After four years of offering some of the classiest and most aesthetically pleasing cards in baseball card history, the Studio brand made a complete departure from their signature style in 1995, leaving collectors scratching their heads and wanting the great Studio cards they were used to seeing in years past.
In an effort to evolve and produce something outside of the box, the brand made the very questionable and very poorly received decision to turn the 1995 Studio set into, basically, a baseball credit card.
The horizontally designed cards resemble the physical credit or debit card you would carry in your purse or wallet.
The card fronts have the American or National League logo in a light gray color and undertone as the foundation of the card. There is an action shot of the player on the right hand side of the card that strays from the brand’s origin. The Studio logo is found in the upper left hand corner followed below by the player’s name and the team name, looking like a bank or credit card company logo. Here’s where it gets, well, even more credit card-y. You will find all of the following info in an embossed like credit card style font on the card. Toward the bottom third of the card scrolling left to right, you will find the players stat line including batting average, home runs and RBIs for offensive players and wins, losses, ERA and strikeout numbers for pitchers. The stat lines act as and appear as a credit card number.
The player’s position is listed below the stat line and at the very bottom left of the card it offers a member since column which lists the players rookie year appearance followed by the player’s date of birth, as if they were expiration dates. When you see it in those terms it’s a little odd, for sure. The lower right hand corner of the card holds a hologram image of the players current team logo. Studio did a great job of making the card look like a credit card but then again, it looks like a credit card.
It’s rather difficult to pick out the more fun and interesting cards as the card fronts are taken out by the credit card design with a small picture of the player. Many of the photos stray away from the classic Studio style and just become standard baseball action or semi-action shots. If you look hard enough you will find a few that still offer that great Studio imagery on card fronts and backs but they are very few and far between.
The card back again looks just as the back of your credit card would all the way down to the black stripe at the top of the card. There is an action shot on the left hand side of the card a spot that offers a player signature as if it was the back of a credit card endorsement section. The right hand side of the card offers the card number at the top and some basic bio and stats below. Not only did Studio abandon their classy photo shoot studio images on the front they’ve nearly completely abandoned their fun interesting stats and biographical information on the reverse of the card.
The card set was shaved down to just 200 cards which I guess in this case might not have been a bad thing. Studio has not been known for its strong rookie classes and this set is of the same vein, as there were literally no rookies included in the set this particular year.
Hobby boxes consisted of five card, 36 pack boxes with the retail of a $1.49 per pack.
There are no insert sets in this particular Studio offering but there are two parallels: a gold and platinum version. Both are printed on plastic stock with rounded corners to truly look 100% like a credit card. There was no indication of receiving any additional purchase power if you pulled a gold or platinum Studio card that year.
The gold parallels feature the first 50 cards in the base set and the Platinum version covers the first 25 cards in the base set. Aside from the obvious change of color, the card design is the same with the exception of the word Gold and the word Platinum placed next to the Studio logo on the face of the respective cards.
There is very little value in this set. Sealed boxes can be had for less than $40. Aside from the Ken Griffey, Jr. Gold and Platinum credit cards, which sell between $20-$40 each on eBay, you would be hard pressed to get more than a buck or two for any raw cards.
Far as highly regarded as the early imagery was on the Studio product, this was a sharp turn away from the standout photography and design in general and was not well received upon release or nearly 30 years later. The set design and cards themselves look more like what would be handed out in a local bank promotion or by a bank manager at career fair more than the next product in line of great Studio cards.
As you might expect, the cards can be had for next to nothing and have been a hard pass for most collectors. Sadly this set became more transactional than collectible.