There are two types of people in this world. Those who collect Jose Canseco and those who hate absolutely everything about him. There is however some common ground among the two groups and that is … just about every baseball fan and/or collector remembers Jose from his glory days with the Oakland Athletics. It was with the A’s, after all, where he won the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, created a new stat (40-40), and led the league in home runs twice in just seven very publicized seasons.
While Jose’s most iconic baseball card will forever be his 1986 Donruss Rated Rookie, a card from the “Junk Wax” era with millions of copies still floating around, that once pushed $200 dollars in value in the early 90s; it’s another card from Jose’s forgettable days in Boston, produced by a card manufacturer which ceased operations 21 years ago that will likely hit double digits on eBay in the next few days.
Pinnacle Brands had only a short 7-year run in our hobby. In that time, they produced some of the most memorable inserts and parallels of the entire decade of the 90s, made a strong run at Topps’ Refractor parallels with their Dufex print technology, and most of all, arguably produced the most, high-end baseball cards ever seen until autographs and game-used memorabilia changed baseball cards in the early to mid-2000s.
By 1996, Pinnacle was reaching the end of their run. With Select Certified, Pinnacle hit yet another one out of the park. The following year, we got Select Certified and Totally Certified, both just as high-end and rare but perhaps not as well received. These cards were not cheap to produce and packs ran as high as $11 (for 3 cards), which is what I paid when ’97 Totally Certified was released.
With these three releases, Pinnacle Brands went out on “topps” … sorry, I just couldn’t resist. Back during a time when collectors had yet to be spoiled by “guaranteed hits” and boxes of baseball cards with $25,000 price tags, Pinnacle had every single card manufacturer on their knees. It’s unfortunate that the plug was pulled so soon. Who knows what the hobby landscape would look like today had they managed to stick around.
I currently have an unthinkable $333.33 bid on the ’96 Select Certified Gold Mirror of Jose Canseco. Realistically, the card should break 1K by this weekend. These cards are unnumbered but it is believed to have a print run of just 30 copies and were found in boxes at a 1:300 pack ratio. If all 30 have already been found, it’s likely that much less than those 30 still exist today and less than 1/3 may ever see the light of day.
In 2013, during a move, I lost my Andrew Miller collection. With just over 150 cards, I had over 25 “one of one” autographs, parallels, and printing plates, along with over 70 other rare, serial numbered autographs and relics. The entire collection, mostly from 2007-2009, unfortunately wound up in a dumpster and destroyed. Now imagine a card that has been around in private collections for 23 years.
For those keeping track, there are 24 “one of one” Jose Canseco cards in 2018 Topps Triple Threads. How many have been produced by Topps since 2014? How many more will we see in 2019? These modern cards are doing nothing more than polluting the Canseco market. If you want true scarcity, pull out your wallet and go after the unbridled beauty of late-90s Pinnacle Brands baseball cards.
You may never have another opportunity to do so.