Trading cards. I’ve always liked them. Over the years I’ve accumulated them as much as I’ve collected them. What’s the difference between a collection and an accumulation you ask? Organization. If you don’t know what you have and therefor can’t find anything then you have an accumulation. That defines a lot of my trading cards. I’ve got a bunch of them tucked away in boxes in various closets. I recently came across a small box (I think it fits 500 cards) that I had no idea was there. I had no idea what cards were in the box either.

The early 1990s was a boom time for trading cards. Baseball cards were king but the “Non-sports” section of trading cards blew up too. Everybody was putting out sets of cards and the subject matter was varied and wide. TV shows, art, artists, comic books, and everything else you can think of had a card set.

There were also trading card stores everywhere too. They were mostly baseball card stores or combination baseball card and comic book stores but they sold other cards too. I don’t think there is a single baseball card store left in my general area but in the early 1990s there were half a dozen. I used to stop by every now and then and buy a couple of pack of whatever caught my eye.

Go through the box with me and see what caught my early 1990’s eye.

James Bond 007 – This set has a 1993 date and was put out by Eclipse Comics. I bought plenty of their comics back then but I don’t remember this set or them making cards in general. This is the biggest chunk of cards in the box. There is about 100 of them. I even have two hologram chase cards so I must have bought a bunch of packs. I don’t know why. I was never that big a Bond fan. In general the cards aren’t great. They’ve all got an ugly gold border (more like mustard really) and some photos are good but a lot of them are not sharp. Overall I give the set a C+.

NFL Proline Portrait – Actually the Bond set isn’t technically the biggest as about half the box is taken up by football cards. I don’t really count these as I didn’t buy them. A friend of mine bought them but he was only interested in the chase cards so he left these behind with me. They’re from 1992. They’re actually really nice cards as they obviously hired professional photographers to take photo portraits of the players. Despite my lack of interest in them now this set gets a A.

The Avengers (TV Show) – I’ve got 28 cards out of the 180 card set. The date of them is 1993 and they’re made by Cornerstone Communications, Inc. Whoever they are. These are pretty nice cards. I like the Diana Rigg ones best (duh!). Overall the photo quality is better than the Bond ones and they have a nice white border. You get a little info about the show on the back of each card. I should have bought more of these and fewer of the Bond ones. This set is a solid B.

The Simpsons – I don’t know if this set has a name but the cards are from 1993 and are made by Skybox and Bongo comics. The Simpson were everywhere in the early 1990s and I was a fan. There are about 60 cards and 7 temporary tattoos. The tattoos probably came one to pack so I bought seven packs. I wonder if they’d work all these years later? The cards are nice as each one features a character with their stats on the back. Each card has some spot gloss on it too. Solid production values. I give this set a B+ because they are well made.

Jack Kirby: The Unpublished Archives – This set is from 1994 and was put out by Comics Images. I have 18 of them and one is a chromium chase card. These are cards made from Kirby’s archive of concept art he drew over the years for various projects. Some really cool stuff to see. I wish I had bought more of these. The main drawback to them is that they make me want to see the art at a bigger size. Not the cards fault. I give them an A because the artwork deserves it.

Batman – These cards are from 1994 and made by Skybox. I have 26 of them but I have no idea if the set has a name besides Batman. Each card has a title on the front that is whatever story the image is from. I’m not sure if the art is all new or taken from Batman comics. Either way the penciller, inker, and colorist are all credited on the back so you know who drew each card. Each card is full bleed (no border) and printed well. I give the production quality an A even though I’m not that interested in Batman.

George Petty “The Petty Girl” – I have 20 of these cards and they’re from 1994 and were made by 21st Century Archives. I don’t remember these and I didn’t even remember who George Petty was when I found them in this box again. He was a popular mid-century (20th) illustrator who painted a lot of pretty women for magazine covers. His work is very nice but he sometimes uses fine lines which don’t show up well at this small size. They also have a white border so the paintings are slightly smaller than if they were full bleed. The cards only get a B from me but I want to see more of his art.

Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S. – Looks like I only bought one pack of these. Topps made them in 1993. I only have eight cards but they’re nice. These are definitely pick-up art from out of the comic book but they’re well done. They’re full bleed, have a nice hairline white border that some of the figures go in front of, and have a little gold foil W logo in a corner. These cards get an A-. Some of the clip art is a little clunky but overall it’s nice.

Promo Cards – I’ve got 25 promo cards form the early 1990s. Valiant Comics, Tops Comics, G.I. Joe, DC Comics, Ray Bradbury Comics, Milstone Comics, and a few others I’m too lazy to name. Lot’s of comic companies were making promo trading cards in the 1990s and I stuck them in this box. Imagine that.

Clubhouse Diamonds Series 1 – I’ll end this with the strangest cards in the box and those are the stripper cards. Trading cards were booming so much in the early 1990s that even strippers got in the game. I guess you were supposed to bring the cards with you to the strip club and get them autographed. I wonder if anyone ever did? I think I have other cards like this (but not this set) somewhere in my accumulation but I had no idea these ones were in this box. I have about 20 of them and they’re a solid B. They have a white border on the outside and a design border on the left and bottom that make the photos smaller than they should be.

So there are the cards in my forgotten box. As I look at the grades I notice that the big card companies with better production values got better grades. Full bleed art is better than borders and quality photos and art matters. That’s my conclusion.