Archive for the ‘Oddities’ Category

1991 Pro Line National embossed: with numbers and without

In 1991 National Convention, 1991 Portraits, 1992 National Convention, Oddities on May 13, 2013 at 5:19 am

tittle 1991 national no number

1991 everett national number

Donnie, a frequent eBay seller and friend of the blog, shed some light on the 1991 Pro Line National set. Some of the cards with the embossed seal from the 1991 National convention in Anaheim, Calif., have the card number on the back of the card, and some do not. Donnie is selling some of these cards that have the number, and I asked him what the difference is.

Donnie said the 1991 Pro Line National embossed complete bindered sets were distributed at the National to card dealers. These complete sets had their own special binder and case that the binder was inserted into. All of the complete set cards were a parallel of the base card other than the embossed seal.

The non-numbered cards were given away individually and could be signed by players who were at the convention as contracted signers by Pro Line. Some of those players were Michael Cofer, Christian Okoye, Blair Thomas, Gayle Sayers, Andre Collins and a few others. The embossing on those cards were done by a hand stamp and therefore the placement of the stamped seal is inconsistent.

The stamped sets were embossed by machine stamping and are all consistent, just like the stamped pack pulled autograph cards.

In the 1992 National bindered sets, both Portraits and Profiles were unnumbered cards.

1991 bennett national with number

felicia moon 1991 national no number


Here’s the 1992 Pro Line National set

In 1992 National Convention, 1992 Profiles, Oddities on May 5, 2013 at 2:46 am


We covered quite a bit about the 1991 Pro Line set with the embossed seal from the National Sports Card Convention that year in Anaheim, Calif.

So here’s a little information about the 1992 Pro Line National set, which I mentioned I own.

The following was taken from, which was quoting Beckett in 2005-06:

This set was distributed at a private party at the 1992 National Sports Collector’s Convention. Each card is essentially a parallel to the base and some insert Pro Line Portraits cards and each was embossed with a “The National 1992” loto on the lower right corner of the cardfront. Unlike the base cards, each National card was not numbered on the back. At the party, the cards were issued to attendees in complete set form in special 1992 National two-binder set within plastic sheets. The big Beckett gives a Book Value on this special set at $900.00!

It goes on to say the Portraits portion of the set would be worth $600 and the Profiles would be worth $300. But I can’t imagine breaking the two-binder set apart and doing away with the box that they fit into.

I also don’t think they’re worth that much.

And here’s what the front of one of the binders looks like.


Here’s a shot of the spines of the binders.


And here is one of the National-embossed Profiles cards of Mike Ditka.


1991 Pro Line National set for sale on eBay

In 1991 National Convention, 1991 Portraits, 1992 National Convention, Oddities on May 5, 2013 at 1:50 am


Here is a complete 1991 Pro Line set from the National Sports Card Convention, which was at the Anaheim Convention Center.

I actually attended this show, and it was a blast. Unfortunately, I hadn’t started collecting Pro Line autographs yet. Had I known that I eventually would, I would’ve been at ground zero for oddities, giveaways, prizes, autographs and the like.

I have heard multiple times that, in the goodie bags at the front door, some fans received a certificate and/or a Pro Line card that they could take to a signing party during the show and have autographed by the player, say Howie Long, and then the card would be embossed at the party. I own some cards with the National seal but no autograph and I own some signed cards with the National seal. In fact, all nine of my signed 1992 Jerry Rice cards are from the National. And I enjoy having them. But I can’t say for sure where they came from.

I’ve also heard that these complete sets were given away to VIPs at some party. I’m not sure why card company execs or even the athletes themselves would want even more sports card stuff, unless they were socking it away to sell to collectors on a rainy day.

But this promotional piece has all the cards, even the Rashad family card and the Payne Stewart insert. It doesn’t appear any of them were autographed. And the buy-it-now price is $350.

A few years ago, I bought the 1992 National Pro Line set, which was in a white binder. It also was for sale on eBay. I can’t remember if I paid $95 or $195 for it. That’s a significant difference, but I really can’t remember. I’ve been told that the 1992 Pro Line National set was distributed at a private party at the 1992 National.

Considering the prices of some of the cards I still need to complete my set, I think I will pass on spending that much for this oddball set.

Here’s a link to the set. It’s not an auction. It doesn’t look like there’s an end date, so it might stay up until it’s sold.

Here’s a pre-Internet story from the Chicago Tribune and writer John Leptich about his impressions of the first Pro Line football cards when they were unveiled at the 1991 National.

And below is a closeup of the embossed seal for the 1991 National convention. The embossed seal was one thing that drew me to this set in the first place, and I think it’s cool that they made an entirely separate seal for the 1991 and 1992 Nationals.


Stamp in the wrong place

In 1992 Profiles, Oddities on August 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Here’s a card I found on eBay. It’s a Derrick Thomas 1992 Profiles card that was stamped in the wrong place.

It’s difficult to tell from the front of the card, but look at the back. The stamp is in the top right corner, instead of the bottom.

Does anybody specifically collect oddball cards like this one? Would you call this an “error card”? Would anybody specifically avoid a card like this when putting together the whole set?

Here’s the other side of the same card.

And here’s a Bernie Kosar Profiles card I came across.

Do these extra embossed seals bother you?

In Oddities on February 20, 2012 at 5:14 am

The two things that were unique about the Pro Line autographs that were inserted into packs were the embossed seal, which certified the signature was authentic, and the lack of a card number on the back.

If you’ve got these two things, it’s a good bet (but not a guarantee) that you have a) a card that was inserted into a pack and b) an authentic signature of the person on that card.

As we’ve seen, some cards were never returned to the company (see Mark Rypien). Some cards were not legitimate autographs of the “person” depicted (see Santa and Mrs. Claus). Some cards were signed by an autopen (see Jim Kelly and others). And I’ve even got a couple of oddball cards with the seal but without a signature. I suppose I could sign those cards and sell them as inserts, but I won’t. That’s how I roll.

And then there are the cards with the embossed seals from the 1991 and 1992 national conventions. I have many of those that are not signed.

But this third-party service — is it SB? — that authenticates autographs actually took a page from the Pro Line book and uses an embossed seal stamped in the corner to guarantee a signature is legit.

Does this bother anybody?

An autograph can raise or lower a card’s value. If I were going to get Wayne Gretzky’s autograph, I wouldn’t take one of his rookie cards. I’d pick a regular card of his that would look good with a black Sharpie scribble on it, and I’d use that. So anybody who believes an autograph lowers the value of a card probably believes this SB company’s embossed seal also lowers the value.

If you’re collecting the autograph for the sake of the autograph, that embossed seal actually might be worth something to you. Theoretically you could trade or sell that card down the line with the expectation that everybody who ever looks at that card will understand that its authenticity has been verified.

Generally speaking, though, the Pro Line cards already have that. I suppose you could send a Pro Line to such a service and verify that I didn’t sign my entire set of 1992 National embossed cards.

I’m not sure everybody needs to do that.

Even so, whenever I see these cards with the extraneous seal embossed on them, I think they’re kind of neat. It doesn’t bother me that this seal is on the card at all. So I never hesitate to bid on such a card. And sometimes I think I may be getting a slight bargain, because I’m pretty sure there are people out there who don’t want to buy a Pro Line with this unnecessary seal.

(The seal I’m talking about is at the lower left of the Warren Moon card at the top of this post.)

Was Emmitt Smith supposed to be in the 1991 Portraits set?

In 1991 Portraits, 1992 Portraits, Oddities on January 17, 2012 at 3:10 am

I have never seen this card before, a 1991 Emmitt Smith Pro Line Portraits card. A reader called Gus sent me two digital pics of the card, front and back, looking for some answers. I don’t have specifics, but I can make some educated guesses.

This clearly is not one of the regular 300 cards from the 1991 Pro Line Portraits set, although the date on the back of the card says 1991. Emmitt had no 1991 card. His Portraits card appeared in the 1992 set.

Gus’ card is exceptional for four reasons: The card has a different photo on the front than the 1992 Smith card (above), it has different text on the back from the 1992 card (below), it has no number and the date on the back says 1991. I can’t tell if the photo on the back is different, but the crop is tighter on the 1992 card.

The cards that were sent to the players to autograph did not have the card number on the back. That fact and the certified, embossed seal are the two ways to know you have an autograph card that was inserted into the pack by the manufacturer (and not a forgery). This card does not have the seal.

I have three guesses about this card:

1) It is a prototype for a Smith card for the 1991 set that somehow got away from the Pro Line folks and into circulation in the collecting world. I’m basing this guess on the quote on the back of the card, which mostly revolves around Emmitt’s views on the differences between college and pro football. That would make sense for a player who just finished his first NFL season, but it makes less sense for a player who would be entering his third season as the cards were hitting the shelves. That being the case, Pro Line would’ve changed the wording on the back for 1992, which it did. Smith gained nearly 1,000 yards in 1990, so demand for a 1991 card would’ve been there. Gus says he read somewhere that neither Smith nor the NFL was happy with the photo of Emmitt not smiling. I would be interested to read whatever Gus read. If this were a prototype for 1991, it seems like a simple fix to change the pic. But we don’t know the timing of the matter, which might have kept the card out of the 1991 set.

2) It’s a prototype for 1992. But if it is, why does it have the 1991 date on the back? Seems odd. And unlikely.

3) Emmitt was supposed to be part of the 300-card 1991 set, and this is one of the cards meant to bear Emmitt’s signature and be inserted into foil packs. If this problem with the photo was significant enough (and the situation came up late in the process to get the set out), it may have prevented Emmitt from being part of the 1991 set. If that was the case, the company might have decided to hold the card until 1992, adding some star power to the set. I’m basing this guess on the fact that there’s no number on the back of the card.

I think the third is the most likely possibility.

As I said, I’ve never seen this card before, and I’d love to know more about it.

If it was meant to be part of the 1991 set, I’d also love to know which of the other cards was not originally included in the set of 300 (in other words, which card was added to replace Emmitt). I’d be curious to know who was essentially card No. 301 and got included when Emmitt’s card fell through.

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.