Yep. I’m off the reservation with this one. By now you can clearly see this is not a box of baseball cards. When Nintendo introduced the NES to the United States in 1985, Baseball was one of the first games you could play on it. Despite not having an MLB license, Nintendo brought in actual Major League Baseball players to show off the game during the test market launch. Many accredit Baseball as one of the main reasons why the NES was so successful, given the sport’s overall appeal.
Compared to baseball video games today, Baseball for the NES is basic. Although there was no license, the initials of the teams are suppose to represent real teams from the Japanese Central League or American Major League. Retro gaming is popular today. NES collectors are willing to spend well into the hundreds of dollars for sealed games such as this. Out of the box and used copies can easily be found for under $10.
While attending the National a few years ago, I remember seeing an autographed photo of Mike Tyson. It wasn’t just any photograph though. This was a screenshot from the NES game Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!! That really caught my attention.
I would like to see more screenshots from classic sports video games worked into the sports memorabilia market. Finding them in packs of cards would be even better. Autographed cards featuring pixelated versions of your favorite players from the games you use to play would probably be a hit with collectors. Heck, they don’t even need to be autographed.
Let us take this a step further. What if you made a great play in a sports-based video game today, and could instantly order a trading card containing a shot of that play? That would be sick. Especially if they could get the athletes to sign them. Perhaps even letting room on the card for the gamer to sign too.
We’ve seen cards and action figures come packaged with games, but I believe things could get even cooler.
There is an endless amount of “I wish I could go back in time” moments when it comes to this industry. Some people would travel back to when Mickey Mantle signed baseballs at a show for only $40.00. Others would go back even further to snatch up tobacco packs containing Old Judge cards. Basketball fans would no doubt take a trip to 1986 to buy boxes of 1986-87 Fleer. The list goes on and on.
If you did have a time machine, visiting your local grocery store or department store in 1985 might be a good place to check out. Among all the neon clothing, He-Man action figures, and cases of New Coke, it wasn’t uncommon to find vending machines filled with shiny stickers. Stickers ruled in the 1980’s.
You can’t miss the line of Prism/Jewel Stickers that were released in ’85. Looking at them for too long could easily burn your eyes out. To say they’re shiny is an understatement. There are (14) basketball stickers to collect. It shouldn’t surprise you that the Michael Jordan is the most valuable. That sticker predates his ’86-’87 Fleer rookie. Examples have easily sold for over $1,000 depending on the condition. Other stickers in this set include Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, and Moses Malone.
Unlike cards, when these stickers came out most people didn’t think about their value. Many fans simply peeled off the back and slapped them on pretty much anything. Prism/Jewel Stickers were found all over the country, jammed inside tiny vending machines. But not every vending machine contained the same stickers. A lot of the basketball stickers were found out west.
Most collectors think these are ugly as hell. I might agree with them if the picture was a photograph. But I like the animated drawings. The reflective surface looks just like a Superfractor. In a way I believe the design was way ahead of it’s time.