Friday, December 5, 2014

Hockey Card Retailer: Mark Tower of Bear Ridge Collectibles

Hello Hockey friends

It has been a while since I've written here, and I have also removed a few blog entries that were more gathering my focus more than what I wanted this blog to become.  I might not do a lot here fast, but I hope to keep this blog going with interviews, memories and hockey card discussions.  I am back from the virtual sleep here, with the beginning of hockey season, school, and various life events, it became a lot harder to keep up to date on the blogs I work on.  But, I am very happy to mark the return with an interview with a retailer from Ebay of Hockey cards.
Mark Tower of Bear Ridge Collectibles has impressed me with service, variety and most of all for a cheapskate like me, price.  So I am pleased to present my interview with Mark Tower: 

Alex Ness: You have a fine ebay store, do you also sell from a brick and mortar street location?

Mark Tower: Right now, I have an online presence only.  At the present time I don't think I'll go the brick and mortar route, but as it grows who knows what may happen in the future.  I do hope in early 2015 to have a permanent booth at the Clarence Antique World Co-Op in Clarence, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. I would also like to start doing shows if they make a comeback around here.

Alex: Your Ebay store sells Hockey cards, do you do any other sports? Or is it your comfort area/interest area and you are going to do it and that alone?

Mark: As recently as last fall, I would say I was equal football and hockey, with some basketball, baseball, racing, soccer, and wrestling mixed in.  However, I've had limited success with that - too many dealers in baseball and football, and limited interest in the others has led me to focus almost primarily on hockey.  I've also found that keeping like items in my store makes it easier for buyers as well.

Alex: Do you have a favorite set of cards yourself? Do you use your ebay to hunt for those?

Mark: Absolutely!  I am a long time collector who decided to try to turn my passion for the hobby into a viable business.  Right now, I am trying to complete the Signature Rookies Miracle on Ice 1980 USA Olympic Team Autograph set.  I have about 65% of the set but am missing most of the toughest ones including Herb Brooks.  I hope I can finish that one someday!  I do luck into some cards for my personal collection occasionally by building relationships with my regular buyers.

Alex: What was the most difficult lesson you've learned from selling on ebay?
Mark:  It's a lesson I'm constantly learning, and one my fiancee is always reminding me off - don't take things personally.  It is the thing I have the hardest time with - for example, getting a terrible price offer on a card I have priced fairly, and then being attacked because I won't take the offer.  It's amazing how many messages I get about how my prices are too high, I don't know what I'm doing, etc.  I need to have a thicker skin about that - but it's hard for me because I take pride in being as fair in every deal and pricing as I possibly can.   Hopefully it's something I will continue to improve at!

Alex: How do you go about pricing? I would go nuts I am afraid. You sell so inexpensively compared to most, and you are so efficient, I can't see profit in your selling.

Mark: Wow that is a great and tough question - my sales philosophy and success  is based on volume purchases and repeat sales, and offering the best possible value to keep happy customers coming back.  To do that it requires me to consistently buy large collections or lots, which can be scary at times, but it's how I can make this work.   That allows me to sell at the prices I do and still be profitable - so high risk and very moderate reward, ha.   The trick for me I guess is to always think of it as a business and not as a collector.  Not the easiest thing for me! It's a very interesting time to be a card dealer as lots of people are getting out - but I do believe you can still be successful at it if you are willing to put in the work and build long term relationships.

Thanks Alex!

Mark Tower
Bear Ridge Collectibles
Buy - Sell - Trade

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Odds and Ends

Hey you Hockey Pucks!  I want to support an animal shelter in my area, but I have no funds.  Paying for cancer treatment after a lifetime of making very little money can really screw things up.  But, I want to try something.  I have 10 hockey jersey cards, and I would be willing to send someone them, for a money order, cash or check made out to the animal shelter.  CROSSROADS is the shelter.  Serious inquiries can be sent to about what ten players, and how much money.  I am avoiding showing them here for the fact that some people have tried to scam me in the past, and I want to have a decent amount of trust in the transaction to make it work.


Some people wrote to me asking for more good sellers on ebay.  I am happy to do so, but again offer no guarantees, and your experience should be let the buyer beware.  I am fortunate to list the sellers I have, my funds are very limited, and having good experiences saves hassle, and makes the most of the dollars I have.








I am on facebook, and one of the aspects of that social media beast is being able to talk to and deal with actual famous people who I might like.  The following three links are to hockey people, who are quite wonderful on FB.

Pavel Datsyuk


Alexei Kovalev

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Players who Push My Angry Button

Not going to spend a lot of time, but, here, these are the players I dislike.

I chose for this display as King of the Bad Men: Todd Bertuzzi.  With Bertuzzi being nearly universally despised, I feel pride in this elective choice. I realize he apologized and such, for what he did to Steve Moore, and I think he meant it.  I still don't like him.

You'll notice, I don't use the word hate here.  Also you won't hear me saying "Even I could play better than..." because I can't.  I can't skate.  I could not keep up with them if there weren't skates.  I might be tempted to use the stick as a weapon, but I don't even think I could come close to being dangerous.  I promise, I am not suggesting anything except, I don't like these players. 

Friday, July 11, 2014


Never let it be said that I do not reward readers of my work, or people who post upon the site.  The following are some of the best sellers on EBAY in my personal, perhaps limited experience.  I recommend them but do not offer guarantees or special discounts.  Just enjoy, have fun, and SCORE!!!!!!!!








Sunday, July 6, 2014

4 of my favorite Card Sets

As someone who doesn't make much if any money, my tastes do not run expensively in hockey cards. I love hockey, and love the cards, but as any buyer or collector knows, collecting requires money, so I am limited.

One card set I really like is from the KHL.  They are relatively cheap if you can find them from a reputable seller.   I have a bought cards from a seller friend in Latvia who sends them, when ordered, for a rate that is very reasonable, and I've never had a problem with the order or delivery time.  The card set features the best players in their KHL jerseys.  The cards offer a variety of signed and jersey special inserts.  I am not a card expert, I realize some folks might dislike the cards for a variety of reasons, but I really enjoy the photography, and the ability to get players who I like who are no longer NHL'ers.

Another set I collect is from the Ultimate hockey set, released by Upper Deck, called "Ultimate National Heroes collection."  They feature a national flag of the player and a jersey swatch, or patch from the jersey, and are numbered below 300 cards.  My favorite players are often neither Canadian or US players, so this set offered to me a breadth of players I normally don't see in hockey cards.

I am a fool for the card designs of Pacific.  2003-2004 Pacific Prism cards come in a wide variety of colors, and it is rather exciting to have a cards of the players you collect in metallic colors: Red, Blue, Gold and Silver. The cards include variations and signatures, and all the bells and whistles you can imagine.

Lastly, another lovely Pacific card set, Pacific Luxury Suite, again, 2003-04.  The company might well do things a bit more ostentatiously than other companies, and it is true that there is no Old School feel to these cards.  However, for what they are I find the look to be very beautiful, and the cards are some I wish to collect the entire series and tangent mini sets of inserts for. 

In my next installment I will let you know, my Favorite Sellers on Ebay.  I will name names, and provide links.  I am not going to do so for reasons of reward, in fact, I will offer a disclaimer that I am not an agent for any of the sellers, nor do I guarantee that your experience will match my own.  But I think of what I am going to do as a service to you the reader.  If you like to collect cards in a lust filled rage of opulent purchases, well you might want to ignore my advice.  If you like to collect, from people who do a good job, and you can save money by going through, then you'll appreciate my advice.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When I Realized That I Loved Hockey

March or April 1981

My father and I had to visit Minnesota for a reason that has faded into the grey of my memory.  He and I had football interest in common, but he didn't like baseball and he thought hockey was from the planet Mars.  He did not like it or, actually, understand why others did like it.

We stayed at my beloved Auntie Joan and Uncle Leo's home for the two overnights.  And what I found on television was amazing.  It was the final of The High School Boy's Hockey Tournament.  Bloomington Jefferson High School versus Irondale.  It does not matter who won, what matters was that for the time I watched, every play was of great importance, and the boys on the ice played with every ounce of emotion and courage I'd ever seen.  As I've outlined here before, I did like hockey much sooner than 1981.  But, there is a difference between liking something, and loving it, and between watching from a distance and becoming deeply involved in the ongoing event.

It would not be true to say I had a stake in the result, hence my not reporting the end result.  I simply realized that this sport was of unique beauty, and savage brutality, all at once.  I did not know any of the players, but by the end of the game, I felt like they'd all be in the NHL soon.  I've tried to watch the Hockey tournaments every year, and this year, to my despair, due to having cancer ongoing treatments, I forgot entirely about them. It is my great loss that I missed them this year.

I realize that everyone who does like it, likes hockey for different reasons.  For me, there are many reasons, but watching that awesome game, made me feel like I forgot to breathe during each play.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An Interview With A Super Fan

Introducing Miss Kelsey Graice

Kelsey is a Hockey fan extraordinary and I chose to interview her for the fact that on Twitter, when the game is on, she is on fire, making the game almost as interesting as her commentary.

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I'm from Oakville, Ontario but live in Los Angeles now.

On Twitter you entertain a lot of folks with your commentary about hockey.  How did you become a fan?

I think I was always a hockey fan. Growing up in Canada, it's always part of the dialogue, part of the culture. My brothers played, I played, the neighbourhood kids played. We all gathered around the TV to watch Hockey Night in Canada. I don't think you can really escape it.

What team is your favorite, what players do you dig, and, why them?

The LA Kings are my favourite, of course! Growing up in a household of Leafs fans. I think I was around 6 or 7, when I decided the Kings were my team. I wanted to be different than my brothers. And Gretzky wasn't too bad. I always get asked who my favourite players are. This is like Sophie's choice for me with so many amazing Kings guys, past and present. Looking at this season and the team now, I am a big Martinez fan this year, will always love Kopi (have #11 tattooed on me), Quick is a golden god so you can't hate on that. I love them all for different reasons, even when they're having a rough time.

Do you collect hockey cards, memorabilia?  Do you go to signings and such?

I am a huge collector. I have hundreds of hockey cards, lots of game-worn sweaters, sticks, helmets, etc. I don't go to signings. I am really really shy when it comes to meeting them. I would never be brave enough to ask for a picture or a photo. So I buy things that are pre-signed. haha. I turn into a four year old kid around NHL players, because they will always be my heroes.

If you could meet one player for an hour, in a room, alone, without any interruptions, who would it be?

If I could spend an hour with a player it would be Bobby Orr. I just think he is beyond an amazing player, he is a good human being. He is full of wisdom. If you haven't read his autobiography, I would highly recommend it.

What city needs a hockey team, what city needs to lose its team?  Why?

I would love for Seattle to get a team (name it the Metropolitans please, love the tradition of that). I think it would be a great market to support a team. I don't know if the Florida Panthers are supporting their team. I've seen some photos with some very empty arenas. Also San Jose should lose their team, because I hate them.

Everyone who loves hockey has a player they cannot stand, whether it is a player their team has on the roster that they wish would go away, or an agitator from another team who gets under your skin.  Who is yours?

A player I love to hate would definitely be Corey Perry. You have to dislike his tactics on the ice as an agitator but at the same time, his skill level is undeniable. From chirping, cheap shots, and filling gloves with water, he is the definition of annoying on the ice. But he has a sweet shot.

Of all the games you've watched, on telly or in person, what is the most memorable and why?

I remember the first game I went to with my dad. Leafs and Rangers. All I remember is my dad caught a puck and I just held it the entire game. I thought it was the most magical thing to have an actual puck that NHL players had played with.

Thank you Kelsey

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

UMD Bulldogs versus Bowling Green

4 overtimes, 5 Bowling Green, 4 University of Minnesota Duluth.

When I tried to say it was sad but each team had their chances, I was told to shut the F*&^ up and later challenged to a fist fight.   While I wanted the Bulldogs to win, since I was going to school there, 4OTs means, you should not feel one bit ashamed to be the loser, you could well have been the winner.  I know life is hard, but second place in such a game isn't something to be ashamed of.  People don't really like to hear that.  They want to say they were robbed, or the other team got lucky, but really, 7 periods of hockey, at that level of intensity, one goal difference?  That means that the two teams were very even.

SOURCE for further reading.

Memories of this game are still a bit sad, since the team was so great, and fun to watch, but in retrospect it is OK by me.  Kosher meals always serve a sweet when they serve a bitter, to remind us how life works, well, UMD Bulldogs lost, true, but they did so in spectacular fashion.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

As Topps' Sets Go

It's weird how in my time of collecting and tinkering with hockey cards that funny little trends you tend to notice.  One that has always been a bit strange is the Parkhurst(focusing on Canadian teams leaving Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull out of some sets) /Topps(focusing on US teams leaving greats like Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard) thing and the OPC/Topps thing.  To this day most Canadiens will scoff at collecting anything but OPC from the late 60's through the mid 80's.  Anyway, by the mid sixties parkhurst was gone and topps got on the ball and created what I consider to be one of the coolest looking sets they have made in hockey 1965-66 Topps.  Not only does this set have the batman-styled team headings(built out of pucks) at the top of the cards but it also features the Gordie Howe "FIRST NHL 600 GOAL SCORER".  Now lets talk rookie cards. Since every vintage set collector always wants good rookies in the set they are building to help it keep value this set has some all time greats.  How about Gerry Cheevers (HOF), Yvon Cournoyer (HOF), Ed Giacomin(HOF), Paul Henderson, Ken Hodge, and some guy named Phil Esposito(HOF)(who doesn't look quite look right in that Blackhawks jersey).  I have started this 132 card set and right now I possess 44/132.  Some of the highlights I have now are Henri Richard, Tim Horton, Bruins, Rangers, Canadiens, and Red Wings Team Cards, Bobby Hull, Jean Beliveau, and Dave Keon.  This is a labor of love that I have been working on for about eighteen months and am enjoying every minute of the hunt...but man is it starting to get hard.