Stupid Technology


I’m sure you’ve all had experiences like this in the past, so I will try not to complain too much. I just need to take a moment to piss and moan a bit.

Many of you probably noticed that I was fairly absent from blogging for a good chunk of the beginning of this calendar year. As I recently noted, that was largely due to my day job and the hours I have to put in during tax season. Since then, I have been trying to ramp up my efforts and return to form by posting regularly and hopefully providing relevant material. And then what happens on April 16th? My computer contracts an STD and refuses to launch any applications, including my antivirus software. Sweet.

What makes this situation all the more sweet is that I really don’t have much of a stash of images I can use on a rainy day and my scanner was only set up to run on that computer. This also happened right around the time I want to review 2010 SAGE Autographed (and get the fresh cards on eBay to recoupe some of the price of the box) and 2010 Press Pass Portrait Edition (just ordered today).

*SIGH* ¡Está es la vida!

So while my computer is being wiped and repopulated with all of my files and software (thank God for computer-whiz friends!) and I try to figure out what to do about scanning new cards, you are stuck with my reoccuring HOF Spotlight and Heisman Highlight features and my stockpile of Emmitt Smith scans like the one below.

Hey, at least it’s shiny…

1995 Skybox Premium Paydirt Gold
Mid-90s shiny insert goodness


Shaking off the Cobwebs


Don’t look now, but someone is getting ready to come out of real-life-imposed semi-retirement. I may not be wearing black, but you can bet your Hell’s Bells that I’m back. I may not be quite cut loose from the noose that’s kept me hanging around, but the end of tax season is neigh and a majority of my client work is complete. Granted, I’m still required to work 60 hour weeks through April 15 and after that I plan to re-energize with some fishing trips and the first spring at a new home will be busy, but I fully expect to begin getting back into the habit of writing about one of my favorite topics: cheese and beer, Chuck Norris, football cards.

So expect a fresh slate of ramblings about random Emmitt Smith cards, HOF Spotlight and Heisman Highlight features, and maybe even a contest or two. Also, one item that I am excited about is my decision to attempt to purchase one box of each 2010 football product released to review right here on 1st & Goal. Box #1 – 2010 SAGE Hit Low Series has been ordered. It should be a fun project.

Oh, and for the record, I think this is a cool card:

My Personal Holy Grail


The Holy Grail. If you are a card collector, you know what I’m talking about. For some people, it’s a T206 Wagner. Some may agrue it’s a 1986 Conseco Rated Rookie. Basketball collectors could petition for the 1986/87 Fleer Jordan while football fans might vote for the 1935 National Chicle Nagurski. Whatever you collect, you know what your own personal holy grail is, be it a highly prized rookie card, an elusive parallel, or some seemingly random card that remains just out of your fiscal grasp.

As an Emmitt Smith player collector, I didn’t feel like I had that one cliché chase card. Emmitt only has five rookie cards, the most valuable being 1990 Score Supplemental. Coming from the near height of “junk wax” and overproduction, it is almost pointless for me to state that I purchased it soon after I discovered the massive online card market for a very reasonable price. Emmitt also played well into the new overproduction age, that of numerous swatches and colored parallels, so there is no jaw-dropping “hit” to track down. While looking through my collection, I had to ask myself, what do I feel is missing? I did not have any autographs and only 5 relics, but that didn’t seem to bother me. No, what I wanted to chase was a card that I would have nearly killed for when I was a kid, consumed with my card collection for the first time. That’s when it hit me — I needed this card:

1997 Skybox Premium AUTOGRAPHics
Click image for a full sized scan

This was not the first autograph set inserted into packs nor was it the first Emmitt Smith autographed card, but it was the first that really grabbed my attention. It was already a base set I loved, so when I found out there was a hard signed autograph insert, I knew I wanted it. I had done some research to find out more about it. The pictures looked amazing. The design might be a tad dated by now, but it is timeless to me. I love the basic elements, the sketchy background, and the vibrant colors on the thick card stock with a matte finish. It was nearly perfect. Except for one thing. The Beckett price tag was far too high and I was trying to save money for a car and a college education.

Flash forward to 2008. I was getting back into card collecting and discovered that I could buy nearly any card I wanted from hobby shops and fellow collectors online via Beckett Marketplace, eBay, Check Out My Cards, etc. Naturally I looked up this card. Only one seller had it available for a steep $235. I saved my money and bought a slew of other great Emmitt cards. Occassionally I would go through the various sites and look, and sure enough, only Burbank Sportscards had it for the same obnoxious price. Rats.

Just last week, I decided I was going to do a write up on the card and my quest. I thought, before I make myself look dumb, I should take one last gander to see if anyone has posted it for less. Sure enough, I found it on eBay. Not only was the pricetag FAR below Burbank’s, the seller included 30 insert cards to boot. On top of that, I had purchased a few smaller Curtis Conway and Emmitt Smith lots (one big advantage during this economic downturn is much cheaper cards for us collectors who are not being forced to liquidate our “inventory”) and apparently Paypal wanted to say thank you with an 8% discount coupon. JACKPOT! So needless to say, I tried to haggle the price down some more, and when I got no where with only four hours left before my coupon expired, I pulled the trigger.

The card you see above is not some stock image. That exact card is currently sitting on my desk at home waiting to be properly organized into my Emmitt Smith collection. The card I have wanted for so long and thought was unattainable without being forced to pay top dollar for is now mine. IT’S MINE! And to make things better, the 30 additional cards were not exactly 1992 base cards and I believe I only had 1 of them previously. Needless to say, I am VERY happy with this purchase!

Of course now I need to come up with a new phantom chase card…

Underrated Set


To me, there are very few base sets better than 1997 Skybox Premium. The cards featured a very simple yet effective design. The player photos were great action shot cut-outs on top of a star-blurred out background that faded to brilliant team color. The end result is a crisp, vibrant base card that just looks nice. It does not feature a high gloss finish, but just enough to set it apart from the junk wax of the mid 80s.

The inserts included with 1997 Skybox Premium were not the greatest, save one. AUTOgraphics was probably the greatest autograph set I have ever seen. I was not lucky enough to pull any of these in the football release, although I do have a Theo Ratliff from some basketball wax I busted back in the day. The autos are all on-card and also feature a good, clean design, which is probably why they have maintained their value on the secondary market more than a decade after their release. The Emmitt Smith auto can be yours (or mine) for around $200. That’s more than I want to spend for one card at this point in my life, but I would LOVE to have that card! But for now, I’ll settle for this beautiful base card:

What do you guys think? Is this a great base set card, or have I been fishing under power lines too much?