Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

An Emmitt Smith card I haven’t seen before

In 1993 Profiles on December 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this card. It’s the 1993 Emmitt Smith Pro Line Portraits 7/9 card. This scan was posted on collector Jayson Morand’s website.

No big revelation here. I had not seen any of the 1993 Emmitt cards signed and certified before, and I just wanted to share.

Something else verified and on the list.


Pat Swilling 7/9 unsigned, but corrected?

In 1992 Profiles, Oddities on December 28, 2011 at 6:11 am

One significant flaw in the Pro Line cards of 1991, 1992 and 1993 was the Pat Swilling 7/9 Profiles card. The back of the card showed a picture of Rickey Jackson wearing an NFC Pro Bowl jersey with the number 55. However, his towel indicates that the player is “NO 57,” which would’ve been Jackson.

All four of the Saints’ starting linebackers were Pro Bowlers in 1992 (following the 1991 season): Swilling, Jackson, Sam Mills and Vaughan Johnson. Simply amazing.

According to collector Jayson Morand, Swilling refused to sign the 7/9 Profiles card because the picture on the back was not him. Beckett considers the complete autograph set of Swilling Profiles to be eight cards.

And, also according to Morand, dealer/collector Bill Dodge says Pro Line later issued a corrected version of Swilling’s 7/9 card. I have never seen that; neither has Morand.

Once again, information from this post has come from Moran’s website, with permission. And Jayson has a request: If anybody knows anything about the updated version of this card, contact him through his website or shoot me an email at

Another Mrs. Claus variant

In 1992 Portraits, Oddities on December 27, 2011 at 7:03 am

Here’s another variant on the 1992 Mrs. Claus autographed Pro Line insert. This one has two autographs one it. Check out the photo of Santa. The Pro Line Santa Claus stand-in signed his framed picture for Mrs. Claus.

Very interesting. And once again, it makes me wonder how many are like this and what other surprises were/are lurking in those silver, black and white foil packs.

Mark Rypien did sign his Pro Line Profiles set

In 1992 Profiles, Oddities on December 27, 2011 at 6:34 am

The following update on the 1992 Mark Rypien Pro Line profiles set is courtesy of Pro Line autograph collector Jayson Morand. Check out the story in his words on his website. I have paraphrased the basics here:

In 2008, Morand had the opportunity to purchase the complete 1992 Pro Line Profiles Mark Rypien autograph set.

The significance behind this is that an autographed Rypien set was not known to exist. The quarterback was in a contract dispute with the Redskins when the new Pro Line cards were being designed. Pro Line sent the cards to Rypien to be autographed.

He signed them with the thought of sending them back once his contract was settled, but he never did.

Morand bought the set from a member of the Rypien family 16 years later.

I have included one of Jayson’s scans, with his permission.

Does anybody collect the Punt, Pass & Kick set?

In Oddities on December 24, 2011 at 6:06 am

Just tossing this out there: Does anybody collect the 1991 Pro Line Punt Pass & Kick stamped set.

I think it’s neat, because one of the things that attracted me to the Pro Line certified autographs in the first place was the embossed seal. And here’s a small batch of cards that has its own unique embossed seal, the NFL PPK logo. What’s different from the regular seal or the seals from the National conventions is that the seal is smaller, and it’s not placed on the lower right corner edge. It’s placed up and in, so the entire seal is visible.

And on the Warren Moon card, the placement can be a little awkward.

The complete 12-card set consisted of many of the best quarterbacks of the day: Moon, Dan Marino, Bernie Kosar, Jim Kelly, Jim Everett, Boomer Esiason, John Elway, Randall Cunningham, Troy Aikman and Phil Simms.

Also Bubby Brister.

And the 12th card in the set featured a photo of all 11 of those quarterbacks.

Holy North Pole! Mrs. Claus vs. Mrs. Santa

In 1992 Portraits, Oddities on December 24, 2011 at 2:35 am

Fellow Pro Line certified autograph collector Jayson Morand (whom you will be reading about from time to time) has discovered something ultra rare.

He got a certified, stamped card of Santa’s wife that was signed Mrs. Santa, not Mrs. Claus. I’ve never heard of one of these. But Jayson has one, and he forwarded me the scans (above). I’ll let him tell the story:

“I always had a 1992 Pro Line Portraits Mrs. Santa autographed card, but I picked up another one in a online auction a year ago. I was in the process of selling it recently when I realized that the one I had was signed ‘Mrs. Santa.’ The one I was selling was signed ‘Mrs. Claus.’ So I decided to keep it. I recently sent it to Dan Hitt at Beckett to get it incorporated in the next Beckett price guide.”

Fantastic find! It makes me wonder three things:
a) if whoever was signing those Mrs. Claus cards just wanted to screw with us collectors.
b) just how many were signed “Mrs. Santa.”
c) what other variations are out there … on any card.

We’ll discuss Muhammad Ali soon.

And make sure to head on over to Jayson’s website and check out his collection.

For some reason, I want this

In 1991 Portraits, Oddities on December 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Yes, I know I just spent a few hundred words saying I don’t think the certified Santa autograph cards are worth bothering with. But I just saw a Cleveland Gary Pro Line card on eBay that he signed upside down. And for some reason, I want it.

Now if I’m a 12-year-old kid in 1991 who just spent $1 on a pack of cards that essentially are 3.5-by-5 advertisements for NFL licensed products … And if I pull and autograph card out of that pack … And autograph cards are reported by various sources at being inserted at a rated of one in every three boxes … And I pull Cleveland Gary … AND THE SIGNATURE IS UPSIDE-DOWN? I’m not gonna be a completely happy 12-year-old card collector.

And that, Judybats fans, would be incredibly bittersweet.

So why do I want to add this oddball card to my collection? I don’t know. It’s only $5 (plus postage, which is killing me during this Pro Line hunt). I’m not sure I would even be considering this if it were more than $5.

I doubt I will buy it. But I do have a section of my Pro Line box dedicated to oddities. And now, I have the same for this blog.

There’s all this talk about Santa Claus, but …

In 1991 Portraits, 1992 Portraits on December 20, 2011 at 6:03 am

If you’re collecting the entire run of certified Pro Line autographs, do you also collect the Santa Claus cards?

They’re certified. They’ve got the stamp. They’ve got an autograph. No idea whose signature it is. But unless Virginia knows something the rest of us don’t, it ain’t Santa’s.

And that’s my problem with the cards. The Pro Line Claus cards are fun, but I’m not interested in them for the purposes of collecting the set. Those just aren’t legitimate autographs.

I know my mind might change when, someday, I have all the cards and am desperate to continue the hunt. And when the search for the elusive Chris Miller Profiles cards someday dries up, I might search for the Clauses just to prolong the search for one more embossed, autographed card that I don’t have..

According to a few sources, Pro Set was the first to issue a Santa Card, in 1991. Then the Pro Line Santa (top of page) was released afterward. It may be obvious, but Pro Line was the first “autographed” Santa card. And it wasn’t enough to have a short print of autographed santa cards in addition to the “regular” Santa, which, I believe, also was a short print. But Pro Line also produced an autographed Santa that was numbered to 200. The first card was signed simply “Santa.” The second, numbered card has an autograph that reads “Santa Claus.” In 2010, Beckett said this numbered Santa insert is the most expensive of all the Santa Cards made since 1991. At the time it booked for $60, according to Beckett.

I’ll rant about the prices of Pro Line autographs (or any card, for that matter) in the Beckett guide some other time. But this adds to my frustration about the Santa card being part of the set. If you acquire a certified, stamped Santa card — but not the numbered one — do you still have to get the numbered one to finish the set? I suppose it depends on how much of a completist you are. But it vexes me that they added this make-believe autograph to the set. Then, it wasn’t enough to have one, they had to use the same card and add 200 more autographs with a gimmicky twist.

Why not add another card, one signed “Kris Kringle” that would be numbered to 50? Or one with a “Father Christmas” autograph numbered to 25? Where will it end? There are more names for Santa. All you need is a Sharpie and an embossing stamp with the Pro Line logo.

Anyway, in 1992, Pro Line produced another Santa chase card but added a Mrs. Claus, too, also signed and embossed. Here’s a picture of them (below).

My first scouting report: Paul & Judy’s

In 1991 Portraits, 1992 Portraits, 1992 Profiles, misinformation, who didn't sign on December 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm

One of the first things that alerted me to the fact that not everybody had autographed their Pro Line football cards was some information I got in a catalog in 1993. It was from Paul & Judy’s Coins & Cards of Arcola, Ill.

A section of their catalog was dedicated to players who had not signed their cards and was titled “Missing in action: just too busy to be bothered.” Awesome. They warned their customers, “Don’t expect to find any of the following autographed cards in your wax packs … or anywhere else, for that matter.” And then they listed the following cards:

Fred Biletnikoff

Al Davis: Joseph C., a reader of the site, is nearly finished with the entire set of signed, embossed cards. He says he’s never seen the Al Davis.

Dennis Green

Frank Gifford (with the warning “Watch out for some that were rubber-stamped with ‘facsimile’ autograph.”)

Kathie Lee Gifford

Gifford Family

Joe Gibbs (“Race Car Card”)

James Hasty

Mark Rypien

Anthony Smith

Richard Todd

Eric Dickerson (#5 Profiles)

Jim Everett (all nine Profiles)

Jack Kemp (all nine Profiles)

Chris Miller (all nine Profiles)

Jerry Rice (#1, 2, 3, 4 Profiles)

Mark Rypien (all nine Profiles)

Deion Sanders (all nine Profiles)

Sterling Sharpe (#4 Profiles; they said, “This card was signed, but autograph ‘defective.’)

Bruce Smith (#5 Profiles; they said, “He didn’t like card.”)

Pat Swilling (#7 profiles)

Vinny Testaverde (#2, 4 Profiles; “Signed, but ‘defective.’)

The problem with this list is that it’s not accurate. At the time, it was a nice warning that not every card was gonna be out there. But Testaverde, for example, signed all his cards. I’m not sure what they meant by “defective.” Did the card not bring joy to whoever pulled it out of a pack?

But clearly, Vinny signed all nine cards.

The following is my best information on the Paul & Judy’s list:

Fred Biletnikoff: SIGNED

Al Davis: SIGNED (according to

Dennis Green: SIGNED. I have seen this card for sale on eBay. I had a cow when I did, but I was outbid. It was sometime around 2000, and I can’t remember how much it sold for. It had the embossed seal. I have not seen one since.

Frank Gifford: SIGNED, although some may be by a rubber stamp. I have seen stamped, certified, autographed Frank Gifford cards, but I’m not enough of an expert to know if it was a rubber stamp. It looked good to me. But this brings up a question about rubber-stamped Pro Line autographs. They’re less desirable to some folks, but does having a rubber-stamped Pro Line not meet the criteria for having that card if you’re trying to compile the whole set? I know Jim Kelly rubber-stamped many of the 1991 cards. So does having one of those mean you really don’t have the card? We’ll discuss this at some other date.

Kathie Lee Gifford: I don’t know

Gifford Family: I don’t know

Joe Gibbs (“Race Car Card”): I don’t know

James Hasty: I don’t know

Mark Rypien: SIGNED.

Anthony Smith: I don’t know

Richard Todd: I don’t know

Eric Dickerson 5: I don’t know

Jim Everett, all nine cards: SIGNED

Jim Everett supercollector Geoff (see comment below) has found all nine of the Everett Profiles cards that are signed with the embossed seal.

Jack Kemp (all nine profiles): I am told that Kemp did sign some of these. They do exist, but in extremely low numbers.

Chris Miller (all nine profiles): I don’t know

Jerry Rice Profiles: SIGNED. I have seen all nine of these signed with the regular certified seal. I have one with the regular seal, and I have all nine autographed with the seal from the National convention.

Mark Rypien all nine Profiles: SIGNED (according to Jayson Morand)

Deion Sanders 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: SIGNED (see photo of #3)

Deion Sanders 7, 8, 9: I don’t know

Sterling Sharpe 4: SIGNED

Bruce Smith 5: I don’t know

Pat Swilling 7: I don’t know.

Vinny Testaverde 2, 4: SIGNED

(By “I don’t know, I mean I’ve never seen it and have no reason to doubt Paul & Judy’s information. By “SIGNED,” I mean I have visual verification that a signed, embossed card does exist, and in some cases I own them.)