Last time we talked about Finest, we mentioned the brand’s humble beginnings as a small football factory set and then the explosion of the 1993 Finest baseball set. The 1993 Finest Baseball product was at the time, and could still be considered today, the Set of The Year. The reason for that nomination was the hobby was able to determine the refractors had a print run of 241 copies which in 1993 terms meant a real scarcity. And as the refractors were one to a box, that meant collectors also could join in the chase. The only real competition as years went by was the 1993 SP set which had the best, and extremely condition sensitive, Derek Jeter rookie card. However, the chase of the refractor set probably wins out as the years go on but those are your two contenders for the best of ’93.
Thus 20 years later, Topps has a lot to live up to in celebrating what is now their third longest lasting brand after basic Topps and Bowman. That’s right, Finest is the third longest continuous issue from Topps. While I personally wish for a return to Stadium Club and the spectacular photography involved, Finest has certainly earned its survival over the past 20 years. The 2013 design has a player photo set against a solid background with the brand name on the top and the player’s name, team and position at the bottom. The back has biographical information, a brief informational blurb as well as seasonal and career stats.
When I stopped at Nick’s Sports Cards he had mentioned he had sold 2-3 cases at $109.95 per master box of two mini boxes. Meanwhile leading on-line retailers are at $90-95 per master box. Each mini-box contains either an on-card autograph rookie refractor of a jumbo relic rookie card. Each mini box has six packs with each pack containing five cards.
We broke a master box and here’s what we pulled.
Base Cards: 48 of 100 with no duplicates or just slightly less than half the set. I will tell you I was personally glad not to hear of any photo variations in this break. It was very refreshing to have a straight-ahead set with not having to research every single card. We did get a Yasiel Puig rookie card in this box.
93 Finest: Jose Bautista, Andy Pettitte. There was something neat about having a player who had a 1993 Bowman rookie card getting a card in the 1993 Finest design insert set.
Jumbo Autograph Refactor: Mike Olt
We did get our two hits and a few minor singles as well and perhaps the only item which might have been easier to pull could have been the 1993 Finest designs as a tip of the cap to what had come before. But, it was nice to see really pretty cards and have a couple of guaranteed hits. May Finest live for at least another 20 years.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]