It's hard to believe that the arrival of 2010 Topps Finest baseball means it's been 17 years since the brand first entered the marketplace.
Finest was the Product of the Year in 1993 and was the first super-premium set created by Topps. One of the keys to the amazing popularity was that many dealers did math with the published production numbers and decided that a mere 241 copies of the parallel "refractors" were created for each player in the 200 card set. From there, the fun began and the 1993 Finest product was the hottest baseball product for the rest of the year.
While Finest has gone through some permutations and adjustments over the past several years; this product is still very important to the Topps brand.
The current method of distribution is that Finest is now in 12-pack boxes, which are broken up into two six-pack "mini-boxes". This enables a hobby retailer to either sell a 12 or a 6 pack box which helps if you have customers who still want the product but do not have the money for the 12 packs. As of the time we received this box the 12-pack box was selling online for between $110-120 per box.
Each 12-pack box contains five cards per pack and is supposed to have a sequentially (serial) numbered autographed rookie patch card.
The fronts of the basic cards have a player photo virtually "etched" against a silver background with the team's logo. The player's name is on the bottom. The backs have yellow borders with biographical information about the player on the top, a baseball trivia question in the middle and 2009 and career stats for the player on the bottom. The yellow backs truly stand out.
And how did we do?
Base Set: 47 of 150 cards. No duplicates.
Rookie Card: Michael Brantley (#d to 134). Brantley signed a total of 1,072 of these rookie cards.
Parallels: (#d to 599): Everth Cabrera, Raul Ibanez, Mike Lowell, Jeff Manship, Justin Morneau, Manny Ramirez
Blue Parallels (#d to 299) Brent Dlugach, Mark Reynolds, Jayson Werth
Blue Parallels (#s to 25) Ben Francisco (This is a parallel to the Signed Rookie Card Patches and each of these cards are numbered to 25, Francisco signed a total of 225 cards for this part of the product)
Parallel Green (#d to 99) :Albert Pujols
Finest Moment Autograph: Joe Saunders
And Topps Finest Rookie Redemption Card #5. The big mystery is, of course, will this card turn out to be redeemable for a coveted Stephen Strasburg rookie, one of the first cards of Aroldis Chapman or someone else ready to make a big league splash? Will it be autographed?
The Rookie Redemption program has been a success for Topps and maintains interest in the product as then ten names are announced during the first half of the season. Jayson Heyward and Ike Davis are #1 and 2.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]