was no different.  Sal presented me with a little something that was quite awesome.  Here it is...

First the front...


You can see some serious wear and tear on here, mainly around the creases in the tin and around the slot holes where the paint is chipping.  But other than that, the colors are still great.  Those old Pens jerseys are classics.

And then the back...


Much more wear and tear and what looks like some weathering.  Probably someone had this in a basement that was damp so the tin started to corrode.  You can see lots of scratches on the back of the goalie, probably from rubbing up against the net on the playing surface.

So where did this come from???


Back in 1954, Eagle Toy Company of Montreal began producing a metal version of the already popular rod hockey/table hockey games from decades earlier.  Eagle's difference?  The previous games made by companies like Munro Toys were made of wood.  Eagle received the endorsement of the Montreal Canadiens and was one of the first games to feature detailed player images, team logos, and because of the metal construction, allowed 360 degree player movement. 

For years, Eagle and their competitor Munroe, were huge in the industry.  Each release throughout the 50s and 60s got better with more realistic looking players, the addition of goal lights, timers, automatic puck droppers, and other interesting "upgrades".  The games continued to be produced throughout the 60s and 70s, but more companies got into the game as the years went by.  When the NHL expanded in 1967, demand increased in the US market and production had to expand too.  Eagle was sold to a company many of you may remember, called Coleco.

By the mid-late 80s, the popularity was waning for toys that didn't have buttons, run on batteries, beep, or have video screens.  While the table hockey games were gradually losing popularity in the US, demand in Canada was still high.  Some new companies got into the game, with Coleco selling off their rights to their designs.  Even The Great One himself put his name on a version in the early 90s. 

This is from the 2011 Let's Play Hockey International Expo in Las Vegas.  Yes, they still have tournaments.



Getting back to what I have here, Sal gave me the goalie of the Pittsburgh Penguins team set from, what I think is a 1971 Eagle Toys game.  Based on the short amount of research I've done, it doesn't appear that there was a set made with the Penguins included (unless it was regionally).  The Pens, as well as many other teams had to be ordered for the grand total of 75 cents per team plus shipping.  You can see by the wear and scratching that the less than stellar defense of the early Pens teams put a beating on their only goaltender.  So like many toys of yesteryear, this one was well loved.

But finding items like these in decent condition is tough, especially in recent years as collectors have gotten much more nostalgic and want to find the toys of their youth.  I have seen a few team sets in nice shape go for as much as $100+.  The Pens set that is supposedly in it's original packaging that is out there for sale now is priced at $65.

This is a very cool piece for my Penguins collection.  A little different but definitely a keeper.