Last night I took part in a very fun podcast interview with Ryan of the R-Rated Sports Card Show. One of the things we discussed was my love for Pinnacle Brands. We already know Pinnacle was the first company to produce a pack-inserted “one of one”, the first to release “rip cards”, the first to release printing plates and are responsible for perhaps the greatest high-end product of the 90s, Totally Certified.
For their many innovations, Pinnacle Brands also hit their fair share of duds including cards in cans, cards with coins embedded into them, and other wacky ideas. However, as Twitter user MJ pointed out, Pinnacle may have at the very least been the inspiration for Topps’ rainbow parallels that either rule or plague the hobby these days, depending on what collector you ask.
Clearly, Topps was no where near these colorful cards in the late 90s. Topps had regular Refractors in Finest, Bowman, and Best as well as Atomic Refractors, which changed in style periodically and International Refractors. In 1998, they introduced Golden Anniversary Refractors and that was pretty much it. Meanwhile, Pinnacle was already experimenting heavily with different Dufex colors.
I truly believe that Topps would have lost the War of Baseball Cards to Pinnacle Brands had Jerry Meyer not chosen to shut down their doors in 1998. Dufex technology, which was Pinnacle’s flagship parallel was only around 6 years and already way more eye-catching than Topps’ Refractors. Imagine if Pinnacle had 15-20 years to tinker around and experiment with Dufex?
Today, Panini America owns the licensing to Pinnacle Brands and produced a totally underwhelming, logo-less product in 2013 but hasn’t done much else with the Pinnacle name in baseball. Even if they do obtain a baseball license, I have talked with several former Pinnacle Brands employees who have said that the true Dufex technology died with Pinnacle in 1998.
No matter what happens in 2021, Pinnacle Brands as a company and brand died a sad death in the late-90s and at best all we will ever get is more cards that have been backdoored that somehow make their way onto eBay. What Pinnacle did in those seven years will never be replicated unless they are able to bring back main executives from ’92-’98 and that is highly unlikely, if not impossible.