For the first time I can remember, I have no further leads on any Justin Duchscherer cards.  I am down to only 16 cards remaining to complete my non-1/1 checklist, so the pickings are pretty slim at this point.  I know of two eBay purchases made in the late summer of 2011 involving cards I don't have, but one individual has not responded and the other cannot find the card (despite that card being a 1/1).  I knew I would eventually hit a wall on my leads, but this is harder than I thought it would be.  I have had other moments (found in my past blog postings) when I did not know when my next Justin Duchscherer mailday would occur, but I always had a lead or two.

I did hear back from the Oakland A's regarding my inquiry as to whether they had any extra sets of the 2004 Plumber's Union and the 2005 A's Issue team sets.  Unfortunately, they do not have either of those sets.  They did, howver, send me a cool little grab-bag of player postcards and 2006/2007 A's team issue set cards.  That was a very nice gesture on their part.  I have an email currently out to Topps to see if they have any 2011 1/1 cards that were sent back as part of the Topps scavenger hunt.  I know one buyer sent his Justin Duchscherer 2011 Topps Printing Plate in, so I am hopeful Topps still has it.

In the meantime, I am keeping myself busy with other card collections.  I finished my inventory of current set cards.  I'll be purchasing a few more set base cards over the coming months to fill out my 2011 Heritage and 2011 Topps Tier One sets.  I will also be purchasing the 2011 Topps Update, Bowman Chrome Prospects 111-220, and Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects 1-110 sets over the coming months.  That will complete my 2011 set run.  I briefly considered making a run at ALL 2011 sets (base sets only), but I ran the calculations and it would just be too expensive.  Maybe down the road one day, but right now I am enjoying working on my Pete Maravich and Rickey Henderson player collections, and my 1951 Bowman collection.
 
 
A couple days ago, I received in the mail the Justin Duchscherer 2009 Allen & Ginter Mini Bazooka Back /25 that I won on eBay!  You can see a scan of the back here.  I can't believe how lucky it was that this card surfaced so shortly after my previous Duchscherer mailday.  The Ginter Bazooka Back brings my total to 205/221 non-1/1 Justin Duchscherer cards (92.76%).  I only have 16 cards remaining.  My 2012 goal was to get to 90% by the summer of 2012.  I have blown right through that benchmark, and I'll set my sights on getting to 95% (210/221) by the end of this summer.  That would be about one new card a month.  It seems like a tall task at this time, but my diligence has paid off so far with far more maildays than I originally anticipated.

Aside from my Justin Duchscherer collection, I have had a blast moving my 2011 sets into binders.  It is sort of like seeing all those cards for the first time, again.  I am trying to save some money for the TriStar show in April, so I busy myself with sorting cards to keep myself from buying more cards.  I did make a small COMC purchase, though.  I picked up ten more base cards for my 2011 Topps Tier One set, and I picked up five more cards for my 2011 Topps Heritage set.  The plan is to keep chipping away at those sets at the rate of a few cards each month, and, by the end of 2012, I should have both sets completed.  I will probably back burner a few of my player collections (Rickey Henderson and Pete Maravich, specifically) in order to save up for the TriStar show.  Of course, if certain Justin Duchscherer cards pop up, I may have to dip into that budget a little early ;)
 
 
I received a totally unexpected, and totally awesome, surprise in the mail a few days ago!  My buddy, Erik ("Keyser Soze" on FCB and Beckett), had sent me some 1951 Bowman cards for my set a few weeks ago, which was an amazing gesture.  He then went out of his way again to surprise me with a Duchscherer mailday.  I received an envelope from him and was puzzled as to what it could be.  I opened it up, and it was the "Duke" ... literally!  You can see the card he sent here.  I have never seen the 2004 Leaf autograph with that inscription.  It looks awesome, and I am so excited to have that card as part of my collection.  Thanks, Erik!

As for the latest Justin Duchscherer purchase, I just won an eBay auction for the Justin Duchscherer 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Bazooka Back /25!  That was one of the 17 cards left on my hit list.  I can't wait to receive that card.  It will bring my total to 205/221.  That is a crazy-high percentage of Justin Duchscherer's non-1/1 cards.  I swear, every time I think it will be awhile until my next Duchscherer mailday, a card or two just happen to surface.  I must be the luckiest player collector around.

I've been taking it easy on the card purchases this month after a bit of a spending spree in December 2011 and January 2012.  Plus, the Tri-Star show will be coming to San Francisco in April, and I want to make sure I have some funds available for that trip.  I am currently moving my sets into binders, and they look fantastic.  A nice member of FreedomCardboard provided me with a sweet label template to use for the binder spine.  It looks very professional.  I anticipate a few more purchases for my sets this month, but who knows?  There may even be another Justin Duchscherer card that pops up! 
 
 
The Justin Duchscherer 2005 SPx Jersey Spectrum /99 arrived today!  You can view it here.  That brings my total to 204/221 non-1/1 Justin Duchscherer cards (92.31%).  I only have 17 cards left to complete the entire set.  You can view my "Need List" on the home page of this website.  I love the "free listing" days on eBay because sellers just throw all their old cards on the site, and I usually find one that I need for my collection.  It could be tough sledding from here on out, though.  After receiving that amazing lot from Justin Duchscherer's father, I can see how hard it will be to pick up some of the older cards serial-numbered to 10 or less.  Luckily, so far, every time I thought I hit a wall, another card I need pops up.  It may take years to complete this set, if ever, but it has been so much fun putting it together.

I also received the complete 2011 Topps Series 2 set (#331-660) today.  I will start moving those cards into a binder shortly.  After all the cards i have acquired since this past December, I am on a tighter card budget going forward.  That's why the sets will come in handy.  I love the look of the cards in the binders, and I can spend many hours sorting and doing an inventory of low-end base cards that are very inexpensive.  I am looking to add a few cards to a couple other set collections this month, including a small lot of 1951 Bowman cards.  I figure I need to start saving now for the big Tri-Star card show in San Francisco in April.  Tons of dealers and tons of buying opportunities! 
 
 
The day after Christmas is always a bit of a letdown for a kid.  That's kind of how I felt today after my awesome mailday yesterday.  It was so special that every other mailday sort of pales in comparison.  Still, I was able to follow up yesterday's glory with a nice purchase today.  I was able to win an auction on eBay for a Justin Duchscherer 2005 SPx Jersey Spectrum /99!  I do not have a copy of that card in my collection, and I cannot wait to add it to the others.  The arrival of that card will leave a mere 17 cards left to complete my Justin Duchscherer non-1/1 collection.

I also purchased a 2011 Topps Series 2 complete set (#331-660).  My first child, a girl, was born in July of 2011, so I am putting together a number of 2011 sets for her (and me).  I'll be doing the Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Topps Allen & Ginter, Topps Heritage, Topps Tier One, Topps Series 1, Topps Series 2, and Topps Update.  I have most of the sets completed, and I am having a blast picking up singles to complete the Tier One and Heritage sets.  I am moving all the sets into binders because sets just look so awesome when displayed in that fashion.  It's a very inexpensive, yet lengthy process that helps me budget my purchases each month with a lot of base cards to inventory.  I'm looking forward to my next mailday.
 
 
Today was a fantastic day.  I checked the USPS tracking info on the Justin Duchscherer card lot I was expecting, and I found out it was arriving today (a day early).  I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning!  I got home and there was the beautiful, golden bubble mailer just waiting to be opened.  Here were the goodies that jumped out of this present:

2002 Donruss Chicago Collection #158 RR  /5

2002 Donruss Elite Chicago National #175 ROO  /5
2002 Donruss Stat Line Season #158 RR  /20
2004 A's Plumbers Union #12 (autographed)
2005 SPx Signature Spectrum #79 AU  /10

2005 SPx Superscripts #DS AU  #/15
2005 Topps Black #421  /54
2005 Topps Chrome Red Xfractors #294  /25

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X Purple #732  /150
2008 Finest Moments Autographs Refractors Red #JD AU  /25
2008 Topps Update Black #UH270  /57

What an unbelievable haul!  This lot was extra special, too, because it came courtesy of ... Justin Duchscherer's father!  That's right, Justin Duchscherer's father was the "mystery man" with whom I have been negotiating.  I happened to come across an old eBay sale from 2008 and I contacted the buyer with a total shot-in-the-dark question asking if he still had the card.  The buyer replied that he had multiple copies of the card because ... it was Justin Duchscherer's father!  We have been emailing back and forth a bit, and I came to find out that he had a bunch of older cards of Justin.  As you can see from the list of cards he sent me, there are a lot of older cards, a lot of beautiful color, and a lot of short prints that probably would never have surfaced again.  I can't thank him enough for sending me so many amazing cards for my collection of his son.

I don't think today's mailday will ever be topped.  I don't know how many collectors come into contact with a family member of the player they collect, but it was an incredible experience for me and it was a pleasure conversing with Justin Duchscherer's father.  Not only was the haul incredible, but it also put me at 203/221 non-1/1s for my Justin Duchscherer collection.  That comes out to 91.86% of all non-1/1 cards of Justin.  Crazy.  Plus, there is another card ending on eBay in less than 24 hours that I plan on winning.  Once that card arrives, I will be down to a mere 17 cards left on my hit list!  Who knows when/if they will show up, but the chase has led to some pretty amazing events and connections in my life.  I'll end this post exactly how I started it ... today was a fantastic day.