We have written quite a bit about the early days of Finest Baseball and how some mathematically inclined dealers were able to deduce there were 241 parallel refractors of each card issued. However, what many collectors do not realize the finest line actually began in 1992 as a football factory set. In the early 1990’s, small-sized factory sets such as Finest were actually very common.
Unlike many of those other products though, the Finest name was then used for the famous 1993 baseball set and finest has been an hobby staple since then. The packaging of finest has changed quite a bit and this year’s football release consists of a master box which contains two boxes of six packs with five cards per pack. Each of the mini-boxes have an autographed relic card in them. When I stopped in my local card store (Triple Cards, Plano TX) he mentioned each case had a few boxes which included an extra autograph and all his collectors loved the card design.
The 2013 base cards showcase a player’s photo against a silver background. The Finest logo is in the upper left corner and the player’s name is on the bottom. The backs have biographical information, a brief informational blurb about a key moment in the player’s 2012 season and 2012 seasonal stats. Our local shop sold three of his five cases ordered at $106.50 per master box and $56 per mini-box. Last week, Mike Fruitman of Mike’s Stadium Sports Cards featured Finest in his ‘What’s Hot in the Shop’ column and reported selling 3 ½ of his 5 cases.
Meanwhile leading on-line retailers are currently between $100-105 per master box.
Here’s what we pulled:
Base Cards: 50 of 150. No duplicates. That is exactly 1/3 of the set and thus three hobby master boxes are needed as a minimum to complete the base set.
Refractor Inserts: Eric Decker, Josh Freeman, Andrew Luck, Joseph Randle
X-Fractors: Peyton Manning
Prism Refractor (#d to 25) Danny Amendola
Atomic Refractor Rookie: Tyler Eifert
Moments Refractors: Ed Reed
Jumbo Jersey Autograph Red Refractor (#d to 75): Jordan Reed
Rookie Patch Autograph Red Refractor (#d to 75): Joseph Randle
The one other comment my local store owner had was although his customers liked that they were guaranteed a signed relic card, they just thought a few more autograph cards seeded into these packs would have made this an even bigger hit. With the lack of early round depth of skill players in the draft, perhaps another autograph per master box would have made 2013 Topps Finest Football a runaway hit in the way the 1993 baseball issue was.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]