I give Leaf Trading Cards’ Brian Gray a lot of grief. To me, Leaf’s run in the mid to late-90s was as good as it could get. When I heard Brian had purchased the licensing rights to the defunct Leaf, I was terrified and rightly so. Previously, Brian was known for Razor Collectibles, a start-up card manufacturer that signed 42 MLB draftees to exclusive contracts for 2008. Unfortunately for fans of Razor, the two biggest draft picks that year, Buster Posey and Giancarlo Stanton, both signed cards for Topps’ Bowman line.
When it comes to baseball cards, I am just not a fan of much of Leaf’s offerings due to lack of MLB logos and what in my opinion, are subpar designs. There is however, one area where Brian Grey has consistently delivered great content. When it comes to non-sports trading cards, Leaf hands down is at the top of the mountain and no one has yet to come close. For example, compare any year Allen & Ginter’s celebrity autograph checklist and it is quickly toppled by 1/3 of any of Pop Century’s checklist.
This year is set to be Pop Century’s most successful year with the release of 2021 Leaf Metal Pop Century. Brian has accumulated a who’s who of Hollywood but it’s one specific inclusion that is set to cause some serious commotion in the hobby. Brian has managed to get controversial rapper, ‘6ix9ine’, to sign stickers for what will be his trading card debut. For those unaware, 69 is a rapper who is under protection 24 hours a day as a result of “snitching” on several associates of his who were planning on murdering him.
Don’t get me wrong, 69 is an obnoxious personality, a convicted felon, and creates what is maybe the worst music on the planet. The fact that Brian Grey was able to get ahold of 69’s people and even have stickers delivered to his location, which changes from week to week, is a miracle. That these cards actually made it into production is an even bigger miracle and when they hit the secondary market, you can expect to see some hefty figures rolling in, especially with the more colorful parallels.
The genius in releasing this card to the masses is simple: 6ix9ine is living on borrowed time. This Leaf Metal Pop Century is 69’s rookie card (with an autograph) and odds are there won’t be any second year cards. If there are, the rookie will be where its at and guys like 69 don’t live long, anyway. Just yesterday, on the date Leaf Metal Pop Century was released, a 36 year-old rapper named Young Dolph was murdered. If 69 meets that same fate tomorrow or even years from now, this card will become an instant classic.
You can find boxes of 2021 Leaf Metal Pop Century on sale now ranging anywhere between $250-$300 per box. Considering there are just 4 cards in the box, most collectors will likely run to eBay to pick up their desired singles. The checklist is immense and there are several celebrities, much more renowned than a guy named after a sexual position, who have never signed cards prior to Leaf Metal Pop Century. You can view a checklist from the Cardboard Connection HERE.