In a nutshell, the card company that produced this set took presell orders at $45 (free shipping) leading up to the March 10, 2015 scheduled release date. Unfortunately they went out of business a few months before that. Although I did find one member on Non Sport Update Card Talk who stated he/she received their set approximately one month after the release date, it's assumed that most people didn't receive their orders.
Then in July of 2016, sets started popping up on eBay. Each factory sealed set contains a complete 44 card base set, two inserts, and one one-of-a-kind hand drawn sketch card.
The controversy has to do with the fact that none of the sketch artists were paid for their artwork. Plus there are randomly inserted redemption cards for the original artwork used to create the base set that will never be redeemed. In fact, you've gotta wonder what ever happened to the original artwork. This definitely left a sour taste in the mouths of anyone who never received their sets or never received compensation for their work.
As for my interest in the set, I can't remember exactly how I learned about them. But I'm pretty sure I purchased my two sets primarily for the sketch cards. By the way, if you're wondering if I paid $45 for each set, I didn't. I paid $26 (+ $8 shipping) for the two sets back in August of 2018.
Today I figured I'd crack them open in honor of President's Day as well as kickoff my first contest of 2019. But more about that at the end of the post.
Let's show off the set:
I'm a pretty big fan of portraits and some of these aren't too bad. However there were a bunch of the base cards that seemed a little off.
Here's a closer look at Ronald Reagan:
I admit that there's no way I could do a better job, but this isn't how I remembered our 40th President.
Here's how I remember him:
This is one of the inserts I received in my first set. It's called a Presidential Posters Collection card.
Here's the one from my 2nd box:
The second insert in each set were the Presidential Stamp Relic Cards:
The card on the left features a 1938 3¢ Jefferson stamp, which seems to be fairly common. The other one contains a 1923 8¢ Grant stamp which is a little rarer. Unused copies sell for $20 to $30.
On the back of each stamp card there's a certificate of authenticity:
And finally the two cards I was looking forward to the most:
I was very impressed by both of these sketch cards. The detail on the Theodore Roosevelt is fantastic, but on the other hand, I enjoy the simplicity of the Obama sketch as well. I'll be hanging onto both of these sketch cards, the four inserts, and one of the base sets.
However if you would like to own the other forty-four card base set, please respond to at least one of these questions of the day:
Who is your favorite United States President?
Who is your least favorite United States President?
What is your favorite trading card controversy?
I'll leave the contest open until Saturday afternoon at 3pm PST. After that I'll put everyone's names into the randomizer, hit randomize five times, and whoever is in the 16th slot will win the set. If there are less than 16 entries, then I'll enter everyone's name two times.
Happy President's Day!