Friday, April 26, 2019

The Origins Of A Cardboard Addict: Inscriptions

It was 1997 and my father had the day off to run errands with me. My mother decided not to tag along and stay home to get caught up on housework which only meant one thing to my father and I, it was time to hit up the card shop.

When I say card shop, I don't actually mean a card shop. Even though at the time we did have one of those still kicking around but it was a almost thirty minute drive when we could just drive for ten minutes to get the same kind of cards. Don't get me wrong, a card shop is a beautiful place compared where we were going. I just wished I had realized how much the hobby was going to die off in my area over the years or I would have been going more to the real card shop.

We were heading to the gas station!

Yup. The gas station was a happening place at the time. They sold Beanie Babies, they had sports cards, gas, snacks, regular food, and even a Dunkin' inside that made the building inside smell like coffee.

But, it was the sports cards we were always there for.

They had a spinning rack just loaded with unopened boxes and even a book shelf that sat in the corner with packs if you preferred that route. We had bought so many boxes and packs from their that the owner of the gas station had become a friend of ours and was always inviting us into his office to show the latest products that would be hitting the rack and giving us the opportunity to grab them before anyone else does.

He was kind of like that card shop owner that loyal customers would become besties with.

On this given day, he had just received a box full of a new beautiful product called 1997 Pinnacle Inscriptions. It was a high end product like no other that contained what was told to be some beautiful autographs. You were rolling the dice however when you bought them as these mini boxes contained one pack that only had three cards in it. Each mini box featured a player on it and there were six players overall to collect.

The hobby box came with 24 packs with the following odds for parallels and the autographs I spoke about,

Challenge Collection 1:7 packs
Artist Proof 1:35 packs
V2 1:11 Packs
Inscriptions Autographs 1:23 packs

You had autographs of all the big stars to chase such as Brett Favre, John Elway and Barry Sanders to chase along with key rookie cards of Jake Plummer, Corey Dillion and Tony Gonzalez as well.

I don't quite remember what the price per pack was then, but it seemed to had been upwards to $10. So if my father and I was going to buy a few packs, the odds of us hitting that autograph was going to be rough.

After a few minutes of back and forth between us and the owner, we decided we would buy the whole hobby box but would have to pick it up a few packs at a time since we didn't have that kind of cash flow. The owner even gave us 10% off as well.

So that day we only grabbed a couple of packs, didn't hit it too big or find the autograph, so we would have to go back again.

Speaking of going back again, 22 years later I was able to do that. That's right! I was able to snag three unopened packs of 1997 Pinnacle Inscriptions football thanks to my buddy @90sNicheFBCard.

My three boxes had,
Dan Marino

Brett Favre

Troy Aikman

I was trying to decide if I wanted to open all three or just one and keep two sealed. For now, that's the route I have taken. Let's see how my one pack break went.

I chose the Troy Aikman pack to bust

You take the plastic off, open up the box and inside you find this. Not particularly the best way to pack cards, but didn't seem to leave any damage on them.

Brett Favre kicks off our pack. The base cards are all printed with dufex technology. The Next Level cards are the subsets in the 50 card base card set.

Some more star power right here. Emmitt Smith is card two in this pack.

Scott Mitchell was my last card. Not a fairy tale ending.

Also in the pack was this checklist.

That was a really fun walk back in time and now I want to build the base set. So, add that one to my list in my 1997 section. It's only 50 cards so hopefully wouldn't take too long to build. If you have any send em my way!

As for the rest of my box break of inscriptions with my father, well, we did land the autograph eventually and even went back for a second hobby box and pulled another. Who did we land, well, that may wait for another day if I decide to open another pack. Or it will just be another story for another day.

I wished that gas station still carried cards but they no longer do. The card section left about 15 years ago. The gas station still exists and still has everything else including a new batch of Beenie Babies. I just go in now to smell the scent of coffee and remember the good times I had there.


  1. Sweet Favre! I can't remember buying cards at my local gas stations... but if I did it was more of the low end stuff. The definitely didn't carry high end hobby products.

  2. I would not be able to resist to open those other two boxes, especially since I've never seen these before!