Wednesday Wax: 2002-03 Fleer Hot Shots


The Set:
2002-03 Fleer Hot Shots
24 packs per box, 8 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 Basic cards, 29 Give and Go, 39 All-Stars
27 Rookie Hats-Off /350
6 Vince Carter Hats-Off /350
6 Rookies /350
Hot Hands Parallels /199, Rookies /99
Give and Go Dual Event/Game Used /50
All-Stars Triple Event/Game Used /25
Hot Shots 1:8 packs, Event Worn 1:30 packs
En Fuego 1:12 packs, Event Worn 1:44 packs
Net Burners 1:24 packs, Event Worn /100
Hot Numbers /350, Event Worn /50
Parallel Versions of Event Worn cards

Our Break:


Hot Hands Parallel (4): Grant Hill /199, Antoine Walker /199, Eric Snow and Keith Van Horn /199, John Salmons /99


Hot Shots (3): Yao Ming, Mike Dunleavy, Jared Jeffries


En Fuego (2): Vince Carter, Shaquille O’neal


Hot Numbers (1): Richard Jefferson


Net Burners (1): Steve Nash


Hot Shots Event Worn (1): Kareem Rush


 
Rookie Hats-Off /350 (3): Casey Jacobsen, John Salmons, Ronald Murray


Vince Carter Hats-Off /350 (1): Curtis Borchardt


En Fuego Event Worn (1): Karl Malone

Impressions:

A fun time for basketball breaks, to be sure.  The chase cards here are the Yao Ming rookie memorabilia cards, the All-Star Triple jerseys numbered to 25, as well as the other parallel memorabilia versions of the insert sets.

An excellent base set with lots of inserts, parallels and memorabilia cards in each box.  This is a 2000s box with a 90s feel.  It has two subsets. The Give and Go cards for the most part show a point guard or high assist man on the front with the finisher on the back.  The second subset contains participants in the previous year’s All-Star weekend, and by participants, I mean in the rookie-sophomore game, three-point contest, dunk contest, and All-Star game.  That’s why we have guys in there like Chris Mihm.

These cards have a glossy finish, more noticeable on the darker cards like some of the Rookie Hats-Off cards.  These memorabilia cards are condition sensitive, particularly on the corners.

Want to point out that the typical box will not contain 6 memorabilia cards.  The overall odds of pulling a memorabilia card are 1 in 8 packs, but this box contained a ‘hot pack’ with 4 memorabilia cards in the one pack (the 4 Rookie Hats-off cards).

Not sure how many redemption cards were inserted for this product, but we were lucky enough to avoid them.

Overall a blast to open, and it was certainly exciting to open a hot-pack, even if we didn’t hit any of the higher valued rookies such as Yao, Carlos Boozer, or the scarcer All-Star or Give and Go jerseys.  A product I wanted to open at the time it came out, and still a worthwhile break today.


Insert Set Flashback: 1997-98 Ultra Jam City


The Set:
1997-98 Ultra Jam City

Set Odds:
1 in 8 series 1 packs

Key Cards:
Kobe Bryant $8.00
Shaquille O’Neal $4.00
Kevin Garnett $3.00

Why I Like It:
Oh man, how to get started.  How sweet would a modern-day Jam City set be?  Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, LeBron, etc… highlighting a set of the league’s best dunkers?  Or a set with past slam-dunk champions?  The Jam City name had tons of potential.

The cartoon-y black and white background makes the color shot of the player jump off the card.  Putting some of the league’s arenas into the background would have been a nice touch.

One thing I found amusing from the cards above: How does Juwan have a pass into Jam City when the back of the card says that he likes to step out for 18-footers?  Howard could throw it down in his younger days, but at least mention that rather than his set-shot ability.


Pickup of the Week, 1999-00 Fleer Focus Feel the Game

The 1999-00 Fleer Feel the Game sets were some of the earliest basketball game used card sets released. The Fleer Focus versions inserted at just 1 in 288 packs.  At those odds, I am surprised that the Grant Hill card pictured above has a high book value of only $20.  These can be had at an affordable price, they just don’t show up that often.

Question – Today, most products guarantee at least one memorabilia card per box, most more than that.  How has your enjoyment of the hobby been impacted by the decreased rarity of memorabilia cards?


Wednesday Wax: 1999-00 Topps Series 1 Hobby

The Set:
1999-00 Topps Series 1
36 packs per box, 11 cards per pack
Series 1 base set contains 110 base cards, 10 rookies inserted 1 in 5
MVP Promo, 1 in 336 packs
Record Numbers, 1 in 12 packs
Season’s Best, 1 in 12 packs
Patriarchs, 1 in 22 packs
Picture Perfect, 1 in 8 packs
Prodigy, 1 in 36 packs
Prodigy Refractor, 1 in 144 packs
Autographs Group A, 1 in 877 packs
Autographs Group B, 1 in 351 packs

Our Break:
Definitely received a complete base set, likely came up with two.  As with our Series 2 break, the base cards have the blindingly bright orange borders, with otherwise nice action shots of the player in the center.  The photography in the Shaq we’ve shown above is magnificent, capturing the dominance of Shaq’s time with the Lakers.  Again though, we busted this box for shot at some nice inserts, and because it was a cheap break with much enjoyment in pack breaking.  It’s nice to open 18 packs and realize you still have half the box to go.


’99 Draft Picks (8): Jason Terry, Corey Maggette x2, Ron Artest x2, Richard Hamilton x2, Elton Brand


Picture Perfect (6): Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Keith Van Horn, Tim Hardaway, Ron Mercer, David Robinson


Record Numbers (4): Karl Malone, Kerry Kittles, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan


Season’s Best (2): Tim Hardaway, Vince Carter


Patriarchs (2): Mitch Richmond, Patrick Ewing


Prodigy (1): Michael Doleac


Prodigy Refractors (1): Matt Harpring

Impressions:

Once again, the design and flair on some of these insert sets, Patriarchs and Season’s Best in particular, is something you just don’t see in modern-day sets.  The Picture Perfect inserts don’t do much for me, but most of the others are attractive and colorful sets.  Prodigy has a Chrome feel.  The excitement I felt opening the Prodigy insert and refractor quickly faded when I saw the players on each card.  Certainly could have done better, but pulling an insert with 1:144 odds felt pretty good.

Pulling multiples on several rookies was disappointing as well, but at least these are of guys that are still playing today.

As with our series 2 break, this one was a blast to break, and it won’t cost a fortune to pick up.  These should be available for under $30 on ebay or elsewhere.  One of these days we’ll open an autograph, but for now, we’ll treasure our Matt Harpring Refractor.


Insert Set Flashback: 2002-03 Hoops Stars Raising Up


The Set:
2002-03 Hoops Stars Raising Up

Set Odds:
1 in 5 packs

Key Cards:
Michael Jordan $10.00
Kobe Bryant $8.00
Yao Ming $5.00

Why I Like It:
Hoops stars was an exciting set for me to open. The rookie cards are short-printed but not impossible to collect, inserted at 1:4 packs.  Serial numbered parallel sets, game used versions of the inserts. To me this set had it all.  The draw for me was the variety and creativity in the inserts and the star players available in those sets.   All the insert sets have a nice glossy finish as well. Each has a blue parallel version.

Only complaint on this insert set is showing the same picture on both the front and back. Would have liked to have seen some variety. Still feel like creative sets such as these are what’s missing from today’s products.


Holiday Pickups, Part 3

Welcome to the last portion of the cards I added to my collection during the 2011 holiday season. Today I show off some non-Pacer additions. One is of a player I used to despise, but I have since come to appreciate his greatness and place as an elite scorer and likely future hall-of-famer. I am talking about Celtic star Paul Pierce.  Incredibly difficult to defend, Paul can jab-step into a jumper from just about anywhere on the floor, as well as drive to the  basket with relative ease. Paul has a nice signature, which you can see in the on-card autographed 1999-00 Topps card below.

Second is an autograph from a set that I was intrigued by after reading an article on Cardboard Connection. It’s a multi-sport set, 1994 Signature Rookies Gold Standard Hall of Fame Autographs. I wasn’t aware that this set existed but the on-card signatures and an opportunity to pick up autographs of hall-of-famers (Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald, Rick Barry, Bob Cousy, and Bill Walton, among others) on the cheap had me browsing ebay within minutes. Elvin Hayes is the first I’ve picked up. Thanks to Cardboard Connection for the article, as there’s no doubt this set is undervalued, and probably unknown to many.


Insert Set Flashback: 2002-03 Topps Tandems


The Set:
2002-03 Topps Tandems

Set Odds:
1 in 5 hobby packs, 1 in 10 retail packs

Key Cards:
Michael Jordan/Richard Hamilton $10.00
Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant $8.00

Why I Like It:
We’ve got some geometric shapes going on in this set’s background!  While not the most flashy, there’s something about this sharp, clean design that caught my eye going through an old binder.  Maybe it’s the giant text at the top starting with the Double Ts, or the shiny surface of the cards.

Some of my favorite scoring duos from the late 90s-early 2000s are featured here, such as Big Dog and Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker, the Rockets backcourt of Francis and Mobley.  The back of each card lists the top 10 scoring Duo’s from the previous season, serving as a checklist for the remaining cards.  I did notice a minor error on the Marbury/Marion card.  Typically only the players on the front of the card appear in bold on the back.  The Marbury/Marion also has Pierce and Walker in bold.  Minor, but something I easily missed the first time.