As I started writing this, one of my favorite Internet radio stations, Rewound Radio, was playing a truly great but barely remembered single by Teddy Pendergrass titled: “I Don’t Love You Anymore”. This song was a big hit in the NY/Philadelphia area but did not translate well to the rest of the country and settled at a high position of #41 on the Billboard charts. While I love the passion and energy in the song and frankly it’s a shame that Teddy did not have big hits until he slowed down the singles and became a romantic idol.
Topps Finest, as a product, had the advantage of being an instant hit out of the box but like so many issues, had to change over the years. Since it began before autographs and relics were commonplace in boxes there are still a few collectors who probably long for the days where the big hits were refractors. For more modern collectors, when Finest kept adapting to hobby changes it was probably similar to when Teddy left Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and went off on his own. In many ways Finest has had the same development from a mainly base card issue to a hit-based product.
Hits are still a drawing card for 2015 Finest, which has had the added boost of a Kris Bryant short print (#111) that was a late addition. In fact, there are 11 SPs in this product. When I stopped in Triple Cards, the manager on duty said of the cases he saw opened, he did not see any Bryant SP’s pulled but did see a Bryant autograph redemption card. He also reported at least four cases sold at a price of $106.50 per box. Online, Finest is being sold at about the same level, proving again that prices at hobby shops aren’t always higher.
The master box consists of two mini-boxes with each mini-box consisting of six packs with five cards per pack. In addition, each mini-box is guaranteed a chrome autograph card. Both of the signatures we pulled were on-card. My major complaint with Finest is I’m not a big fan of that type of base card design. I can’t explain but to me the design looks like bad 1970’s “mod” art.
Finest does dig out a 20-year anniversary insert set using the 1995 design. Hard to think of Finest as having ‘nostalgia’ possibilities but 20 years is indeed a long time.
Here’s what we pulled from our master box:
Base Cards: 42 of 100 with 5 duplicates. I was a bit disappointed with the duplication. That shouldn’t happen in one master box at this price point.
Prism Refractor: Sterling Marte
Purple Refractor (#d to 250): Rymer Liriano
Firsts: Dalton Pompey
Generations: Adrian Beltre, Johnny Bench, Dennis Eckersley, Albert Pujols
Autograph Blue Refractor (#d to 150): Brandon Crawford.
The Generations insert set makes its debut with this product and it’s a nice mix of past and present superstars. In fact, I’d say it’s the highlight of this product for me. It does keep with the Topps promise to focus more on established players although there are rookies here, too.
We didn’t do well on our autographs so from a ‘value’ level, Finest probably didn’t really deliver much but for the most part, it seems like it has been generally well received by box breakers. Monitoring box prices in the weeks ahead might be good advice as a dip could be in order once more products are released.
Click here to see 2015 Finest singles, sets, boxes and more on eBay.