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My ‘90s’ Cardboard Love Story—Part I

Updated: Mar 28

My Hobby Blog/Vlog Story of the Month details an ongoing series titled “My ‘90s’ Cardboard Love Story.” In this series of cardboard love stories, I take an intimate deep dive into specific cards from the decade of the 90s that I had in my PC, didn’t have in my PC, and missed out on during my cardboard exile years. 


As a 40-year-old collector of cardboard, I can't help but feel a deep sense of nostalgia when I reflect on my cardboard experience. Also, when you look at my entire PC, it's easy for everyone to figure out what type of cards I prefer to have in my PC, even though my PC is very diverse. Despite my varied collection, each day I spend time adorning my entire PC, it becomes evident that vintage cards easily take the cake, even in my least nostalgic moments. Even though I have become overwhelmingly influenced by vintage cards and the experiential nostalgia they provide me, occasionally, when cards from the 90s, both known and unknown, are unearthed in the most unexpected moments, something happens to me, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In these random moments, three things tend to happen: I lose all sense of direction, I forget about my cardboard hunt plan, and I become smitten by the moment and, most importantly, the card. 


Welcome to part one of my '90s cardboard love story. 


This rekindling of my love for 90s cardboard happened during a random visit to one of my favorite places—a local cardboard store. On this day, work was very challenging, and as I walked to my car to head home, two thoughts came to my mind as I drove down Providence Rd. The first thought that came to my mind was why I left somewhat rational fourteen to eighteen-year-olds for twelve and thirteen-year-olds who lack deductive reasoning and are super impulsive?!?!? My second thought was that after the day I had at work, I needed some retail therapy, not just any retail therapy; I needed some cardboard therapy. I hope my wife doesn’t read this article!  So, instead of taking a right turn on Baltimore Pike to get on 476, I decided to turn left, and as I passed the Wawa superstore on the right side of Baltimore Pike, my eyes saw the flashing lights of the open sign for Media Cards and Sports. 


Walking into the store, I had a simple plan: chat with Jim, the owner, and find a few vintage cards. But as I was browsing the basketball showcase, my eyes were drawn to a card I had never seen before—the 1992 Skybox USA Basketball Team card. It was a moment of pure surprise and excitement. I was so captivated by this unexpected find that I was momentarily speechless, and my words were lost in the moment's awe. Why? As I stood at the basketball showcase, ignoring every card in my direct line of vision, I could only do a deep dive search of my long-term memory bank to recall if I or someone in my cardboard ecosystems once had this classic and visually appealing ‘90s card. After reviewing as many long-term memories as quickly and humanly possible before Jim thought I was ignoring him, I realized that this moment I was experiencing was one of those cardboard one-of-one moments—finding a rare card from your childhood. What made this moment a true one-of-one cardboard moment for me is I had two choices: leave the raw card at the store and risk the chance of not seeing it for a long time, or buy the raw rare card and enjoy all the nostalgia that will come with it.


I decided to go with the latter because when you find a rare card from your childhood that you have never seen—you have to buy it!

      

After waking up from my temporary trance, I asked Jim if I could see the ‘90s card. As Jim retrieved the card, I watched his every move like an eagle stalking its prey as he pulled the rare ‘90s Skybox card from the bottom of the basketball showcase. When Jim placed the card in my hand, two thoughts went through my mind: the first thought was how could I have missed out on an awesome Skybox card because, in 1992, I was in my golden era of collecting. My second thought was this card had to come home with me, especially if the cost was reasonable. So, as my clamoring over the classic ‘90s card subsided, I followed Jim from the other side of the showcase counter to the cash register, and moments later, I realized I had broken my routine. I was so excited to purchase the Skybox card that I completely neglected the baseball showcase, the one-dollar card bin, and the half-price high-end ‘80s/90s and vintage raw card bin. Despite this internal realization, I also recognized that the only thing that mattered to me was completing my transaction so I could learn about and enjoy an unknown card from my first hobby run.


It's been several months since I acquired the 1992 Skybox USA Team card, and my hobby experience with this beautiful, nostalgic, and heavy-laden superstar card has been beyond magical and engaging. After having the card for a couple of weeks, I sent it in for grading to SGC via Wheelhouse Sportscards, and while the card was away for grading, every chance I had/could, I talked about my rare ‘90s card nonstop with anyone who would listen. When I received the card back from SGC, I had to briefly delay the nostalgic joy and humor of receiving a high grade for a dope ‘90s card that I didn’t see in circulation inside and outside my hobby circles. Yes, my delay of celebratory nostalgia through writing, talking, and content creation was temporary because the original grader inserted the card backward into the SGC slab. However, SGC took care of me at the Philly Show with a free reslab and a five-day turnaround, and in case you are wondering, I got the card back from SGC in five days. 

   



When I pulled my ‘90s Skybox card out of the package, I smiled from ear to ear because the gold border of the card was a genuine compliment to SGC’s Black Tuxedo. Once, I had my private moment of nostalgia with this classic ‘90s Skybox card; I shared my dope ‘90s card every chance I could in person and online. I wrote multiple cardboard stories detailing my conversations with everyone about this card. I created various pieces of cardboard content to explore the card’s visual depth and beautiful design. I designated the ‘90s Skybox card as My Card of The Week for my weekly #thehobbyexperience cardboard show. The experiential joy of my 1992 Skybox USA Team card has been FUN, ENGAGING, and MEMORABLE. Why? Ever since I laid eyes on the visually stimulating ‘90s card, ‘90s cards have dominated my collecting experiences when making content and looking for specific cards at shows or local card stores. 


I don’t know how long this '90s cardboard love/fling will last, but until that day comes, I will enjoy every moment of this ongoing love story. 


Keep Collecting! 


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