Product Highlight: 1996 Upper Deck Folz Vending Machine Minis

The odds are strong that at one time or another you ran into a Folz vending machine.  Folz once had almost 200,000 machines spread across the United States and Canada.  For awhile, it was the world’s largest bulk vending company.  You could find them in mom-and-pop shops, grocery stores, and well known department store chains.  Their vending machines carried a variety of goodies such as candy, stickers, and even sports cards.

In my day, I don’t recall running into many vending machines that dispensed sports cards.  A card shop I visited while in Ohio had one.  I gave it a shot and pulled a Troy Aikman from 1990 Fleer.  It wasn’t until the 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention where I came across another.  They make an interesting conversation piece.

Upper Deck made a deal with Folz Vending that involved specially made cards.  You’ll find that (1) baseball, (1) basketball, and (2) football sets exist.  I’ve heard that a hockey set was made, but I have yet to find any cards from it.  Designs look very similar to the Collector’s Choice sets that were released.  Instead of the Collector’s Choice name, just the Upper Deck logo is found on the fronts.  Photos on the backs reach all the way to the edges too.  The biggest difference are the card’s overall size.  They’re smaller in comparison to a standard sports card (2 5/16″ x 3 3/8″).  Most likely so they could fit in the machines better.

Sets consist of (48) cards.  The first six cards in each set are short prints and contain foil on the front.  Condition can be a big factor considering they were stored in vending machines.  Back then, cards with foil were difficult to pull out of a pack in good condition let alone being stored and distributed in a vending machine format.  All short prints carry a premium, especially the Michael Jordan.  Although its not a short print, the Derek Jeter is highly sought after as well.

Lets get one thing straight.  Its “Folz” not “Foltz”.  At first graders rejected these when they were sent in.  When Beckett decided to grade them, everyone else fell in line.  Because of a typo at first, some graded examples identify them as “Foltz”.

Flashback Product of the Week: 1989 Score Football Vending Box/Pack

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Today is the day card collectors live for.  It is the first day of the 2013 National Sports Collectors Convention.  Dealers are setting up, and manufacturers are getting all their promo programs in order.  Its heaven!  Unfortunately yours truly won’t be in attendance this year.  Driving twelve hours didn’t really appeal to me, and I don’t trust the airlines with my power wheelchair.  So far, everything is looking good for Cleveland next year though.

In today’s social media world, collectors can keep track of their favorite vendors on Facebook and Twitter easily.  While setting up their booth, the folks from Baseball Card Exchange were posting photos on Facebook of some of the rare gems they will have for sale.  If your a collector looking for a little change of pace from all the modern day boxes that flood the show floor, stop by the Baseball Card Exchange booth.  They carry tons of sealed boxes that are decades old.  Even if you can’t afford something, its still fun to look.  I’ve always enjoyed the artwork on older boxes.  That’s something many of today’s products lack.

Rare and 1980’s usually aren’t two words that go together when you’re talking about sports cards.  But there are always exceptions.  This is one of them.  Score had a hit on their hands when they entered the football card market back in 1989.  The 1989 Score football set contains the most popular rookie cards of players like Barry Sanders, Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Thurman Thomas, and Chris Carter.  This is why boxes continue to sell for $250.00 to $300.00 today.  You can find boxes with ease.  Even the sealed case or two pops up for sale from time to time.  But the vending box/pack are the rarest.  Not too much is known about these.  The cards inside are no different than what you would find in a normal box.  Its just the box itself that is difficult to find.  Supposedly less than 60 vending cases were made, and only provided to top distributors.  Be sure to stop by the Baseball Card Exchange booth in the corporate area to see more rare boxes like this.