Pro-Line: Portraits & Profiles
My Pro-Line: Portraits & Profiles Collection (Updated January 22nd, 2023)
1991 Pro-Line Portraits: “Michael Cofer” #284
1992 Pro-Line Portraits: Chris Doleman” Autograph #37
In 1991, the hobby got its first taste of one of the most innovative and imaginative sets to ever come around. The set was called "Proline: Portraits" and the idea behind this set was definitely unique; its purpose was to advertise the NFL's newest clothing line, called Proline, (See the 1991 Proline Portraits: "Micheal Cofer" #284 left). This set even makes my "Top 10 Sets of-all-time" list. The set showed players doing a variety of activities from golfing to working out. The photography was just plain stunning and you definitely could add that none of it was used before. And, lest I forget, the set was a very respectable 300-card release with a variety of insert sets.
The real gem for this initial offering from Proline wasn't the innovative set or its photography, but the autograph set that accompanied it. Not only did Proline re-write the rules on what a football set looked like, but it added a whole parallel set of autographs for the hobby to chase, (See the 1991 Proline Portraits: "Bruce Hill" Autograph #100 right). Even a lack of signature space didn't hinder this set from being a landmark set for the hobby.
1991 Pro-Line Portraits: “Bruce Hill” Autograph #100
The '92 release brought the hobby very much of the same thing, (which in this case wasn't bad), the same unique photography, the write-up on the back without stats and the same parallel autograph set, (See the 1992 Proline Portraits: "Chris Doleman" #37 left). The only downside is the fact that the set size dropped from 300 in 1991 to 167 in 1992. That means that the autograph set dropped from 301 in 1991 to 161 in 1992.
Talk about turning the hobby upside down? This set did just that! And with 300 autograph cards to collect this didn't just make this set the first autograph set, it also made it the biggest. Which, as far as I know, is still the record.
Proline also introduced a new set in 1992, a set called "Proline: Profiles". The initial release of "Profiles" was a 495-card set, but the catch here was that it was only 55 players. Each player had a 9-card sub-set. And unlike Pinnacle there were at least 10 different defensive players included in this set, (See the 1992 Proline Profiles: "Pat Swilling" Autograph #4/9 right). The photos ranged from in-action shots to charity events to an artist's rendition, (some not so good), to family photos. A truly great memorable set.
In '93 Proline really started to cut the number of cards in their sets dramatically. How dramatic? Well, the Portraits set went from 167 in 1992 to a mere 44 in 1993. That's right. A mere 44 cards. The autograph set was almost as big with 28 cards, (See the 1993 Proline Portraits: "Shannon Sharpe" Autograph #28 left). The same awesome photography was still being used in '93 that was used in '91. And a few of these autographs from the '93 set are extremely rare and very expensive, (The Brett Favre and Drew Bledsoe autographs being two of those cards).
1992 Pro-Line Profiles: “Pat Swilling” Autograph #4/9
1993 Pro-Line Profiles: “Emmitt Smith” Autograph #7/9
1993 Pro-Line Portraits: “Shannon Sharpe” Autograph #28
The 1993 "Proline: Profiles" set also took some huge hits in the numbers category, down from 495 cards and 55 players in 1992, the '93 set was only 117 cards from 8 players. If you think the '93 Portraits Autographs are rare then the
'93 Profile autographs are essentially non-existent. You will be looking for the Emmitt Smith, (See the 1993 Proline Profiles: "Emmitt Smith" Autograph #7/9 right), Franco Harris and Jimmy Johnson autographs for a very long time. I'm not sure why the production numbers for those autographs are down, but they are extremely hard to find. And make no mistake about it, the photography for those cards, just like the Emmitt Smith card to the right, are still just as awesome as the first year was.
In closing, the "Proline: Portraits" and "Proline: Profiles" sets were absolutely amazing. There are really no other sets like this one, (maybe the 2000 Donruss set comes close), so if you want to collect a set that is totally different than what you are used to this would be the one. My only problem with this brand is that after 1993, it was done. I would have loved to see a 1994 Proline Portraits "The Golf Edition" and the 1995 Proline Portraits "The Workout Edition". But obviously those sets never made it.
I have complete sets:
Pro-Line Portraits Series:
1) 1991 Pro-Line Portraits Set
A) Wives Insert
B) Collectibles Insert
2) 1992 Pro-Line Portraits Set
A) Wives Insert
B) QB Gold Insert
C) Checklist Insert
D) Team NFL Insert
E) Rookie Gold Insert
3) 1993 Pro-Line Portraits Set
A) Wives Insert
Pro-Line Portraits Autograph Series:
1) 1991 Pro-Line Portraits Autographs Set - Incomplete ( 122 / 301 )
2) 1992 Pro-Line Portraits Autographs Set - Incomplete ( 161 / 162 )
A) Wives Insert*
B) Collectibles Autographs Insert
C) Team NFL Autographs Insert - Incomplete (4 / 7)**
3) 1993 Pro-Line Portraits Autographs Set - Incomplete ( 25 / 27 )
A) Wives Insert
* Note: I do not have the Kathleen Gifford Auto. The word from Proline is that she never signed.
** Note: I listed 7 cards in this set because Ali has 2 versions in this set, (one signed Ali and one signed Clay), Thomas also has two, (one with the SB Stamp, one without).
Pro-Line Profiles Autograph Series:
1) 1992 Profiles Autograph Set - Incomplete ( 450 / 474 )
A) Troy Aikman (9/ 9)
B) Carl Banks (9 / 9)
C) Bubby Brister (9 / 9)
D) Keith Byars (9 / 9)
E) Earnest Byner (9 / 9)
F) Anthony Carter (9 / 9)
G) Gary Clark (9 / 9)
H) Randall Cunningham (9 / 9)
I) Eric Dickerson ( 9 / 9 )
J) Mike Ditka (9 / 9)
K) Chris Doleman (9 / 9)
L) John Elway (7 / 9) - Incomplete
M) Boomer Esiason (9 / 9)
N) Jim Everett (2 / 9) - Incomplete
O) Joe Gibbs (9 / 9)
P) Jerry Glanville (9 / 9)
Q) Eric Green (9 / 9)
R) Jim Harbaugh (9 / 9)
S) Jeff Hostetler (9 / 9)
T) Michael Irvin (8 / 9) - Incomplete
U) Haywood Jeffires (9 / 9)
V) Jim Kelly (9 / 9)
W) Bernie Kosar (9 / 9)
X) Steve Largent (9 / 9)
Y) Howie Long (9 / 9)
Z) Ronnie Lott (9 / 9)
AA) Art Monk (9 / 9)
AB) Warren Moon (9 / 9)
AC) Anthony Munoz (9 / 9)
AD) Dan McGwire (9 / 9)
AE) Ken O'Brien (9 / 9)
AF) Christian O'Koye (9 / 9)
AG) Rodney Peete (9 / 9)
AH) Michael Dean Perry (9 / 9)
AI) Jerry Rice (9 / 9)
AJ) Timm Rosenbach (9 / 9)
AK) Mark Rypien (9 / 9)
AL) Deion Sanders (2 / 6) - Incomplete****
AM) Jr. Seau (9/ 9 )
AN) Sterling Sharpe (9 / 9)
AO) Art Shell (9 / 9)
AP) Don Shula (5 / 9) - Incomplete
AQ) Phil Simms (9 / 9)
AR) Mike Singletary (9 / 9)
AS) Bruce Smith (8 /8)
AT) Roger Staubach (9 / 9)
AU) Pat Swilling (8 / 9)*
AV) John Taylor (9 / 9)
AW) Vinny Testeverde (9 / 9)**
AX) Derrick Thomas (9 / 9)
AY) Thurman Thomas (9 / 9)
AZ) Andre Tippett (9 / 9)
BA) Al Toon (9 / 9)
2) 1993 Profiles Autograph Set - Incomplete ( 47 / 71 )
A) Ray Childress (9 / 9)***
B) Jeff George (9 / 9)
C) Franco Harris (3 / 9) - Incomplete
D) Jimmy Johnson (6 / 9) - Incomplete
D) Jay Novacek (9 / 9)
E) Gale Sayers (6 / 9) - Incomplete
F) Emmitt Smith (4 / 9) - Incomplete
* Note: Pat Swilling never signed card #7. This was due to the fact that the picture on the back was not him. It is Rickey Jackson.
** Note: Two of the nine cards in this set are not known to exist in autographed form.
*** Note: Card #9 in the set is not known to exist in signed form. However, I do own a signed copy. It does not have the Pro-Line stamp of authenticity.
**** Note: Three of the nine cards in this set are not known to exist in autographed form.