Florida collector Bryan Shaffer spends most days working with his father in the real-estate development business. But it's a recent construction project he completed away from the office -- a master-planned masterpiece measuring roughly 10 1/2-feet by 14 1/2-feet -- that likely ranks as his most impressive build yet.
Florida collector Bryan Shaffer spends most days working with his father in the real-estate development business. But it’s a recent construction project he completed away from the office — a master-planned masterpiece measuring roughly 10 1/2-feet by 14 1/2-feet — that likely ranks as his most impressive build yet.
In a span of just 12 days, Shaffer managed to complete the 50-card autograph set from Panini America’s recently released 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Prizm product — a legendary collecting feat befitting one of the most legendary soccer autograph sets ever created.
“The second Panini America announced this set, I knew it would be the first true soccer release that would encompass the whole sport and not just one league,” Shaffer said via email on Tuesday morning, just hours after taking ownership of his 50th and final card, the one featuring Arjen Robben. “I didn’t know just how large the autograph set would be at that time, but once Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were announced as signers, I knew I would be putting together the set.
“It’s definitely the most fun experience I’ve had collecting, and the most expensive, too. I wanted to complete the set early. It will be fun watching some of these guys go up and down in price based on their performances in June.”
Shaffer began his global collecting odyssey by pulling a Neymar autograph from one of the two cases he purchased for himself the day the product released in the U.S. on May 7. From there, the longtime collector traded, purchased and group-broke his way to the remaining 49 cards, spending an estimated $4,500 on his collecting mission. Along the way, Shaffer managed to build complete Prizm base and insert sets, too.
Although Shaffer attempted to acquire as much of his set as possible from U.S. sources in an effort to complete it more swiftly, he ultimately made purchases from as far away as Canada, China and Switzerland.
His favorite card of the bunch? That’s easy. “I’ve gotta go with Ronaldo,” Shaffer said. “He’s the greatest of all time, although Messi fans will be all over me for that one. This set appeals to such a huge market; it’s not focused on just one country or one league. You have current and past superstars from all across the world. No other set really has that.”
And it’s likely that no other collector — at least none that we’ve heard of yet — has a set quite like Shaffer’s.
“I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone I purchased the cards from,” Shaffer said. “And thank you to Chris Justice at Cards Infinity, Matt Thomas at BlowoutTV and Chad Redfern at Firehand Sports Cards who all helped out with the set by hosting group breaks.”
Below, we’ve provided a quick glimpse of Shaffer’s latest development.