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In May 2020, in Las Vegas, NV (where we are based), we came across a storage locker full of memorabilia and in this locker were two boxes of cards. Upon opening the locker we found over 450 cards from the 1995 Action Packed Basketball set. All cards were hand signed and by 23 different players & coaches including Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Bob Cousy, Dean Smith, Hal Greer, Connie Hawkins, Dolph Schayes, Nate Thurmond, Jerry Lucas, Walt Bellamy, Bill Bradley, Calvin Murphy, Frank Ramsey, Carol Blazejowski, Nate Archibald & way more! In addition, these cards came with Certificates of Authenticity from Action Packed and every card had their own paper in the boxes.
After doing research, we found that the Bill Russell card is the set's most expensive card out of the 40 cards in the checklist. At the time, Russell was one of the toughest if not the toughest autograph to acquire of all current and former NBA players in 1995. According to the checklist of the set through Beckett Price Guide, only the Russell card was actually limited edition out of 500 signed where every card was hand numbered. When we found these cards in this storage unit, we kept looking for the Russell's limited edition out of 100. BUT TO NO AVAIL. We came up short and looked everywhere online. What we found is this. THIS PARTICULAR CARD LIMITED EDITION OUT OF 100 WAS NEVER RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC....ANYWHERE!! How do we know? Well inside the boxes in the storage locker were 93 of the 100 cards that were limited edition out of 100 and there has never been one sold online! We found this to be the case after researching extensive historical auction data we get from a historical sales software research partner of eBay and hundreds of other auction houses! Here is another thing, after looking through Beckett and similar trading card price guides, we found that the 100 was never listed, and they only have the Bill Russell autograph card out of 500 listed because they too since 1995 have never seen one obviously..... it would have been listed if they did!! This is the card that no one knew existed as whatever plans Action Packed had for this particular card limited out of 100 did not happen and they ended up in a storage locker in Vegas somehow after Action Packed went out of business!
This 1995 Action Packed Basketball set is a treasure in its own as this was the only year these autographed Hall of Fame set cards were made for Basketball by Action Packed. They are a very early pioneer set of trading cards that included actual hand signed autographs on the cards! They did not do many hand signed trading cards back before this set. To this day, collectors still collect these cards because the style and way the cards were designed as well as being an early on card auto set. They are a thicker card in nature and have a lot of different grooves and dimension on the cards as many parts on the card are raised above the base of the card.
After conducting further research amongst collectors groups, here is an easy way to know how these autographs were authentic directly from Action Packed and not added on in the aftermarket. In regard to the base cards in the set, all of them have facsimile signatures on the cards of the person depicted on the card, not true hand signed autographs. The actual true hand signed authentic cards from the set do not have any facsimile signatures on the cards so that the only autographs exposed on the card are the authentic hand signed ones directly from Action Packed which is what we have here pictured in this listing, no facsimile signature on this card. We are not sure why these cards were never released or what the plan was of Action Packed with this limited edition Russell autographs out of only 100, but we are here to finally let the world see this card in its glory. Very rarely play cards never get released from the manufacturer so this is a very cool card to own and only 100 exist.
Eventually we had the autograph experts over at James Spence Authentication (JSA) come in and take a look at the cards. For those that are not aware, JSA is one of the most reputable authentication companies for autographs in the memorabilia industry and are one of only three companies that collectors trust on an international level for after market autographs. JSA came in and took a look at the autographs on the cards. After conducting research and analysis on the cards through their exemplar database of known Bill Russell cards, they found that the autographs on these cards are 100% AUTHENTIC and were given their tamper proof authentication holograms on the cards!
Thanks to everyone for taking a look at this card! Contact us today if you are interested in one of these cards and to see if any of the cards are still available!