I couldn’t come up with a clever name for this one, but at least the content in this post is pretty obvious. Yes, I’ll be reviewing and highlighting a few cards from the 1998 Skybox E-X Century Dunk ‘N Go-Nuts set. As I was writing this, I realized there was a lot I wanted to talk about, so I’m breaking it into two parts, with part one covering the basics of the card design and a few of the players featured in the first ten cards of this set.
But before I start looking at specific players, I want to just cover the basics of this card design. It’s a remarkably simple acetate card design, with the words “Dunk ‘N Go-Nuts” running up the left side of the card and the rest of the card features a player around the rim, but not necessarily dunking (more on this later). The bottom right of the card has a small team logo, and what would be the background of the player is just clear acetate, so much of this card is transparent.
There were some fantastic late 90s players included in this set, including Jordan, Shaq, Tim Duncan, Kobe, and Vince Carter. There were also some less than stellar choices, and some players that got snubbed. I’ll be covering a mix in both posts, but for this post I’ll focus on the first ten (of twenty) cards in this cool acetate set.
Tim Thomas (#1DG)
Card #1 in the set belongs to Tim Thomas, the NBA journeyman who started his career as a Milwaukee Buck and is so featured with this card. To me, this is easily the worst card in the set. First, let me just say I’m more than a little confused as to why they used a photo of Thomas during warm ups. I mean, the guy still has his warm-up coat on and he’s not even dunking the ball.
The set is called “Dunk ‘N Go-Nuts”, not “Lay-Ups ‘N Warm-Ups”, you’d think they’d try to feature all action shots of players dunking. But whatever, moving on.
So moving past the poor photo choice, as you can see, there isn’t much else to be said about the card. However, did they phone it in or just get really high when they wrote the little blurb on the back of the card? Again, what were they thinking? The back reads:
“We knew that you possessed the beautiful J. Catch, release, perfect backspin, it didn’t matter who was in your way. Now in the NBA, we see another potent weapon. It’s the one where you fly through the air, as if you’re dunking from heaven.”
The first two sentences, sure that is fine and normal to say. Thomas had a nice jump shot. No arguments here. But dunking from heaven? What does that even mean? It bothers me and I honestly feel it shows a lack of effort for this card. But maybe collectors like it, so lets move on to the price action.
Right now there are four copies of this card selling on eBay and PSA only has a history of 1 card selling, so lets stick with the eBay current prices. It looks like eBay sellers are generally in agreement that this card should sell in the high $50s. There are currently two ungraded cards available at Buy It Now prices of $57 and $59. There is also a PSA 8 with a Buy It Now price of $46. In my mind, if you like this look and want one of these cards, save your money for one of the other players further down my list.
Tim Duncan (#4DN)
Moving from one Tim to another, let’s take a look at Tim Duncan‘s card in this set, which is in every respect better than the Tim Thomas card. Although he isn’t dunking, this card still features a nice action shot of Duncan at the top of his release for what I’d guess is a low post float shot. The language on the back of the card is also pretty normal, it simply gives Duncan praise for the NBA Rookie of the Year the year earlier.
One stupid reason why I like this card is because of the word play, its the Duncan Dunk’n card. As a Boston fan, I was wrecked when the Celtics didn’t get the first pick and as a result, they didn’t Duncan in the 1997 NBA Draft. Plus, just think of all the Tim Duncan / Dunkin Donuts promotions there could have been. Oh well, I’m glad he got to play with David Robinson and I still love Duncan.
Moving on to the price action, this is also a rare card currently on eBay. There are only four ungraded copies, and they sell in a Buy It Now range of $350 – $500. However, you should not be paying anything near those prices for the ungraded cards, because the PSA 10’s typically don’t even get those types of prices. In fact, the last three sales of the PSA 10s were $270, $265, and $625. There were not many PSA 10 sales back in 2018, but the three that PSA has listed sold for $184, $321, and $194.
It looks like this PSA 10 card has appreciated a little in the past two years, but nothing like some of the other cards I’ve covered in this blog. Knowing that, if you are looking to invest in cards, this might not be a great investment piece to add to your collection, but if you like the look, like Duncan, and like the word play (as I do), then grab it, just don’t pay what those eBay sellers are currently asking.
Allen Iverson (#5DN)
This might be my first mention of Allen Iverson on this blog and full disclosure, I was never really a fan of The Answer. He was fun to watch at times and was a great scorer, but I never felt like he was much of a team player and I always preferred the guys who tried to lift the team, not fill up their individual stat sheet. But still, AI was featured in a ton of late 90s parallel sets, including Dunk ‘N Go-Nuts, where he is featured on the fifth card of the set.
Despite not being a big AI guy, I do really like this card of Iverson for this set. It features a photo of Iverson in the all-black 76ers jersey and he is actually going up for a nice two-handed dunk. It’s a really fantastic shot of Iverson and you get a clean look at his jersey with his #3 in plain sight, and you also get a perfect shot of the team logo on the shorts as well.
The text on the back of the AI card is ok, it gets a bit hyperbolic, but at no point did I find it cringe-worthy to read. There’s a bit of 90s lingo on the back, with the phrase “pretty fly”, which I haven’t seen in over a decade so that brought me back for a moment, but all in all the text on the back is good enough.
Looking at the prices, I only saw one of these cards currently selling on eBay, and it was a PSA 10 with a Buy It Now price of $1,500. The PSA website also has transaction history for five sales, but none this year. The last PSA 10 sale was in March, 2019 and it sold for $158. I certainly don’t think this card is worth 10-times more now than the sale from a little over a year ago. It’s common to see eBayers listing cards at two to three times (or more) what they are typically worth, but I’d say Iverson’s PSA 10, while certainly a nice looking card, should probably not go for anything over $350-$400.
Kobe Bryant (#6DN)
As you can see in the photo below, Kobe has an awesome card in this set. Taken from what looks like the camera atop the backboard, you get an awesome image of Kobe getting to the rim. Plus its young Kobe, back when he used to have a little hair. I just Googled this, and the haircut he was sporting back then was called the “Frobe”, which he rocked from 1997-2002 (according to this Clutch Points article dedicated to Kobe’s different hair styles).
The text on the back of the Kobe card isn’t awful, but it also isn’t great. I’ve only read a few of these card backs at this point, but I’m already getting super sick of the over the top writing. Anyway, the writing for Kobe at one point describes him as a “human hovercraft” and I just don’t like it. I don’t like mixing in my mind man and machine (unless we’re talking super sci-fi and getting into cyborgs and what not).
Rather than go with the hovercraft alliteration, why not lean on some ancient Greek and make a Herme’s reference, winged shoes and all. You don’t see enough Greek mythology references in card collecting these days, but that’s all I’ll say about that.
The Kobe card is hard to come by, and I only see one right now on eBay. The one card is a BGS 9 selling at auction with 4 days and 12 hours left and right now its up to $510. The PSA website has a little bit of price history, and the last three PSA 9s (going back to June 29, 2020) have sold for $1,400, $1,150, and $609. So the BGS 9 is sure to break the $1,000 price point.
There have been three PSA 10 sales for the Kobe card in 2020, and they sold for $1,525, $875, and $1,300. Dialing it back two years and we see these cards were going for much less. There were only two PSA 10 sales in 2018, and they went for $346 and $405. So just in two years these cards have more than doubled and I expect the next PSA 10 might get close to the $2,000 mark. Given the great shot of Kobe, and the somewhat rare shot of him sporting the Frobe haircut, I expect this will be a highly sought after card with collectors.
Kevin Garnett (#8DG)
I see no need whatsoever to cover Antoine Walker, who has the 7th card in this set, so let’s move on and look at Kevin Garnett, featured on card #8. The Garnett card looks nice, but it’s one of only two cards in the set that also has a defender on the card (the other being Michael Olowokandi‘s card), and I wish SkyBox had chosen a solo shot of Garnett with no defender just to get a better view of KG. Still, it’s a nice shot of Garnett rising up above the Bucks defender and going in for a one-handed slam.
The writing on the back of this one is a bit corny with all the rhyming. The third sentence starts off, “Timberwolves howl, you growl, opponents scowl…”. Not sure about you, but I think that writing is foul. Zing!
Like pretty much every card in this set, the KG card is also pretty rare on eBay and there isn’t much PSA history. Right now, I’m only seeing four copies being sold on eBay. There are two ungraded cards, selling for Buy It Now (BIN) prices of either $300 or $500, and two PSA 10s, one with a BIN price of $900 and the other is currently being auctioned. The auction card has five days left at auction and is sitting now at $200.
According to their website, there have been two PSA 10 sales this year. One sold in June for $255, the other sold in March for $240. Knowing that, it will be interesting to see what price the current PSA 10 at auction goes for. It is also interesting to point out that there has not been much appreciation for this card, at least no clear trend. Three PSA 10s sold in 2018, and their prices were $141, $276, and $100. If the current PSA 10 at auction clears $300, you can certainly argue the price is on the up and up, but its not a clear pop in price like so many other cards I’ve covered.
Shaquille O’Neal (#9DG)
You basically can’t have a parallel set in the 90s without including Shaq, and why would you want to. He is one of my all time favorite players and I’m very happy he’s included in this set. His card in this set is also pretty solid, it shows the big fellah throwing it down Shaq style.
I guess my one problem with the card is the over-hyped language used on the back. The first sentence may be the worst sentence I’ve ever read for these cards so far, as it says, “Manifesting your destiny on L.A.’s team of wild thrills.” I mean, I know I’m not a great writer, but how bad is that?
Moving on to the prices for this card, I’m only seeing two being old on eBay at the moment and they are both PSA 9s and both are selling in a regular auction. One auction has 2 days and 8 hours left, and is currently bid up to $130; the other auction has 3 days and 10 hours left, and is bit up to $71.
There is some PSA price history, so if we stick to the PSA 9s, we can’t see any sales for this year, but in 2019 there was one PSA 9s sold for $103. There was one PSA 10 sold this year and it went for $475. And the only PSA 10 sold in 2019 sold for much cheaper, going for only $87. This may be one of those cards that absolutely pops in value this year and it will be interesting to keep an eye on those two PSA 9s and see how high they are eventually bid up to.
Tracy McGrady (#10DG)
The last player I’ll cover for today’s post is Tracy McGrady, who was given the 10th spot in this 20-card parallel set. And it appears that just as I’m feeling lazy now to finish up today’s post, they were also feeling lazy with T-Mac’s card. Why do I say that? Well, in the photo below you can clearly see the card number showing through to the front of the card.
I don’t know about you, but I think that looks pretty sloppy. They could have very easily done something to make sure that didn’t happen, but they decided to just send it to the printer. And that is a bit of a shame for an otherwise decent card.
Oh, and fun fact, McGrady and Vince Carter not only played on the Raptors together for a few years, but they also come from the same gene pool. It’s true, they are distant cousins. Look it up!
The back of the card still has some corny text. There was something stupid about T-Mac’s mom feeding him rubber bands and mixing it with jam or something. I’m not going back to read it again, but if you are curious, I’m sure you can find the exact language.
When I was doing price research for this card, I only saw two selling on eBay and there was NO price history on PSA, which I thought was a bit odd because it’s not like T-Mac is some no name player, he was a seven-time All Star and two-time scoring champion in the NBA. Maybe there are just very few graded cards, and if that is the case, you might be able to grad one at a discount since no one has any price history to compare to.
Nevertheless, moving back to the two cards I saw on eBay, one was a graded PSA 9 and the other was ungraded. Both were selling as Buy It Now cards. The PSA 9 was actually the cheaper of the two, and the BIN price was only $120. It was also getting a lot of eBay hits. When I checked it, I was informed that 14 people had looked at in in the past hour, so that card may get snatched up soon.
The ungraded card was listed at a BIN price of $225. There is NO WAY anyone is getting the ungraded card, when the PSA 9 is selling at around half the cost. I like T-Mac, but this card wouldn’t even be in my top five for this set, there are just too many other better cards and I’m really annoyed by the numbering showing through.
At last, done with todays post! I’ll be sure to finish covering this set tomorrow and highlight some legendary players featured in cards 11-20. Among those are three North Carolina Tar Heels… care to take a guess?