Diamonds in the Junk – 1990 Score Series II Football4 min read


For collectors of a certain age there is something oddly comforting about junk wax cards. Far too many were printed, they’re littered with quasi-errors and print issues, and “rare” chase cards are numbered in the thousands. However, they are also full of players who are now in their respective halls of fame, the cards are necessary parts of many PSA Set Registries and a $5 or $10 investment can still bring hours of enjoyment. Not a bad deal. Here is the latest installment in the PSA Blog series called Diamonds in the Junk, where we crack some junk wax, review the results, relate them to the hobby today and have fun along the way.


The most recent addition to our Diamonds in the Junk series involves a box of 1990 Score Series II football cards. Thirty-six poly packs of 16 cards each produced 576 individual “diamonds” and a couple of hours of entertainment.

The 1990 Score football set was broken into two 330-card series. It is a very colorful set with large images that make up the majority of card fronts. The vertical borders incorporate a fading effect, while horizontal borders contain the brand, player and team names. The design is pleasing and rather reminiscent of the era. Card backs are equally colorful and blocked off into sections containing brand, card number, team name and helmet, player name and position, statistical and biographical information. There is a lot happening on the backs (maybe a bit too much, in fact), but overall the cards are attractive.

While there are no inserts in this set, Score produced a host of subsets that do a great job of breaking up the monotony of finding nothing but base cards in packs. The expected Record Breaker, Rookie, All-Pro and Hall of Fame subsets are all included, but Score got creative by including Crunch Crew (big hitting defenders), Rocket Man (top receivers), Ground Force (elite running backs) and Hot Gun (strong-armed quarterbacks) cards as well. A tribute card to Vince Lombardi was also made in recognition of the 25th Super Bowl that year.


This was a good break. I generally found two or three subset cards within each pack which felt similar to pulling inserts and added a bit more fun to each rip. While there are not a ton of HOF players in Series II base cards, the subsets ensured that I still got plenty of top players. Being a set collector at-heart, I sorted the cards when I was finished and learned that I was just 27 cards short of completing the Series II set and had 246 duplicates. I thought that was pretty fair distribution. I also found the quality control to be high with this set. Centering was very strong across the board, there were little-to-no print defects and cards emerged from 28-year-old packs with nice sharp corners. These cards would do well if submitted to PSA for grading.


I enjoyed this box very much. This set has a nice balance of serious and fun cards. The bulk of the series consists of contemporary players but there are also a few nods to football history. Great players and cool action photography are combined with unique subsets and a whimsical design. The result is an attractive card set. The collation ensured that I saw the majority of the cards available yet still had plenty of duplicates to trade or attempt to get signed. I paid $5 for the box, and the break and subsequent sorting lasted about two hours. At just $2.50/hour it would be very difficult to find entertainment at a better rate. Add to the fact that I could extend the entertainment by attempting to get cards autographed and the experience nearly pays for itself. The cards themselves do not have fantastic resale value, but you could probably get $1 for each of the subsets if you were so inclined, which would more than pay for the box.  From all aspects I found this to be a great box of cards and for less than the cost of a decent burrito it was well worth the money spent.

THE DIAMOND IN THE JUNK: #553 Crunch Crew Derrick Thomas

I just like this card. The colors, the illustrations, the great player… This one works for me.


Posted by Todd Tobias

Todd Tobias is a longtime hobbyist and PSA staff member who is constantly on the hunt for vintage lacrosse issues and autographed cards for his American Football League (1960-1969) collection.

Johnny Robinson - Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019!!!

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