With certain trading card series, hobby boxes contains one pack of cards with a high value insert. So out of, possibly, 24 packs of cards with 7 or so cards in each, in one of those packs will be something fancy. You might pull a hand drawn artist sketch card, a printing plate from the manufacturer floor, or a card from the series that has been autographed by artists, writers, and creators. Check out UpperDeck’s glossary of terms for a whole bunch more here.
And check out this yellow printing plate of X-Force #1, featuring Cable:
The possibility of pulling sketch card really upped my interest in non sport trading cards. I mean, I could pull a one of a kind card drawn by the artist of my most recent read? Absolutely.
The one of a kind moniker is huge for a collector, even a layman who is mostly interested in gathering up favorite comic book characters. A one of a kind card just has a special pull. I ended up buying this one of Moon Knight, a favorite character of mine, drawn by Lawrence Reynolds (?).
No matter how fancy printing has gotten (which it really has), these aren’t digital print chase cards like in much of the 90’s, they have a chalky sheen made by artists themselves. Aside from the card itself, its production relied solely on one artist, one print maker. Sketch cards are artistic autographs.
As someone returning to trading cards, these inserts, parallels, autographs, sketches, printing plates, et al. have me hooked. Being an adult who can purchase more than a couple packs of cards around allowance time, I enjoy the knowledge that when I find a hobby box I’m interested in, with it I will get one particularly spectacular card. So far I haven’t been disappointed.