Things were a lot simpler in terms of trading cards back then. Companies weren't grading and slabbing cards. Babe Ruth jerseys weren't being cut up and inserted into baseball cards. And collectors weren't exposed to refractors, mirrors, and artist proof parallels.
But that year... Upper Deck and Pro Set decided to introduce collectors to the first, pack pulled serial numbered trading cards. Twenty-five years later, companies are still producing serial numbered cards and collectors are still buying them up.
I can't speak for all collectors, but there's something special about a serial numbered card. First off... the buyer knows exactly how many other copies of their card are out there (assuming card companies are being legit and nobody is counterfeiting them). Plus if you really think about it... every serial numbered card is unique in the sense that there shouldn't be any other copies with the exact same serial number.
For example, check out this 2000 Upper Deck Gold Reserve rookie card of Shaun Alexander that The Underdog Card Collector sent me:
This card is serial numbered 0515/2500 and it's technically an "eBay 1 of 1", because there aren't suppose to be any other copies with the number 0515 stamped on it. Wanna know something cool? The number five hundred fifteen is exactly one hundred more than the amount of rushing yards Mr. Alexander had during his sophomore year at Alabama.
Check out this another awesome eBay 1 of 1 from Zach:
There isn't another collector in the world who owns a copy of this 1998 Topps Stars rookie card of Ahman Green with the serial number 1035/3999. Somebody might have #1034. And somebody might have #1036. But I'm the only guy who has #1035.
What's so cool about #1035? Well... the first two digits "10" represents the number of touchdowns he scored in 2000 during his first season with the Green Bay Packers. And the last two digits, "35" represents the number of rushing attempts by Green during his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks. Pretty awesome, right?
By the way... Mr. Green was shipped off to Green Bay, because the Seahawks had just drafted Shaun Alexander in the 2000 NFL Draft.
Plus the Seahawks also had this guy as their starting running back...
This beautiful card is from the 2000 Upper Deck Vintage Previews set and is serial numbered 769/900. Like the other two cards, this too is an "eBay 1 of 1", because I'm the only collector who owns the Watters stamped with the #769.
You're probably asking yourself, "what so special about the number, 769?". Well would you believe me if I told you that Ricky had 769 receiving yards in 1994 with the San Francisco 49ers? If you do, you'd be wrong to trust me, because he actually had only 719 receiving yards that season. However... if you take the 50 receiving yards he had against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997 and add it to the 719 receiving yards he had in 1994... you get 769. Yup. Another sentimental "eBay 1 of 1".
Zach sent me a bunch of other "eBay 1 of 1's", but I'll wrap things up with this sweet John Carlson autograph.
I couldn't find any statistics that would go with the serial number on this card. However... the number 112 is the name of a music group that teamed up with Biggie Smalls on a few occasions...
See? If you look hard enough any number can be sentiment and special.
Thanks Zach... for all of these awesome serial numbered Seahawks! I already owed you some Padres, Chargers, and Ducks. Now I owe you more. Don't worry... I'm like a Lannister. I always pay my debts. As soon as summer break arrives, I'll get some cards sent your way and I'll definitely be including a few "eBay 1 of 1's" for your collection.
Happy Sunday and sayonara!