In this installment of Random Picks, the tandem champs, Dan G. of www.sportsecurities.com and myself bring you some nice random choices. Let’s see what we picked this time.
Patrick’s Random Pick: Mike Piazza 1996 Collector's Choice Crash the Game #CG21c
Sometimes when I reach in my box to grab a card, it often feels akin to reaching into a chest of quality childhood memories. This was one of those times. I really love this set, I always have. I can remember sitting poolside with my friends at my moms house in the backyard on a hot summer day in the southwest in 1996. I had just gotten back from a local card shop where I picked up a few packs of 1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice. At the time, it was the product of choice (no pun intended) because it was so darn affordable. I was much younger and didn’t have a lot of money anyways so it made sense to score a few packs of these guys to try my chances at pulling a Silver or an even tougher Gold Signature parallel. I can recall pulling a few Silver Signatures but we’ll talk about those another time. In my packs, I pulled one of these gorgeous You Crash The Game (YCTG) cards. The YCTG program was an interesting one even though I didn’t participate. It goes like this: If the player depicted on the card hit a home run sometime on the dates listed on the card, you could send the card in along with a modest fee of $1.75 to Upper Deck and they’d send you a gold upgrade to this base silver version. In hindsight though, I really wish I participate in the YCTG program because the gold upgrades are almost impossible to locate these days. Well, because think about it. You had to pay enough attention to baseball to notice when a player was hitting home runs on a certain date AND you had to have these YCTG cards AND the knowledge of the YCTG redemption program in order to make this a successful participation. How many people really participated? Honestly? I wonder if this was a postponement program (i.e., Upper Deck only made the gold upgrades when the silver + s/h fee was received) or if the golds were printed and stocked ready for shipment to greatly reduce the customer lead time to consumption however driving up stocking fees on point of Upper Deck. Interesting take really. My guess is the later only because it may not be cost effective to run a printing machine for a single order which is two-fold by way of significantly increasing lead time to consumer if Upper Deck had a minimum order quantity required simply to run the printing machine. Either way, my overall assumption here is that very few gold upgrades were distributed among the hobby.
The difference between the silver and gold is easy to identify but also easy to pass by as common if you are unaware of the significance of the YCTG redemption program. Essentially the only difference is that the gold upgrades have gold print on the front of the cards instead of the silver print that you see here. Again though, either way, these cards are absolutely beautiful by design. I really enjoy a card that when manipulated near a light source, it sparkles at you. Just classic design really. I’ll always be fond of this release. Lastly, this set was loaded with top players of the mid ’90’s. I always knew that when I found one of these cards, it was of a quality player. Even if I didn’t think the player was as good as another, I still kept the card on principle of design alone. Bottom line, I like looking at these cards. So there you have it, a closer look at a quality release from 15 years ago. Enjoy!
Dan’s Random Pick: Jim Brown 2003 Sweet Spot Signatures Gold #SSJB
The featured card on this episode of Random Picks from Dan's Collection is one that I really like. The card exhibited is the Jim Brown 2003 UD Sweet Spot Signatures Gold Auto #ed 01/25. I have a few J. Brown autos in my collection, but of all of them this card is the pinnacle. A lot of people despise the Sweet Spot helmet stickers, however I am a fan. When I saw this card at the local shop, the colors captured me. I knew at that moment I need to own it, and the dealer cut me a spectacular deal. When I questioned why I was receiving such a good deal, I was told that most of the local collectors don't like the plastic helmets. Hobbyists believe that they make the card look cheap, fake, toy like, and the auto can be obscured with the team logo. This would be a hard sell. As a collector I agree with some of these points, but my grassroots collector spirit gravitates towards cards that look fun or unique. And, this card is fun! I like how the orange helmet meshes well with the gold background. In addition the contrast between the orangey red background and the helmet is enough to break up any monotony. I like the picture of Mr. Brown himself, and I always imagine he is on his way into the end zone (you can see it in his eyes). The HOFs auto is in black and it just POPS on the plastic helmet. The signature is clear and clean. Plus the card serial number is #01/25. Finally, I like how this card makes me think back to my childhood and eating ice cream out of a plastic helmet. Or putting a quarter into a gumball machine to try and complete my set of mini helmets. This card epitomizes why I collect.