Pin Highlight: 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Press Pin

Whether its pure laziness or just an effort to pinch pennies, pins handed out to the press for specific sporting events many times look quite similar to the ones you’d purchase at the souvenir stands.  This can result in mass-produced pins being sold as their much harder to come by press pin counterparts.  A good example of this can be seen when it comes to the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four pin.

Press pin

Mass-produced pin

At a quick glance you can see how someone might mistake one version for another.  The NCAA logo on the mass-produced pin has silver coloring around the letters “NCAA”.  The press pin does not have this, just white lettering.  A solid silver-colored ring also circles the entire blue NCAA logo on the mass-produced pin.  The silver-colored ring fades out near the top of the circle on the pin issued to the press.  Looking at the font used for “2015” and “INDIANAPOLIS” you’ll see some major differences.  The mass-produced pin’s is thicker and plain white whereas the press pin font is thinner and a shiny metal color.  Those spikes on the left-side are a bit sharper on the mass-produced pin as well.

When it comes to press pins its important to know what you’re buying.  The price difference can be significant.

Fleer’s 3D Acrylic Basketball Cards Are Junk Wax Era Gems

1991-92 Fleer Basketball isn’t much to talk about.  The set consists of (400) cards which were distributed between two series.  It does have it’s share of rookies such as Kenny Anderson, Steve Smith, and Dikembe Mutombo.  But these cards are so overproduced their value is next to nothing.  It doesn’t seem to matter how overproduced a product may be, there almost always is some type of scarce version.  That holds true for this set.

Throughout the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, card manufacturers weren’t afraid to make what they call 3D cards.  99.9% of the time this involved using lenticular technology.  That’s the stuff that makes a high-pitched sound when you run your fingers over it.  This noise is the perfect sound that would make your dog do that head tilt thing.

On the backside of these packs you’ll see a special offer from Fleer.  For the price of $4.99, plus shipping and handling, and (3) pack wrappers, you could’ve gotten yourself a 3D parallel of any card from the base set.  Unlike other 3D cards at the time, these do not use lenticular printing.  They’re made up of multiple layers of an acrylic, acetate-like material.  Fleer even included a display stand for each card.  The images really do jump out at you, and live up to the 3D name.  In order to get the full experience, you need to see one in person.  Scans aren’t always the best.

Like I said before, many overproduced sets have some sort of scarce parallel.  These 3D cards are it for 1991-92 Fleer Basketball.  Apparently not a lot of people took part in this wrapper redemption program.  The collectors who did, found out these cards are very condition sensitive.  Regular base cards are barely worth a thing, but 3D versions reach into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Fleer could have made up 3D versions of every base card.  Whether or not each card was requested at least once is a mystery.  Top players like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Larry Bird, and John Stockton were popular requests.  Fleer could have easily destroyed whatever they had leftover once the promotion ended.  A 3D parallel may have been made for each base card, but I can guarantee you not every one has surfaced.  A print run for the cards that were distributed would massively help.  If that info ever existed it is long gone.

Another possibility is that Fleer had these 3D parallels made as they were requested.  If a player wasn’t requested, there may have never been a 3D parallel.

Basketball collectors definitely had the better mail-in offer from Fleer in 1991.  Football collectors had the opportunity to get a pin, while baseball collectors could’ve gotten (10) heavy-duty top loading album pages.

True gems from the junk wax era.

Is Topps Returning To Basketball? – Sure Looks Like It

Athletes and celebrities showing off cards on social media that they recently signed for upcoming products isn’t anything new.  But one image has been floating around the internet this week which has a lot of collectors talking.

Former Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyler Herro posted a video which shows three stacks of cards he signed.  What has people all in a buzz is that they seem to be Topps cards.  Topps Chrome to be exact.

Topps hasn’t produced a basketball product since 2009-10.  Panini currently has an exclusive NBA and CLC license.  These cards obviously don’t have any licensed team names and/or logos.

By the looks of it, Topps is working on an unlicensed basketball draft picks Topps Chrome set that features autographs.  With all of the hype around Zion Williamson, Topps seems to have decided to get back into the basketball card business.

Its very possible that a company like Topps could sign Zion Williamson to an exclusive autograph agreement even though they currently don’t have an NBA and/or CLC license.  Upper Deck has done this with Ben Simmons and Michael Jordan in the past.

When the Topps Industry Conference was held earlier this year, rumors were flying around that Panini is deathly afraid that something like this might happen with Zion Williamson.  It doesn’t look good when the exclusive NBA licensed card manufacturer (Panini) can’t strike a deal with the #1 draft pick.

We don’t have any specific details yet.  These cards could be distributed in a number of ways.

COME TO TOPPS ZION!!!

Michael Jordan’s Hanes Basketball Card Commercial

Its great to see sports cards included in a nationwide television commercial.  I’m betting many people have thrown these packs out not realizing they have a small chance at a Michael Jordan autograph.  I saw this on T.V. for the first time yesterday.

’12 Leaf Basketball Auto Contest Winner Announced

Congrats to Grant Lee on being the lucky winner of the Miles Plumlee 2012 Leaf Basketball Auto.  Once Grant Lee sends me his mailing address, I will ship this card ASAP.  Thanks!

’12 Leaf Basketball Auto Contest! – NOW CLOSED

This contest is for a Miles Plumlee 2012 Leaf Basketball Auto.  Good luck!!!

Contest Details:

  • This contest will end Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.
  • To enter, please leave a comment in this post.
  • You can enter once per day.
  • The winner will be selected at random.
  • Please provide a valid e-mail address when entering.
  • The winner will receive an e-mail when the contest is over.
  • The winner has one week to send me their contact information or the contest will be held again.
  • Once the contest is over, I will need the winner’s mailing address so I can ship them this card for FREE!!!

Product Highlight: NCAA College Basketball 2K3 for Nintendo GameCube

When an athlete doesn’t live up to the expected hype, their cards and memorabilia take a hit in price.  Its the natural law.  Unless that individual goes on to do something historically spectacular outside of their sport, prices will remain in the gutter.  But every now and then we’ll come across a crazy anomaly that defies this way of thinking.  Enter NCAA 2K3 College Basketball for the Nintendo GameCube.

I can imagine that in 2002 cards of Jay Williams carried some weight.  The Duke point guard was drafted second in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.  Right after the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming.  He did alright during his first year in the NBA, but nothing mind blowing.  In June of 2003, he suffered a severe motorcycle crash in Illinois.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet, didn’t have a license to drive a motorcycle in that state, and was in violation of the terms of his contract with the Bulls by riding a motorcycle to begin with.  Its safe to say that smarter decisions could have been made.  When he finally recuperated, attempts were made to get back into professional basketball.  None were that successful.  Jay Williams now works for ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

Today you can’t giveaway cards of Jay Williams.  The only cards that carry any real value are ones which have him teamed-up with stars like Michael Jordan, Yao Ming, or Kobe Bryant.  Trust me.  Collectors aren’t buying them for the Jay Williams part of the card.  In fact, they’re probably getting a good deal on a star relic and/or autograph.  Dual relics and/or autographs featuring stars and dud rookies tend not to sell for as much compared to if that star was pictured alone.

Its not uncommon for a popular rookie to be pictured on the cover of a video game.  Jay Williams received this honor with the release of NCAA 2K3 College Basketball in December, 2002.  The game was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube platforms.  Copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox are readily available.  The GameCube version is a completely different story.  The general consensus is that Sega decided they didn’t want to release sports games for the Nintendo GameCube anymore.  NCAA 2K3 College Basketball just barely made it out.  What copies made it to the stores didn’t sell very well.  This led to the game becoming rare.

While copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox can be bought for next to nothing, complete GameCube examples have been known to reach $200.  Although Jay Williams isn’t the driving factor, its interesting to see him attached to something that continues to sell for so much.