When I started collecting again in 2007 (shortly before starting Wax Heaven), I was a die-hard baseball fan. As the years went on and my interest in baseball began to fizzle, I began obsessing over celebrity-themed autographs and relics, which in part was due to Leaf Trading Card’s Pop Century debut.
It’s been a long time since I’ve followed all things sports cards so I have a little catching up to do but thankfully Leaf’s Brian Gray was generous enough to sit down and answer a few questions about his Pop Century brand and celebrity-themed trading cards in general.
This will be a new feature to Wax Heaven 2.0. Enjoy!
When I returned to The Hobby in 2007 there really wasn’t much in the way of celebrity-themed products. There were products that featured autographs of celebrities but not a whole dedicated brand. What inspired you to create Pop Century?
Brian Gray – Sports trading cards have explored virtually all of the potential subjects with autographs/game used of almost every popular player being utilized. I saw the entertainment category as an unchartered territory. My goal from that day forward was to create compelling pop culture products with signatures of unimaginably huge personalities.
What were some of the most difficult celebrities to track down and talk into signing cards and stickers for Leaf Trading Cards?
Brian Gray – Britney Spears was epic! I worked on this for years. As a huge fan, she was my white whale!
Who are your three biggest scores? If you can discuss it, who are your three biggest dream signers for Leaf?
Brian Gray – Scores: Britney Spears, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Lopez, Al Pacino. Dream List: Charles Barkley, Paul McCartney, Jennifer Aniston.
Can you give collectors a glimpse into what we can expect in 2015 with Pop Century?
Brian Gray – We are adding lots of great names (just did Tiffani Amber Theissen, Roger Daltrey in the last 2 months). In addition, I am adding METAL autos and ACETATE autos to the product to add variety!
What is your personal favorite celebrity card? It can be auto/relic/base/parallel and even a non-Leaf release.
Brian Gray – Britney Spears auto shoe cards from Pop Century are crazy! These are the shoes she wore to the prom in the movie CROSSROADS.