Blockbuster, Baseball, & Holograms

A video rental store and hologram baseball cards.  Wow!  Talk about two things that can easily describe the 90’s.  Kids born today won’t have any knowledge of what its like to walk into a store and rent a VHS tape.  Those days are long gone thanks to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and every other streaming service.  Disney is the next big player to enter this field.

I have a lot of fond memories of renting videos.  Before the internet became big, you could wander around a video store and discover movies that you had no idea existed.  A couple that come to my mind is the 1966 Batman film based on the show featuring Adam West.  I knew of the show, but never heard about the movie.  The other is that god awful Captain America movie from 1990.  I also remember renting the 2-hour pilot episode of the 1990 The Flash T.V. show.

When it comes to video rental stores, Blockbuster was the big one.  There were smaller mom-and-pop stores, and other chains like West Coast Video.  But Blockbuster was a monster.  Before going defunct in 2013, at one time there were just over 9,000 locations worldwide.  Over half of them were in the U.S.  The corporate stores shutdown when the company went under, but some of the franchise-owned stores remained open.  As of today, there is only one of these stores left in America.  Its located in Bend, Oregon.

In 1994, Blockbuster (along with World Holographics) created three promotional cards for Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, and Comiskey Park.  I came across these cards one day, but could find very little information about them.  World Holographics printed the cards.  As it turns out, they are still in business.  Now they’re called World3D Lenticular Printing.  I sent them an e-mail to see if anyone could shed some light on these cards.  Given that it has been 24 years since they were made, I knew it was a shot in the dark.  I quickly received a response from a Greg Schuman.  Not only does Mr. Schuman work for World3D, he worked on the actual Blockbuster project.  Bullseye!

According to Mr. Schuman, 50,000 copies of each card were printed.  At first they were used as stadium giveaways.  The Yankees, Tigers, and White Sox gave them out to the first 25,000 fans.  The remaining cards found their way to local Blockbuster stores in New York, Detroit, and Chicago.  For about a month, Blockbuster tied those cards in with a video rental for $2.99.  Due to the MLB strike, many were sent back to World Holographics and got destroyed.

Despite many of them ending up in the garbage, all three cards are readily available on the secondary market.  Each can be bought for under $10.  They’re a neat snapshot in time when holograms were all the rage, and a video rental store was a titan.

Unrelated to the Blockbuster promotion, World Holographics also created hologram cards of Dodger Stadium and Roberto Clemente in the 90’s.

FYI – Here is a list of Billboard’s Top 10 video rentals from 1994:

  1. Sleepless In Seattle
  2. Philadelphia
  3. In The Line of Fire
  4. The Pelican Brief
  5. The Fugitive
  6. The Firm
  7. Carlito’s Way
  8. Silver
  9. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  10. Mrs. Doubtfire

Flashback Product of the Week: 1992 “Kid Griff” Holograms Premiere Edition

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Throughout the 90’s, no player had more of an impact on the hobby than Ken Griffey, Jr.  This 13x All-Star has some of the most dedicated collectors willing to spend outrageous amounts of money on his cards.  Arena Holograms out of Orange, CA released this small, 5-hologram/card set in 1992.  Inside each pack you’ll find one hologram of Ken Griffey, Jr placed in a top loader.  The images were designed to look like comic book art.  Arena Holograms decided to use the top loaders with colored borders, which I think shouldn’t exist if you remember the Card Annoyances post I wrote.  The chase cards to look for were the randomly inserted gold holograms.  To this day, the gold holograms still hold a slight premium over the regular holograms you would pull, but not that much.  Supposedly ONLY 1,700 cases were produced.  I’m guessing that in 1992 that seemed like a small amount.  Boxes can easily be found for under $10.00.

Team JR Holograms & Patrick’s Stuff Is On Fire

Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s racing team must really want its collectors to see the hologram thats required on all their driver’s autographed cards.  Unlike most holograms which are off to the side or on the back, these have to be placed over a portion of the signature.  I’m not quite sure how I should feel about this.  The holograms add to their authenticity, but placing them over part of the signature might be going too far.  Then again, when it comes to authenticity, there is no such thing as too much security.

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Before the release of 2010 Press Pass Premium, Danica Patrick only had autographs in ’06 Topps Allen & Ginter and ’07 Rittenhouse.  Both are extremely rare and expensive when they appear for sale.  The above red ink autograph is giving both of her previous autographs a run for their money.  It has already surpassed the $400.00 mark and I’m sure it will rise even more.  Most fans believe that 2010 Premium is the first product to contain relics of Patrick.  Digging around, you’ll find thats not the case.  Patrick’s first relic can be found in 2008 S.I Swimsuit.

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