Saturday, June 1, 2019

Musical chairs 2

This is the post I was trying to get to when the roof fell in for about the seventh time and I had to take another emergency road trip.

I dashed out with stacks of musicians scattered on the computer desk, various boxes shining brightly in early '90s colors left opened and waiting for my return.

I'm back -- for now -- ready to dissect Series 2 of the 1991 Pro Set Super Stars MusiCards after opening a box of 36 packs. As I mentioned recently, the opening of Series 2 was a revelation just because I figured out why people talk so much about variations when it comes to this set.

All of the variations are contained within Series 2, you won't find any in Series 1. That's because Pro Set intentionally inserted variations in most of its Series 2 packs. It has to be one of the first times variations were intentionally placed in a set.

This is how I know they were intentional:

Every 10-card pack that I opened went something like this:

A card that you can find in Series 1. Yup, a Series 1 card in Series 2. Bizarre, but that's what you find in every pack, the majority of every pack.

Another card that can be found in Series 1.

Another Series 1 card.

Another Series 1 card.

Another Series 1 card.

And another Series 1 card.

That's the way it is for every Series 2 pack. The first six cards are from Series 1.

That's why it says "80 new musicards, 340 total." Because there are only 80 new musicards in a box that yields 360 cards. Yikes.

Now here comes the interesting part of each pack, the last four cards:

The last four cards in each pack are different from the first six because they are Series 2 cards ... sometimes. You can tell because the set logo is in the lower right instead of the upper left. All Series 1 cards feature the logo in the upper left. (The logo is also in the lower right for the U.K. set, which I'm sure is confusing as hell to people who have a mix of both the U.S. and U.K. sets).

But if you know the Series 1 set, you know that the Debbie Gibson card is a Series 1 card. Pro Set, though, made it a variation by switching the logo from the upper left to the lower right.

 Instant variation.

 Also, if you turn over the Gibson card, the card number is black.

But card numbers for Series 2 cards are red.

So that's one pack pattern for Series 2 packs.

The other pack pattern for Series 2 is six Series 1 cards and then four Series 2 cards, no variations.

Something like this:

Those are all Series 2 cards.

This, as I mentioned in the previous post about this set, makes completing it a pain. You'd think if all you had were 80 Series 2 cards to find, that 36 packs would finish it off. But not with all those Series 1 cards and then variations on top of that.

I came three cards short of finishing off Series 2. Fortunately, Rod of Padrographs has one of those Series 2 wants for me (along with the last U.K. card I need!)

So the last four cards of Series 2 packs is the reason for the variations in this set. Not every Series 1 card has a variation. The ones I found include:

Debbie Gibson
The Smithereens
Al B. Sure
Jimmy Page
John Lennon

There might be others, I'm kind of swimming in too many versions of the set.

The Legends variations -- Page and Lennon -- are interesting because with the design, they had to play with the photo as well as one of the design elements:

I imagine that button reads backward on one of those cards.

The main reason I wanted the Series 2 cards, other than to complete the entire 340-card set, is because there are several singers and bands featured in Series 2 that you can't find in Series 1. They may not even be in the U.K. set. I haven't done that particular side-by-side comparison.

Here are some of the familiar names you can find in Series 2 but not Series 1:

You can tell right away how woefully inadequate Series 1 is when Series 2 is the only place you can get a card of Pat Benatar or the Beastie Boys.

Meanwhile Series 2 is also filled with many hopelessly dated cards such as MC Skat Kat (there are actually two MC Skat Kat cards in the set!).

As mentioned before, I have many duplicates of Series 1 now and even some Series 2 dupes if people are interested. I've already promised my second Beastie Boys card to Fuji and I will be attempting to fill Rod's Series 2 needs as well. But after that, there's two MusiCards boxes full of duplicates.

I'm looking forward to adding all my Series 2 cards to the MusiCards binder that also houses the U.K set and then looking forward to finishing off those last few holes.

It's a pretty awesome set for its time -- even with those intentional variations.


  1. Replies
    1. On about 200 other blogs, dude. I post what I want.


    If you look at the original image of the Lennon, he has his right hand up, so the left-hand-up version has the button backwards. The button reads “Listen To This Button” , one of a bunch of “Listen to this...” promo items made for the album Walls and Bridges.

  3. if you end up with a dup of the living colour card, I would gladly take it off your hands and try to hook you up with some dodger needs in return.

  4. Oh dang, I'm not a huge music fan, but the names in this set are pretty iconic and all the variations seem like this has to be a fun set to chase. I poked around in the Trading Card Database and it is a crazy checklist.....gotta love the wild west of early 1990s cards. Awesome write up and thanks for sharing!

  5. You couldn't have picked a better day to write about music trading cards. I went to the game tonight and headed home thanks to the Fresh Prince's walk off homer.

  6. I had no idea there was a Series II (or a UK version for that matter, but I read about that here already), so these are all new to me. Sonic Youth!

  7. Kudos to Pro Set for giving MC Skat Kat his own card. And thank you for thinking about me when you pulled that second Beastie Boys card. Now I don't need to go out and buy the entire set... or an unopened box.

  8. Such awesome cards. Top 5 set on my all-time list. Thanks for the info on series 2. I own both series but had no idea. Great post - I really enjoyed!

  9. I'm looking for all the hard rock and metal bands in series 2. About 14 cards including Pat Benetar. I can send you the list.

  10. GCA: Send away.

    simpson: Send me an email with an address and if I have an extra I'll send it.