Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The Original Rip Card
It took ten years, but I finally found one. This is a card from the 1998 Pinnacle Zenith set. Zenith started out in 1995 as a high end product with super thick stock and a glossy foil "Yellow Brick Road" motif on the fronts. By 1997 Pinnacle had gimmicked them up by including two 8 by 10 inch jumbo cards per pack and raising the price to $10. Many of these unsold packs made their way to K-Mart repack boxes by the early aughts. The 1998 version took weird to a new level. Pinnacle sold '98 Zenith in three card packs of 5 by 7 inch jumbo cards. But inside those cards were three normal size cards, waiting to be freed from their cardboard prison. Sound like a recent Topps gimmick from Allen & Ginter? You are correct, only Pinnacle did it 8 years earlier. They promptly went out of business once they did it too.
As you can see here, there are no easy tear tabs on the back inviting you to safely open up the card, it's solid cardboard. When Pinnacle said rip, they meant RIP as in completely destroy the 5 by 7 card to get at the smaller card inside. Also unlike A&G rip cards, you weren't guaranteed a super rare card inside the larger card, Zenith base cards were found inside the larger cards along with a smattering of inserts. Obviously collectors didn't take well to the idea of destroying cards to get cards and the idea was not popular at all. This is actually the first large size '98 Zenith card I've ever seen, let alone acquired. I do have a few normal sized Zeniths and an Andruw Jones promo 5 by 7, but none with a baby card incubating inside it. I sure as heck have never seen a pack of this stuff anywhere. The very concept of these cards horrified me when I first read about them in Beckett or some such hobby mag back in the late '90s so I wouldn't have bought one anyway. Unopened boxes exist so my theory that this product was so awful it simply never hit the shelves is probably incorrect.
So now that I have it, what will I do with it? THAT IS FOR YOU TO DECIDE. I'm putting up a poll asking you, dear readers, to decide this card's fate. Should I leave it intact? Open 'er up to retrieve the card trapped within? Something else? Go and vote and I'll do whatever you say and post it Friday morning. IF there is out there some twisted individual who considers themselves a Jay Buhner SuperCollector and they just have to have an unripped Bone 5 by 7 Silver Impulse parallel then post a comment begging to spare the card from the knife. I'll let a Buhner freak have it and spoil everyone's fun, but they better step up and send me some great scans or photos of their collection, which better be epic. Otherwise it will be spindled, folded or mutilated according to the vote.
If the vote says to rip, I will not be shredding the card as the Zenith box seems to imply is the best way to go about it. Instead, I'll take an Xacto knife to the back, make a slit on the left side over on the text box and slip the card out without completely trashing the large card. A cool thing I noticed after I got it out of the shop and into my hot car is that the card is hermetically sealed and the heat caused the air inside to expand and make a little cushion in the middle of the large card. I'll probably do that again to make it easier to open the thing.
For all of you out there unsure on what to do, here are some arguments for and against ripping the card:
FOR: The cards are meant to be ripped, go for it.
AGAINST: Ripping the card ruins the value, it will no longer be mint.
FOR: This card isn't mint anyway, the edges are kind of dinged up and there's a couple of scratches on the card.
AGAINST: The large sized cards are still harder to get than the regular sized cards, mint or know. Keep it intact.
FOR: How can the large cards be harder to get than the normal cards? All the normal cards originally came from INSIDE the big cards.
AGAINST: You've seen plenty of the normal sized cards before, but no large cards. A lot of the large cards were probably destroyed, so now the large cards have a higher value in the price guide than the normal cards.
FOR: Who cares about the book value? This is 1998 Zenith, 99% of collectors have never heard of this set and wouldn't care if they had.
AGAINST: It's a difficult set to find and this card is a scarce Silver Impulse parallel seeded one in every 7 packs.
FOR: No one cares about parallels - ever - and it's not even the good Gold parallel, it's the crappy Silver one. Plus it's called Impulse, Rip it!
AGAINST: Why ruin a known scarce insert just to potentially get a lame base card of a nobody? Do you really want to destroy a good card to get a base card of Chan Ho Park or Lou Collier?
FOR: Dude, it's Jay Buhner not Griffey. No one will weep for one less Buhner card in EX condition. I'm not going to rip ot to shreds anyway, just cut a little C-Section to deliver that card. The card inside it could actually be a deadly card tumor! I could be saving Zenith Buhner's life!
AGAINST: Yeah, or you could completely screw it up and wreck the Buhner card and whatever is inside it. You're the clumsiest person I know, and I should know because I'm you. Leave well enough alone.
FOR: Chipper Jones is a base card and is in every insert set. There's a small but significant chance of pulling a Chipper.
AGAINST: Ok, I can't really argue against that. Rip the sucker with extreme prejudice.
Ok, the Lincoln - Douglas debates that surely wasn't, but you should have enough info there to make an informed decision now. Go and vote, your choice will be revealed on Friday morning.