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Storm's Card Advice

This resource was originally prepared by Nerissa Morgan (Storm), as Knuckle Buster's Card Club Newsletter #5. It is reprinted with permission.

Here is a great page for card advice, such as Evolution of the Gummies Awards, Convention 101, How a Trading Card Is Made, and other fun little snippets of information and advice. Enjoy!

The Evolution Of Trading Cards: Some of you E-Mailed me and asked me a little about non-sport trading cards, so I decided to write up this trading card evolution summary to give you a basic idea of when the trading card begin. Non-Sport Trading cards can be dated back to the 1880s to today. So trading cards are 116 years old! Trading cards have come a long way since those days ... there were no X-Men, Batman, Superman, and all the other Superheroes we read about. These early cards were mostly images of wildlife, historical events, and leaders. As the years progressed, non-sport cards began to change into more Military and monster (King Kong) oriented cards for the 1960s and Superheroes for the 1970s. Also, the movie theme non-sport trading cards begin to become wide spread with the release of Superman, The Movie in 1978. After this, all the familiar publishers we know today: DC, Marvel, Image began to produce trading cards to correspond to their comic books. Then around 1985, the chase card began to make a debut, thus bringing us up to present day. So you see the trading card is a very historical and collectible hobby.

Promos are one of the small gems in card collecting and some collectors are turning to these affordable assets to add to there card collecting hobby. Promos were not so distinguishable when they started out, but now if you see the back of a promotional card, it usually will say something such as P1 or PR1 (numbers may vary depending on how many promos were issued), PROMO, or there may be ust a Description without a number. Usually the description will show how many cards will be in the set, chase cards in the set, and any special highlights of the trading card set. For collectible card games, you will most likely not see any promo markings such as above but they may be marked in some other way, or the card may be known by collectors to have been distributed only as a promo.

Promos for the most part will look like the trading card set that will be released. For example, a Widevision trading card set will have a Widevision promo, and so on.

Promotional cards may come as a single card (regular size or oversized), a 4 card promo sheet, or as a 9 card promo sheet. You probably didn't guess that the majority of collectors like single cards as promos. Even though you are getting more artwork and a sneak preview of the upcoming card set (the advantage of the 4 and 9 card promos), they are bulky and are hard to store with your trading card set. One-card promos may not show much as far as the new trading card set, but they are easy to handle as far as storing them with other cards. And, as you know, cutting your larger promos to fit into your sleeves or storage cases may not be a good idea if you want to keep them in near mint to mint condition1

Going To A Convention? Trading card conventions are a excellent way to receive upcoming information and news about new trading card releases, and a great source for finishing broken sets. In addition you meet fellow collectors as well as dealers. For those who are new to Non-Sport Trading Card/Comic Conventions, I would like to give you a few helpful tips on beating the After-Convention Blues. What are the After-Convention Blues? This is when you finally get home and realize you did not buy a single item you needed or you blew your money entirely on items that were not important.

1.) Plan Ahead! You may think this is common sense, but many collectors don't plan their Conventions ahead of time. What I mean by this is. The day or week before, depending on your collection, figure out what types of trading card sets you would like to complete or what types of things you are particularly looking for. With all the Convention excitement, you will most likely forget certain things, so make a detailed list. Also, decide how much you are willing to spend at the Convention; make a budget. If you are not familiar with a Convention location, find out before you make the journey. In addition, find out what day and time the Convention will be open, never assume. If the Convention is hosted outside, ask about alternate Convention locations if the weather conditions are unfavorable. If you can, take a friend(s) or family member(s) to the Convention and tell them what you are interested in finding; several spectators are better than one. They can help scan for things that may be of interest to you ... Hey, who knows, you may get them interested in starting a collection!

2.) Convention Essentials: A small or large backpack, tote or something to that effect. I prefer a backpack because it keeps my hands free and I can put my purchases in my backpack getting them lost or stolen. A price guide: I recommend Tuff Stuff Collect! magazine, Non-Sport Update, and several others will be sufficient. Don't forget money; always take cash, some dealers etc. will not accept personal checks or credit cards (but always take your personal checks and a credit card with you if you have one). A pen, notepad, and address book: This is self explanatory, always have something to write with. The address book is to keep new collectors' and dealers' phone numbers etc. Better yet ask for a BUSINESS CARD. Have copies of your Want and Have lists (please have the list typed and as clear as possible). If you run into other collectors, each of you can exchange this information and communicate at a later time. Don't forget to include all the ways you may be reached (i.e., phone, answering machine, E-mail, and the like).

3.) Convention Etiquette: Everyone probably knows this information but I still want to list good convention etiquette. (1) Always be polite. Being rude and inconsiderate is not good convention behavior. Don't cut into line or push fellow collectors to get to a convention table. I have seen many people, mostly adults, pushing people out of the way to get to a convention table of interest to them. (2) Don't be afraid to initiate a bargain. Ask the individual are they willing to bargain and/or trade. (3) Ask questions. Many collectors and dealers are the best sources for information; in addition, ask them to alert you to things they may acquire that may be of interest to you. (4) Relax and have fun!

Last notes: Make sure you arrive early. Most conventions give out free giveaways and bags of cards, promos, comics etc. to the first 50 or so people in line. In addition, find out what guest will be present, especially at large conventions like the Dragon convention (Dragoncon). Many artists or personalities show up to do sign and/or sell autographs, pictures, and the like. Bring that special card, comic etc. that you have for autographs ... and bring a pen that does not smear!

Parallel Sets: Do We Really Need Them? Parallel sets have not been around terribly long, maybe since the mid-1990s for most of the major card sets. Parallel sets are card sets that are made at the same time as the basic set and usually have the same number of cards found in the basic set. Thus, if you choose to collect such a set, the parallel set pushes your total card set up to 200 cards if it is a 100 card set. Sometimes you have parallel sets that have a purpose; they show different art or some other technique that is unique to a card set. Most parallel card sets are just parallel ... they don't show any new artwork but may contain something extra than the basic set of common cards: a gold or foil signature, or maybe a different narrative on back or some other difference, but not much to warrant any great difference. Parallel card sets in the most part are distinguishable from the basic set, so I really don't see much in the way of ever mixing up a parallel set with a basic set; they may have the same numbering but to be a parallel set they must have a distinguishing characteristic.

Collectors can choose to collect a parallel set but it is not necessary in order for a set to be considered complete. In other words, a parallel set is considered a chase card set and has the same rules as a chase card. A good parallel set to me is one that is uniquely different from the basic set but also ties into a card set, a example would be the Silver or Gold Flashers you may find in certain sets such as Batman Forever Metal or Marvel Metal. These are unique in that the background is silver foil and the image remains untouched. An example of a new technique would be Marvel Masterpieces 95 parallel E-Motion set, a parallel set with a foil-like stamping along the side with a gold signature at the bottom and on heavier stock. The images may be the same but this parallel set is unique and much different from the basic set to warrant a collector to begin collecting this set. I think parallel sets are especially great for small sets, such as 50, 60, or 72 card sets. Anything over this becomes very tedious and time consuming to collect: Even if you do purchase two boxes of a card set, you still must trade duplicates and buy etc. to receive a complete set, this would definitely be a disadvantage. An advantage would be a larger set and the high collectibility of a parallel set. So the question, do we really need them, depends on the collector and the card set. If you think the parallel sets are a prized addition, by all means collect them; just don't collect them for the sake of "completeness." Collect them because you want the cards.

A trend that I am seeing is the downsizing of parallel sets. Manufacturers are making less parallel sets due to the declining interest. Fleer/Skybox International were going to do another parallel set for their Marvel Masterpieces 1996 but decided against it due to printing cost, collectors, interest, and other reasons. Like any technique there should be a limit to how many of that item is made to ensure a productive and innovative hobby. Sometimes less is better than more.

Evolution of the Gummies Awards! by Mr. Harris D. Toser: I hope you didn't miss out on this year's Gummies Awards, because if you did you missed out on a Cool Lone Ranger Card. This is a super great article about Non-Sport Update Magazine Gummies Awards. So nicely done by Mr. Harris Toser, if anyone should know about the history of the Gummies Awards it would have to be him!! I have been interested for some time about the exact history and how many Gummies Cards have been issued now we don't have to guess any longer, thanks to Mr. Toser.

Here's the scoop on the Gummies. We have run the awards six times thus far as follows: 1991 - No give-away. 1992 - 5 subscriptions (or renewals) were given away, 1993 - 5 different promos from The Creators Universe by Dynamic Entertainment were given away to everyone who voted, 1994 - We gave away an exclusive promo for L. Ron Hubbard: More Than Battlefield Earth by Comic Images to the first 1000 voters. It had our logo on the back, 1995 - We gave away an exclusive promo for Star Trek: Voyager Season One - Series Two by SkyBox International to the first 1000 voters. It had our logo on the back as well as text tailored at the Gummies, 1996 - We gave away an exclusive promo for The Lone Ranger by Dart Flipcards to the first 1000 voters. It had our logo on the back as well as text tailored at the Gummies, 1997 Babylon 5 Promo by Fleer/Skybox International, and 1998 Star Wars Episode 1 by Topps.

Evolution and History of the Gummies Awards: We started The Gummies in 1991 as a result of a suggestion by reader, collector, NSU writer, and card manufacturer Steve Kiviat of Rosem Enterprises (A man who wear's many hats!). There were no other similar contests for non-sport cards and we thought it sounded like a great idea. They were named The Gummies in honor of the gum that used to come in card packs. Artist Grass Green drew the original "Gummy" character which is a statue with a man on top blowing a bubble. We have always really liked this piece and use it whenever we write about The Gummies.

The only way for collectors to obtain these cards is by voting in the Gummies. At this point, the only way for collectors to get these cards is on the secondary market. People have run ads in our want ads section before to try and get the Star Trek card (I think it worked too :) ) because that one was in such high demand.

The Many Options for Protecting Your Trading Cards: First some don'ts: Many of you are expert trading card collectors, but I still want to advise you that no rubber bands should be placed on any cards. This damages the card sides as well as long term storage damage (rubber band marks, dents, and the like). Don't store cards in the garage, shed, or anywhere that does not have a controlled temperature; cards will deteriorate over time. For valuable trading cards, view the trading card with the trading card laying in your palm, not handling the corners.

ENDLESS WORLD CARDS, COMICS, TOYS: This article is for those who would like to know what the various options are in protecting trading cards. Trading cards are somewhat a fragile medium because they are prone to bends, dents, scratches, and damaged corners. In addition because of the standard trading card grading system and policy, many collectors want to keep there collection in pristine shape due to sale and trade reduction for damage cards. A note: most pre 1981 cards are priced at near mint to mint. So if your cards are not looking there best, please read on for some helpful advice. Again, this is another excellent article! I would like to take this time to thank Endless World, they researched this information out and did a incredible job! Thank you Endless World for all your help, and a special Thanks To Ben.

Question: First of all what is the different types and sizes, and/or what are:

Top Loads: Plastic sheets that fits in 3-ring binders to store cards. Sizes: 9-pocket per sheet (regular cards), 6-pocket per sheet (long cards ex:"Widevision").   White Cardboard Storage Boxes: Storage boxes for large quantities storage. Sizes: Comes in 50, 100, 200, 300, 500 etc. count sizes. Hinged Plastic Storage Boxes: Clear plastic storage box with a opening and closing hinged cover. Sizes: Comes in 15, 55, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250 count sizes.  Soft Sleeves: Soft plastic sleeves to store individual cards. Sizes: Regular cards & long cards. Card protectors: Individual hard plastic card protectors. (Many companies makes card protectors therefore, they vary in size shape and color). Sizes regular cards & long cards.

Top Loaders: Advantage: Best method of storage for card sets. This method allows the collector to see their collection as a whole since each page fits so many cards. You may view all cards in their protected sheets. Disadvantage: The pages are not too soft and flexible. Cards can be damaged if you are not careful.

White Cardboard Storage Boxes: Advantage: You may store a large quantity of cards in storage box. Disadvantage: You can't see what's inside unless you open the box. You must take the cards out of the box to view them.

Hinged Plastic Box: Advantage: Since its clear plastic, you can see what is in each box. It is made of hard plastic so it can protect your cards from damage. Disadvantage: The hinges breaks very easy and you must take the cards out of the box to view them.

Soft Sleeves: Advantage: If you touch your cards a lot, this is a cheap way of protecting each individual card. Disadvantage: It is made of soft plastic, therefore your cards can be damaged if you are not careful.

Card Protectors: Advantage: If you touch your cards a lot, this is one of the best ways to protect each individual card. Disadvantage: It can be very costly if you have a lot of cards to protect.

Additional Protectors: PKK two piece sliding open card boxes: This is one of the best clear plastic box protectors on the markets. Advantage: These are made of very this clear plastic and look very presentable. Because they do not have any hinges, there is nothing to break. Disadvantage: Because they slide open, if you do not support the bottom when you pick it up, the top half will slide off.

Our recommendation for long term individual card storage is to first protect each card in a soft sleeve protector. Because top loading card sheets and top loading individual card protectors sometime scratch your cards, it is best to first protect them with a soft sleeve protector. Since soft sleeve protectors fit in top loader card sheets and individual top loader protectors, soft sleeves are a must. All our individual chase cards are protected with a soft sleeve before we put them in any type of protector (GREAT ADVICE!). We hope this information helps. If you have any other questions, please let us know. If any club members are having difficulty locating certain items, please let us know.

Thanks again Endless World! You may locate Endless World at: Endless World Cards, Comics, and Toys, 533 Balboa Street, San Francisco, California 94118; E-Mail Address:; Telephone Number: (415) 668-1968 Fax Number: (415) 668-2939

How Are Cards Made: For this article I had to employ a Fleer/ Skybox International Representative to help with the questions below. I have long wondered what was the basic way a trading card was produced. If you don't already know the various processes that are required in making a trading card here is a nice article done by Fleer/Skybox International Representative Kathy. The theme is Marvel OverPower, but the basic process and decision making will be the same for most all trading cards and collectible card games. To determine what trading cards as well as Collectible Game cards will be made by Fleer /Skbox International (this may be true for other trading card companies as well). That decision is made based on input from the Game Team members. Also, we look at who's hot in the Marvel Comics universe and who are some old favorites. To choose art that will appear on the cards Ron Perazza conceives the art direction and contacts our pool of pencillers (who do the sketches) and computer colorists (who color the sketches).

Cards are built in blocks by an outside design agency. In blocks, I mean that on one piece of paper, there will be a total of 8-12 cards total (called "blocks" for blocks of cards). The cards on those blocks are built on a computer where the design agency adds type and enhancements to the computer-colored artwork. Pretty much everything except the pencil sketches are done on computers. Once all of the blocks are built, meaning that all the cards have artwork and text combined, those blocks are sent to a printer to be placed on a "form." The form consists of several blocks of cards. To print an entire run of say Marvel OverPower, it generally takes about 3-4 forms. The forms consist of common, uncommon, rare and very rare cards. Before the form goes to press, we review it one final time to check for typos and to color-correct the art. After that time -- it's time to go to press. Once the cards go to press, the press sheets (formerly forms) containing the cards are trimmed to cut out all of the cards on the form. From there, the cards are sent to the collator where collated to be placed in packs (called a "pack-out"). From there, the packs are placed in boxes, shrink-wrapped and are placed in larger boxes that hold many OverPower boxes. Then the large boxes are sent to our many distributors to be sent to your favorite store! Credits and Thanks: Thank you Kathy for all your help in providing me with this article. I found this to be a very informative article.

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