Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Card Shop Chronicles: Lebanon Candy and Sports Cards

It's not often that a new card shop pops up these days so when I heard about Lebanon Candy and Sports Cards at the most recent Nutter Center card show, I knew I had to stop in and check them out. 

Situated right off the main drag through downtown, the place reeks of nostalgia, right up to the signage on the windows. If they were going for a rustic feel, then they definitely nailed it. There are actually two doors as you walk in, the one on the right goes to the card shop, the other to the candy shop.

Here's the view of the main counter. Suffice to say it's absolutely loaded with packs, boxes, blasters, and all kinds of stuff. The shop itself it very small but they've made really good use of the space. According to the guy behind the counter, the place used to be an antique shop and judging by the old display cabinets and the polished hardwood floors, I can see how that would be. 

Besides sports cards, they have tons and tons of gaming cards like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc. They even carry the big Pokemon boxes that Wal-Mart and Target carry.

Here's more boxes and packs. This is more recent stuff including loads of Series 1.

But wait, there's more! You want board games? They got 'em!

Here's a really cool thing right in the middle of the shop. It's an old fire call box that was used to alert the local fire departments. Seeing that Lebanon is an old historic city, it makes sense. As you can see, hidden behind the box is part of their Funko shelf.

Here's just a portion of the Funko's that they carry. They've got everything from Street Fighter to Dr. Seuss to Walking Dead figures. 

I nearly missed these old school motorcycles when I walked in. They definitely add a touch of character to the place, as if it didn't have enough already.

Next door is the candy portion loaded with anything and everything you could think of candy wise. There's a complete wall full of Jelly Belly dispensers, the counter is loaded with chocolate candies of all sorts and there's even a section full of pop culture candies.

Of course, it can't be a candy shop without having pop (or soda if you will) by the bottle. There's craft sodas such as Avery's and Jones Soda along with other brands such as Ale-8-1, IBC Root Beer, and Virgils. The other refrigerator has your standard Coke products but they're in glass bottles!!

Speaking of Coke, look at this awesome old school vending machine. I'm not sure if it's operational but the price on it says 25 cents. Too bad I didn't have a quarter on me to try it out.

As for my purchases, I grabbed three more packs of Donruss racing, two packs of Opening Day, and two packs of the new Pokemon for my son. 

Here's what I got out of the racing packs. I did manage to get two of the nickname variations including a Bill Elliott gold. The best of the packs was the Chase Elliott press proof numbered 23/99.

These were the first packs of Opening Day I think I've ever opened. These Reds cards came out of the first pack. I really, really like the picture on the Billy Hamilton card.

The inserts from each pack, a Brewers Opening Day card and a Jayson Werth Superstar Celebrations card.

This card will go towards my throwback uniforms collection. The 1970s style Pirates uniforms are always a hit with me.

I know this is a parallel but I'm not quite sure what sort of parallel this is as it's not numbered on the back. Regardless, I'll set it aside for my "shiny card" collection.

This is a shop I'll definitely be back to, despite the fact that the card shop portion felt a little bit cramped. The pack prices are more than fair and I love the nostalgia factor and the uniqueness of a card shop and candy shop all in one. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ripping Some Racing Cards

Has there ever been a product from a sport you don't necessarily collect that you've really wanted to get? That's the way it is for me with the 2017 Donruss racing cards. Now, I'm not an avid NASCAR watcher but I do watch a race from time to time, mainly the big ones like Daytona and what not. When Panini announced last year that they were getting into the NASCAR card business, I'll admit, I was a bit curious. I read some reviews of their initial offerings and the cards looked good but it wasn't anything to really draw me in to getting a pack or two. However, when I saw the preview and details for Donruss racing, I'll admit I was intrigued. Then, I saw two breaks over on the Sport Card Collectors blog and that sealed the deal, I had to get some packs for myself, which is what I did on my most recent card shop visit.

Here's the base design. It harkens back to the 1990 Donruss baseball cards with the name titled and written in script. Not only are there Monster Energy Series (aka Sprint Cup Series) drivers in the set, there are also drivers from the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series.

Here's some of the horizontal base driver cards. This is the only real negative on this set for me and the picture is horizontal but the name and nameplate are vertical. The photos are pretty nice though, especially the Kyle Busch card with the flag in the background.

The nice thing about this is that it's more that just pictures of drivers on cards in the base set. There are cards that show off the particular cards with a split screen type of effect for the standard design and an alternate design. This gives a casual watcher (like me!) an idea of what the car looks like for a particular driver.

There are also cards featuring the pit crews of certain drivers. That's pretty cool if you ask me as it gives the crews some recognition.

As is the case with Donruss, the inserts are plentiful. I'm not sure if these would be considered "cracked ice" or not but regardless, they are really nice, especially the Richard Petty card.

Another one of the insert sets are 84 Donruss throwbacks. Don't believe me that they're throwbacks? Just have a look at Kyle Petty's hair.

Here are the rest of the inserts I pulled. It's nice that Panini did Race Kings cards much like they do Diamond Kings for baseball, Court Kings for basketball, etc. Opening these packs was a nice change of pace and really left me wanting more. It's always nice to crack open some packs of cards of something new and I must say I'm definitely a fan of this product.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baseball, Racing, and ... Freddy Krueger?

As you saw in my previous post, last weekend I attended the card show at the Nutter Center. However, that wasn't the only card related thing I did. After the show, I headed over to TCI Sports Fan, a card shop I've written about before in my "Card Shop Chronicles" series, that was about 10 minutes down the highway from the venue. I had my mind set on getting some newer packs to rip since I figured it would be my only opportunity to do so for a while but there were some other very specific cards I was looking for as well.

Last year when I went to the Horrorhound Convention, I grabbed a pack of the Topps Fright Flicks cards from 1988. Since then, I haven't seen hide nor hair of those anywhere so I figured if anyone would have them, it would be TCI, since they literally have every sort of sports or non-sports trading card (except for gaming cards) available. I asked at the desk if they had any and Terry, the great guy who runs the shop, winced a bit and said he remembered having some but wasn't sure if he did anymore. He pointed me in the direction of display case that had the bottom filled with 25 cent non-sport boxes. He said if there were any, they would be there. I took a gander and it didn't take long for me to find them. There were a bunch of duplicates but I did manage to grab eight new cards for the set I'm building.

Most of these are from the Nightmare on Elm Street films but there are cards here from other films such as Predator, The Fly, Alien, and Fright Night. I'm not particularly one for gross out creature feature films like The Fly but they are a necessary evil in a set like this. I'm more for the suspense/thriller/slasher type films like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, etc. The other attraction for this set is that this is the only set (well, until last year) that had cards from the original Ghostbusters movie. Unfortunately, there weren't any of the Ghostbusters cards from the set to be had in the box I found. Perhaps I'll dig a little deeper next time I stop in. I have a feeling though that those are going to be the toughest part of completing the set.

Fright Flicks cards weren't the only thing I was after though. 

My main reason for heading to the shop was to get some packs of some current stuff to tear into. One of the things I really wanted was some 2017 Donruss racing. Now, I'm not really into watching NASCAR but I saw the Beckett Box Busters video of this and thought it would be pretty fun to get. Plus, it's always good to spice things up with a bit of variety. I'll share how I did with these in a future post.

Also coming in a future post will be these packs of Donruss baseball. Even though Panini doesn't have the MLB license, I still enjoy the Donruss cards as you get a lot of fun stuff for a decent price. As of this writing, I haven't torn into these but stay close. I did pretty well when I bought some Donruss on a whim last year so perhaps my luck with this will continue.

Finally, since they were completely out of Heritage, I picked up four more packs of Series 1. While I've already opened ten packs of this, it never hurts to pick up some more. Plus, I really like the cards this year. I'll share these in a separate post as well. Since I bought so many packs, the shop owner was nice enough to throw in the Fright Flicks cards for free without me having to even ask.

And thus, another fun trip to the card shop concludes. Speaking of card shops though, while I was at the card show, there was a vendor there from a new shop (well, new to me). I plan on checking the place out this weekend and who knows, I might find something fun.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Nutter Center 25th Anniversary Card Show Recap

This past Saturday was the 25th anniversary of the monthly card show at the Nutter Center. Lately, this show has become my show of choice to attend simply because it's easy to get to and it's not overly crowded. A while back, I specifically earmarked this show to attend since it was the 25th anniversary show and I knew the promoter was going to go all out. For this show, he doubled the number of usual tables to 99, gave away some big prizes, and, as always, made sure to personally thank and chat with every person he saw come through the doors.

I've already sorted and organized my purchases so I don't remember what cards came from what table but these came from one of the first tables I visited. Along with a bunch of high dollar inserts and what not (which I wisely strayed away from), this particular dealer had a bunch of cheap vintage cards he said he picked up at an auction recently. A quick thumb through the box yielded these for about 25 cents each. 

These came from the same vintage box that the 75 Topps cards came from, again at 25 cents each. At that price, you really can't pass up names like these on 70s cardboard.

Continuing with the vintage, these were the only two cards I purchased out of a showcase all day, at a cost of $5 for the pair. This is my first card of Billy Williams and maybe only my second or third of Rod Carew in his prime. 

A few more bargain vintage cards. Robin Yount is severely under represented in my collection and an old school Fleer card will fit in nicely. The bottom two cards I just absolutely couldn't pass up. The dark blue card is a 1981 Fleer Star sticker of longtime Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman in a Twins uniform of all things. The other is a wonderful Drake's card of Gary Carter.

The bargain bins were not plentiful but there were still some decent deals to be had. I found a few that were nothing but Reds cards at various tables and also some good deals in a few dime boxes. The top three cards came from the same place the 75 and 77 cards from earlier did, the Foster Drake's card was from a 50 cent bin, and the Duvall and Morgan were dime box finds.

Some more Reds dime box finds. Two new cards for the Bronson Arroyo collection, some mid-90s action with Bret Boone and Jeff Shaw, plus Edwin Encarnacion and Dave Concepcion!

These Kellogg's cards were four of my best finds of the day and they only ran me a quarter each, since they suffered from some severe curling. As soon as I got home, I stuffed them in top loaders and penny sleeves to (hopefully) flatten them out. Curling issues or not, I just couldn't pass these up.

Last year's Diamond Kings cards have already found their way into the dime boxes as well. The Griffey Jr. card was going to cost me $4 last year, eight months later though? Purchased for mere pennies.

I'll wrap up the baseball portion with a bunch of random cards I purchased at various points throughout the show. My favorite of this batch just has to be the card of Metropolitan Stadium. I might have to consider putting together that whole subset from Allen & Ginter.

With the Blue Jackets doing so well this year, the number of vendors selling hockey cards was pretty much crazy. Last time I went to this show, the closest person selling hockey cards was probably in Kalamazoo. This time, every other vendor had something hockey related. These I picked up for a buck each from a guy who kept trying to push Blue Jackets relic cards on me. The top three cards are from the 1973-74 Topps hockey set. I just had to get them because they featured two defunct teams, the North Stars and the Golden Seals. The bottom two cards are 1972-73 Topps cards. While I'm not familiar with the players, they are definitely some fun looking cards.

Some more random hockey cards, including two from the 2015-16 SP Authentic line. All the cards on the top third are UD Canvas cards that were acquired again for a buck each from a 10-year old kid that was there selling cards with his dad.

Two new cards for the Brodeur collection. As soon as I saw that the one on the right was a National Hockey Card Day card from Canada, I knew it must come home with me.

Here's something pretty unique ... a six card set of the 2009-10 Dayton Gems. If you're not familiar with the Dayton Gems, it's quite alright. The Gems were a short lived team that replaced the long running Dayton Bombers. They debuted in the 2009-10 season as part of the original IHL and then played two more seasons in the Central Hockey League (CHL) before folding. In time, I'll go through these players one by one as these are just too unique to just gloss over here.

I don't really collect basketball cards but I couldn't pass these up, especially the Prizm cards, for a dime each. Old school players on current cards is always a winner.

More cards from the dime boxes, this time of the Bengals variety. I tried to focus on players from the 90s but the A.J. Green card was too good to pass up. I think my favorites were the Topps Finest cards of Darnay Scott and Corey Dillon.

Ok, moving on from the dime box cards now. This was my most expensive single card purchase of the day at five bucks. I'm not a soccer card collector at all and don't follow it but this is a big, yellow swatch and I just couldn't resist.

Now for my best finds of the day. First was this Martin Brodeur Starting Lineup figure for just a buck. That's right, this only cost me one whole dollar for a figure of one of my favorite players ever.

At one table, there was a box full of packs listed at two for a dollar. Did I comb through that box numerous times? You bet I did! There was all kinds of random baseball packs, mainly from the late 80s to the early 90s but I found some gems ... just look at this pile! There's a rack pack of 1989 Topps, a jumbo pack of 1983 Topps, a jumbo pack and a wax pack of 1986 Topps, a pack of 1986 Donruss, plus some random stuff from the mid 90s and 2000s. I plan on opening these one by one and sharing the contents of each on the blog.

Finally, my best finds of the day ... two WHA media guides for $5 each, which I managed to talk down from the asking price of $8 each. I haven't really had the time to dive deep into these but just flipping through them on the surface, there's all kinds of team rosters, stats, and lots more. There are two interesting tidbits on these you can see just by looking at the covers. First, one the 1977-78 guide, WHA MVP Robbie Ftorek wearing a Cincinnati Stingers uniform. Second, is the 1978-79 guide by itself. That season was the final season for the WHA as they merged with the NHL after that season.

While most dealers had lots of cool stuff, most of it out of my price range, I still think I managed to find some pretty good deals. Most of the cards I was able to get for less than a buck each and my biggest purchases were the media guides. After the show, I stopped by the card shop ten minutes from the show venue but that's another story for another day.