Military member opens his first football box in years, gets a unique surprise


By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

Charlie DiPietro’s card store is a stopover for many military personnel in the San Antonio area.

Sports Card Plus is near Fort Sam Houston and a military hospital. So he sees about 10 to 15 current and former military members in his shop every week.

Recently, Sgt. White stopped by the shop. DiPietro doesn’t remember his first name, but he definitely remembers the story.

White told DiPietro he hadn’t collected cards in years. When he collected, there were no autographs in packs. But that didn’t stop him from ripping 2012 Topps Platinum Football.

“Sgt. White carefully opened the box, one pack at a time,” DiPietro said. “Near the bottom of the box was this funny looking white card with lots of writing on it. “What’s this,” asked Sgt. White.”

It was a redemption. They likely didn’t have those cards when White used to collect either.

In his first foray back into collecting, Whit hit one of the best cards in the product.

White pulled a redemption for a 2012 Topps Platinum Football Autographed Rookie Refractor Jumbo Patch Red Shield of Robert Griffin III – a 1/1.

“He just came back from Afghanistan,” DiPietro said. “This is the first box he got in many years.”

DiPietro caters to many military people, and often those who have been injured serving overseas. DiPietro’s customers sometimes are missing limbs or are seriously hurt in other ways.

“We get a lot of military people here,” he said. “For the military people, I work with them on trades or if they want to sell me something.”

Sports Card Plus seems to be hot spot not just for the military members, but also for card collectors in general.

A customer of DiPietro’s also pulled the Andrew Luck autographed/patch Superfractor 1/1 out of Platinum.

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor of Beckett Football. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here.


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  1. charles 22 October, 2012 at 18:12

    wow congrats and welcome back to collecting he will have a lot of suprise’s sence he stop collecting so long ago, i live about 20 miles from Charlies. glad you got back safe, thanks for making us safe Bro.

  2. Cincyscott76 22 October, 2012 at 18:55

    Nice pull! Topps better honor the redemption and not try to pull the old trick of not having the card but here is replacement card or lesser value bs!

  3. Nathan 22 October, 2012 at 21:55

    Thats an awesome story! It would be better if the guy would have actually been able to hold the card he paid for though.

  4. Joe 22 October, 2012 at 22:30

    Charlie’s is my LCS. Great to hear of stories like this. Don’t get to go as often as I’d like but it’s always hard to leave when I’m there.

  5. afff 22 October, 2012 at 23:05

    that is one memorable pull for just getting back into collecting so congrates and i would like to see a pic of the card when you get it

  6. Joshua (jpleazme805) 23 October, 2012 at 02:20

    Congrats.. Glad to see another Service Member getting back into the Hobby.

    I a US Navy Veteran! Currently a Naval Reservist.

    Wishing I could stay Active Duty, but due to the Navy’s downsizing & my rate being one of the overmanned jobs… My name was chosen to be Involuntarily Separated.

    I myself, collected when I was a kid… gave it up my junior year. Joined the Navy & left for bootcamp 7 days after graduation in 1999. I met two Sailors that collected baseball cards.. I seen them on the messdecks busting some boxes… I got hooked. I asked them to take me to the card shops.. I collected mostly basketball, after realizing that the Hobby changed in the few years I didn’t collect..

    I collected between 2000-2001… then gave it up.. what I thought was for good. My money had to go elsewhere.. I then ran into the same card shop in Chula Vista, Ca (San Diego), that the two older Sailors took me too… I bought two boxes of SP Authentic 2006-07 & an Ultimate 2006-07 basketball. I was addicted to cardboard. I fell in love with Ultimate Legends subset cards & the Ultimate Signatures.. I had to go for the complete set… I made two Ultimate Signatures 2006-07 sets & a complete set of the base + RC/AUTOS….

    I was surprised that there are so many autos & jersey/patch cards out there… before I got back into collecting, I only owned about 7 certified autos… 5 from between 98-01… & two from Collectors Choice Basketball.. the jumbo cards.. or it might of been UD.. can’t remember off hand & haven’t seen them in years.. I have them stored away in Santa Barbara, Ca (my hometown).

    I served 12+ years in the Navy. I always missed collecting basketball cards. I wish I can collect all sports, but being an average collector.. it is very hard to support the habit, so I stick with my love & passion. BASKETBALL.

    Check out my collection at GO LAKERS

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