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


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!