Comfort Cards


When things go wrong in my life, I often deal with them in pretty healthy ways. I internalize. I discuss. I accept. I move on. Sometimes when things are a bit more acutely wrong, I have to admit that I turn to comfort foods. Several years ago when I made a poor decision in a busy intersection and wrecked my Camaro (which was somewhat quickly back on the road and is still my car of choice even if it is no longer my every day commuting vehicle), I went to Arby’s for dinner and then proceeded to pound an entire box of pizza rolls while watching Batman Begins. It should also be noted I was still a bachelor at the time. Another interesting note: I also busted three boxes of 2007 Topps Co-Signers that night. What can I say? I was in a binge mood.

As many of you have doubtless heard by now, my once proud alma mater is in a complete wreck right now. I literally felt sick yesterday as things progressed and I let myself stew in the turmoil. I did have a Coke and a Snickers bar at work, but now that I am married and have a child, I actually had a healthy dinner. No pizza rolls for me. But I am still able to turn to some cards for comfort. Cards will never allegedly assault young boys. Cards will never unfathomably fire a true moral compass. Cards will never blow up in the media.

So let’s look at some shiny new cards!

As I mentioned early last week, my buddy had acquired quite a few of the new Topps Super Bowl Legends Die-Cuts. Included in the bunch was at least one copy of all three Emmitt Smiths, all of which were being directed to me. The box arrived quicker than expected last week and my buddy dropped of the entire lot on Saturday. Check out these beauties:

Each card is composed of thick, die-cut cardstock and features a very slick, polished sheen. They don’t quite remind me of the Flair cards of the mid-90s, but they are definitely in that vein.

The photographs are not the clearest, particularly on the older one like Ken Stabler and Bart Starr, but neither were any photographs taken at the time. The part I really like is that as far as I can tell, the photograph of every player is actually from the Super Bowl featured. It is especially evident on more recent ones once the NFL started adding those huge Super Bowl patches to player jerseys.

You can’t quite tell from the scans, but these cards are a bit dark in person. It doesn’t really brighten until you get the cards in direct light, then they come to life. The faux diamonds are not dufex at all and are just printed on the cardstock, but the overall card still looks pretty slick.

There are also Gold parallels #/90 and special 1/1 parallels that actually look like they have faux gems inserted and a super shiney background. We did not get any Emmitt parallels.

Even the card backs are pretty nice. This is definitely an area I feel has been lacking in the industry in recent years, so it was nice to see a well planned and executed card back.

You’ve got the original Super Bowl emblem, the final score, and a brief description of what the featured player did in the game. There are also two standout statistics, which aren’t always particularly stellar.

I think it’s interesting that Topps didn’t limit this set to only Super Bowl MVPs like it did for the Super Bowl Legends insert set in its flagship product, but I’m also not complaining about having 3 new Emmitts instead of just one.

Overall, I think these are outstanding cards. It’s a hint that a well designed set can still be produced without tons of jersey swatches or auto stickers. It’s proof not all hope is lost in the Hobby. Whoever came up with this set at Topps should get a raise. And this isn’t just an old 90s era enthusiast blubbing over a set no one will like. Check eBay for completed listings. These things are selling really well, too. If you’re interested in getting any, please check out our eBay store. We’ve already sold some of the big names, but still have a bunch in stock. And if you’re a fellow blogger, shoot me a best offer that states you’re a blogger. I like to reward my kin. 🙂

Bravo, Topps!


Slowly but Surely


When Emmitt Smith retired shortly after the 2004 season, I had not yet discovered the massive online sports card community and was just trying to track down a single card from each of his playing seasons. Then after graduating from college, I suddenly found you could buy just about any card on places like Beckett’s Marketplace, Check Out My Cards, and of course eBay. (Side Note: I have no idea why it took me until after college to think to look for this other than perhaps my waning interest in cards and my piqued interest in women and beer)

When the online hobby was revealed to me, I suddenly had every Topps base card from Emmitt’s career, every official rookie card, a slew of 90s inserts I had always drooled over, a small batch of my first ever authentic jersey cards, and even a real life Emmitt Smith autograph. Times were good. Then I got married, bought a house, and started my own card business, all which took significant time (and money) away from my box of Emmitts. In the past few years, I have really started to hit the new release calendar hard to do 1&G Reviews and offer fresh cards in my eBay store. But with Emmitt’s retired status, not many new releases have him on the checklist. So even though I am technically spending more on cards than ever before (albeit through my business and almost never for my personal collection anymore), my Emmitt box is pretty static.

Fortunately, there are a few 2011 cards for me. Earlier, I told you about the Topps Super Bowl Legends inserts. My buddy got a ton of the online code cards and got a few of the actual Emmitt Smith die-cut SB Legends cards, which he already said will be mine once they arrive. Sweet! I also just added this beauty on my own:

I just busted two boxes of 2011 Topps Gridiron Legends (1&G Review forthcoming). I was stoked to find that Emmitt was included. I will admit though I was disappointed to pull just one base card of my childhood hero. However, it is a great card and is a welcome new addition to the collection. At this rate, my Emmitt collection will never be worth comparing to some of the super collectors’ out there, but that’s okay. I enjoy my box of Emmitts and am just happy to add to it when possible.

Now to track down the 8 parallels from this set…



I’m not feeling particularly creative this Halloween (not that I’ve ever posted a creative Halloween post before), so I’m phoning this one in.

My All-Hallows-Eve will probably be spent watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on DVD, eating some Reese’s peanut butter cups (the real ones, not those mini things), and hopefully going to bed earlier WITHOUT a screaming infant in the next room.

Party hardy!



I feel like I should have an epic Pearl Jam post seeing as how this past weekend was the Pearl Jam Twenty destination weekend in Wisconsin (and no, I didn’t get to attend), celebrating the band’s 20th anniversary. But alas, you just get another half-assed post that kinda, sorta relates a Pearl Jam song to a card.

Lucky you.

Title: Leatherman
Album: Given to Fly CD Single (B-Side)
Correlation: This one should actually be pretty obvious. The song is called Leatherman and this is a leather “card” of Emmitt Smith. See the connection? No? Well, it’s not a cryptic message, so read it again. And actually, I think there was an insert set a few years back from Donruss actually called “Leatherman,” but I’m not positive about that. I also don’t have any, so this is my best effort.

As a B-Side, there certainly aren’t many video options. Especially when that song also happens to be a rather rare live song. But have no fear, 1&G barely knows the definition of “No” and likes to deliver. So here is a live video for your viewing pleasure.

And if you needed any other football correlation, please note that Eddie is wearing a vintage Walter Payton jersey. But please don’t mind the two bottles of wine by his monitor.

I’m sure they’re full of mineral water.

Another Hurricane Related Post


Irene came. Irene saw. Irene conquered.

Well, maybe the ol’ hurricane didn’t conquer as much as some folks thought she would, but she did manage to conquer a lot of trees in my area. And my electric supply. Awesome. My electric utility company expects power to be restored around 4:30am…on 9/1. Even better.

So as any self-respecting hobby enthusiast would do, I turn to pieces of cardboard for solace. I don’t really have enough light to sort through some by hand and while I’m at home I really should be doing stuff like cutting up branches and clearing the property of debris. But while I’m at work, I can at least look through my scanned Emmitt Smith cards to find some comfort. This one strikes a chord:

I could really use a Power Surge at home right now. Well, maybe not a “surge” per se, but you get the idea.

But have no fear, Blog-o-land. The 2011 Topps Finest group case break is still on.

Even if I have to bust and sort the case by candle light…

Fuel to the Fire


My buddy recently bought a jumbo case of 2011 Topps and recruited me to help sort and sell off all of his unwanted cards (which turned out to be most of the case since he is a team collector and didn’t get terribly lucky with the inserts). I got to keep two of the cards outright. It may not sound like much, but check out these beauties:

Okay, so it still doesn’t sound like much. A base insert and an online giveaway code card really aren’t all that special (especially since my buddy is planning to use all of the codes himself). But what they do represent is the first 2011 additions to my Emmitt Smith collection. That is something for which I can be excited.

I haven’t really added any new Emmitts since my small binge at the NSCC last year and subsequent buying spree on eBay in the week or two afterwards picking up cards I thought I’d find at the National (and note, despite words like “binge” and “spree,” I added a total of about $150 worth of cards to the Emmitt box). Well, I did pull an Emmitt from 2010 Topps Magic and then bought another two on eBay, but who’s counting?

And this brings me to my main point: I just do not have the time to dedicate to my Emmitt collection that it deserves. There is still a huge stack of cards that have yet to be scanned and after spilling my box once or twice (thankfully nothing was damaged as it just tipped over on the floor), the entire collection is in dire need of reorganizing. I also need to update my Excel spreadsheet and my collection list posted here. And let’s not get into the plan to completely overhaul the Collection website (all of which was about finished before my USB key crashed last autumn). But what with a job, house, baby on the way, and trying to run a side business, my poor Emmitts get neglected day after day, week after week, month after month…

How much longer until retirement?



Here’s another pretty easy one for a Pearl Jam/sports card combination. Granted, it would be a bit more convincing if Emmitt was actually inside a classroom, but I still think it works. I know somewhere I have an old baseball or football card with the athlete in a classroom. One of those “Staying in School is Cool” propaganda cards. But I don’t particularly feel like rummaging through boxes and boxes of old cards when I have a suitable replacement at hand. So Emmitt posing outside of his alma mater (Escambia High in Pensacola, FL) will have to do.

Title: Jeremy
Album: Ten
Correlation: “[Emmitt] spoke in class today…” I also don’t doubt that Emmitt would clock someone in the jaw with a surprise left if he found out that person had called him a harmless little ————.

Although he is pretty short.

There aren’t many Pearl Jam songs that have official music videos, but here is another one. Enjoy.

And just for the record, this song and video have nothing to do with a school shooting or public violence. A key shot was taken out of the video for censorship. If you’re confused, watch what motions Eddie makes just before the 4:00 mark. Then you’ll get it.