In over twenty different Cardboard Wars over the last couple of months, collectors have chosen sides and left hundreds of comments. Today, the battle is over as we begin ‘Hobby World War 1’. It is time for the ultimate battle of “high-end” gimmick cards with old school taking on new school for Hobby supremacy.
1993 Topps Finest
To me, “high-end” didn’t really exist prior to 1993. Call 1989 Upper Deck what you will but it was Topps Finest that set fire to the world of collecting and drove away just as many baseball card purist as it gave birth to “Joe Collector”-types.
Not only did Topps introduce “Chrome” technology with ’93 Finest, it was the debut of Refractors to the collecting universe. Today, regular Refractors like the ones available in ’93 Finest are almost worthless but without this release there would be no Superfractors or any other incarnations that collectors drool over every single day since 1993.
You won’t find a box of 1993 Finest for less than $200 dollars and all you are guaranteed with that money is one Refractor. Considering the fact that a non-graded Nolan Ryan 1993 Topps Finest Refractor just sold for $400 dollars it is definitely a risk worth taking, in my opinion.
2006 Topps Sterling
In today’s Hobby scene there is still a giant emphasis placed on the game-used relic and “1 of 1” baseball card. It’s been many years since the “relic” meant much of anything but collectors still love them even when they consist of a cut-up piece of plain, white jersey of Paul LoDuca.
The “1 of 1” has also lost its luster thanks to abominations like Moments and Milestones and Sterling, both Topps products that release several hundred versions of “1 of 1” cards. The card you are looking at below is a 2006 Topps Sterling Barry Bonds with four different pieces of game-used relics and a “1 of 1” stamp on the front.
Most collectors on YouTube would yell out at the top of their lungs, “1 of 1 MOJO” on this card but for $200+ a pop and just a small handful of trading cards, not pulling an autograph is nothing short of highway robbery. Of course, that is unless your “hit” features a game-used relic of Ty Cobb, Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, etc.
Barry Bonds doesn’t fall anywhere near that list… even if he hits 1,000 home runs.
Is “None of the above” an option?
It’s gonna take a serious “Joe Collector” for Sterling to get even 1 vote. Although 2006 would be the only one I would ever vote for, because if you pull an auto, they are all on-card in the 2006 incarnation. That said, for $250 a box, they should all be auto’d by the living players.
Looks like I’m the lone for the ’06 Sterling card. I don’t particularly like either (or Barry Bonds for that matte), but the 93 card is just ugly. There are nice refractors out there and then there’s overblown crap like that. At least the ’06 card has a little bit of a baseball field on it. These are supposed to be baseball cards after all. Some shiny foil and the cut out of a baseball player doesn’t really qualify as a good baseball card in my opinion.
But hey, I’m old school and this shit just doesn’t do anything for me.
1993 Topps Finest Refractor – the Finest maybe harder to find, but one fatal flaw maybe the lack of an autograph. All the jersey pieces are of the one color variety – no patches or anything either.
1993 Topps Finest Refractors is a ‘heavily collected’ or at least well respected insert set. Even without the jersey pieces, any star from the set stands alone on its on.
Also I think having a 1993 Topps Finest Refractor in-hand is better than just seeing a scan of it.
I’m kinda split on this one. Although Finest gets my vote, there’s something enticing about pulling a Mantle Cut Auto that is hard to shy away from. Maybe I am a sucker for the product that I couldn’t afford 15 years ago as opposed to the product I can’t afford as an adult. When the dust clears, both of these boxes are still basically $200 lottery tickets.
Great point, Joe!
I’ve opened 2 boxes/packs of the 2008 Sterling, and needless to say I feel a bit violated. Although Duke Snider & Yogi Berra were GREAT ball players, @ $200 a pop there’s no chance to recoup what I’ve got into these either via Ebay or trade. That being said, would I be complaining if I’d pulled a Ruth/Mantle/Cobb box?
The Finest is a COLLECTOR’S set. Sterling is a thrill seeker’s kind of product.
I’m a set guy, so Finest.
Can I have a box of 1991 Stadium Club instead? I’ve never been a fan of Finest or Sterling, and wouldn’t pay money for either of them.
Since the prices are equal, I voted for Stirling. I’m more of a set collector and I’m not obsessed with the flooding of auto gamers but I beleve in collecting stuff that look cool. To me Stirling showed at least some background of the field and the overall design looks more stylish. I think the 93 Bonds card happens to fall a little on the ugly side for me.
Man, I thought Sportsflics were high end!