Blowout cards is selling boxes of Razor (Leaf) Pop Century for under $70. Each box contains 3 autographs and 3 super size costume cards, at release these boxes were over $100, and allocated — lots of dealers either got their orders reduced from what they wanted, or didn’t get any boxes at all. So in a matter of a few months it’s gone from so hot it’s allocated to landing in the bargain bin.
$70 is a great price for 6 hits, but I recently picked up a couple of boxes on eBay for even less than that. This review really started as a box breakdown. This will probably be my 5th box of Pop Century. The first box I opened concealed a 1/1 Masterpiece autograph of Richard Nixon. That’ll be hard to top. Even without the Nixon though I’ve been satisfied with my cards in Pop Century. That has been come a theme with products I’ve opened lately — satisfaction. Which certainly beats disappointment, but after plunking down $100 for a box of cards I’d like to be more than satisfied. I was far more than satisfied when I pulled the Nixon, and I certainly don’t expect a US President in every box, but clearly — as I look at my bargain bin purchase lots of other people were satisfied, or less, with Pop Century, but why?
The easy answer is in the autographs. Well over half, if not three-quarters of the autographs are repeat signers from other sets. That works with folks with universal appeal like Hayden Panettiere or Henry Winkler, but falls totally flat for folks like Levar Burton. His Star Trek autographs bring in $60-75 or more, but you’d be lucky to sell his Pop Century autograph for $6, and it’s the only hard signed autograph in the series! I can understand why Razor would bring in Levar — it’s impossible to predict that his Pop Century autograph would bring less than 10% of his Star Trek autos, but why go after signers who have cards in other sets that only sell for $5-15? Helen Slater, Todd Bridges, Corbin Bernsen, Jeff Conaway, Joyce Dewitt, Kevin Sorbo, Margot Kidder, Richard Kiel, Sean Astin, Sarah Douglas, etc, etc, etc are all available from other sets cheap.
That’s not to say there aren’t great autographs in this set — there are great autographs, but there mixed in with so many easy to find repeats that it’s hard to get excited about them. The dual autographs could be great — I mean — Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong is a brilliant dual autograph, but a lot of the others just leave me scratching my head. I’m sure the autographs are related to each other somehow (Elvira/Jeff Conaway?!?), but if it isn’t immediately obvious it isn’t going to resonate with collectors.
Even with their issues the autographs are the star of this show. The costumes play a distant second fiddle to them — most of the costumes can be picked up cheap! They managed to get some really great names (even misspelled ones like Russell Crow), and the swatches are huge, but the design is really not appealing. Only one costume has an actor’s photograph on it (Corey Haim), the rest just have the same bland ‘curtain’ design in either blue or red. I think if the design were improved these could have been a much bigger deal. There are some amazing variations in these swatches.
The poor design of the costume cards was slightly surprising after seeing the excellent design of the base and dual autographs. Even the photograph-less masterpiece autographs are attractive, which is odd considering it uses the same die cut as the costume card. Unfortunately the excellent autograph design doesn’t carry over to the Award Winners cards, whose cheesy design is more reminiscent of the curtained costumes than the cool autographs.
Regardless of the issues this series has it remains one of my favorites, and one of the few new products I’ve purchased this year. I’m hoping my box contains Bo Derek, Harrison Ford or Kim Kardashian — of course I’d be thrilled with a masterpiece autograph!
. . . let’s see what my $59 bought. . .
First the three costumes. . . No parallels, just Denzel, Brad and Uma. Uma’s swatch has a pretty cool pattern in it, and Brad’s has a seam.
And the autographs:
Butch Patrick (The Munsters), Amy Weber (WWE Diva) and Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie/Legally Blonde). True to the odds only one of these three is a first time signer. Patrick has singed for Munsters sets, and Weber for Benchwarmer. Even though the Coolidge autograph is numbered to 25, this is a bit of a bum box. Recent eBay sales reveal these autographs selling for $10 each for the ladies, and a bit less for Eddie Munster.
Unless you hit a Madonna or a really funky swatch all the costumes sell for $1-5 each, and that’s the case here. About a buck for Denzel, a couple for Pitt, but Thurman brings a fiver. So the total value is about $35 from my $59 box. Ouch. Hopefully my other box arrives soon and makes up for the difference!