Saturday, October 21, 2017

Tales From The Card Show Part 3: The Spx Surprise

(I have told this story before on Sport Card Collectors but today's version is a tad bit more in-depth and with a bonus story)

It was a new month and time for another new card show. With each one I found myself digging myself deeper into the hobby. I think it helped being surrounded by many other hobbyists. 

As I walked around the show from dealer to dealer looking for new additions, I kept hearing these great things about this new product called Upper Deck Spx and how everyone had to get their hands onto it. 

There was so much excitement because of its design, rare inserts and the possibility of pulling autographs of Joe Montana and Dan Marino. I kept hearing about it so much that my father and I took a break from looming around and went over to the hobby shop dealer, the guy also ran the show, to see of he had a pack or two we could grab.

There was roughly only a third of a box left so I knew I had to buy some then or I would probably miss out. Then I looked at the price tag of $6.99 per pack and knew this product must mean business and I also knew couldn't afford too many if we expected to buy anything else at the show. You see $6.99 per pack was a lot back then especially for only 1 card.

I began to reach into the box when my best friend Brian's uncle Tim came over to show me his stack of cards he had already bought from the box. They were some great looking cards that only made me want them more so I grabbed the top two packs.

I paid for the packs and handed one to my father and kept one for myself while Tim stayed to watch us open. The pack my father opened yielded him a Emmitt Smith base card and my pack had this Barry Sanders base card in it:

Overall, I felt pretty good about this purchase. I just wished I could have bought more. They just looked so good.

So as my father and I were heading back to where we left off, I turned around to wave goodbye to Tim as I watched him reach into the Spx box again. Something told me to wait and see what he got, but I just wanted to get back to the show before I headed back to spend what we had left for money.

Just as we were closing in on the next dealers table, I all of a sudden felt a quietness over the show.  Dealers from other tables and fellow collectors at the show started to head towards Tim at the main dealers table, so my father and I did the same.

As we approached him I could see him holding an Spx wrapper backwards and the dealer handing him a toploader and penny sleeve. I managed my way through a few collectors and could see him holding in his possession a........STINKING JOE MONTANA SPX UPPER DECK TRIBUTE AUTOGRAPHED CARD!!!!!

 I could only stare with my jaw dropped then immediately wondered what might have been. What would have happened had I not wanted to buy anything else and just picked up another pack or two? Would that have been mine? Could have that been mine? OH MAN! I can't believe it! What a card! I congratulated Tim and continued on with the show holding in possession a Barry Sanders card that would always make think back to that moment and what could have been.

So to this day, every time I stumble upon this card when sorting, it brings me back to that moment. The time I almost could have pulled a Joe Montana autograph. I then wonder how many other collectors have been through something like this. If you have, please share. I will try to hold back my tears as I hope you did for me.

(Lucky for me I was able to trade for one of these 3 years ago but it would have been much more epic to had pulled it back then)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tales From The Card Show Part 2:Rivals

Rivals. Nothing can drive a person or company more than having competition to beat out your rival.
Some rivals of the 90's include Pokรฉmon vs. Digimon, Nickelodeon vs. Cartoon Network, Chandler vs. Joey, Britney Spears vs. Cristina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys vs. NSync vs 98 Degrees,Holyfield vs. Tyson, Reggie Miller vs. Spike Lee, Michael Jordan vs the whole NBA and Beckett vs Tuff Stuff.
What's Tuff Stuff? Well, it was the other Price Guide of the 90's and early 2000's. I say it was the "other" because not many used it. Especially at card shows. Most dealers at my local card show would price the cards they were selling using Beckett. You would find a few who would use Tuff Stuff and those people were really hard to bargain with. You see, it seemed like Tuff Stuff always overvalued cards where Beckett had them where they needed to be.

I can't say I never bought a Tuff Stuff or two, but when I did it was mainly bought for the special covers like this one,

and not for the price guide. I did however enjoy some of the articles they did so I would buy it just for that as well, or for the fact they had expanded pricing on pretty much every card or I would buy when there were times I couldn't get a Beckett as Tuff Stuff was easier to find in stores than Becketts. I think that could be the reason why some collectors at the time preferred to use Tuff Stuff pricing locally.


It's amazing with only one market that two price guide magazines had two different takes on values. In today's collecting it's much more complicated as many collectors use different forms of value on their cards.

You fast forward to today and must admit that Beckett won the rivalry by far. They are still on the market unlike Tuff Stuff and have expanded so much since the 90's going into Grading, online and so much more.

I sometimes flip through a Tuff Stuff to bring back the nostalgia and sometimes wonder what the hobby would be like today if it hadn't been for the emergence of eBay and if we had two price guides on the market instead.......thoughts?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tales From The Card Show Part 1:The First Time

Back in the late 90's, we had something here that was called a Sport Card Show. I am sure many of you find this relevant in your area still but not where I am.

There are no card shows. There are no LCS'. There is no #hobbylove.

The hobby here looks like this....

It's a sad, sad place to collect.

But, I remember a time when it was thriving here. Cards everywhere, a card shop 15 minutes away and a monthly card show. It was a beautiful thing.

I also remember my first card show. It was held at the local Moose Lodge/Elks Club where it was held for a few years before dissipating. There were roughly 20-30 vendors set up, it wasn't a huge show but efficient enough for the area, with most selling sports cards while a few others set up with coins and Beanie Babies. It usually had a pretty big draw.

The admission was $1 to get in, but that $1 also scored you a chance at some prizes. They handed you a ticket and kept the other half that went into a hat for a drawing. That drawing would be for a few packs of cards from the card shop owner who was running the show and the drawing would take place every hour. My father and I would make sure we would at least stay a few hours just to give us a shot at winning and hang out with other cardsies. That's like besties but with cards.

My first card show didn't win me a drawing, but it left memories which meant more. I remember walking around the show seeing so many cards I wished I had. Most of them completely out of my father's price range, so we window shopped. We did however grab a couple of packs of cards before leaving.

They were 1996 Playoff Trophy Contenders. The packs ran a bit high at the time. If I remember right I think we paid $5.99 a pack.

We couldn't wait to get to the car to bust the product so we did it right there with many hanging over our shoulders watching. There were a few guys who were known as "big timers" who stood by waiting for us to hit it big and ready to be the first to try and snatch our hits away.

Sadly for them, there were none to be found. We did however have two packs of base. But, I wasn't complaining or disappointed. The base cards looked really solid with a trophy in the background and a player in the forefront. The cards were also printed on thicker stock and had a high end appeal.


The only thing I didn't like was the rookie cards that weren't rookie cards. Curtis Martin was apart of the 1995 rookie class but was included as a rookie in this product. It was one of my biggest pet peeves. Still is today especially with baseball cards.

I still have my 1996 Playoff Trophy Contenders and they help me reflect upon that fun day at the card show. It's amazing what a little piece of cardboard can do for your memory.

More from the card show coming up on this blog.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Upper-DUNK Basketball!

I am back!

FINALLY time for another new post on The Origins Of A Cardboard Addict.

I must apologize for the long delay, but I was taking time away to rest from surgery and thinking of the direction I want to take this blog. I have found it a bit challenging to locate a lot of the cards that need to be posted on here so going forward I am only posting the accessible ones on my desk or boxes and building my posts around them. But, I do promise everything you love about this blog with nostalgia will continue just in a different way. I also promise that the products and cards you see on this blog I actually own and opened at the year they are stated.

So with all of that being said, let's move onto today's post.

As I stated at the end of 1995, I was starting to get more into basketball card collecting. I was also learning to appreciate Upper Deck products a whole lot more. One of my favorite basketball from Upper Deck in 1996 was their flagship product.

It had nothing to even do with the inserts and hits, it had to do with the simple base cards.

The simplicity yet elegant look draws you in immediately. The cards are pretty much borderless other than the small slit down the side that has orange bumpy-embossed feel to it. The design alone was nice but not as nice as the photographs that Upper Deck used. Something they have always been winners for in my book. No other company had the photography like they did.

Just like the title of this post, a lot of the 360 base card photos involved above-the-rim-slam-dunkin-action. Come check out a few of my favorites right here,
This is technically a rebound, remember when teams did that, but it's still high flying action

The Mail Man is delivering!


I always had a thing for the 90's Jazz and treated them as my second favorite team

This isn't saying that 1996-1997 Upper Deck basketball didn't have nice inserts because they did. Lots of foil and die cut action. Something I loved to collect. The inserts were a bonus in my opinion with such nice base cards.
My increase in collecting basketball cards in 1996 was really growing as I will show as this year goes on and it helped with products like this. Well, that and my hate of the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls. I would use cards from those teams to get cards I actually wanted. I cannot count the times I ditched Jordans for a Ewing or Starks or NY Giants card for my collection. Looking back on that now...well...I may not have made those decisions.
I cannot say enough times how glad I was to collect the NBA in the late 90's because where is this kinda photography in today's basketball card collecting? It doesn't exist. You know why...because Upper Deck NBA cards do not exist. We are limited to one company and that one company isn't Upper Deck. You know what else doesn't collecting of today's NBA cards because of this.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Riding With Flair

Before social media, email and texting, there was a thing called writing. Something you did with a piece of paper and pen or pencil. With that piece of writing you, only you controlled what you put down on that piece of paper. You decided if it was spelled write as nobody else was going to override it. You used your hand motions to make letters and not just push a button. You also had the option of putting that piece of paper you had written on and handing or mailing it to someone else without hitting the send button. Human interaction believe it or not!

Where am I going with this, well I am going to 1996 and to when I was in school. My school participated in a pen pal program where you would basically write to people you didn't know and who it was depended on what grade you were in. My first pen pal was from another state or country and a kid named Daniel if I remember correctly. Somewhere I have a picture of him still. We became cool buddies through the mail exchanging letters quite often then it was over when the next year came as we didn't have a chance to keep up.

My last pen pal was my one that made the biggest impression on me and one I had a chance to meet in person.

This time it was a trucker who traveled all over the country. This was long before the movie Joy Ride came out and more about the time Space Truckers was released. So instead of worrying about him finding me and trying to contact me by the name "candy cane" he was instead pictured as some cool space dude. I don't remember his name anymore sadly and lost my letters over time.

The one thing we would always write back and forth about was card collecting and it was something he was into as well. At one point we got to talking about the missing 1995 Fleer Flair Preview Rodney Hampton from my set and he at one point told me he would do his best to find me one. Being a kid I bought right in. If I had been told that now as an adult, not sure if I would have been so gullible.

A few months later, the trucker scheduled a visit to our school. I was out sick that day so I was a little disappointed I wasn't able to ever meet him. But, the following day back at school the teacher handed me an envelope with a letter in it. I opened it up and BAM out popped this....

He said he found one on the road after stopping at a few places and was more than happy to help me finish my set. It was one of the most memorable collecting stories I have. I still have this card today and reflect back on that day.

I did write the trucker back to thank him and tell him I was sorry I missed him. We communicated for rest of the year before I moved on from that classroom. It was a kind thing that he did and I will always be grateful for as a collector. 

He may have been my biggest influence of why I give away so much on here and other places.

So if you are out there and reading this, thanks again my friend!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

1996:The Year Of Change

1996. It was the year that much changed for me.

I had finally left my cartoon watching childhood behind to give more adult television a chance at the age of 13. Home Improvement, Friends, Nash Bridges, Everybody Loves Raymond, Mad About You (I also had a crush on Helen Hunt at the time so I watched that and Twister that year), The Drew Carey Show(this one came on a bit later and I should have been in bed for school but what my parents didn't know won't hurt them), Cosby, Walker Texas Ranger (watched this with my grandmother), were some of my favorites to name a few. Who can forget the incredible TGIF lineup as well with Family Matters, Boy Meets World and Sabrina The Teenage Witch.

However I wasn't really a big fan of Seinfeld like most around me were. I just didn't think the show was that funny. I guess it had that kinda quirky comedy that only a few can really understand.  To me it was, "no show for you." Yes, I just did partially reference/pun the show as that's the only line I know from it.

My sports watching increased including a game that changed my view of baseball forever and I discovered Monday Night Football! ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!! A MONDAY NIGHT PARTAAAAAAAAYY!

My father had also just gotten a promotion at his job which lead to an increase in salary which also led to an increase in the hobby purchases.

It was also a year I started to expand my collecting. It wasn't just cards anymore, it was the theory of everything was a collectible.

All of this I will cover in 1996 here on The Origins Of A Cardboard Addict. The words Cardboard Addict may also come into play by years end as well.  So sit back and enjoy as I tell the tale of my hobby history.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Making An Impact In 1995

Since Skybox Premium made such an impression on me, I just had to give its brother release Impact a try when I saw it on the shelves at Ames. I loved running those necessity errands with my parents.

The product fit right into every aspect of my collecting at the time. The base cards had foil, the inserts were attractive, there were rookie cards and most importantly, 12-card packs were $1.29.

This 200-card set, one I believed I completed back then but don't have now, had action packed photos

and some subtle inserts like Specialists that takes up cards 149-158, 
Super Sophs with cards 159-168,
and Impact Rookies with cards 169-198. The final two cards were checklists.

The inserts were really fun for a low-end feeling brand.

Impact Power Cards fell 1:3 packs and were all-foil
 Fox Same Game, More Attitude Cards fell 1:9 packs and had some embossing on the words More Attitude.

Countdown to Impact cards fell 1:20 packs and was probably my favorite of the group with it's color scheme and embossing of the numbers.

Other inserts were Future Hall of Fame cards that fell 1:60 packs and Skymotion Exchange card that fell 1:360 packs. These two I never pulled.

It wasn't just Skybox Impact that made an impact on me in 1995, but it was sports and sports cards that did as well. I guess it was my way of getting into manhood from being a child. As the year was closing, my afternoon cartoons and Saturday Morning cartoon watching began to decline at a high rate. My extra time when not sorting sports cards or being at school was playing sports with my friends and father and watching that on television instead.

As we make our way into 1996, we will see how much more impact that this hobby made on me and some other life changes helped mold more involvement of the hobby in my life.

Thanks for reading 1995 and get ready for 1996. More hobby to come!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

“It Counts And The Foul"

As 1995 went on, I started to learn more about basketball. I started to sit down and watch games when they came on NBC-remember I didn't have cable and I only got NBC because of a makeshift outside antenna my dad had created-and the sound of Marv Albert's voice doing play-by-play was spectacular and it was really hooking me in.

I still didn't know everything about it like I did with football or like I did with the names of every Power Rangers villain, but it was starting to grow.

When growth and interest in a sport comes, so doesn't the growth and interest in collecting cards of a sport. I think we sometimes forget that no child will be interested in collecting sports cards in today's era if they have no interest in sports. Both things come hand in hand. You can't collect a Eli Manning if you don't know who Eli Manning is. Just like I couldn't collect a Charles Oakley if I didn't know who he was. Which I started to know more about the rebounding beast.

I was a little late to the party in getting 1995-1996 Topps Series 1 basketball, but the new Series 2 had just come out. So I had to give it a try and it was affordable as well. 10-card packs were $1.29.
It didn't take long before I was hooked on wanting more. The 110-card base set had a white border along with a full-color action photo and the player's name in gold. It was very eye appealing.

I was very fortunate to pull a Booster parallel after a few purchases-not the one pictured as I pulled this one a few years ago and just using this as an example-and that wasn't an easy pull falling 1:36 packs.

There were also a couple of really cool 90's looking inserts. One thing you could always count on in the 90's is inserts with foil. I wished more had foil today.

Joe Smith looks ready to Rattle And Roll into a new dimension

I am sure Marv would look at this one and say, "What a spectacular move by Michael Jordan!" Or being humorous like I am I would say, "What a sparktacular move by Michael Jordan!" Yes, I can crack myself up sometimes.

I was not fortunate enough to pull a Mystery Finest back then. I have since then pulled some as I busted two boxes of this back in 2015. I actually landed these cards as my Mystery Finest pulls:

It wasn't too long after busting some packs of these to go along with my Fleer where I needed to hunt down a basketball price guide. Luckily, my friends uncle had some older issues he handed me.

I don't collect or watch basketball anymore today. The game has changed, the announcers are lame, the cards are from one company that doesn't even own the rights to two of the biggest names autographs, and I just prefer my time being spent elsewhere.

I am very thankful to have grown up in what was the best era of basketball and best period of collecting basketball cards.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wait...Cards Have Value?

Up to this point in 1995, I looked at sport cards as sport cards and not pieces of cardboard money. They were fun to collect and sort and that was it.

But, after pulling my "big hit", I was at one of my friends houses telling him about it and he suggested that "we look that card pull up."

I looked at him dumbfounded as I had no idea what that had meant.

He looks at me and says, "You didn't know that cards have value?"

No. No I didn't.

It took almost a full year in the hobby for me to realize that the money we were spending on these cards actually could get us money in return. Not that I was planning on selling any of them. But, knowing their value was a fun fact to know. It actually added a whole new twist to my collecting as I began to look every card up each month and add their values to my notebooks. I had to make changes, or as I called them scribbles, to adjust the prices as they went up and down.

The harder part was finding a Beckett locally but luckily my friend would hand me his older football issues to use. His uncle collected multiple sports and always handed me his baseball issues.  In 1996, I began finding them more locally as the hobby continued to thrive and I finally started to subscribe for myself.

Beckett magazines also started a new hobby for me, collecting them. I held onto every single issue I ever got until I moved out of my parents house. I realized how much space they were taking up and left those for my father to dispose of. However I did pull out all of my Griffey ones just to have for that PC. We will discuss my origin to Griffey on here soon as well.

Here is one of my oldest issues I had when I was younger for Griffey. Not sure what kind of pose this was....
And here are my oldest football ones as well. I really like the creative covers. I was lucky enough to land both of these as they came one month then the next. I also have a Griffey one that was supposed to have a 24 but I am missing one of them.
I not only enjoyed looking up my card values, but I also enjoyed reading the articles. They gave product previews, A Hot/Cold list, they had Readers Write in to ask questions (something I attempted but never got published), pictures of fans with their favorite cards, PC highlights and much more. It was a goal in every collectors life to find yourself in Beckett. Something I was able to do later on in both a PC feature in Beckett Baseball and a couple of big pulls in BSCM.

Today's magazine is much different and so much less interesting because as a blogger I have all of that access to the information they publish. They also got rid of all of the features that I think made them popular. If only they could go back in time and bring some of them back.

Speaking of going back in time, about ten years ago, I discovered a yard sale with a binder full of older Becketts. My mind told me, no, you don't need to find room to store those, but my collecting heard said, yeah you do. Guess who won....

 These were only a few of my favorite ones. There was roughly 17 overall.
20 years later of being a Beckett subscriber, I still look my values up only for fun though. I don't have the time anymore as an adult to write down every single value but in my mind I know what most are. I still look at sports cards the way I did 22 years ago though, cards do have monetary value and I could sell if I wanted to but I don't, because to me, cards mean so much more than that.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Remembering My First

We all remember our first. Our first field trip, our first Fanny Pack, our first Slap Bracelet, our first bowl of Oreo O's Cereal, our first kiss, our first date, our first sporting event and of course our first big hit from a pack of cards. Well, that last one is for card collectors.

Mine came thanks to 1995 Fleer Ultra football Series 1.

The packs costed a little more, $2.29 for 12 card pack, than the other products I have previously opened, but the packaging looked nice and I wanted to give it a try.

So I grabbed a few packs with my father's approval.

Before I get to my first boom story and what happened after I grabbed the packs, I will give you some background on the product.

1995 Fleer Ultra came in two series, which consisted of 550 cards between the two. The series two set is also known as "Ultra Extra" and not so much Ultra Series 2.

The base cards for both series looked very nice. Full color photography with just a touch of a gold crown at the bottom that contained the players name and team.

The backs of the cards even had my smiling. I don't usually take a card back focus on these posts, but here it is well earned. Three different colored photos with one in sepia added a nice touch to the back of the card along with the players name and position are in gold.

Speaking of gold. you get one Gold Medallion per pack as well for both series. These are very easy to spot and probably one of the coolest parallels ever made.

The rookies in the product were just the same look as the base cards. You just had to know who the rookies were in 1995 to spot them for the ones in NFL uniforms. Some of the rookies were featured in college uniforms still.

The only difference between Series 1 and the Series 2-Ultra Extra-was two subsets that looked awesome. My favorite of the two were these Extra Stars. It takes all of the big names and gives them this team colored appeal.

The other subset is this rookie one which isn't technically rookies as Series 1 had those. But, they are very sharp in design.

I won't spend anymore time talking about Ultra Extra as a lot of my focus was on Series 1 and that's where my story comes into play of my first good pull.

Packs of Ultra also had one insert per pack along with the Gold Medallion. Some of the inserts had harder odds to find than others with a broad range of 1:5-1:370 packs. The designs on the inserts were magnificent and totally 90's! I can see why the cards costed a bit more than the others I had busted.

Here is visual of a few. Most of the inserts had Gold Medallion parallels to. They weren't quite as golden as the base card parallels with only a little marking on them.

So now that I gave you some background on 1995 Fleer Ultra football Series 1 and a bit on Ultra Extra, let's dig into my story.

I started this bad habit back then and still have that problem today, I can't wait to get home to open packs or even mail days for that matter. It's gotta happen immediately. This time, I hadn't even hit the motion activated doors to exit the store before I had opened two of my three packs that day. Those two packs had the usual gold medallion and insert per but when I got to the third pack there was something a bit different I could spot in there. So continuing with tradition, I beat around the middle of the pack and did my slow reveal of the card within.....

A stinkin' sweet Rising Star card printed on acetate that fell 1:37 packs! (there was also a gold medallion parallel that was 1:370 packs and the toughest card to find)

I felt like Steve Urkle with the card shaking in my hand saying to myself, "Did I pull that?"

I couldn't wait to get home and and put it into a top loader. This card was simply mind blowing.

Since then I have added a Brett Favre version of this card to my collection and hope to add the rest and put together the non-Gold Medallion set. This is another set for the Sets I Am Seeking List.

This will always be a memorable collecting first for me.