For the past several months, there have been rumors about Pro Set's financial stability. They have turned out to be true.
On Aug. 20, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas, Pro Set filed for relief under Chapter 11. The filing protects Pro Set's assets from seizure by its creditors, giving it breathing room to reorganize and set up a repayment schedule. Earlier in the month, Robert J. McLaughlin had replaced founder Lud Denny in running the company.
The move is of obvious significance to its creditors, banks and licensors.
"This action was taken in order to protect our ability to continue doing business," said McLaughlin. "Under Chapter 11, we will maintain all licenses which are the foundation of our business."
The immediate effect it will have on collectors is that NHL cards and NFL Series 2 will be delayed. According to Pro Set spokesman Erik Herskind, they were to be issued in early September and late September, respectively, but new release dates have not been set.
"They're still going to be coming out," Herskind said. "We are certainly going to produce the same premium-level products for football and hockey."
Platinum may also be on hold. Herskind says Pro Set's year-old premium line is being evaluated, a process that began several weeks ago and is not connected with the bankruptcy filing.
"We're looking at some different concepts," he said, "even the product name itself."
characterizes the evaluation as a standard procedure and says card lines are "always evolving."
Smaller will be the watchword. Although collectors have given Pro Set high marks for collation (one box is usually only a handful of cards short of a set), they were disturbed by the company's high production numbers. For example, only Pro Set and Score had Barry Sanders in their 1989 NFL sets, making them his rookie cards. The hard-to-find Score card books cost $50, and the Pro Set card is listed at $6.50.
"Every product from this day forward will be severely limited in size," said Herskind.
Also limited is Pro Set's payroll. The headquarters staff went from 215 to 50, which, Herskind said, is more in line with their competitors.
News of Pro Set's bankruptcy filing went out on SportsNet's two computer bulletin boards the next day. Mark Pearson of SportsNet said, "Because they've been a major player, it's a bittersweet situation." He said reaction from the dealers and manufacturers on the network was that it was not unexpected. )) On the collector network, there was no early reaction. Subscribers were more concerned about Hurricane Andrew and the plight of bulletin board friends in its path. They used the network to solicit donations for relief.
Syd Goldfield of Baltimore, who collects Orioles and Frederick Keys cards, found a couple of goofs in his 1992 Fleer ProCards Keys set. One card has Steve Godin on the front but the back belongs to Stanton Cameron. Another card has Cameron on the front, and Godin on back.
Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina graces the cover of the Aug. 31 issue of Card News. There's a full-page feature inside.
Within the run of SkyBox's Impact NFL cards are 500 autographed copies of a card featuring Jim Kelly and Magic Johnson. But they're not randomly inserted in foil packs. Instead, coupons redeemable for the cards have been inserted. There's a treat awaiting the collectors who get coupons numbered 12 and 32 (the player's uniform numbers): Their cards will be presented to them by Kelly and Johnson.
Today, baseball card show, Towson Sheraton (I-695, Exit 27A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.
Tuesday, baseball card show, North Point Plaza Bingo Hall, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., (410) 563-9032.
Sept. 11-13, baseball card show, Towson Marketplace, Sept. 11-12, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sept. 13, noon to 5 p.m. (expected signers are Mike Devereaux and Jeff Tackett), (410) 837-0870 or (410) 837-7632.
Sept. 12, baseball card show to benefit Pasadena Chargers youth football team, Earleigh Heights Fire Hall (Ritchie Highway, Severna Park), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (expected signer is Mike Devereaux), (410) 544-2077.
Sept. 13, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26 S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.