Thursday, November 10, 2016

Cracking Open The "Topps Vault" With The Leader Of The Four Horsemen

If you're an autograph collector, you know that it's always fun to find something different and unique to be signed. Sometimes the normal items just don't quite cut it. Other times there is a limit for just how many items there are out there in existence for a certain name to sign. After all, not every star has had the full power of a marketing machine behind them. For some legendary names in wrestling, only recently have they started to see their share of merchandising. It's almost always true that if they didn't have a run in the '80s-'90s WWF, stars of that era and before might not have much at all bearing their likeness and name.

Most late-'80s members of the Four Horsemen kind of fall in between. Leaving Ric Flair completely out of the discussion due to his being one of the biggest names that wrestling ever produced, the rest of the Horsemen have varied. Arn Anderson and Barry Windham both had WWF and WCW stints producing action figures, trading cards, and much more. Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon, aside from the few items put out by Jim Crockett Promotions, largely missed out until WWE Legends deals brought them back into the merchandising picture. While we may never see that JJ Dillon action figure, he is now appearing on Topps WWE trading cards.

Thus far Dillon has only appeared with an image from his WWE Hall of Fame induction. One card appeared in the WWE 2016 set while the other is in the WWE Undisputed set. The latter is a high-end set where, while there is a base card set, the true draw is the various autographs and relics included in each box.

Recently, as they have done with their sets from other sports, Topps has begun selling WWE proof cards from their "Topps Vault" on eBay. These cards are 1 of 1 and were originally used to test the printing of each card. The card backs are blank and holograms are added to increase value to the collector. Each card is  marked with a "Topps Vault" imprint, set into an UltraPro magnetic locking holder, and affixed with a "Topps Vault" seal. While many of these cards sell for high prices, others can be had for $10 and under.

Not long ago, while searching for a unique JJ Dillon item to have autographed at an appearance, I came across the WWE Undisputed proof card of the legendary manager. For around $10 total, I couldn't pass it up. After I received it, I was impressed with the detail that Topps goes into when selling off these cards. It comes shipped in a nice box, complete with resealable bag and Topps Vault Certificate of Authenticity with matching serial number. It's a nice little deal and one that's really unbeatable when matched with a price like that.

As I was looking over the purchase, I wondered if I really wanted to get this signed after all. Did I want to break the seal? Maybe I would leave the seal intact and get it signed over the case. The latter idea didn't sound like me at all, so I took to the Internet to see what collectors of other sports cards do in this case. Quickly, I found that many collectors have no qualms about "breaking the seal" on these to get signed. With that to consider, I decided to go for it. I lifted the seal without completely removing it and brought out the card.

If you haven't met JJ Dillon, you should go out of your way to do so. He's a very nice gentleman and also the author of my all-time favorite wrestling autobiography. He's actually a very common name on the wrestling appearance scene, although as we've learned time and time again, that doesn't last forever. If JJ is appearing at your local wrestling event or a convention and you've always wanted to meet him, don't put it off. And grab a copy of that book if he has them available!

The card came out great and is now back in its plastic home, forever more. Will we see more WWE branded JJ Dillon items? The perfect opportunity for a JJ Dillon figure would have been with last year's Target exclusive Four Horsemen set. While JJ himself has said that for whatever reason Vince McMahon doesn't want a figure of JJ Dillon produced, never say never. Here we are with WWE JJ Dillon trading cards. That isn't far off.

Long Live The Leader of the Four Horsemen!

1 comment:

Shawn Blanchard said...

Great write up on a great guy!!!