2013 Panini Prizm Blue Prizm Monday Night Heroes Cam Newton

2013 Panini Prizm Monday Night Heroes Blue Prizm Cam NewtonTopps Finest. Topps Chrome. Bowman’s Best. Bowman Chrome. And now…Panini Prizm? Oy.

My collecting years range from second grade in 1989 through my senior year of high school in 1999, and my collection consisted of only baseball cards. I’ve seen a lot of stuff through those years, from the introduction of Upper Deck to the demise of Donruss/Pinnacle Brands.

It’s really hard to say what my favorite gimmick was from all of the different products released, but if I really had to choose, I’d narrow it down to either refractors from Topps or dufex from Pinnacle. I love refractors due to how the chrome cards seem to pop more, but I also love dufex because, well, it’s one of those things that you have to see in person to understand.

A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to start putting up a serious collection of Cam Newton cards. I bought a few here and there when I thought about it, but at the time they were affordable rookie cards and nothing more.

That’s when I saw this insert from Panini, a 2013 Prizm Monday Night Heroes Blue Prizm. Whew. A lot of words to describe the card. Confused? I was. Prizm is the set name, and Prizm is also the term used to describe the refractor look to it. And blue? Well clearly the blue border is the culprit behind that.

I don’t know what it is but to me, chrome cards with colored backgrounds seem to pop much better than those without, which is why I love the 1994 Finest Baseball Refractors. But that’s a story for another time.

This may not be a high dollar card but it will definitely be displayed proudly in my collection, and I will attempt to complete the rainbow. Isn’t that what player collectors do?

1992 Topps Gold Auto Brien Taylor

1992 Topps Gold Autograph Brien Taylor

In my last post, I made a brief mention to 1992 and Brien Taylor. In fact, I even wrote a guest post for Radicards. I guess you can say that I’m a little fascinated with him, and for good reason.

I lived in eastern North Carolina at the time of the announcement that Beaufort-natve Brien Taylor was drafted by the Yankees. You see, I lived just off of a military base in Havelock, which is roughly 30 minutes apart from his hometown. So it was pretty exciting in that area, and even more so as a Yankees fan.

Since I was only 11, I can look back and be thankful that a pack of 1992 Topps baseball cards was only 50ยข, because I spent so much of my lawn-mowing money on packs hoping to get his rookie card. Don’t get me started on the Topps Gold and Topps Gold Winner parallels. I had enough trouble trying to obtain this white whale, if you will.

This was when Topps still released their product as a one-series set with 792 cards. Let’s not forget that finding duplicates in a box, or even a pack, was pretty much a given. I did live near a few local card shops but they never seemed to have the card available.

After what seemed like months of buying packs, I finally hit the one card I wanted. You know that feeling you get when you finally find something, only to find out there’s more? Yeah, about that. I pulled his rookie out of a pack and the dealer at the shop told me it would be paired great with his Topps Gold Autograph card.


I already knew about the Topps Gold and Topps Gold Winner parallels, and the way my luck was with pulling his regular base card, I knew (at the time) there was no way in hell I would be able to complete the rainbow, so-to-speak.

But his autograph! Now that would be something worth trying for…if it was inserted into packs. No, Topps had to go out of their way to create a special factory set with all 792 cards in gold foil, with the additional card #793 of Brien Taylor. Limited to just 12,000 sets and complete with a certificate of authenticity, this would be something I’d never afford.

Not only that, the card was a brand-new one, with a headshot of Brien Taylor holding a baseball and his glove, and his signature to the left of his face. Can you imagine signing 12,000 cards? I’m just glad that Topps was able to get them on-card, and not use stickers that we’re used to seeing nowadays.

I did manage to track down a copy about 10 years ago on eBay for roughly $25, seen above, and promptly stored it safely. This was my first and only attempt at prospecting, even if I didn’t know it at the time. I did manage to complete the rainbow: base, Topps Gold, Topps Gold Winner, and his Topps Gold autograph.

11-year-old me can now sleep soundly at night. I just hope he never learns of Taylor ending his career over a bar fight or that he was arrested for cocaine many years later…

Bonus reading material: Beckett Media recently covered Brien Taylor in their 10 Big Sports Card Busts.

1969 Topps Reggie Jackson

This is a story about luck and heartbreak all in one post.

It was the summer of 1992. The same year Topps had the #1 pitching prospect, Brien Taylor, in their main set. It was also the summer that my grandparents weren’t in the best of health.

My dad was visiting them, as we lived in North Carolina and they lived in Ohio, and my sister and I were still in school at the time. I remember one night after school, my dad called to say hi and see how things were going with us. The usual stuff, but it was still nice to hear from him. Then he mentioned that he found a bunch of his old baseball cards and asked if I wanted them.

Obviously as an 11-year-old who was into collecting baseball cards I said yes, not knowing what he had and if anything worthwhile would stand out. Of course, considering he was born in 1951, I’d be just as thrilled with “commons” from any year when he was a kids. Hell, I’d be happy just to have something worth holding onto to pass along to my kids.

That whole week seemed to last forever and by Friday, I still didn’t have the cards in my hands. You think Christmas is bad for a kid? Well, Saturday’s mail finally arrived and sure enough, a padded envelope that was from my dad. Inside, held together by rubber bands (ugh) was a stack of 1969 Topps cards.

I grabbed my trusty Beckett Baseball Card Monthly magazine and started to check out the values of the cards sent to me. Most cards were commons, worth nothing more than $5-$10. To me, I was just happy to have the cards in my collection no matter what.

Well, the second-to-last card  was up and so I looked it up. Some scrub named Reggie Jackson, in his Oakland A’s uniform and a cheesy smile. Mind you, the card probably saw better days but the centering was damn near perfect, even if the corners were somewhat rounded and soft instead of sharp. Similar to what I found below, courtesy COMC.

I had to do a double take because when I looked at the price guide, the high column read $635 for a copy in mint condition. I was 11; there’s no way I had something this valuable in my hands, let alone have it survive all those years. I don’t think I put the card down for what seemed like hours, but I did put it into a penny sleeve and top loader to protect it.

Unfortunately, excitement got the best of me and I showed a few friends the card and I bragged about the value. Obviously I regret this, as later on the card was stolen from me. But at age 11, I really didn’t think that far ahead. Live and learn, right? At least when I told my dad about it, he wasn’t too upset, as he thought the cards weren’t worth much anyway.


The closest to the original that I now own is the 2001 Topps Archives Reserve, seen below. One day I’ll find a good copy to add to my collection again, and you can bet I won’t let it go.

2001 Topps Archive Reserve Reggie Jackson

At least my grandparents were able to live a few years longer.