THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: These Wrestling Cards from 1990s WWF Magazine Have Huge Upside For Owners
Dec 3, 2013 - 4:00:15 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
In Brief: Do you have a September 1995 copy of WWF Magazine? You might be surprised to find what's in it -- and other issues from that era.
Card Show #5: 1990s WWF Magazine Trading Cards
If you’ve got any old WWF Magazines from 1995 to 1998 stuck in box somewhere, it might be time to dig them out – you could be sitting on a lot of money, and not even realize it.
Beginning with the March 1995 issue, WWF Magazine began including an uncut sheet of nine perforated trading cards with copies that were sent to subscribers. These cards were not available in magazine copies sold in stores.
There were 90 cards in the 1995 magazines, beginning with cards #1 (Diesel) through #9 (The Bushwhackers) in the March 1995 issue. The April 1995 issue picked up with cards #10 (Smoking Gunns) through #18 (Jeff Jarrett) and so forth. December 1995 ended with #82 (“Backlund Snaps!”) through #90, a checklist.
In the January 1996 issue, the cards started over at #1 (Ahmed Johnson) and then followed in numerical order through the May 1998 issue. The last card in the set, #192, is titled, “Who’s the Baddest?” and captures the epic clash between Mike Tyson and Steve Austin that helped turn the tide in the Monday Night War. Occasionally, copies of this card signed by both Tyson and Austin show up for sale on eBay and other card sites.
Beginning with the May 1996 issue, WWF Magazine began experimenting with different formats. Rather than nine traditional trading cards, that issue included three traditional cards and a 10-1/2” by 5” card of The Undertaker. Other issues included such oversized trading cards of Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, Sycho Sid, Vader, Bret Hart, and others. Other issues included puzzle cards, where the backs of the cards formed a picture of a wrestler, such as Michaels and the Ultimate Warrior.
Today the cards sell for varying prices, with some individual cards selling for 99 cents and some lots of 50 selling for more than $100. For whatever reason, two cards in particular have caught collectors’ eyes.
The first card of Hunter Hearst-Helmsley – card #62 from the September 1995 issue – has become the most valuable and popular card of the 192-card set. Sellers sometimes designate this as a “Triple H rookie card,” even though that title typically isn’t recognized among wrestling collectors the same way it is among collectors of the big four sports. Raw, ungraded copies of this card usually sell for $25-50. Two copies that received a Beckett Grading Services (BGS) 7.5 – meaning “near mint” and a grade that is usually considered quite low for most modern era trading cards – sold for a whopping $125 each.
The other big card in the set is another that is sometimes called a “rookie card,” and that is card #81 of Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. This card was included in the November 1995 issue and shows a barely recognizable Glen Jacobs grimacing around his dental tools. Raw copies have sold for $20-30 recently, with no graded copies to track.
Just about everyone who competed in the WWF from 1995 to 1998 has one of these cards. There are the obvious superstars from that era: Hart, Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon and Goldust just to name a few. There are also cards that pay homage to legends and hall of famers, such as Andre the Giant, George “the Animal” Steele, Ernie Ladd, and Bobo Brazil, along with some forgotten names like Mantaur, Avatar, Well Dunn, and Duke “the Dumpster” Droese.
Because of the nature of these cards, they’re very tough to find in good shape. The cards were perforated and had to be torn from magazines, leaving plenty of room for error. They also had to survive the U.S. Postal Service and make it into mailboxes without being folded or creased. If a 7.5 Triple H card is fetching $125, it’s hard to fathom what a 9.0 or 9.5 would sell for – if one exists.
Do you collect these WWF Magazine cards? What’s the highest grade you’ve seen on one? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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