By 1993, we were just exiting the junk wax era of the late 1980s and early 1990s. 1993 actually saw numerous memorable trading cards issued and with 2018 marking the 25th anniversary, now’s a good time to take a look back through time at a few of them.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the cards that were making waves while North America tuned their TV to Seinfeld and Roseanne and listened to “Whoomp There It Is” on the boombox.
When the topic is 1993, you might immediately think “Jeter” and leave it at that, but at the time, one of the hottest card from the new Topps set was J.T. Snow.
Snow was an up-and-coming Giants prospect–the son of Rams’ great Jack Snow– and while he went on to a nice career, he would eventually give way to Tim Salmon, whose cards soared in what would be a Rookie of the Year season.
These days, of course, Jeter’s rookie card is one of the few worth collecting out of that set. Even better than his regular base issue is the gold parallel that was available at a rate of one per pack. PSA examples are generally in the $300-$400 price range on eBay and a nice investment card from 1993. Back then, though, Snow’s card was also in high demand. The ’93 Topps Gold cards were once selling for as high as $15-$20 but can be had for spare change today.
Drew Bledsoe 1993 SP Foil Rookie Card
Upper Deck’s SP was a new brand breaking onto the scene in 1993. With its gold foil rookie cards, it quickly became a popular and expensive football issue.
The year’s top rookie of 1993 on the gridiron heading into the season was quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe had been the top pick of the New England Patriots out of Washington State that spring and started immediately as a rookie, further hyping his cards.
The Bledsoe SP, at its peak, was selling for around $100 before crashing later despite the fact that he would go on to a solid career. Today you can buy raw cards for only a few dollars but graded examples at the highest end still hold some value because the foil cards are not the easiest to find in gem mint condition. Those can run between $100-$200. Remember the debate? Who’ll be better, Bledsoe or Rick Mirer?
1993 Fleer Final Edition Set
After the explosion of the 1992 Fleer Update set, collectors were scrambling for Fleer’s 1993 version. The set took off in part because it was pretty limited and also because it included Mike Piazza, who won the 1993 National League Rookie of the Year award. Fleer’s 1993 set, dubbed Fleer Final Edition, was a complete dud, though. There were 310 cards inside which made it a decent value but it was overproduced and available everywhere. That didn’t stop collectors from buying it, though, hoping it would become as popular as the 1992 set. While Fleer included a special Hall of Fame tribute set in it, the product never took off or sold for much more than the $20-$25 price tag. not only was it over produced but there wasn’t much in the set in terms of quality rookies.
The best card in the set is Jim Edmonds’ rookie, which is only about a $1-$2 card these days. Today, sets and singles are plentiful–and cheap.
Topps Finest broke onto the scene in 1993 and, along with SP, gave collectors another high-end option that would last for quite a while. A 1992 Finest football set was released a year earlier but 1993 was really the brand’s coming out party. That year, Topps released Finest cards in several sports but the basketball cards were arguably the most popular.
1993 saw several young stars breaking into the NBA. The cream of the crop were first-round picks Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, and J.R. Rider, among others. Penny and Webber were the headliners and Webber’s Finest Refractor insert rookie card was the most desirable in the set. He was the top overall pick and would go on to win the league’s Rookie of the Year award. Webber’s Finest cards remain popular in high grade with his base card selling for around $75-$100 in gem mint graded condition and refractors bringing three to four times that.
David Nied and Nigel Wilson … Anything
To help fill the rosters, the Rockies and Marlins selected players from other major league teams. The Rockies selected promising Atlanta Braves pitcher David Nied while the Marlins took outfielder Nigel Wilson, a one-time prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays. Neither did much of anything as a pro. Wilson’s career batting average is an unseemly .086 while Nied was scarcely better as a pitcher, going 17-18 with a career .506 ERA.
At the time, however, their cards were all the rage and they were found in any number of sets. Their cards were popular as they featured the first cards of the new teams and they were virtually must-haves for any collector. Today? Well, if you pay more than a dime for most of their cards from that year, you’ve likely overpaid.
1st Day Stadium Club Cards
Parallels were really starting to take off in 1993 and another popular one debuted with Stadium Club’s 1st Day cards. The idea was that Stadium Club would add foil stamps to regular cards indicating that they were among the first ones produced.
The foil stamps were an instant sensation and that was evident because even common players were highly desirable. Common 1st Day parallel cards back in 1993 would often command $10-$15 with stars bringing much more. The luster on them began to wear off, though, as more and more inserts and parallels were flooding the market. While they were tough pulls at the time, today 1st Day cards from the 1993 Stadium Club sets aren’t worth much aside from the few key stars and rookies. Commons can usually be found for $1-$2 or so.