…is currently up for auction on Ebay.
The year: 1997. My collecting days were beginning to wind down. I was 16 or 17 years old, and the work force’s call had to be answered. Normally, you would think that money from a job would mean more money for cards, but alas this was not to be. You see, I had to now pay for the car that was going to take me to and from work. I had a choice to make. Either I pay for gas and other various things on my own and start my path to independence, or I can buy little rectangles of cardboard with pictures of basketball players on them.
It wasn’t as tough of a decision as you might think. A co-worker asked me yesterday if I could stop collecting today if someone told me I had to. I was giving him crap for being a slave to the coffee that has been out of stock/missing in the office the past couple days. Seeing as how I don’t drink the stuff, he went after my addiction. I told him that I had done it before cold turkey, so quitting again wouldn’t be too hard. I do think it would be harder now than it was back then.
You see, back then, the industry was starting to change in such a way that it became less fun for kids. Packs, which were my main source of obtaining new stuff, sometimes reached obscene prices of $3-4/pack for only a few cards. I know that’s the norm now, but back on a limited teenager’s budget, this was a much bigger problem. I knew that I needed to be able to buy packs of some kind in order to hold interest, and there were just too many sets, too many products, too many high-priced options that I wanted to try but couldn’t that it became too much of a hassle to collect.
So, when 1997 rolled around, my card buying had just about come to a complete stop. I wasn’t out completely, though and found myself buying a couple packs here and there.
One of the packs I bought was a 1997-98 Skybox Premium Basketball pack. I always liked Skybox. They brought new and interesting designs to the card world and the premium moniker always seemed appropriate. I miss the Skybox brand more than any of the others.
I don’t remember the specs of the pack, but I’m sure there were more cards in there than in anything you’d find on the market today for the same price. This was an off year for Skybox to me. The cards all had a colored, but drab background that I just couldn’t get behind.
As I was thumbing through the cards, I noticed one that wasn’t drab like the others. This had a shine to it. Oooh! A fancy insert, I thought. Then I revealed this:
This is a 1997-98 Skybox Premium Star Rubies Parallel #/50. Of course now pulling a card of Kobe Bryant numbered out of 50 or less isn’t all that unusual or even blog worthy at times. This was from an era when this meant something.
I wish I kept the wrapper. I’d be curious to know what the actual odds of this would be, but I can guess that there are only one or two of these per case. Maybe even less. Then to top it off I got probably the second biggest name (next to Michael Jordan, of course) you could possibly imagine.
I went out of my freakin’ mind! There’s only been one other time when I’ve been as excited opening a pack as I was this day, but that’s a story for another time. I immediately had to find something to secure this puppy. My only screwdown case was already in use by that other monumental pack rip result. I had to find something else. So, into the Michael Jordan card wall plaque it went, replacing an Hare-O’s insert card of Jordan and Bugs Bunny from some Upper Deck release. Just a slight upgrade.
And there it sat until last night.
For you see, every once in a while I check ebay to see what this card would fetch. Back in the day, Beckett priced it at $750. It stayed that way for a long time, then I saw it drop to $600 the last time I looked. I was hoping to find an example, but I’ve come up empty for the longest time. I don’t search for it much, but when I do I never find it. That is, until last night.
I finally saw a card that just ended on 4/27/2011. The amount it went for: $2,036.00. Another one sold on 4/20/2011 for $2,326.00 but that was numbered 01/50 (and obviously the buyer was high).
Andy was witness – I just about pooped by pants when I saw that. The jaw dropped, the tongue rolled out. All of that Tex Avery stuff. That was MY CARD! I should sell this card. I must sell this card.
It was a great day in my collecting history to be sure, but the card ultimately holds no sentimental value for me. While it is the highest priced card I ever found in a pack during my early years, I still consider it to be the second best of all-time. I was checking ebay to confirm that I could get $400 for it, figuring I’d splurge on some nice stuff if I could flip it for that price.
Now, I’m shooting for the stars. I started my 7 day listing at $999.99. I’m thinking it will go for more than that. I put at BIN of $3K just for kicks, but I doubt it’ll go for that. You can follow the progress here. As I type this, it’s already at almost $1400!
What will I do with the money? Well, I have the wedding coming up, so that would be a nice help. There’s also the honeymoon in December and we’re hoping to save for a house. I know a grand or two isn’t much for any of those things, but it certainly can’t hurt. Simply put, it seemed like the right time to sell. See, there’s that responsibility thing that got me in trouble back in 1997. But, don’t worry. I don’t think there’s a danger that I’m going to quit collecting again anytime soon. After all, you never know when I might find a new second best card.