Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Buying the wrong card....

The above card turned up this week in my mail-day package. Unfortunately though it is the wrong card. There is though only one person to blame. Me....I simply bought the wrong card. 

I clearly was just not concentrating when I hit the BIN at the time and did not pay attention to the auction description that accurately detailed the card in question. I was looking for the 2007-08 Upper Deck Premier Penmanship Autograph of Horace Grant, to go with the other five cards I have from the set. 

It transpires that there is a gold parallel version of  the set as well! And it was the parallel version of Mr Grant that I unintentionally purchased. 

I really should pay a bit more attention before I hit that Buy It Now button!   

Sunday, 7 June 2015

2014-15 Immaculate - 'The Dream' additions.

I took delivery of another batch of recent 2014-15 Immaculate purchases today. In amongst the cards I received were two of the legendary Rockets centre Hakeem 'The Dream' Olajuwon.

Despite winning back-to-back NBA Championships, both the NBA MVP and Finals one, and making 11 All-Star appearances, Olajuwon rarely received the love from the hobby than less successful players that played the game in the 1990s.  Even today his cards are priced lower than the likes of Anfernee Hardaway, Tracy McGrady and Karl Malone, who did even come close to achieving that success that this versatile Nigerian center achieved in his 18-year pro career.

The advantage that this state of affairs to those collectors who are interested in his cards, is that they can be picked up pretty cheaply. The two cards pictured feature on-card autographed and serial numbered cards were obtained for a combined cost of $75.

I am currently on the look out for the Olajuwon NBA Champions insert, to complete my collection of the on-card autograph / memorabilia from this years Immaculate release.

Shadowbox - standard
Hall of Fame Heroes
HOF Heroes
Shadowbox - standard

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Alex English
Alex English - front
Alex English
Alex English - back

Walt Frazier - front
Walt Frazier - front
Walt Frazier
Walt Frazier - back

Basketball card auctions on eBay constantly appear to be littered with the phrase "1 of 1". Sellers use the phrase to describe almost any serial numbered autograph or memorabilia card. Invariably it is used to describe the first, last and jersey number of the player. So for LeBron James cards numbered 1 of 25, 25 of 25, and 23 of 35 are ridiculously all listed as "1 of 1" cards. Taken to its logical conclusion ALL serial numbered, autograph, or patch memorabilia cards are going to be unique...so could be regarded as '1 of 1" cards!!!

So the card collecting hobby now has the term a 'true 1 of 1'. Two such cards [pictured above] formed part of my recent delivery of cards from the 2014-15 Immaculate release; namely the Shadowbox Signatures - Platinum cards of Hall Of Fame legends Alex English & Walt Frazier.

I have previously mentioned that I had been been very impressed by the initial images of the Shadowbox Signature cards posted by Panini, which in turn led to the decision that I should attempt to put together the complete 71 card set. What I had no initially realised that there were two parallel (Gold serial numbered to ten and the Platinum 1 of 1) versions. Whilst I have no intention of chasing these more seriously, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to pick these two up at a pretty reasonable price.

The bonus, is that they are the first 'true 1 of 1' cards that I now have in my collection.

Monday, 1 June 2015

2014-15 Immaculate - Hall Of Fame Heroes

I have-not had there opportunity to  post here, as my wife & I have spent the last couple of weeks back in the UK visiting friends and family.  But now I am ensconced back home in Jordan, I would have the opportunity to update things more regularly.

Whilst away,  I took delivery of my first purchases from the 2014-15 Immaculate, which I'll write about over the next couple of updates. First up are seven cards from the Hall of Fame Heroes autograph set that I have decided to try and chase down.

A combination of  the silver on black on-card signatures, Hall Of Fame logo strong checklist and reasonable prices for single cards attracted me to this set. Serial numbered to 75, they have not been too difficult to pick-up on eBay. With a fair wind this set is one I should be able to complete over the next few weeks.

Gary Payton
Gary Payton
Walt Frazier
Walt Frazier
Clyde Drexler
Clyde Drexler
James Worthy
James Worthy
Rick Barry
Rick Barry
Dan Issell
Dan Issell
Joe Dumars

Thursday, 14 May 2015

2014-15 Paramount Penmanship - Gold parallel arrivals

Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson
Karl Malone
Kyle Korver

My second delivery from the USA arrived today with some additions to my fledgling 2014-15 Paramount Penmanship collection. Included within the package, were a couple of cards from the low numbered parallel gold version of the set.

In terms of the players featured on the cards, first up — serial numbered three of ten — is a card from Laker great Magic Johnson. There is little that I can write about the greatest point guard to have ever have laced up a pair of basketball sneakers, that has not already been written before.

So I will move onto the second card which features a journeyman guard who — ten years after entering the league became as the 51st pick — this season became an All-Star. Aged 34, Korver has emerged as a key part of the the Atlanta Hawks, that entered the playoffs as the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, with a record of 60-22. As I type, the Hawks have a 3-2 lead over the Wizards and Korver has possibly his best ever shot at playing in the NBA Finals for the first time.

Korver's Penmanship Gold that today entered my personal collection, is serial numbered nine of ten.

When compared to seeing the cards in person, the above scans simply do not do justice to the cards. The gold colouring really does 'pop' superbly on the white background of the card. Whilst my budget is going to prevent me from ever putting together a complete set of the gold parallel version of the Penmanship set, having now seen the cards in hand, I would like to add a few more reasonably priced versions to my collection.

The trick is going to be finding the right players at the right price!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

2014-15 Immaculate Collection: Decisions, decisions.

One the highlights of the 2014-15 basketball release schedule has landed. The third edition of the high-end Panini Immaculate collection (which competes with Flawless & National Treasures as the top release) is in stores today.

Ignoring for a moment the mechanics of getting the boxes to Amman, it is the price point of $530 for a box containing six cards, that immediately takes me out of the market of breaking any boxes. It is simply outside of my budget. Even if I did haver the available funds, I would then be faced with the strong possibility that the value of the cards I pull, would be significantly lower than the money I have spent on the box. I have never been a gambler (the total number of lottery tickets I have purchased and bets I have placed in my life, I suspect barely reaches double figures), meaning that in order to mitigate that risk, I would be faced with having to open a couple of cases, at a cost of over $5,000. So the nearest I will get to breaking a box, will be watching a few breaks on YouTube!

I will though be looking to pick up some singles on the secondary market over the course of the coming months. As I have stated, I am in the minority that I am not a huge fan of memorabilia cards, and will not go near sticker autos. So this quickly removes a swathe of cards from the release for me.  
In reality that leaves five insert sets to consider:

— Dual / Trio / Quad Autographs.
— Shadowbox Signatures.
— NBA Champions Autographs.
— HOF Heroes Autographs.
— Statistical Standout Signatures.

First two — which are on-card autographs — and in particular the Shadowbox Signatures set, as opposed the remainder which are their cut-out cousins, appeal the most. But any of seeing the prices on eBay, I see the have not ruled any out as yet.

Let the madness commence!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A new chase: 2014-15 Paramount Penmanship

Magic Johnson
Karl Malone

With the mid-afternoon call for prayer echoing ringing around the Amman valley, I took delivery of my first trading card purchases in just under three years. After giving it some thought, I had recently decided that whilst I would pick-up some of the existing chases that I had put on hold for a few years, I also wanted to add some recently issued cards to my collection. I have always enjoyed picked up cards of active players and there are a whole raft of  NBA players that I do not own cards of. 

Preferring own complete (be it base or insert) sets, as opposed to purchasing random cards; this meant picking a new chase set or two from the 2014-15 Panini releases. After a bit of research, for the first chase, I settled on the 2014-15 Panini Paramount Penmanship insert set.

The decision was based on a number of factors:

— As a recently released set, singles are readily available to purchase on eBay.
— It is a sticker & memorabilia free autograph only set. As I have previously stated, I am not a fan of memorabilia cards and can not abide sticker autograph cards.
— The design is a clear and simple one and not a million miles from the 2007-09 Ultimate Collection Signatures set that I already own.
— Finally, the 71 card set contains a good selection of current all-stars and rookies; alongside a number of cards from retired players. Most at a price point that suit my budget.

Consequently, the cards that arrived today all come from the above set. In addition to the three cards show of Iman Shumpert (now featuring in the playoffs for the Cavaliers) and HOF legends Alex English & Cazzie Russell, were a few others that I will blog about over the coming days.

Alex English
Alex English
Cazzie Russell
Cazzie Russell

Friday, 1 May 2015

Resurrecting threepointplay.net...

After a three year hiatus from having been involved in the world of sports card collecting, I have found myself returning to the hobby in 2015. Consequently, I have decided to resurrect this website & blog.

Since I last posted, I have managed to get married and move from London to Amman in Jordan. Whilst this lifestyle change has left more time in my life for hobbies, it has also meant leaving the vast majority of my card collection in storage back in the United Kingdom. So, whilst I have not bought or sold and cards in the last few years, my collection is being missed!

The mechanics of living in Jordan are also going to determine how I interact with the hobby and build on my existing collection. First, there is no way to purchase cards within the country, so everything needs to be imported. Second, there is no door-to-door postal system here. It is possible for residents to to open and hold a mailbox at a local post office, but my residency is unlikely to be available for a couple of months. Even then, I am currently not that confident in the quality of the postal infrastructure shipping anything of value.  

Consequently, the only way I currently have of getting cards delivered is via couriers such as FedEX and DHL, which is not cost effective for  single cards in individual envelopes. In order to mitigate these shipping cost, I am using an international shipping and package forwarding company in the USA. Essentially, this means I can arrange for cards to be shipped by sellers to a mailbox in Florida and then have them all consolidated and sent to me every couple of weeks by courier. Finally, both the costs and mechanics of clearing customs can be a challenge.  

All of the above means that I am likely to be concentrating on purchasing reasonbly priced singles cards. Box breaks are going to be few and far between and trading with others potentially a bit of a challenge. 

Over the next few posts, I'll lay out my plans in terms of what I intend to collect as opposed to how I am going to manage it!