Wednesday, September 2, 2020

It's The Collector's Choice

*sits down with a cup of coffee, thinks back to simpler times in life and takes a sip. Yup, that hit the spot. Tries to figure out what to post about and remembers there is a box of 1996 Collectors Choice football sitting in drafts since the blog started and decides its time to post about it*

2020 seems to offer a new challenge every month, every day, every minute and heck, every second. Last Thursday it finally decided it was my turn on the Wheel of Dis-luck.

Last Thursday started out like any other typical day. It was sunny, warm, birds were chirping and landing on my shoulder as I sang a song to them and skipped to my car to go to my dentists appointment. The appointment challenge for that day, just a regular cleaning.

I arrived to the dental destination a few minutes late, nothing new for me, and they took me right in. I sat down and answered the usual Covid-19 questions, passed the thermometer screening and all I had left was my blood pressure check. I was a tad nervous to be there, don't tell me you aren't nervous about going to the dentists and seeing some of the tools they use as the same ones from the movie Saw, and sat still. First reading, 180/133. Second reading, 173/107. I was thinking to myself at that point, yikes.

The dental assistant was a tad concerned, but said they may still be able to continue the cleaning as long as the bottom number was under 110 but I would have to pass the third screening first. So he took me upstairs to my dental hygienist who would be the who took the third reading. So I sat there calmly, quietly, just like the relaxation guru from the Canada Dry commercials. The dental hygienist  came in and set me up for the third check, which was five minutes from the last one, and the reading one was 172/112.

My stomach felt heavy as they said they couldn't perform the cleaning due to American Heart Association guidelines. So not only could I not get a cleaning, it sounded like I needed to go see a doctor which is what I did an hour later. Which to me is surprising knowing how hard it is to get in to a doctor's office these days.

They checked me multiple times and it was still high there. The doctor didn't really have many answers for me as my PCP wasn't in the building at the time and they didn't seem to want to mess around with my blood pressure meds without his permission. So they sent me home and told me to get some blood work later that day.

As I went to go to get my blood work, I started feeling really, as the only description I can give, "yucky". Instead of going to the lab, I found it smarter to go to the ER where they not only did the blood work there for me, but also gave me an extra dose of my blood pressure meds which seemed to help calm things down for a little bit.

Rest of my day once I got back home was all about resting and seeing my numbers still stay high from occasional checks. So back to the doctors I went the next day, this time to see my PCP. My PCP is a pretty straight forward no-non sense kinda guy. He asked a few questions and then threw a new med at me saying it should be the answer.

Here I am on Day 4 of taking that med and my blood pressures at night, the ones he suggested checking, are holding steady at 167/102 and recently 150/105. I am still having a lot of neck/headache pain as well. Another call in/check in with the doctor today will be my next approach to trying to avoid giving myself a stroke or heart attack.

*takes a breather, takes self back in time to the 90's where things were simpler. Times when you didn't have to worry about your health. A time when the only care in the world was if it was going to rain that day so you couldn't go outside. A time when cards were affordable, fun and creative. A time when Upper Deck was lead dog in the hobby. A time when even the brand line Collectors Choice existed*

Innovative. Affordable. Photography. Designs. Value. Worth. Collectors Choice.

All of these words to me describe Upper Deck in the 90's and to those collecting hockey cards, now.

Upper Deck had a variety of brands for a variety of collectors in all four of the major sports. Some were high end, some were low end and some were in-between. No matter what level you chose, you knew you were getting the best product of that sport with the Upper Deck logo on it.

Some of my favorite Upper Deck lines in the 90's include, Sp Authentic, Spx, their flagship, Encore, UD3, and Collectors Choice to just name a few.

Collectors Choice was simply affordable fun.

I was able to trade for a box of the 1996 football edition from my buddy Shane from Project Pedro Blog/Cheap Wax Wednesdays fame. One of my favorites from the line other than the 1995 football product. I opened a lot of Collectors Choice football, baseball and basketball between 1995-1999 and still have some of those cards today.

But, I wanted to replenish my card piles of it and take myself back to uncomplicated days.

*takes a sip, begins to...well...I already ripped this awhile back so it will be takes a sip, shows off my rip*
Every box of 1996 Collectors Choice football has 40 packs of 14 cards. That's a whopping 560 cards per box. Remember those days? Now seems we are lucky to get 40 cards per box. Box prices vary depending on where you buy them and every pack comes with a silver MVP insert card.

Of course after ripping this, it led to more set chases I want including the base set which I wasn't able to complete in this box. 560 cards and no base set.

The base set begins out with Rookie Class which makes up the first 45 cards.

Key rookies in this base set include,Eddie George, Mike Alstott, Terry Glenn, Marvin Harrison and Keyshawn Johnson.

The next 34 cards are Season To Remember subset cards commemorating players efforts from the 1995 season.
(he was tough to tackle that year)

(this is a great photo by the way)

There are a ton of stars to find in this subset including da man Rodney Hampton.

The rest of the base set is the following design. Which I like and really takes me back.
As always, Upper Deck nailed this base set with the photography. Many great action shots and some you normally wouldn't see on a base card.

The back of the cards feature full career stats, a quiz and another new photo. Card backs that look this good with full stats have become obscure in today's collecting society.

Here are some other examples of how great the photography was in this set,

And this was only a handful of them.

Great base design and photography, well done Upper Deck.

*takes another sip before moving onto the inserts*

As I stated above, every pack comes with one Silver MVP insert. This was a set I was already chasing and now was able to knock down another 15 of. The other 25 were duplicates which I am sending to a friend.

There are 45 cards to collect overall in the MVP set. Here are few so you get an idea of what they look like. Very condition sensitive as well as the corners of the foil can damage easy,

There is also a gold parallel to these that isn't as easy to find. These fall basically one-per-box or 1:35 packs.
(hope you can see the gold tint to it). Tim Brown was an excellent receiver for the Raiders, just didn't get the attention that Jerry Rice did.

*takes another sip, reminisces to opening some of this up in 1996 and how exciting it was to land one of the silver MVP cards despite them falling every pack*

As a somewhat of a kid collector when this product first came out, I totally dug the Play Action Stick-ums. These stickers fall 1:3 packs and unlike a lot of my classmates that collected them, I didn't unpeel them and stick them to whatever. They were a collectible and they still are now for me.

And because of that, this becomes a newest set chase. I am still liking the 90's vibes these bring.

Making up a whopping 90 card insert set is the Crash The Game promo cards. These fell 1:5 packs and are simply if the player accomplishes the feat on the front of your card on the day it is posted you win.
These are the silver versions of these cards. I didn't check to see if any of them were winners or not. If you want to, let me know!

There are tougher to find gold versions of these cards as well.

These fell 1:50 odds. So I beat the odds on this break you could say and Steve Young wasn't a shabby find.

The only big difference between the silver and gold was what redemption set you would get in return if your card was a winner.

*takes a sip of coffee...yes again. I hope you have been sippin' and readin' as well*

In this final summary, Upper Deck built a great low end product line in Collectors Choice which was later renamed to UD Choice before it disappeared never to be seen again. This is the kind of kid friendly product we are missing in today's collecting. Collectors Choice offered fun photography, stickers, shiny stuff and an interaction piece where you can win prizes. If you insert some player temporary tattoos in here, you have covered all of the bases.

I aim to complete my set chases above and definitely daydream to open more boxes/packs down the road.

*refills mug, sits back down to relax*

My expectation is the doctor will up this new medication at my Friday appointment and try to get me back on track. I have been mixing in extra exercise and doing (I should put this in quotes) my best to avoid salty foods right now too. But, I am no Jillian Michaels.

For now, I will continue to sort cards, reminisce back to the 90's and of course, have my coffee.


  1. Is taking your blood pressure at the dentist a new thing with COVID? I don't remember my dentist ever taking my blood pressure before. I skipped my cleaning back in May, but feel like I probably should go in soon. Hope everything works out with your blood pressure and the meds.

  2. Wow! Get yourself taken care of!! Sounds awful. Good fun stuff in the old Collectors Choice though.

  3. Glad you're doing alright, and hopefully the new medication does help you get right back on track.

    As for the 1996 Collector's Choice football cards, very nice post and a fun set, for sure. Upper Deck used a similar design for their Collector's Choice hockey cards that season, and they look equally as nice. (The horizontals, especially.)

  4. I See Dan Marino's in those

  5. what a fun break! nice to see no issues with bricking! i drink 2-3 cups in the morning. my bp is always good, 125/79 or so and no meds. coffee elevates the bp though. any time i've had a doc appt, the numbers go up; easily 10 on top, 5 on the bottom. i quit drinking coffee before my appts and have had no issues. i hope you find yourself feeling better soon. certainly scary and does not sound like a coffee-related problem. take care of you!

  6. If this is another case where you should be altering your diet, and aren't, I'm gonna be slightly annoyed with you. Crap foods aren't more important than living! If it's something else, hopefully these "doctors" will be able to figure it out, and hopefully their solution isn't just to load you up with prescriptions.

    P.S. I love everything about this set!


Cards and coffee go together like PB&J, so don't you and leaving a comment below. Take a sip and let me know your thoughts!