Skybox: Premium

My Skybox: Premium Collection (Updated December 26th, 2021)

1993 Skybox Premium: “Darryl Talley” #41

1995 Skybox Premium: “Eric Turner” #31

1996 Skybox Premium: “Ki-Jana Carter” V #1

1997 Skybox Premium: “James Stewart”  Autographics  #58

1998 Skybox Premium: “Dale Carter” #160

In 1993 Fleer added the Skybox Premium title to its arsenal.  They did not miss on this one. The Skybox Premium title was a strong, solid, and very competitive brand that lasted through the hyper-competitive 90s.  The initial Skybox Premium release was a major hit while competing with the likes of titles such as Topps' Stadium Club and Upper Deck's SP titles. Fleer's initial Skybox Premium release was a 270-card release with 3 insert sets, (See the 1993 Skybox Premium "Darryl Talley" #41 left). I thought the '93 release had an awesome team color scheme on the front. Probably the best of any set that used that design in its release. And although it's not worth very much, I really liked the "Poster Cards" insert set. The only problem I had with this set is that there was a "Poster card Subset" within the 270-card release that looked very similar. Very confusing. Be aware if purchasing these cards that there are 2 sets of "Poster Cards".

In 1994, Skybox backed up their '93 initial offering with another stunner. The '94 set was just beautiful, (See the 1994 Skybox Premium "Terry Allen" #95 right). Another release that hinged on the team's color scheme. And this one was better than the previous year. That's hard to do. The only issue I had with the '94 release, It only had 200 cards. Ugh. Why waste a great design on such a pathetic small set?  The '94 Skybox release did have a nice collection of 5 inserts though. With one of those being Skybox's first autograph set, a small 3-card QB autograph set. More like an autograph test set, if you ask me.

The '95 release brought a change to the Skybox design. Gone was the "Team Color Scheme" background, (See the 1995 Skybox Premium "Eric Turner" #31 left), so instead Skybox took a year off. What Skybox didn't take a year off of were the small sets. The '95 release was another small 200-card set. What did Skybox do right? They increased the number of insert sets from 5 to 6. And they weren't bad either, from the Primetime Rookies insert set to The Promise the insert sets were solid collection put together by the design team at Skybox.

In 1996 Skybox went back to the drawing board, the '96 Skybox release was amazing. As a matter of fact, the '96 Skybox set was one of my "Top 10 Favorite Sets" for a few years, (See the 1996 Skybox Premium "Scottie Graham" #98 right). And more importantly, Skybox increased its set size from a pathetic 200 cards to a half-way respectable 250. They also increased their insert sets to 8, which included an autograph set that year. One of my favorite insert sets from that year was "V", (See the 1996 Skybox Premium "Ki-Jana Carter" V #1 left).  I just always liked the look of those cards. Skybox also brought back the mainstay "Primetime Rookies" insert set for a 4th straight year.

 

The '97 Skybox release was a bit of a downer. I just didn't like the way it looked, (See the 1997 Skybox Premium "Lorenzo Neal" #156 right). With that being said, everything else about the '97 release was awesome. The "Autographics" set that showed up as a small little test set in previous years, showed up in '97 as a 68-card monster, (See the 1997 Skybox Premium "James O. Stewart" #58 Autographics left). I really liked this auto set. It was huge, had a great set of players and I liked the card stock too. It was right around this time that autograph sets became the norm, especially large autograph sets. Skybox also kept up a large number of insert sets too, with 8. My favorite of the bunch is the "Premium Players" insert set, (See the 1997 Skybox Premium "John Elway" Premium Players #15 right). The "Premium Players" set wasn't anything extravagant or over-the-edge, it was just a cool looking card. The "Primetime Rookies" also made their 5th straight appearance in this release. 

 

The '98 Skybox release was cool, but I didn't particularly care for the way they displayed the player's name. It was just too hard to read, (See the 1998 Skybox Premium "Dale Carter" #160 below left). The '98 release stayed the course with the same number of cards as previous releases with 250-cards. And the '98 release was also the 2nd straight year with the "Autographics" set. With this auto-set being an 80-card goliath, (At least I count it as 80 cards. That includes about 5 autograph redemptions that I've found. And the Peyton Manning auto which wasn't included in early Beckett magazines). The '98 "Autographics set was also another winner, (See the 1998 Skybox Premium "Sean Dawkins" Autographics #18 below right). Skybox released another great auto-set with this gem. Skybox continued to include great insert sets with the '98 release, although "Rap Show" with it's funky write-ups on the back were a little over-the-top for me.

 

1994 Skybox Premium: “Terry Allen” #95

1996 Skybox Premium: “Scottie Graham” #98

1997 Skybox Premium: “Lorenzo Neal” #156

1997 Skybox Premium: “John Elway” Premium Players #15

1998 Skybox Premium: “Sean Dawkins”  Autographics  #18

1999 Skybox Premium: “Torry Holt” RC #215 SP

1999 Skybox Premium: “Torry Holt” RC #215

Maybe Skybox heard my pleas because in 1999 Skybox upped their card set size to a respectable 290-card set. Not where I really like it, but getting closer. And Skybox also did something innovative in '99 and that was deliver a 2-card "Rookie" card. I'm not sure if that was done before, but very cool, regardless, (See the 1999 Skybox Premium "Torry Holt" Rookie SP #215 & the Rookie Regular issue #215 below left). The "Short Printed" Rookies were the "Action Shots" while the "Regular Issue" was the "Non-Action Shots". A very cool and innovative way to do that rookie card release. I guess now I know why Skybox decided to add an extra 20-cards to their set. And Skybox brought back the "Autographics" set for a 3rd straight year, (See the 1999 Skybox Premium "Jared De'Vries" Autographics #25 below right). In 1999, Skybox had another "First", their first "Game Used" set was included. The Premium lineup included the "Genuine Coverage" jersey set which was a 6-card memorabilia set. Also, making it's 7th and final appearance in the SKybox title was the "Primetime Rookies" set. But it went out with a bang as it included a "Primetime Rookies" parallel this time.

 

The 2000 Skybox release was simply titled "Skybox" the "Premium" moniker was dropped as noted by the "John Randle" card below, (See the 2000 Skybox "John Randle" #7 below right). The 

new-look Skybox had a very similar look to a previous Upper Deck release but was stunning regardless. The 2000 issue jumped up again in set size to a very cool 300-cards, but gone were the "Autographics" cards. While their 3-year run as a "Skybox" insert set came to an end, the "Autographics" autograph series didn't. It just jumped to the "Fleer Tradition" title. For the 2000 release, Skybox went back to the traditional route, they didn't include a single autograph set nor did they include a memorabilia set. All the 2000 release included was 7 very simple and small insert sets that promised very little in return. It was quite a downer from the 1999 release.

In closing, the "Skybox: Premium" brand was just an awesome title with the only real downer being the insert sets from the 2000 release. For 8 years the "Skybox Premium" brand held it's own against the "Super Premium" Goliaths that roamed the hobby landscape. I would definitely say that if you're looking to purchase a solid, yet inexpensive title from the '90s, the "Skybox Premium" title would be a solid choice.

I have complete sets:
 

Skybox Premium:

1) 1993 Skybox Premium Set

    A) Poster Cards Insert

    B) Prime Time Rookies Insert

    C) Thunder and Lightning Insert

2) 1994 Skybox Premium Set

    A) QB Autographs Insert

    B) Inside the Numbers Insert

    C) Primetime Rookies Insert

    D) Revolution Insert

    E) SkyTech Stars Insert

3) 1995 Skybox Premium Set

    A) Rookie Receivers Insert

    B) Inside the Numbers Insert

    C) Paydirt Insert

    D) The Promise Insert

    E) Primetime Rookies Insert

4) 1996 Skybox Premium Set

    A) Autographs Insert

    B) Closeups Insert

    C) Brett Favre MVP Insert

    D) Next Big Thing Insert

    E) Primetime Rookies Insert

    F) Thunder and Lightning Insert

    G) V Insert

5) 1997 Skybox Premium Set

     A) Autographics Insert - Incomplete ( 71 / 74 )***

     B) Closeups Insert

     C) Larger Than Life Insert

     D) Premium Players Insert

     E) Primetime Rookies Insert

     F) Inside the Numbers Insert *

     G) Reebok Insert

     H) Rookie Preview Insert

6) 1998 Skybox Premium Set

     A) Autographics Insert - Incomplete ( 75 / 80 ) **

     B) D'Stroyers Insert

     C) Intimidation Nation Insert

     D) Primetime Rookies Insert

     E) Rap Show Insert

     F) Soul of the Game Insert

     G) Double Vision Insert

7) 1999 Skybox Premium Set

     A) Autographics Insert - Incomplete ( 77 / 82 )

     B) Box Tops Insert

     C) Deja' Vu' Insert

     D) Genuine Coverage Insert

     E) Primetime Rookies Insert

     F) Primetime Rookies Autos Insert - Incomplete ( 3 / 15 )

     G) Year 2 Insert

8) 2000 Skybox Premium Set

    A) Preemptive Strike Insert

    B) Skylines Insert

    C) Soul Train Insert

    D) Sunday's Best Insert

    E) Superlative Insert

    F) The Bomb Insert

 

*Note: This set was listed as an 8-card set, However after I discovered the #7 Barry Sanders card and #90 Dan Marino card, the set is now 10-cards.

 

**Note: I have my personal complete set at 80-cards. The Beckett checklist shows 73 cards, but I include the unlisted Peyton Manning auto, 5 autograph redemptions, and one Ray Crockett unstamped autograph.

***Note: I have my personal complete set at 74-cards. The Beckett checklist shows 68 cards, but I include the 6 "SKYBOX" autograph redemptions.

 

 

1999 Skybox Premium: “Jared DeVries”  Autographics  #25

2000 Skybox Premium: “John Randle” #7