Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Candice Michelle Autograph Card

Often times, I upload these ''girl cards'' knowing very few people will have heard of the person depicted on the card; this is not one of those times. Even if the name Candice Michelle doesn't ring a bell, you've seen her many, many times.

Born Candice Michelle Beckman-Ehrlich on September 30, 1978 - a mere 16 days after myself - in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she moved to Los Angeles in 1999 after winning a few modeling contests. After enrolling in acting school, she started using her middle name as her last name and her career took off in a hurry. In addition to modeling, she appeared on a bunch of TV shows, including Party Of Five, 7th Heaven and the Cinemax softcore series Hotel Erotica.

In 2002, she appeared as Playboy's Cyber Girl Of The Week and could subsequently be seen in the films Tomcats (with Jerry O'Connell), Anger Management (with Adam Sandler), DodgeBall (with Ben Stiller) and A Man Apart (with Vin Diesel).

Having always been in top physical shape - to say the least - she often appeared on the cover of fitness magazines; it was only a matter of time before putting that body to work would become very lucrative. In 2004, she made her wrestling debut for the WWE and went on the win the Women's Championship belt. By the end of the decade, however, injuries - specifically recurring collarbone breaks - forced her out of wrestling, and she was free to resume her acting and modeling careers full-time.

She has been a regular cast member of Playboy TV's Totally Busted ( prank-based show) and, from 2005 to 2008, was the official Go Daddy Girl, appearing in four consecutive Super Bowl ads for the brand, before getting replaced by Danica Patrick. In movies, she now appears in more serious films, such as indie gem Thumbsucker and John Travolta's sleep-inducing follow-up to Get Shorty, Be Cool.

All in all, if you've watched TV or films or seen ads in the past decade, you've probably seen a lot more of the shapely Mrs. Michelle than you initially thought.

And chances are you don't mind seeing her here, from this beautiful autograph card from Benchwarmer's 2010 Signature Series (card #100A), signed in black sharpie. Because of who she is, her autographed cards are usually among the most valuable of all Benchwarmer cards; this one can already reach five times as much as others in Ebay auctions, and is considered to already be worth $25-35.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Alex Auld: Two Autographed Cards

When people think of Alex Auld, it's usually as a journeyman goaltender who has played for 8 NHL and 2 AHL teams in the past 6 seasons alone, but they forget he is an established and decorated veteran.

Like most NHLers, he was a star in juniors, making the OHL'S Second All-Rookie team in 1998-99 and its Third All-Star Team two years later, to go with his World Juniors bronze medal. Drafted 40th overall in the second round of the 1999 Draft by the Florida Panthers - a high pick for a goalie at the time - he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for two draft picks.

He was long considered the Canucks' top goaltending prospect, much like Cory Schneider right now, and eventually landed the starting job in the 2005-06 season, playing in 67 games with a 2.94 goals-against average and .902 save percentage, winning both the Molson Cup as the player with the most Three Stars selections and the Cyclone Taylor trophy as the team's MVP. When the Canucks didn't make the playoffs, he was invited to play with Team Canada at the World Championships, splitting duties with Marc Denis for a 4th-place finish. Things were looking up.

But the Canucks traded him back to the Panthers, this time for established -and perennial Vezina trophy nominee Roberto Luongo, in a trade that also involved Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, Lukas Krajicek and a draft pick that became Peter Aston. To make matters worse, the Panthers hired bad boy goalie Ed Belfour on the free agent market, and he doesn't take competition too well. One incident in particular left Auld hospitalized.

The next summer, Auld thought the Phoenix Coyotes could be a place where he'd have a place to shine, but with the Anaheim Ducks putting Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers, the offer was too good for the Coyotes to pass up, and Auld was let go in December, traded to the Boston Bruins.

Once again, free agency came along and he signed with the Ottawa Senators, where he beat out Martin Gerber for the starting job. Unfortunately, the trade winds came along again, bringing Pascal Leclaire from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and to the Dallas Stars Auld went, before concluding the 2009-10 season with the New York Rangers.

All in all, before signing with the Montréal Canadiens this summer, Auld had been the #1 goalie on three different teams and played for Team Canada three times, which is more than most journeymen goalies can say, apart perhaps from HVC darling Fred Brathwaite.

And in addition to having had an interesting career path, Auld also brings a team-first attitude and quite a distinctive signature, as can be attested on these two autographed cards. Love it!

Speaking of ''these cards'', the one on the left is from Topps' 2002-03 O-Pee-Chee set (card #271, labeled Prospects as it was his rookie card) and sees him sporting my second-favourite Canucks jersey (the top being the 80s all-black with the skate logo). The card on the right sees him wearing the Senators' current red jersey, although the angle of the picture makes the Reebok jersey look like a pajama, as of them many do; this one is from the 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee set, this time manufactured by Upper Deck. It's card #653 in the set of 660, and I think the gold border means it's an insert.

I sent Auld a fan letter on September 28th, care of the Habs' practice facility, and got both cards back signed in black sharpie on November 18th - a mere month and a half later.

James Wyman Autograph Card

James Wyman is a 24-year old rookie who played 3 games for the Montréal Canadiens in 2009-10 and is currently with their AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs. He is currently listed on each AHL stat sheet as ''J.T. Wyman'' and has 2 goals and 4 assists (for 6 points) in 15 games so far.

The Habs' 4th-round pick in 2004 (100th overall) has rarely been a point-per-game player at any level past high school; as a matter of fact, the only time it happened was in 2007-08, in his fourth year playing for the  Dartmouth Big Green of the ECAC, when he went 15-15-30 in 29 games as a senior. Chances are this right-handed right winger will be a checker if and when he makes it to the NHL - and not a grinder, seeing as the season he had the most penalty minutes was 20 (yes, 20 minutes), in 2006-07. Last year, in Hamilton, he went 17-20-37 in 76 games with 12 PIMs.

That being said, this is a beautiful foil-tinted rookie card from Panini's 2010-11 Certified set; it consists of the regular card (#202 in the set), on which they put a sticker that Wyman signed in blue sharpie, which I think is a terrific idea - it saves collectors the trouble of getting the same card autographed and keeps the set's cost low because the company doesn't have to issue a small-print run of each player who signs. It's limited-edition-numbered 202/799 - which I'm not entirely sure if it means Wyman himself signed 799 of these (wouldn't make much sense) or if there are 799 total autographed cards inserted in packs (which I'm willing to believe).

I really like this card because it could be the only one he'll ever get. Ten years from now, this card will help me remember he actually suited up for 3 games last season. And who knows? Maybe with hard work, dedication and a bit of luck, he could become a reliable NHLer some day. Also, the player standing behind him in the picture is none other than Ryan O'Byrne, whom the Habs traded to the Colorado Avalanche last week for prospect Michael Bournival.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Megan Hauserman Kiss Card

Just like the Yvette Nelson card I featured earlier, this superb Kiss Card is from Benchwarmer's 2007 Gold Edition set, and features Megan Hauserman, the 21st of only 24 models asked to kiss a card rather than autograph it.

Since then, however, Megan has come a long way. She is pretty much VH1's go-to girl when it comes to Reality TV series, seeing as she's appeared in all of the following shows: Beauty And The Geek (Season 3), Rock Of Love (Season 2), I Love Money (Season 1), Rock of Love: Charm School, The Great Debate, Megan Wants A Millionaire, The Truth Commercial and, of course, Rock Of Love: Where Are They Now. So, really, it seems VH1 is really interested in finding this poor gal somebody to love. Unfortunately for them, it's been reported that she is currently engaged with one Anthony Scirpoli, of Cerca Trova Fashion, a jewelry company. I guess she found her millionaire after all.

She was rewarded for all her hard work in 2008, at the Fox Reality Awards by winning the coveted Best Awkward Moment trophy with Bret Michaels, for their moment in Rock Of Love 2.

Seriously, though, VH1 should branch out and try new people on their shows; it's becoming quite an incestuous relationship of spin-offs and sequels that never seem to end and just keep blending into one another.