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.

Monday, August 21, 2017


The one thing about growing up on a tight budget and trying to collect, you were always out trying to scope out some deals. I still do this today. But, as a kid who only earned a few cents at a time from his grandmother and got cards when his parents could afford to, you tried to make the best of what you could get.

A couple of posts ago I discussed affordable products and how the 1995 Topps football fell into that category at $1.29. But, one product was even more affordable and according to it's title, was the Collector's Choice.

12 card packs of 1995 Collectors Choice football had a retail price of .99 cents per pack. Yes, under $1. That's cheaper than the junky packs you find at Dollar Tree today that are usually 5 card packs of base cards. This .99 was a fun and worthy investment.

You had already seen my fondness of 1995 Collectors Choice baseball, but my football love of Collectors Choice runs much deeper.

1995 Collectors Choice football was released as a 348 card set then later on came a 225 Collectors Choice Update set. So you are chasing down well over 500 cards of affordable goodness. I also liked Collectors Choice for it's player selection with such a deep checklist. Not very often you see an offensive lineman or a kicker get a card anymore.

The regular release kicks off with the 1995 Rookie Class taking up card numbers 1-30, 

Followed by Did You Know with cards 31-50

Then came the majority of the regular base issue that had a white border with action photos. (some of the card pictures for the base below are from the update series but it's the same design so I didn't separate it)

To finish up the regular release was the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers expansion picks. Sorry don't have a picture of those.  

The only difference between the regular release and the update were a couple of subsets and newer players. Well, besides the U prefix on the base card numbers.

Subset one for Update was The Key. These were "key" players on NFL teams that opponents needed to stop. Some of these players included rookies from the 1995 class.


I think the rookie card design got a huge upgrade for the Update series. These included the first rookie cards in Collectors Choice of Terrell Davis, Curtis Martin, Kordell Stewart and others. 

Inserts for both products had some similarities as well.  

Every pack of the regular issue came with one of these Silver Players Club parallels per pack.

While the Update version had an insert also per pack but took a fun approach and added in Stick-Ums NFL Stickers. I loved collecting these and still have a good stack of them on my desk I had dug out after taking pictures for this post. Oh, the memories!


There was also Team MVP Stick-Ums that was one player focused and fell 1:4 packs.

Update did have parallels too. They were randomly inserted 1:3 packs for Rookie Silver

And 1:35 pack for Rookie Gold versions. 

The base cards didn't have parallels just the two main subsets. The Key had parallels of  Silver that fell 1:5 packs and Gold at a tougher 1:52 packs. I did remember pulling a few of them but couldn't locate them in time for this post.

Just like with baseball, football had You Crash The Game cards. The regular issue had You Crash the Game cards that fell 1:5 packs and if the player does what the card says, you could exchange it in for a set of the same matching cards whether it's gold or silver depends on the card you send in.

The Update version was a later release and focused on the playoffs. The version in that product wasSilver and Gold You Crash The Game The Playoffs. Silver fell 1:5 packs while Gold fell
1:50 packs. 


These cards were similar played like the regular ones. However, the difference being, if any of the players pictured on the card threw or caught a touchdown pass, or rushed or returned a kick for a touchdown during the 1995 NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl XXX, the card could be exchanged as a winner.  So instead of getting one chance at winning, you had five.

I wonder if I ever won on these. I never exchanged any in if I did. I would guess since 1996 was the deadline for submission, I must be just a little late on trying it but am a bit curious what would happen if I did.

As you can see there was a lot of similarities between products and sports from one company. There were also some differences that made them stand out. I think this goes for collecting as well. We all have similar interests, but our own unique-differences that make us stand out for what we collect.