The (Re)Opening Act

25 01 2010

Author: ToddUncommon

I’d like to think of this as a long-time invitation finally fulfilled.  Last spring, Mario asked if I would be willing to contribute to Wax Heaven.  I’ve been posting as ToddUncommon here and on some popular hobby blogs for over a year, so some of you may recall some comments I’ve made here and there.  I’ve always made time for comments (that’s easy), but thanks to Mario, I now have the benefit of a commitment.  I try to be funny.  Sometimes I even succeed.

In anticipation of Mario’s return to Wax Heaven, I’ll toss out some hobby commentary (like “high end” won’t save collecting; it’s just the lead car on the hobby lollercoaster), some wax crackin’, some wise crackin’, and general tomfoolery.  My occupational life history in 3D graphics software should help provide a unique perspective (though, thankfully, no Tron suits with moose knuckle). Except for that time. Just now.

My collecting tendencies are towards vintage and oddball stuff, mostly baseball and football.  I also can’t avoid my now almost primal need to open up new wax, score some hits, and put a few sets together. Add that to over 30 years of experience, and this should be fun.

Credentials, you ask?  I’ve been collecting since I was six.  My grandmother bought me the first cards I can remember. She got a a rack pack for me that contained a Reggie, a Bobby Bonds, Honus and Ted ATGs, and the only name I recognized, Hank Aaron:

I used to keep it in my dresser drawer when I was seven.  Other kids would make fat offers to trade it when I was in middle school. I got it hand-signed by The Man at a show in Portland, Oregon in 1984.  For my collection / accumulation / unintentional hoard, this card is my FILO: First In, Last Out.

Thanks for the invite, Mario, and looking forward to helping Wax Heaven keep on keepin’ on.


All Good Things Come To An End

6 12 2009

Truth be told, I never expected this day to come. For the record, I shut down the site about two years ago due to frustration but it only lasted a couple of days.

Today, I am shutting down Wax Heaven and it has absolutely nothing to do with trading cards. Simply put, I spent way more time than I should have writing and collecting and didn’t take time to appreciate all the things I had.

I am now starting a new (single life) at the age of 29. I won’t have time to blog and probably won’t even have Internet for a few months while I get my finances straightened out. As for the site’s future …

Wax Heaven will remain open and you will still have a chance to read and participate in discussions for over 2,600 stories written in 2+ years. I have given administrative power to a friend who will approve comments but there will be no new content.

On a less serious note: I will continue my 20-year obsession with collecting Jose Canseco baseball cards and will continue to support the Florida Marlins, so long as they keep Andrew Miller. If possible, you might even see some Spring Training photos in 2010.

Until then, I want to thank everyone who helped the site grow from a 15 visits per day card blog in October of 2007 to a 3,000-5,000 visitor site by mid-2009. It was more work than I ever imagined but worth every minute I put into it.

Make sure to check out all the card blogs in the Sports Cards Blogroll for your fix of trading card news and commentary and the Best Of section for some of the more memorable happenings at Wax Heaven since the beginning of the site.

Best Wishes,

-Mario Alejandro

Still the greatest card ... ever.

The Wax Heaven Official Brand

6 12 2009

While I’m not exactly thrilled to be walking away from Wax Heaven, I have to say I am somewhat relieved that I won’t be able to do my End of the Year special, titled ‘The Waxxies’. It’s just a lot of work.

Rather than focus on the best of 2009 I figured it would be good to write about the best product of all-time, in my humble opinion. While it would be hard not to give the award to Pinnacle Brands for their many great releases, I’ve decided to think outside the (wax) box.

I believe the best brand ever to be released came from Fleer / Skybox. The first release came in 1995 and was simply titled ‘Emotion’. The following year it was ‘Emotion-XL’ but it was in 1997 that they really came into their own as E-X 2000.

To this day, I have never seen a trading card quite like it. It truly is one of the greatest, most artistic releases to come out of The Hobby and although Upper Deck now owns the name, I don’t think they will ever be done “right” again.

You can check out a box break of 1997 E-X 2000 HERE. You can also more coverage here. E-X returned in 1998 with a design that was way over the top and not quite as great as the years before. Although the magic was clearly gone, parallels from the 1998 release make a killing on eBay.

Below is a sample gallery featuring the ‘Emotion’ brand. Each year is represented and today you can find unopened boxes hovering for around $40 dollars on eBay and sometimes even less at card shows. If you love great photography and truly unique card designs, any of these four issues are sure to please.

Old School Until the End

4 12 2009

If there’s been one constant theme during the 2+ years of Wax Heaven, it has to be the love and appreciation for old school 90s wax. Sure, odds are you won’t find a certified autograph or game-used relic card but there is still a lot of treasure to be found in forgotten wax.

Circa Thunder wasn’t that special, even back in 1998. The cards were flimsy, the design was gaudy, and the card backs, which featured Hip-Hop slang, were embarrassing. Still, it hasn’t stopped player collectors from spending a fortune on the Super Rave parallels #’d to 25 copies.

Recently, a member of Freedom Card Board named ‘Boomo’ purchased a box of ’98 Circa Thunder for a measly $35 dollars. You can imagine his surprise when he found a Super Rave, an extremely tough pull back then. The problem? It was of one-hit wonder, Dave Nilsson.

Alright, Nilsson, born in Australia, wasn’t exactly a one-hit wonder. He was actually a reliable, power-hitting All-Star during his 8 years in the Majors but ultimately chose to leave America to play international ball. By the time he tried to return in 2003, he lost his love for the game and retired.

You would think that a guy with 105 career home runs wouldn’t be much of a hot seller, right? Well, not according to the final selling price on that Super Rave “Boomo” pulled and wasn’t too pleased with. Who could blame him, right? Just another reason to never doubt the madness of player collectors.

Below is a small gallery from 1998 Circa Thunder to give you an example of what one might pull if they were to purchase a box. For those brave souls looking to gamble for a chance to pull a Super Rave parallel, there are currently two unopened boxes on eBay for under $40 dollars.

All I can say is good luck, you’re going to need it!

A Special Thank You Contest

4 12 2009

Yesterday afternoon, I received a package from Topps Company which included sample boxes of T-206 and Heritage High Number Series. Unfortunately, I will not be able to write my usual reviews so instead I’d like to close out the year by holding one final contest.

Below is a 1/1 printing plate pulled from the box of T-206. It features some guy named Albert. I don’t have his stats available but I hear he’s supposed to be very good. He’s no 16-year old super prospect and probably very few people know him but at least’s it’s a 1/1, right?

Anyway, to enter the contest simply leave a comment with your name, location, and how long you have been reading Wax Heaven. There are no right answers or preferential treatment given, as the winner will be chosen through on Monday morning. Make sure to get your entry in by Sunday night for a chance to win.

PS.The Razor contest was never decided due to lack of time. I am sending all three prizes to non-sports card blogger, Trader Crack’s so that he may decide a winner.

UPDATE – The winner is SWAG

Where Have You Been All My Life?

3 12 2009

Let’s face it: Jose Canseco will likely never appear on a licensed trading card ever again. While other retired players get the Topps special treatment, I am stuck with old releases and any upcoming, non-licensed cards that hit the Hobby.

Thankfully, there are still hundreds, if not thousands of “Broder” cards out there to chase down. While many collectors and hobby publications look down on these releases (and for good reason), to a guy who collects a pariah like Jose, they are the next best thing to new cards.

As for those unlicensed “Broder” cards that were just about everywhere in the 80’s and 90’s, most of the time they didn’t feature the best design (or any at all). This one here, supposedly from 1987, looks fantastic and actually features some really good-looking artwork.

What an improvement over the Diamond Kings created by legendary sports cards artist Dick Perez and released by Donruss Trading Cards in 1987. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Both cards are worthless today but this unknown copy looks so much better. If only we knew what other players were produced.

Click here to see the worst Broder release of all-time …

How Unique is Topps Unique?

3 12 2009

One of the more anticipated Topps products of 2009, Unique, is now live and several singles have hit eBay. Surprisingly, it’s not the “big hits” that have caught my attention but the game-used relics.

Below is a small gallery of some of the cards currently on eBay. Take a look at the Miguel Cabrera on the left. It features a tired concept (to me anyway) of a memorabilia card and a very old photo but the design is magnificent.

The Mark Teixeira Jumbo patch looks great but there’s certainly nothing “unique” about it, as we’ve seen it multiple times in Topps products from the past few years but the 1/1 Hanley Ramirez laundry tag card is simply amazing.

Blowout Cards is pre-selling boxes of Unique for just under $120 dollars. For that price you get some well-designed cards and either one autograph or two game-used relics. As expected, Topps Unique features 100% sticker autographs.

If and when the prices of unopened boxes hits closer to $100 dollars, it could be one of the big sellers of the year. Of course, it all depends on what big cards hit eBay in the next few days and what kind of box breaks collectors show off in the forums.

How do YOU feel about Unique so far?