Buzz 12 in 12: Busting a 1997 Action Packed NFL retail box (Hour 1)

Do you like Buzz Breaks? Today’s your day then as we launch 12 in 12 — a series of a dozen breaks of past wax boxes and wax packs in a dozen hours. We’ll post one every hour on the hour all day long today … this is Hour 1.

12in12-logo-smallerThe box: 1997 Pinnacle Action Packed NFL retail (magazine vendor) box 
The cost now:
The cost then: $89.64 in United States, $125.64 in Canada ($2.49/$3.49 per pack … it says so on the packs!)

What’s inside this one? Keep reading …

Packs per box: 36
Cards per pack: 4
Cards in this box: 144
Base set completion: 
98 of 125 (78 percent)
Duplicates: 37
Triplicates: 3

Notables on base cards – Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, Warren Moon, John Elway, Eddie George, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, Thurman Thomas, Steve Young, Cris Carter, Marcus Allen, Jerome Bettis, Deion Sanders, Jim Kelly, Reggie White, Michael Irvin

A plug in every pack … see why below and in the gallery.

Insert cards: 5 (see all in gallery below along with some base cards)
First Impressions parallels (2) – Michael Irvin, Rickey Dudley
Gold Impressions parallels (1) – Garrison Hearst
Crash Course (1) – Keyshawn Johnson
24 KT Gold (1) – Steve Young

Autographs/Memorabilia: 1
Studs (1) – Jerry Rice (/1,500)

What’s Buzz-worthy: When I found this box at a small card shop, I did a double-take but left it on the shelf not sure what it was — it was a lidless box in shrink-wrap (meaning a retail box typically sold via magazine vendors) from an era of NFL that this collector didn’t dabble with much. (In other words, it was the college years — that $2.49 was for lunch … all week!) On a later visit, I picked this one up for a cheap rip and it turned out to be very Buzz-worthy. … First, a history lesson: This was the final release for the brand — it’s only been seen twice since then as an insert set — under the previous owners, Pinnacle. Pinnacle picked up Action Packed back in the day and it was scooped up by Donruss/Playoff, whose trademarks are now owned by Panini America. These embossed cards aren’t like the early years where a card was really a three-panel card folded and glued closed to have a smooth back. Instead, these cards are just embossed where the fronts are raised and the backs are indented. It’s a move that makes these a bit tougher to sort. … Now on to this particular box. Each pack doesn’t include much and each of them included a plug card with a hole cut into it. It explains on the card that it’s a Studs protector card and that the odds for those cards is one in every 209 packs. A few packs in, I discovered what that was — and why. Studs are a card reportedly with a genuine diamond chip glued onto it (also only 1,500 made), though there’s no notation of it being a diamond anywhere on the card. This wasn’t the only big pull as the box also included a 24 KT Gold card (1:89), a Gold Impressions card (1:44, so every other box) and the appropriate number of other inserts and parallels. A set wasn’t completed in this one, but it was a star-powered box that was actually pretty fun for a box from that timeframe. It was a big win for $9.99. The printing here is pretty cool, though many of the base cards have chipping issues. All in all, this was a pretty sweet break for the price and it’s something Panini America should consider revisiting in its full embossed glory.

Product Grade: A-
Box Grade:
Fun Grade: A

What’s next? Be back in an hour …

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