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Here begins a rather incredible tale.
Sealed boxes from Fleer Ultra Spider-Man '97 get 200$ on eBay, easily, since the last 8-10 years. BIN auctions for anything less than 180$ ($7.50 per pack) are swift and immediate. There are several hawks for this series that have followed searches to warn them as soon as something becomes available - and we have around 5-6 chances during a GOOD year for these cards! Of course the drive behind this interest are the rare Sketchagraph chase cards at 1:288 packs (1:12 boxes).
In 16 years I have picked up easily 15 sealed boxes and one lot with 18 loose packs. The two Sketchagraphs I pulled were from Mike Deodato Jr., one of the set's common artists at 99 cards drawn (Tuff Stuff's Collect checklist). I ended up finding better use trading them for other Sketchagraphs than keeping them.
This auction (now completed). For 19 days, this auction missed EVERYBODY's radar. It does not have the word 'Ultra' anywhere in the listing, which is the key term the hawks use to find this series. There is another Fleer Spider-Man series published in 1997 that was simple rehash of an earlier series, has very little value, and is found abundantly on eBay... the Ultra is the key differentiator used in searches!
On a whim I was browsing the search term 'Spider-Man' in trading cards, arranged highest price first, and eventually found this sneaky auction. I had no idea if the packs were from the Hobby boxes or Retail boxes (no Sketchagraph possibility), but just bought them anyway at this insane price of 3$ a pack, shipping in. I had them sent to my parents' American residence, and then waited a month until they got home from vacation.
Not putting much stock in what could happen from a few loose packs, I start shredding some wrappers. After dozens of collectors seeking out these pieces adamantly for years, there was STILL one confirmed artist that nobody in the internet community had ever seen, printed ominously on the backs of the sealed boxes in the artist list: Steve Epting of Captain America lore. I knew this, and finding a Steve Epting piece to complete my collection at long last was a pipe dream; an elusive Holy Grail. The artist only drew 10 pieces, making his work incredibly rare. Lo and behold, with 3 packs remaining of my 12...
My entire apartment complex must have shook from the yell of disbelief... not only was it the fabled Steve Epting piece, but:
- It became my 50th FUSM'97 Sketchagraph, and the first in my collection that I personally broke free from a pack
- It added a rare, key Marvel character, the incredible Hulk, to the "Soul of Marvel"
It is the finest sketch card I've ever seen, in any series, ever... but the autograph carries just as much weight as the work of art. It packs the kind of one-two punch that nothing from this millennium has been able to approach... that why it isn't just a "sketch card"... it's a Sketchagraph
Must-See: The All-New, Complete Soul of Marvel Collection
(click image to enlarge)
A little bit of magic
"These aren't the cards you're looking for...."
|Titanium Card Talk Member|
Great story, thanks for posting, it's wonderful when things like this happen.
Come, it is time for you to keep your appointment with The Wicker Man.
|Gold Card Talk Member|
Do you want to pick some lottery numbers for me?
I always love reading posts from collectors who are so passionate about their particular collecting areas and we've seen you proudly share your collection with us all for a while now.
I think it's just fantastic that such a difficult collection can still continue to grow and that such great luck actually pays off for someone who genuinely appreciates what they've got and won't be casually flipping such a gem.
Pleased for you mate.
|Gold Card Talk Member|
Great way to notch your 50th, Prenz. Way to go!!!
Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
I felt your happiness when reading this.
I even think I heard you yelling for joy all across the Atlantic Ocean.
Great pull... No, a miraculous pull!
Many thanks for the replies, everyone! It was very nice to wake up and read these
Here's hoping some good luck has rubbed off on you guys
|Silver Card Talk Member|
That's a terrific story. Congrats on pulling the one artist you needed. It is a fantastic looking card, it makes me want to see the others by him. You have the best collection!! Thanks for posting the story and continue to show off your finds.
I'm looking for colored "Robots the Movie" sketch cards by Inkworks.
|Bronze Card Talk Member|
Great story....thanks for sharing!
It's so wonderful to see these kinds of things happen.
Terrific story and one sweet piece of art!
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