While I’m not exactly thrilled to be walking away from Wax Heaven, I have to say I am somewhat relieved that I won’t be able to do my End of the Year special, titled ‘The Waxxies’. It’s just a lot of work.
Rather than focus on the best of 2009 I figured it would be good to write about the best product of all-time, in my humble opinion. While it would be hard not to give the award to Pinnacle Brands for their many great releases, I’ve decided to think outside the (wax) box.
I believe the best brand ever to be released came from Fleer / Skybox. The first release came in 1995 and was simply titled ‘Emotion’. The following year it was ‘Emotion-XL’ but it was in 1997 that they really came into their own as E-X 2000.
To this day, I have never seen a trading card quite like it. It truly is one of the greatest, most artistic releases to come out of The Hobby and although Upper Deck now owns the name, I don’t think they will ever be done “right” again.
You can check out a box break of 1997 E-X 2000 HERE. You can also more coverage here. E-X returned in 1998 with a design that was way over the top and not quite as great as the years before. Although the magic was clearly gone, parallels from the 1998 release make a killing on eBay.
Below is a sample gallery featuring the ‘Emotion’ brand. Each year is represented and today you can find unopened boxes hovering for around $40 dollars on eBay and sometimes even less at card shows. If you love great photography and truly unique card designs, any of these four issues are sure to please.
They were responsible for some of the most creative, almost artistic baseball cards of the 90’s. In fact, I even called 1997’s Skybox EX-2000 the best designed product of the entire decade. I was even lucky enough to bust an entire box on Christmas!
As some of you know, Fleer/Skybox filed for bankruptcy a few years ago and Upper Deck came in and purchased the struggling Jersey-based company. Unfortunately, U.D. has not been kind to Fleer / Skybox’s legacy and has not used the brand in baseball since 2007.
The name Eugene Scher might not sound familiar to most collectors. He worked with Donruss but is best known as the founder of Skybox International. Well, the man who fell out of the hobby spotlight is now selling his California home for $4.295 million dollars for anyone interested.
No word on whether or not that comes with a case of Skybox Metal.
Looks like Sammy is being chased out of Chicago!
Take a look at the sheer horror on Nomar Garciaparra’s face. It’s almost as if the Green Monster has come to life after one too many line drives to the face.
Or judging by the background, maybe Nomar has been abducted and sent to Cybertron and he’s in the middle of a fierce battle between the Decepticons, led by Megatron, and the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime.
Whatever is going on, clearly, Nomar is freakin’ out.
In all seriousness, what you are looking at is a cropped photo of 1999’s Fleer Skybox Premium’s parallel, titled ‘Star Rubies Extreme’ and it’s serial numbered to 50 copies.
Despite the possibility of pulling an on-card autograph and several well-designed 90’s inserts, boxes of ’99 Skybox Premium can be purchased on eBay for under $40 dollars most of the time.
It’s on the short list of boxes I am looking at purchasing.
Want to see the full card? Click HERE.
Before I even begin writing about Metal Universe you should probably ask yourself if this is the kind of product that you would be into. Basically, if you collect for the fun and excitement of pulling a rare or unique card definitely stick around. If your idea of collecting involves going through a 5,000 count box of 2004 Topps Total or are simply a collecting snob who looks down on non-prospect or high-end products, click HERE.
Now, if you are still here then you probably know exactly what Fleer/Skybox Metal Universe was all about. How it made its baseball debut in 1996 with comic book-inspired themes and all foil fronts. Even back then, Metal Universe was a bit tacky but no one could say it wasn’t innovative. Their inserts, especially the hard to find ones are some of the most unique of all-time, something that Fleer will always be remembered for.
This wonderful card came courtesy of “Topher”, a Wax Heaven reader and published author! I just want to thank you for reading the site and sending a few 90’s cards my way. In a few hours I will post a tribute to Metal Universe featuring none other than Derek Jeter, so stay tuned!
P.S – Old School Box Breaks just did a box break of this (link).
I remember being 15 years old and full of teen angst in 1996. One day, while sitting in my room organizing my baseball cards, my mother walks in and throws a bag on my bed and walks out. Curiously, I got up off the floor and opened the bag and found a new, unopened wax box of 1996 Emotion E-XL. Being the ungrateful teen that I was, disappointment set in when I found out there would be no Refractors or shinny, 90’s cards that I was used to by then.
With each pack I opened I was more and more impressed with the elegance this product was dripping with. Each card came with a thick and somewhat dull border but the photos were glossy and you could tell they were very picky with their selections. Each player had his own word to describe him. Jose Canseco’s was “swagger”. How fitting, for the former M.V.P of baseball. Alex Rodriguez had, no joke…”fluid”. I’m not even going near that one!
To me, these cards are some of the most underrated of that era. There were no autograph or game-used and as far as I know, there was no parallels either. You could find some very interesting inserts but not much else. By 1997, Emotion would raise the bar of trading cards forever by releasing 1997 E-XL (link). As amazing as that set was, to me a box of ’96 Emotion E-XL is truly wax heaven.