FLASHBACK: Is This Chrome’s Rookie Card?

Originally published at the Wax Morgue on February 3rd, 2015

It’s not much to look at today but could the card pictured below be the very first Chrome/Finest card ever produced? One collector seems to have a theory on the mysterious origin of one of the most rare cards of the 90s.

As everyone knows, Topps changed the face of baseball cards in 1993 with Topps Finest and its beloved Refractor technology. But did you know Topps first produced Finest-like cards in 1992 Topps Football sans Refractor technology?

Below is a “promo” aka pre-production card featuring Dan Marino. Super fan, ‘MarinoCollector’ believes there were just ten copies of the card printed and with over 20 years since its creation, probably less than half are still around today.

As you can see, Marino’s Miami Dolphins’ logo has been airbrushed out and there is no mention of Topps Company on the front or back of the card, only a small message which reads “Signs and Glassworks, Inc.”. Google searches turned up nothing but while researching patents ‘MarinoCollector’ discovered that Signs and Glassworks, Inc. had successfully patented “chromium printing technology”.

So is this a case of a company creating a mock-up and selling both the technology and design to Topps Company? I will pose that questions to Topps’ Twitter folks in hopes someone, anyone knows the origin of this card, which may or may not have spawned a revolution in the trading card industry.

Furthermore, I would LOVE to know who was responsible for chrome cards, their inspiration for creating them (besides monetary), and what they are up to today. I wonder if they are even aware of how much their technology forever changed the world of sport cards? Finally, if the story is true … did they go to any other companies to shop their card around? Perhaps Upper Deck?

The world may never know …

6 thoughts on “FLASHBACK: Is This Chrome’s Rookie Card?

  1. As the years pass… it’s gets tougher and tougher to remember important cardboard history like this. Good thing there are card blogs around to document this history. Speaking of first… do you happen to know the first company to utilize stickers for autographs? It’s been bugging me for about a week now.

  2. PJ Juarez

    Sir, I believe the first chrome/refractor card were of Jose Canseco 1991 UD Silver Slugger. I know that signs& glassworks potentially pitched the technology to UD in 90 or sooner. I know this because I have a Canseco “Chrome” Silver Slugger. I know of one other person that has a “Chrome & Refractor” versions of the same card.

  3. Pingback: Topps’ (Fanatics) Rebirth | The Baseball Card Blog

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