Tuesday, February 20, 2018

I need my '90s card gurus

I have been collecting cards for a long time, but I don't think I know all that much about them.

For example, when I first started blogging, the card blogs were dominated -- at least in terms of frequency and zeal -- by collectors who grew up with cards from 1990s. The most prolific of those blogs was Wax Heaven, and I learned quite a bit about what went down in the '90s from Mario.

It's a very confusing period for someone who didn't collect at that time, and I imagine it is confusing even for those who did. But I started to get a handle on the difference between Pacific and Pinnacle, the rise of the relic and autograph cards, and something called "dufex" thanks to reading that blog.

Then Wax Heaven went silent. And so did many of the blogs from other '90s collectors. I still had much to learn, but there weren't many bloggers willing to dive into the depths of '90s cards. One -- the Junior Junkie -- does an excellent job, but he's pulled back, too, and the '90s has remained very much a mystery. (When I refer to the '90s, I'm mostly focusing on 1994-99).

But now Wax Heaven has returned. And Mario is writing about all of the familiar topics that I first read in 2008-09. Pacific, Pinnacle, it's all there. And lots and lots of Jose Canseco. It's like old times.

Almost instantly upon Wax Heaven's return I discovered something about '90s cards that I never knew. Apparently Marvel comics owned Fleer in the late '90s? I totally missed that. I'll admit that I'm not paying attention much of the time when '90s cards come up, so it's possible I read that before. But suddenly those strange and inexplicable Fleer/Skybox Metal cards made sense to me.

Of course! Who else would put some sort of giant space robot behind a photo of Mike Piazza chasing a foul pop?! Marvel!

I received this card recently from reader Jason. It is the last Dodger that I needed from the 1996 Metal set and had been hanging on the want list for too long.

I've always considered these Metal cards bizarre since I had no frame of reference. Now that I know Marvel was involved, for the first two years of the brand anyway, then I now officially understand them.

See? I need '90s collectors to explain this stuff to me.

Here is another wild '90s cards that I needed. It is the 486th different Hideo Nomo card in my collection.

It's an insert from 1996 Upper Deck and very, very, very, very '90s. It reminds me of the "Black Hole Sun" video.

Particularly the lizard girl.

Jason sent several other Dodgers of varying degrees of needs.

And -- cool -- a couple of pocket schedules that I didn't own prior and will fit neatly into the few pages I have reserved for them.

I'll never know all there is to know about '90s cards (nor do I want to), but I do feel a bit smarter now that Wax Heaven has returned.

Now when I encounter '90s cards, I at least don't feel like I've been sucked into a black hole anymore.

Most of the time anyway.


  1. Glad to find out you needed the Piazza and Nomo, and hopefully maybe the other stuff can fill a hole as well!

  2. I was pretty stoked to see Wax Heaven is up and running again. Although my focus tends to be on vintage, 80's rookies, and autographed cards... I have a huge soft spot for 90's inserts and parallels.

  3. The Fleer/Marvel relationship was weird, at least from where I sat. Marvel acquired Fleer in '92. There wasn't really any cross promotion until right around when Marvel entered bankruptcy in '96, and then Fleer was sold off I think somewhere in earlyish '98. It was a very different time for Marvel and the card industry, but I think there were some huge missed marketing opportunities.

    Of course fast forward 15 years and Upper Deck owns the Fleer brand, Marvel is a multi-billion dollar giant part of Disney's plot to rule the world, and UD had a nice couple Fleer Marvel sets with Metal retro inserts. Guess I need to get back to working on some 90's posts...

  4. I'll be back. Got a dozen posts ready to go. It's all timing...