One of the most interesting and aggravating decisions a new card dealer has to make is how many cases of new products to order. Back in the day when we had far fewer releases, the issue was not to purchase so much product that you would have the equivalent of a lifetime supply. As the hobby evolved, the issue became if something was really hot the previous year everyone would want to order the next year and then the interest would sometimes soften.
That scenario, in a nutshell, is what occurred back in 1994 when the second year of Finest baseball was released. The 1993 set was such an overwhelming success that the set has remained incredibly popular. In fact, just this morning, I received an email from a collector who had a 1993 Finest box and wanted my advice on whether to break it. While there is no correct answer, since there is only one refractor in the box the odds are better if you do not open it but there’s also the chance there’s a card inside that could grade ‘10’ and make it worthwhile to rip.
But that was 1993 and less than a year later, 1994 Finest was released to similar expectations but did not provide the same punch as the previous year. However, unlike those years, the 20th anniversary of the 1994 set does promise to have better interest among collectors.
The base cards with the player’s photo against a mostly solid background with some design elements which add even more color drew about a 50-50 split among collectors at Triple Cards who either loved the design or hated it. The cards themselves come in a master box which consists of two mini-boxes. There are six packs per mini-box with five cards per pack. Each mini box has one autograph.
My local card store sold out of eight cases at $112 per master box while leading on-line retailers are currently between $95-105 per box. Here’s what we pulled:
Base Cards: 44 of 100. No duplicates
X-Fractors: Aroldis Chapman, Chris Davis
Green Refractors (#d to 199): Madison Bumgarner
Blue Refractors (#d to 125) David Wright
Black Refractor (#d to 99): Michael Wacha
Red Refractors (#d to 25) Edwin Encarnacion
Vintage Refractor: Sandy Koufax
Sterling Refractors: Buster Posey
Rookie Autographs X-Fractor (#d to 149): Josmil Pinto
While not real big hits we did pull both Abreu and Tanaka rookie cards as well as a Jose Abreu refractor card and the Schoop autograph numbered to 50 may be even better on if he shines in the playoffs this year.
With a cost of less than $1 per card overall and the guaranteed hits including some a nice Finest Greats autograph checklist (we didn’t pull one of those, but they’re very nice), I think Finest may have hit a sweet spot which took the original some time to achieve during its 20 year run.
To see boxes, cases and more for sale on eBay click here.