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spinotron E-X 2001 essential credentials now and future set chase and stories

spinotron

Kindergarden
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Hi everyone,

It has been a while since I made my last post/thread here. Since I’m now in Germany, it’s appropriate to post one of my main chases. It's a long time in the making. So you will get a full load unapologetically.

I think I can put a starting date on it, April 12, 2011.

On this date, I acquired my second Kobe 1997-98 E-X2001 essential credentials now /8 and also in unfaded lime green acetate, and gem mint condition. At that time I had been in hobby for almost 2 years, and I had read several forums almost entirely, absorbing like a sponge.

Top two 90s cards for each player are PMG green and credentials, as I learned.

PMG green was less hyped then (PMG red was certainly nowhere near its status now) but always highly coveted among top of player collectors' dream card list, as beautiful refracting textured surface, one of rarest in first year of systematic introduction of serial numbering across the board. It was born from a massively produced low end product back then (many cards per pack and pack price was low) but very scarcely inserted; today PMG green has gained its status partly due to hyping and natural evolution and partly due to passionate collectors chasing.

The other in the top 2 spot is Credentials produced from E-X2001 and the product was considered a highend product with relatively expensive pack price and only 2 cards per pack and very hard to hit a credentials (without odds obviously) and the production was much less. While Jambalaya is a hit per 5 cases (6 boxes per case), credentials does not seem to come any more frequently.

Those two cards (PMG green and rarer version of 1997-98 credentials) are often missing from player collectors in ascension and proudly equipped by seasoned player collectors who braved the scene for a longer reign, for the most part.

Having two Kobes somehow made me want to attempt the impossible goal of working towards the essential credentials set. I made a post in another forum announcing my desire and tried to start it off, but was immediately warned as impossible to the highest degree, and regarded as borderline delusional but in more polite words.

After these many years have passed, I think it's time to sit back and make a progress report.

Let us start with a collage of first ten cards, and then gradually break it down.

 

spinotron

Kindergarden
Must send first
Without further Ado, let me break this down in more detail and analysis, sprinkled with various stories. This following card in jersey number was acquired in March 2017 updating a much earlier acquired copy. Credentials has a unique creative numbering. In 1997-98, there are 80 players, and in the credentials now set, location of a given player in the set determines its print run as exactly that. As the name suggests, earlier players in the credentials now set are super stars or non-RC players with highest promise. To make suspense going, I will showcase in countdown style, starting with the last and 80th player in the set, Ron Mercer RC. The parallel set, credentials future, has print run flipped over, a player located at X-th spot will have 81-X print run, as RC players will start off that set and guys with highest promises are placed forefront. Mercer future would be 1 of 1, the most promising among the crop at the time of production. Out of Kentucky, his game was super smooth, and his pecking order was higher than Pierce before getting traded and he fell off the map after another trade.




As it is a bit hard to keep both suspense and organization. If I show off both sets down from /80 then it might look a bit confusing and not neatly organized. So I will make pairings, my usual theme, and show off the hands early on. LOL. This card was famous and back then pulled during released year by Eric Bird, and documented by Beckett. Please see the third photo below. I would like to be a fly in that shop when it was pulled. I couldn’t find the shop online and looked up the yellow page, tempted to write a letter to a few likely addresses, but surprised to see it show up and acquired it in Sep 2014. From shop owner’s wife’s account. The seller is from the same city and same surname as in the article. They acquired from Eric and kept since until then. It was the pinnacle of my collecting career then and kept my engine burning to foolishly keep chasing the impossible ghost.






If you have instagram/IG, you can see a version of writing there as well. My handle on IG is spinotron.
 

spinotron

Kindergarden
Must send first
Time for Mac Mittwoch.

One of most touted high schoolers in the draft. TMac is also Kobe's closest friend, so good to have for pairings to a Kobe collector.

I always collect special numbers except in set chases, where I’m just happy to tick boxes. I often would love to have single digit or highest first digit in serial number, like this one below. If you have special numbers of any of these, feel free to reach out in PM and discuss.

I love the cropped out focussed auction shot, the moon like background layers and refracting higher layer and acetate transparent lower layer. If placing a bunch of variety of cards in front of a layperson, I bet most of times, they pick out credentials.




Now to recall one of my earliest whale landings:

In the legend of <Three Nations>, the leader of a clan with name beginning with letter S (narrative fits both so far LOL), in order to chase the second in command in his lineup (still so far so good), needed to visit the location(s) of the latter but got consecutively turned down, and he chased three times to finally succeed.

Analogy in real life is as follows:

Chase 1: I learnt from a good friend K that Mike had this card, I offered strong for it, but got turned down, my first chase; I planned to talk to him in person at Nationals.

Chase 2: Somehow I scheduled my arrival to be the second day (never again), another hobbyist called Ritchie snatched it up on the first day at the price around my offer, guess cash spoke. (A quick fact, two more bankruptcy cards without numbering and in lesser condition of the pink TMac were also there and bought by a card doctor to have fake stamps added later, both showed up later and exchanged hands a few times as new owners were never happy.) I was not used to the idea of having to pay double at an immediate flip; so I made a stronger offer and was told he would sleep on it, a bad phrase according to my many experiences later. LOL.

Chase 3: I learned that a hobbyist Kaine at a show had TMac 1/2 for sale, I got in touch and it was the laughable fake stamp one, the stamp did not even remotely resemble a shred of truth. But he was actually the buyer from Ritchie and he was somewhat reasonable and I bought it around the strong offer I made prior, partly because the fake card turned him off I guess. Kaine later became one of two guys who battled it out and were responsible for meteoric rise in price of Exquisite.

TMac captured hearts of his fans in 35 seconds and they cannot forget it in a lifetime, so is Three Nations of my real life for me.




Sorry for the slow pace at the beginning, as I want to recall how the rare ones came about. When we got into later stages, I will show more pics and write less.
 

spinotron

Kindergarden
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Tony Battle was not a flashy player nor a specialist in offense or defense, but a solid role player who was serviceable enough to be in several teams. One of his biggest contributions as a Kobe collector, is that he saved Pierce’s life after a bar stabbing incident of the latter by rushing him to hospital. Pierce one month later reappeared on court and played the full season and well enough to earn a nickname Truth. Pierce winning a ring against Lakers obviously fueled Kobe who won back to back right next. B for Battie or Buttefly effect. LOL.

Now back to the card under discussion. Collecting this set right after release in 1998 would be much easier but I started in 2011. Everything had been dispersed and tucked away, if pulled at all.

Like in many progresses in life, I get to stand on the shoulders of several set collecting giants. There are several of them which I will say thanks and pay respects to, and help me fill some key holes; but I never cheated my way in the chase, didn’t overtake any significantly completed partial set, in some cases because they were not ready to let go much, and in other cases because by the time I get to them, I only needed a few from what they had amassed.

This is very first super rare one I obtained thanks to Gary G, a bit spelt out since there are several Gary’s in the hobby and rhyming with the famous/infamous one. He was working on future set and helped me with 7 future with /20 or less (with Battie being the only under /10). He is also one of few who encouraged me to share my progress to the public. No other Battie /3 has been sighted since. His hobby username has a 3 in it, wonder whether it has anything to do with this /3. This makes first three a nice pairing, 1/1, 2/2 and 3/3.





 

spinotron

Kindergarden
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Tim Thomas was the number 2 nationwide high school recruit right behind Kobe, but instead of declaring for NBA (which he almost did), he chose to play one year in college. Some of his highlight: He hit 8 threes in the second half of an NBA game. He also was instrumental and clutch in a few games against Lakers to help overcome 1-3 deficit and ultimately the team reached WCF. He had a long career and bounced around NBA in various trades which certified his values but never panned out the promise Ray Allen put on him, "He could be the best in NBA if he wanted to".

As I mentioned before, many set collectors have helped me along the way, but no one helped me more decisively than David in 2013. I had vast majority in place, and he had a few super rare ones perfectly complementing to a few spots of what I was missing. Without him, I’m probably still hopeless. Some of what he placed in my PC have second chances else where but not this Tim. He pulled all these with his friends back in the day from a ton of boxes, probably one of highest end collectors and hobbyists back in 90s. Cardboard is only a small portion of his collecting portfolio. Blessed to have met him and landed this Thomas and some others to be featured.





 

spinotron

Kindergarden
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Danny Fortson is an old school physical player and undersized PF/C, and even viewed as an enforcer. He is the second all time highest scorer in his Alma Mater after 3 years there. One stunning stats is that his foul per 36 mins in some seasons is 9. At turn of century, he started out the season averaging 16 points and 16 rebounds for six games before an injury. He also derailed a young European talent by a tough dirty foul and according to lawsuit he filed to the league much later, the FO of opposing team tried to ruin his reputation, and retired shortly after losing the lawsuit.

Will keep this one short and sweet. David saved the day in my battle against Goliath again. Fitting for an enforcer as well. Both future cards from him have 2/ and 4/, fitting to my 24 Kobe general collecting interests.





 

spinotron

Kindergarden
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This credentials now is 1/75, a special numbering which I like, matching with Kobe I have. Duncan needs no introduction nor short bio to put it into context.

Now a little story about the credentials future:

When I started out in hobby 2009-2010, the main card I chase is LeBron 2003-04 Exq RPA /99 BGS 9.5. It's well documented in the other site which is unfortunately not available now.

Why am I not a millionaire by a single card yet? Because I was too picky and set my eyes on unbumped 9.5. (The closest chance I had was making a 16.5k offer privately via eBay message to a 9.5 seller who turned around and countered and sold to another buy at 16.7k. I won’t disclose it’s bumped or not for that copy, because that copy was still around.)

Another seller had a beautiful unbumped LeBron 9.5 with a sick patch with a high firm asking price. He was grading and building an all 9.5 set of 2003-04 Exquisite base. His username contains durant, and some people might know who this is.

He also had this Duncan credentials future /6 for sale in BGS old label, same grade. He tried to bump it into a 9 but only managed increase a sub by 0.5. (I would much prefer the old label, but I like this serial. I know this card is /6 but look how many 6s there are in the BGS serial number.)

I had interested and we discussed. But I was busy and he was busy, there was always a lag in communication.

Then a very smart hobbyist Joel (aka minnesotachill) bought it, who is ahead of his time, always anticipates and buys undervalued but high potential cards and is still doing well to this day and his threads are always entertaining and insightful as well. I hope he does not mind me crediting him about this acquisition. I managed to land this card from him, for which I’m very grateful.

Having future 2/ and now 1/ makes 21. This year is Duncan’s HOF year, a great occasion to show off one of this anti-Kobe’s best cards.

The moral of the story is don’t set too stringent parameters for your goal, even if you cannot get most ideal targets, getting something close to it will be equally rewarding and definitely much better than having nothing to show for it at all. (Of course, the hindsight is always 20/20, I know.)





 

spinotron

Kindergarden
Must send first
Keith Van Horn was the second pick of the draft and quite popular among collectors back in the day. He had an illustrious collegiate career, clutch, all time leading scorer in U of Utah and named WAC player of the year for three years in a row. He averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds as a rookie in Nets, and led them into playoffs, and first white player graced the cover of SLAM magazine. In the second year, improved to 21.8+8.5. He was clutch and instrumental for Nets to the Finals to face Lakers by hitting ECF series clinching shot, and leading team in rebound and second in scoring.

I showcased a copy of credentials now card which has a slight hint of yellow over lime green, to bring awareness of fading issue of credentials. If you display them extensively instead of tucking them away, they will go from vibrant lime green to dull dark yellow. So please take good care of your cards.

When a card is monumental, you still remember where you were when you purchased it. I was about to attend a white tie dinner and in the middle of fitting, and saw the credentials future /7 was listed and I emailed an offer to the seller and continued to go about get myself ready for a while, then I realized my offer became BIN without a notification from the seller, luckily I was still able to snatch it.

Prior to that event, it was an agonizing search in the dark. I was able to locate a copy in an Asian blog and when it arrived, it was a bankruptcy copy without serial numbering. I was able to find an email back in 90s where a hobbyist had it and the email sent to that person is never replied. Probably the best KVH highend collector Kyle W among various things he helped me also gave me a lead on YouTube which led to no avail.

Of course the most obvious lead and the longest I chased is from artyman60, another passionate KVH collector with an almost complete PC. It's the only copy publicly visible and known. I have a very concise but super highend KVH PC which was not enough to get a trade and various other attempts cannot unlock it which is testament of how attached and sentimental the collectors are to their top cards. I at least got him from ignoring me to friendly conversation to consideration to ultimately still no.

Glad to land one different copy in a close shave and also a special numbered one. Landing this card is a historical moment and I will reveal why later on (probably not a hard guess now).





 

spinotron

Kindergarden
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Brevin Knight has few highlights to write about. All-time leader in assists and steals in Stanford. All rookie first team, and as a rookie led NBA in steal per game. During Nash’s 2004-05 MVP season, he was second in assist per game in NBA. (Speaking of Nash, omitting Nash from this set is probably one of biggest misses, but natural from how Nash’s career developed.) Now a commentator.

When I was a kid, NBA was not broadcasted a lot, maybe one game on sports channel and one or two games on star sports per week, but I do remember watching a few games of him and left me a good impression.

His serial number coincides with Kobe but opposite, kind of noticeable as a Kobe collector.

BGS 9 is a very good grade for this condition sensitive set, 9.5 is very rare and tough, two 10 subs are not easy either, 0.5 away. In my early collecting, grading was a small hobby, and I only graded a little, cards being raw or graded tend to be the way I acquired them as such. I graded myself some key cards in a limited scope.

The story of this acquisition of credentials future is not too long either. I won it at PWCC auction in Sep 2013. It’s a 8/8. This updated another copy I acquired a bit earlier, as I prefer the special numbering. Hope I can pair it up with another 8/8 in the future. ;P





 

spinotron

Kindergarden
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Croshere never missed playoffs in his first 10 years and in his contract year, he played well and contributed to leading Pacers to NBA Finals in 2000 facing Lakers. During that series, he averaged 15P (just behind Reggie and Jalen) and 6R (just behind Dale). He almost was in 50/40/90 club in that series.

I acquired 4/9 from Ian in 2013 and this 2/9 again from Joel in 2015. 2/+4/ =24 is very nice for Kobe Finals matchup pairing. But since Kobe was wearing number 8, let's say 2/ and 4/ for final score 2:4.





 

spinotron

Kindergarden
Must send first
Billups is an on-court general and clutch big shot maker. He won Finals MVP against Lakers dysfunctional super team, and in '06 he was both all-NBA and all-defense second team, nicely coincides 06/ serial number below. He is future head coach to be, turning down the opportunity in Cavs and could join Lue as an associated HC next. This is also a key card for my Kobe Finals matchup pairing.

This credentials now in PSA is one of earliest acquisitions. I acquired credentials future 6/10 from Jay P, before he even joined in the forum, and now he is known as dengbang on another forum. Every time he messaged me and he is checking I still have the card, and we also discussed some interesting Kobe cards and stories in the past. I'm very grateful for all the friendships and ties established through this chase. This card might originally come from blackrose collection, which I will recount very shortly in two posts from now.





 

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