Saturday, July 31, 2021

Oh no, not another top 10!

My interest in trading on the TCDB comes and goes. It can be fun, but more often than not it requires a lot more effort than I like to put into things involving cards. And as shocking as it may sound to some of my fellow bloggers, I'm not always convinced that the reward is worth that effort. I guess it just depends on the week, or whether or not I have anything else going on, or even if I just don't feel like spending an hour or two packing things up -- as that often feels like "work" work to me, and that's not how a hobby should feel.

Prior to my blogging absence, I accepted like 12 (possibly more) trade offers over a 1-month period, got burned out on trading, and have only done one since. Much like last week's post, I knew I'd want to show a few things off when I started blogging again, but wasn't about to scan all 100+ cards that came from those trades, so instead I picked out twelve for scanning purposes, and am now making yet another top 10 list (12 going in to 10 will make more sense momentarily). Originally I wrote down who sent what, but have since misplaced the piece of paper, and wasn't about to go look at old trades and write it all down again, so here's some cards from some people...

#10: 1988 Topps #750 Bo Jackson 
I led off the previous post with a 1992 Donruss Bo Jackson, which led me to mentioning that now that almost 30 years have passed, I have softened quite a bit on the '92 Donruss design. Today's post sees me leading off with a 1988 Topps Bo Jackson, but unlike the last post, I'm not gonna be able to wax poetic about the '88 design. This is the first set that I can recall opening packs from, and yet I have absolutely no affinity for it. I don't think any amount of time will be able to pass for the nostalgia factor to start kicking in, as I just don't like the set, and I can't imagine a day coming where I will ever feel any different about it. Bo's card is okay, although it would've been a lot better had his right foot not been amputated by that dumb name stripe.

#9: 1984 Topps #127 Reggie Roby
It took longer than expected, but I finally got ahold of Reggie's rookie. It's not a valuable card by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it difficult to come by, it's just kind of a boring card - in fact, it may be his most uninteresting card - and I wasn't in any sort of hurry to acquire one. I knew I would get one at some point, and as expected, I did! As mentioned, it's a terribly boring card, and I'm not a fan of '84 Topps, it's easily my least favorite 80's football set, so why is it making the list? Well, it was my last "new" Double R, so... yeah, moving on...

#8: 1992 Topps Football's Finest #15 Ronnie Lott
I can't remember for sure (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), but I think this was Topps' first Finest set, and even if it wasn't, I am of the opinion that they could've stopped after this one, because they never topp[s]ed this design. And I'm not sure why, but this set isn't as prone to Hulking as all of the other early Finest sets -- no silly peels to deal with either! 

#7: 2004 Maryland Lottery Baltimore Orioles 50th Anniversary #8 Mike Cuellar and #43 Boog Powell
I think that Nick and I were just finding out about the Maryland Lottery cards around the same time, or at least that's the impression I got when I saw a semi-recent post of his that featured Boog's ML offering in it. I only happened upon them by chance while looking at Mike Cuellar's checklist on the TCDB. After looking at the entire ML checklist, I added these two to my wantlist, and then received a trade offer with both of them in it less than six hours later. Was it magic? I believe so, and no one can convince me otherwise :)

I don't know how these were distributed, nor do I care; I got the two that I wanted, and that's all that matters to me.

#6: 1992-93 Topps #143 (base and gold) Jerome Kersey
Sorry for the bad scan, I didn't realize I had placed the cards on the tray so poorly.
It's kind of depressing to think that this card is less than 30 years old, and two of the four guys pictured are no longer with us. Jerome's been gone for a few years now, and Mark passed just a few months ago. Although if we're being technical, the photo itself is at least 30 years old, as it was taken during the 1991-92 season, that year's Western Conference Finals if I'm not mistaken (Blazer won the series 4-2). The photo being from the previous season is easy enough to tell because Blue Edwards (#30 in the background) wasn't with the Jazz during the '92-93 campaign. So anyway, I consider it to be a great image, albeit one that's also a little depressing at this point.

#5: 1993 SCD Sports Card Pocket Price Guide #6 Eric Dickerson
Aside from the SI for Kids and occasional Tuff Stuff sheet, I never saw/knew about any of the other perforated or "U-Cut"  magazine cards (or basically everything that wasn't a promo) when I was growing up. I learned about the Topps Magazine cards once I started reading the blogs, and have only found out about most of the rest in the last year or so. I've been kind of infatuated with all of the "other" magazine cards as of late, and was able to acquire a few through trades, including this nifty Eric Dickerson. Sports Card Digest used the '73 Topps football design for their 1993 set, and for the most part I think it looks really good, even on the non-footballers. I like the fact that these magazine sets seemed to have used photos that we all haven't seen a hundred times before, or since. Having never handled any before, I was a tad surprised by how thin these cards are (thinner than SI for Kids); in other words, one wrong move, and you're gone end up with a severely creased card!

#4: 1993 Cartwright's Players Choice #2 Manon Rheaume
From one magazine card to another, this time with foil! I have no idea which magazine this set came from, but I really dig their look (they sure don't scan very well though). Any other post, and this card probably would've taken the top spot, but Manon had some tough competition...

#3: 1992-93 Topps Stadium Club Member's Only #99 Jerome Kersey
Gerald Wilkins was no match for Jerome in his prime, so in this instance, his decision to duck out of the way was probably the wisest course of action. Love this photo!!!

2: 1992 Impel The Uncanny X-Men #41 Magneto
Despite my not wanting to build sets anymore, I'm glad I decided to go back and try and finish this set, it's been a nice little distraction, and has provided all kinds of nostalgia; enough so, that I'm already thinking of trying to build something else after this one's completed.

#1: 1993-94 Fleer #312 James Edwards
Modern basketball leaves a lot to be desired, modern basketball cards even more so. Sure, they have glitz for days, manufactured scarcity, and all the other bells and whistles that can be mustered up, but I dare you to find me a card from the last ten years, hell, twenty years, that features a better image than this. Go ahead, I'll wait; but in the meantime I'll be over here smiling at the sight of a 5'3" Muggsy Bogues bodying up to a 7'1" James Edwards. Can you capture a photo of someone's thoughts? It must be possible, because James' thoughts are as clear as day, and despite the joy that comes from their glaring height discrepancy, the "look" is what sells this card; or at least it does for me.

Formal trading may not always be my thing, but in small doses it can sometimes not be so bad -- these 12 cards being testament to that. Many thanks to all of the various traders who were able to make them happen.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

A Baseball Card Store Top 10

Everybody loves top ten lists, right? Wrong. I don't care for them all that much. I care even less for scanning lots of cards though, so when my accumulated order of around 125 cards arrived from the Baseball Card Store a few months ago - while I was away from the blog - I knew I wasn't going to want to scan them all, so I plucked out ten of my favorites, scanned them, and sat on the scans until I returned to the blogging fold. I've been back for a weeks now, and figure that this is as good of a time as any to make a list out of the cards and post it.

#10: 1992 OPC #645 Deion Sanders
1992 Topps is the last baseball set that I remember completing during my original collecting run. Almost thirty years have passed since then, and my memory, especially when it comes to cards, isn't nearly as sharp as it once was -- as such, I often see things on the blogs, or somewhere else online, that I know for a fact I once owned, but upon seeing now, have absolutely no recollection of ever laying eyes on it before. 1992 Topps is one of those sets that this happens with on a fairly regular basis, and did so again when I espied this Deion Sanders. It's not the most interesting of cards, that's for sure, but I don't remember it in the least... so here it is! Also, it's an OPC, so that makes it a tad different, and dare I say, better?

#9: 1994-95 Fleer All-Star Weekend #23 Clifford Robinson
This card isn't all that interesting either, but after trying to trade for twice on the TCDB, and having one show up damaged by the post office, and the other being sent by someone who was completely comfortable sending people shitty cards (that weren't described as such), I was just really glad to finally get a nice one, and be done with it.

#8: 1995 Collector's Choice Update Stick-Ums #86 Steve Atwater (and others)
Unfortunately for me, I had stopped collecting football by the time Collector's Choice had come on to the scene, and therefor missed out on quite a bit -- including these nifty quad-stickers. I haven't looked through the checklist, so I don't know if I'll ever have cause to buy anymore, but was happy to be able at least one to the collection (the Steve Atwater collection to be more specific).

#7: 1992 Donruss #470 Bo Jackson
If someone had told me by the late 90's, that a time would ever come where I'd look favorably upon on Donruss' 1992 offering, I'd have said they were batty. But here we are in 2021, and here I am saying that I actually dig the '92 design. I wasn't overly fond of it as a kid, and really disliked it by the time I stopped collecting, so I'm not sure what brought about the change? Well, that's not true, I think a big part of it is just that after the last twenty years of mostly terrible, and certainly overly busy, card designs, I now have a much deeper appreciation for the simpler, and less busy, designs of old. There may be a tad of nostalgia mixed in as well, but I'm not ready to commit to that yet.

Funny thing about this Bo too, I actually received two copies in the order, which I'm sure I did accidently, as these cards were purchase over about a six-month period, and I never keep track of what I've already bought from the site. I don't mind owning two copies of this particular card, and they were only ten cents apiece, so it definitely isn't a "loss" by any stretch of the imagination -- but when I went to enter the card onto my TCDB list for Bo, I noticed that it was one of those ones that had the annoying period/no period variations, and as luck would have it, I had gotten both in my order

This example would've been much easier to see had I layered the cards on top of each other, but I didn't, so in case you can't tell, the card on the left doesn't have a period after INC, and the card on the right does. These variations are terribly lame, but like a lot of people, I feel like I have to get both for player collections. At least in this instance though, I didn't have seek them out, they both just came to me of their own volition.

#6: 1994 Topps Ren & Stimpy All Prism #46 Come on and get your Log!

I was big Nickelodeon kid. Aside from the little kid stuff in the mornings, I loved pretty much every show on the channel. Cartoon or live-action, new or old (Nick at Nite), it didn't matter, I loved them all. Except for The Ren & Stimpy show, I never did understand what the appeal of that one was. However, I was an anomaly, and all of my friends liked it, so even not being a fan, just from the time spent at other people's houses, I probably saw every episode at least once. And while I may not have been a fan of the show as a whole, I did enjoy bits and pieces from time to time. One of those bits being the commercial for Log (*from Blammo!). Looking back, it's still my favorite thing to come from that show, and so when I saw this card (from a set that I don't recall ever seeing), I knew that I had to have it. As per usual with cards like this, it looks much better in person. 


#5: 1994 Classic Pro Hockey Prospects #239 Manon Rheaume
A hockey card? From a Canadian site? I know, it's crazy, right? I've only got like a dozen cards in my Manon Rheaume collection, so I wasn't surprised to find one that I didn't have, but was a little surprised to find one with her as a Knoxville Cherokee. I didn't even know such a card existed! Pretty neat though.

#4: 1996 Playoff Contenders Open Field #3 Herman Moore
Herman made the list simply because I think that this set is really cool! Oh, and I miss holograms, that's all.

#3: 1993-94 Topps Stadium Club #173 Shawn Kemp
High Court was kind of a boring subset, but this card makes the list on the strength of the photo alone, particularly for the way the fingers of Shawn's off hand are grazing across Chuck's head (for good luck?) as he soars in for the finger roll.

#2: 1987 Topps Who Framed Roger Rabbit Stickers #3 Jessica Rabbit
Do I really need to explain why this card made the list? :)

#1: 1984 Fleer V #24 Willie's Our Friend
It seems like it's become very trendy to attribute rookie card status to all manner of non-sport cards. Personally, I see it as kind of silly, and a rather piss-poor attempt to inflate the values on what have traditionally been low-value cards. But what do I know, apparently modern collectors are willing to fork over gobs of cash for Iron Man "rookie" cards, and are willing to take out a second mortgage to afford that elusive PSA 10 Volkswagen Beetle "rookie" card. I don't get it, but if I did, I'd be pointing out that this right here is a Robert Englund (best known as Freddy Krueger for you non-film fans) rookie card, and to my knowledge, hasn't been talked about very much, and therefor might be something worth trying to get. But I don't get down like that, so to me it's just a neat card, and one that I had never seen before. I have kind of a side collection going of actors and actresses who appeared in horror films, and this was great addition to that collection.

Fleer sure didn't put a lot of effort into these backs, did they? By the by, any fans of the original V series reading this? I don't expect there to be, but if there is, let yourself be known. I'm a big fan of the original films/series', and go back and watch everything about once every two or three years. My copies are still on VHS, but someday I'm hoping to upgrade to DVD.

I've got about 200 more cards waiting to be shipped from the Baseball Card Store, and since this was a lot easier than scanning crap-tons of cards, don't be surprised if you see another one of these lists pop up here sometime in the next few months.

And on a related note, anybody notice the changes that have been occurring over on our favorite dime cards site? I can't say that I'm liking them too much, but if it proves to be beneficial for the couple running the site, then I'm all for it. Those two deserve all that's coming to them... in a good way! [Geez, that sounded menacing 😮]

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Happy birthday to me

For someone who generally doesn't like to acknowledge their birthday, or for anyone else to, I seem to be developing an odd habit of posting on said day of birth.

This makes two years in row now, although full disclosure, I hadn't planned on posting today, and am only doing so because it's the first day this week that I've been able to sit down and actually focus on "creating content".

I did another free-trial on, and spent yet another week trying to accumulate as much information as humanly possible. It's really hard to do that, and attempt to put out any kind of meaningful post at the same time, hence no posts on here, or over on the new blog

In other news, I tried to get the heat stroke on Thursday, and then felt like hot 💩 yesterday because apparently I'm still not old enough to know when to come in out of the sun. I feel fine today though, so no damage done, I guess.

It's supposed to be stormy all day today (real cats and dogs type stuff), meaning that I'll probably be stuck inside, which is about the last place I'd like to spend my birthday, but I haven't learned how to control nature yet, so what are you gonna do.

I could lie and say that the couple of cards in here today were bought as birthday presents to self, but they weren't, they just happen to be a few cards that I've picked up in recent months that don't fit in with anything else that I currently have in the works, post-wise that is.

I came across an article on Al Schacht, baseball's pitcher-turned-comedian, while doing research for the already mentioned second blog, last month during my first free trial, and realized that I had never seen a card of him before, which got me to wondering if he did in fact have any? Turns out that he does have a few, one of which just so happens to be the most unique card to come out of the 1939 Play ball set. And in a stroke of what can only be referred to as "dumb luck", I was able to procure a relatively cheap copy the very night that I set out to look for his cards. 

I thought about doing an entire post on Al, but he's been written about so much over the years, I didn't want to have to spend weeks trying to seek out original material, nor did I want to borrow from anyone else's research (I'm trying to get away from that). That being said, I did find one item of note, which is mildly interesting on it's own, but even more so when one realizes that it came from the same year that this card was produced:

Courtesy of The Knoxville News-Sentinel 6-22-39
In today's money, that's roughly $41,000 for his highest paid season of ball - which I'm assuming was in 1920, but also could've been '21, which would've been closer to $46,000 - versus the $586,000 that he was expected to pull down in 1939 for "clowning around". Looking at what the two professions pay these days, one can really see how times have changed. Whether for the better or not, I'll leave that up to you to decide.

I didn't spend a lot of time doing card things during my recent two-month absence, in fact, other than buy a few cards, I can only think of one card thing that I did during that time, and that was to try and reduce some of my player collections. I didn't keep count, but was successfully able to quit collections for around twenty guys (mostly on the basketball side). Unfortunately for me though, I also started two more for, Mike Cuellar, and the unsung hero of the Dolphins perfect season, Earl Morrall. I already had a couple of cards for each guy, and have since been able to acquire a card for each collection. For Earl, it was this 1960 Topps, which admittedly isn't his most interesting card, and as for Mike's, that'll be in an upcoming post.

I'm not sure if it's because everyone else seemed to start collecting them again after that dumb MJ special aired last year, or if it's because I haven't attended a card show in almost two years, or maybe it has something to do with me realizing that ]cards have been overly shiny and often times, artificially limited, for more than half my life now, but a funny thing started happening last year... I began to lose interest in 90's cards, namely mid to late 90's basketball cards. I know that's probably sacrilege to today's collectors, but the appeal just isn't there for me anymore. I find myself looking at a lot of them now, and thinking, these MF'ers are directly responsible for all of the garbage that's put out today. Usually nostalgia overrides all with me, but that seems to be limited more to early 90's base cards more than anything currently. The late 90's shiny and "rare" stuff just isn't doing anything for me anymore! 

I say all that, and yet I still bought one of those intentionally created "scarce" cards last month, and true to current mood, it didn't do much for me.

My collection for former Blazers are still important to me, but I kind of hate having to buy cards like this now for them. Even back in the 90's, or 1997 to be more specific, I wasn't overly impressed with the Z-Force Rave's. I guess it's because they weren't different enough from the base cards for me to understand the premium that they carried on the secondhand market. I never sought them out at the time, and have only bought a few since for player collections, but have never grown any more fond of them. I think Cliff is my largest player collection, so I am glad to have been able to add to it, but in this instance, it's more like I'm just glad that I don't have to buy this card again. Oh, and there is still the "Super Rave" to find, but I'm in no hurry for it to be found, at least not by me.

This ran a little longer than planned (as usual), so if you'll excuse me, I gotta go find some productive way to spend my birthday, as just sitting around on the computer all day wouldn't make for much of a happy birthday.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Catching up


Even though it hadn't been planned, my two months away from the blog seem to have done me a world of good. It has rejuvenated my interest in blogging, enough so that I dare say I'm currently enjoying the blogging process more than I ever have.

A lot of this renewed zeal comes from the starting of my second blog, and the prospect of a third coming soon (all I need is a name?). But I think that the excitement from those will carry over to this one as well, at least that's what I'm hoping. This old blog has been in need of updating for quite some time now, some new life if you will. 

One of the bigger changes has been, and will continue to be, is to no longer waste time (yours and mine) on every single item that rolls through Penny Sleeve Station. The only exception to this will be when another blogger, or someone associated with the blogs, takes the time to send me something. Which leads me to my next point...

The only negative that I can think of in regards to my being away from the blog for two months, was that I wasn't giving proper thanks (aka public thanks) to the friends who spent the time and money to send me stuff. For example, Bo, the ghost sign specialist of Baseball Cards Come to Life! fame, came into possession of an extra '61 Billy Muffett, and even though it's a little rough, I had to have it. Bo obliged, by not only sending along the Billy Muffett - my 27th copy by the way - but was also kind enough to pad out the rest of a PWE with some more items of interest.

Jim Brown is always a welcome sight around these parts. Originals would be better, but reprints won't be turned away :)

I've acquired a few matchbooks this year, which has been a few more than I've ever acquired. Is Bo responsible for this? Maybe. Am I now collecting matchbooks? NO!!!! Is Bo trying to push me towards matchbook collecting by sending this matchbook? I don't know, you'll have to ask him. Do I appreciate the thought behind sending this particular matchbook? Yes, of course, I do! 

I don't go to eateries, but I am quite fond of Knoxville, and am now thinking that in honor of Bo, I should go by this place and take a picture of it with the matchbook. Wallet matchbook photo?

I never kept track of such things, but I think the only person who's sent more stuff down here than Bo, is, Chris, the hopeless romantic behind The Collector, and The 1993

This particular round included some cards directly from my TCDB wantlist. Top honors go to the '92-93 Parish. Robert Parish v. Bill Cartwright are the kind of battles I miss, and the lack of anything even close is partly responsible for me not being able to watch basketball these days.

Along with 8 of my wants came this pair of Juniors, both of which were new to me. Not going to shows anymore, the only time I see Juniors is when someone sends some. I suppose I could try to trade for some on the TCDB, but he's one of those guys who's cards are much more fun to find in person, and buying or trading for them online just isn't the same. Does that make any sense?

It's only taken 14 years, but I was finally able to participate in a Time Traveling Trade with, Matt, the Clown Prince of April Fool's from, Diamond Jesters. I collect a lot of stuff, but other traders seem to always be sending him everything but what I collect. That was until some months ago, when this wonderful Three-Mile Lyle showed up, which was just icing on the cake for the card that I really wanted (and yes, that's a second plug for the new blog!).

Another popular series of trading posts that I hadn't been able to get in on, are (were?) the weekly trade bait posts from, Johnny, of the recently silent, Cards from the Quarry. Despite never having been a huge fan of the Gold Label line, I knew immediately upon sight that I had to try and get this semi-low numbered Bo parallel. Thankfully I had enough trade bait of my own to make it happen.

I have had probably close to fifty copies of this Duckworth over the years, but now when I finally need one, I found myself without. Johnny was kind enough to rectify that, and he even sent along a much needed Double R too.

I can't remember when I did it, but at some point earlier in the year I quietly added a half-assed most wanted list to the top of the blog. It was only partially finished, and I never went back to it. I'm not sure how many people noticed it, but I know of at least one who did, that being, Greg, the eagle-eyed noticer of unnoticed things, from the far too quiet, The Collective Mind.

This '76 Alzado, which had been on said most wanted list, might've been the crispest card from that set that I've ever seen. It looked like it had come straight out of a vending box. And even though I'm not into the whole grading thing, it's pretty hard not to notice a semi-vintage card that's still that sharp.

I had completely forgotten that I had asked Greg to set aside this Amelia Earhart, thankfully for me, Greg didn't! This had been a longtime want.

A healthy dose of Vlad's made up the bulk of this mailing. I pulled just a few of the fancier ones for scanning.

I almost never come across 90's Tek, so I don't even need to figure out/write down which pattern this one is, because I can guarantee that I'll never stumble upon another one. Ionix was a cool brand, and one that thankfully neither Topps or Panini will ever own.

And last but certainly not least (I was trying to go in order of everything's arrival), I won a prize from, Brendan, the enigmatic proprietor behind, The View from the Third Floor

Brendan did a months long series on his 100 favorite films (my favorite blog series of the year). There was a contest accompanying the series, one which I was all gung-ho to participate in, at least at first. After a few weeks I started to feel guilty about all of the stuff that he's sent, and the lack of stuff that I've sent in return, so in the hopes that whoever was behind me would catch up and eventually win, I stopped guessing, and just tried to comment where I could. Thankfully someone did overtake my top spot, but apparently second place got a prize too, which has how I came into this mailing. 

I'd be lying if I said I knew who Tyrann Mathieu is, but John Riggins I know, and collect! It's kind of interesting to see that Panini went with a Jets era photo, it's a nice change. Both of these parallels come from the 2019 Black Friday release, which apparently had quite a few more parallels than the sets early days. Despite the shitty scan, I really like the look of the Riggins in person (it's also #'d to /99 in case you can't tell), just don't ask me what the name of the parallel is.

I don't know what the prize for first place was, but I can't imagine that would've been any better suited to my collection than this second place prize was. Normally I'd be less than enthused over receiving an initialed stickergraph, but J-Stew is one of my guys, so obviously that greatly elevates the card in my mind. I only had one other autograph of his, in which he's pictured as a Duck. And now I've got the Panthers covered, I just need to see if he's got one in a Giants uni to complete the trifecta.

Many thanks to everyone who's traded with me, allowed me to win a prize, or who's sent something just because over the last few months. Everything has been most appreciated!

Monday, July 5, 2021

Pack Sampling: 1992 Impel The Uncanny X-Men

Collecting cards, or any other item for that matter, has always been a fairly lonely hobby for me. Aside from a friend who collected baseball cards when I was really young, and a friend who briefly got interested basketball cards during my teens, it's pretty much just been a thing I do, by myself, for the majority of my life.

The only real exception being a magical two-year period from 1991 to 1993, when I found myself surrounded by kids, kids my age and a little older, who collected, talked about, and traded all things comic books.

We moved to Beaverton (OR) in 1991. Summer had just begun, and despite all the other homes in the vicinity, I can remember thinking how desolate the place felt. I didn't see any people out doing things during the first few days, and more importantly, I didn't see any other kids. Turned out though that all I had to do was get out and explore my new surroundings, because once I did, I found other kids, lots of kids in fact, and by summer's end would have more friends than I had ever had up to that point, or would ever have again.

Finding friends was great, but finding out that the majority of these new friends collected comic books, comic cards, and comic related action figures, was like a dream come true for the then nine year-old me. 

I was already working at my uncle's comic book shows by that time (this was the source of much envy from my new friends) , so I knew how popular such things were with kids my own age, but still, I never could've imagined that there was a place, outside of the shows, where I could be surrounded by so many of them -- but there was, and for the next two years, I was.

Things would get even better that first fall when 4th grade started, as I found that kids outside of my immediate vicinity collected as well. These were kids that generally lived a couple of miles or more away from my core group, and were rarely seen outside of school, but once we got to school everybody was the best of friends (for the most part), which worked out really well when one was a card or two from a particular set, because everyone had duplicates laying around, and everybody was always looking to trade. Comic books were traded at school on a fairly regular basis, and even though I never did so, action figures would often get swapped too. It was a good time to be alive.

This trading network would continue pretty much unchanged until I moved away in 1993. We moved far enough way that I really wasn't able to keep up with all of my neighborhood friends anymore. I only stayed in contact with one friend, and he was one of the select few who didn't collect anything, so I have no idea how long everyone else continued collecting. I would continue to do so until around 2000, when I took a ten-year hiatus from almost all things collectible, save for a few comic books from time to time, and those were for reading, not collecting.

I have a strong affinity for that 1991-93 time period, and the older I get, the more often I revisit it. And although rarely discussed, I will forever be drawn to comic related items from that two-year span as well. It was with all of this in mind, and a healthy dose of depression induced nostalgia (the two go hand-in-hand for me), that I purchased a lone pack of 1992 The Uncanny X-Men off of Sportlots a few months ago.

Even by 1992, the '90 and '91 Marvel Universe sets were still kings of the playground. Despite being released ahead of the now iconic X-Men: The Animated Series, I don't recall there being a lot of interest in the set from my friends. It probably didn't help too that packs from this set weren't for sale anywhere around us. I only remember ever getting a few packs at my uncle's shows, and then a few more some years later at Things From Another World (that's a comic book shop in Portland that still exists, but was much better in the pre-internet days). 1993 saw the release of X-Men Series 2, which was/is much more strongly associated with the cartoon, and therefor was, and still is, the more popular card set of the two. It's also worth noting that because the second series was just called, X-Men Series 2, most people nowadays just refer to the first series, as X-Men Series 1. I, on the other hand, still call the first set what it was called when I was a kid, The Uncanny X-Men.

Because of the difficulty of finding it at the time, and it's lack of popularity amongst my peers, The Uncanny X-Men is one of the few sets from this period that I never completed. With the ability to trade gone after I moved away, my only real option for finishing sets like this was if I came across some cheap packs, and was fortunate enough to pull the cards I needed from said cheap packs. That never happened with this one, and as the years passed, the completion of it became less and less important.

Like pretty much everything else in the last year, boxes and packs (but not singles) for this set have skyrocketed in price on the secondary market. After so many months, I can no longer recall how much I paid for the pack, but there were no other bidders, and it was basically gotten for the price of shipping -- which was multiple times cheaper than the current going rate on eBay.

As the front of the pack mentions, aside from the base set, one has a chance at pulling cards from one chase set, Gold holograms. It was also possible to find signed cards from the great Jim Lee . The holograms are still just as great as they ever were, and the autographs, if memory serves, were just base cards signed on the back by Jim Lee. Despite the lack of glitz, I would have to think that the autos have increased in desirability over the years, as most young kids wouldn't have been overly excited by such things back in 1992. Holograms on the other hand...

It had been so long since I last opened up a pack of this stuff, that I had completely forgot that the charts for the characters ability ratings were on the inside of the packs; had I known otherwise, I would've been a little more careful opening the pack. i.e. I wouldn't have just torn it open.

Assigning numbers to a characters abilities was kind of a big deal in the early 90's, at least as far as a lot of the card sets went. They were a starting point when looking at who might fare against who in a battle. My friends kept our "What If?" conversations relatively civilized (surprisingly!), but there were a few heated debates at school, especially if someone started cross-comparing ratings from different sets (I'm looking at you Marvel Universe!).

I had also forgotten that you only got seven cards per pack, so was surprised by the overall thinness of the pack. But again, the pack was cheap, and when you think about it, you really can't put a price on nostalgia, can you? (sounds like a tag line from an old Franklin Mint ad)

The first card out of the pack, Dark Phoenix, just so happens to be one of the better looking cards from the set. I wasn't a huge fan of the alternate Jean Grey as kid, at least not until I saw The Phoenix and Dark Phoenix Sagas episodes of X-Men: TAS, than I began to pay a little more attention to the character.

Oh, and speaking once again of the animated series has reminded me of this:

You're welcome! Now back to the regularly scheduled post...

The abilities graph wasn't the best in this set, but it still did the job. As you can see, her mental powers are at 7 across multiple rows, or in other words, are off the charts -- this was basically code for, you don't f*** with the Phoenix!

A lot of people are only interested in the big names, but at this point, I appreciate these early 90's sets more for the lesser known, and forgotten, characters like Polaris, and...

... Caliban! Though I should mention that with fresh faces being needed for the myriad of comic related films and television series being produced these days, a lot of the once lesser knowns have seen a bit of a resurgence, even if it just to provide a meaningless death to advance the story, or worse yet, cannon fodder for the more popular characters.

I've never been able to get behind Forge, 'Exceptional Tinkerer' just isn't very exciting as far as mutant powers go. And big muscles, and big guns, doesn't make that particular power any cooler either; they actually make the power seem even less cool.

Lots of 90's star power here. I liked the early version of Shatterstar, but lost interest him as his character progressed. Ditto with Domino (how's that for some literation?).

Despite the coolness factor of the Dark Phoenix, this is my favorite card in the pack. It depicts the first encounter between Mutant X/Proteus, and the X-Men. Nightcrawler and Wolvie didn't fair so well, were the next few panels shown, both would be seen incapacitated, and in a bad way. Had Storm not been able to weaken Proteus, Nightcrawler probably wouldn't have survived the battle.

No autographs or holograms (not that I was expecting any mind you), but still a pretty solid pack. It even inspired me to do something that I haven't done in over two years, which is to try and complete a set. Thankfully I held onto what I had gotten as a kid, after finding my stash, and then resorting them, I found that I needed about half of the 100-card set. This pack alone took care of four of those needs, and between the Baseball Card Store, and a TCDB trade, I've been able to acquire all but nine in the last few months. I suspect that I'll have it finished by years end, but even if I can't; I've waited 30 years to finish it, I think I can wait a few more if need be.