2009 Topps Finest review

(For a full listing of all Wax Heaven reviews, click HERE)

At some point in 2007, after ten years away from collecting, I made a return to The Hobby. After bustin’ five or six releases I had reached the point where I realized that I had made a mistake and the love that died in 1997, just would not return. Then I busted 2007 Finest and within a few weeks began working on Wax Heaven.

Having tragically missed out on 2008 Finest, I was thrilled to get a hold of the 2009 release. While the design is absolutely perfect for the Finest brand, overall there are a few flaws collectors should know about before jumping into the product.

Below is my review of 2009 Topps Finest.

Design: A+

If you are a true fan of Finest then you should be very pleased with what Topps pulled off this year. The base cards look excellent, Refractors look amazing, and even the controversial manufactured patches look better than ever.

One has to wonder why they did on-card autographs in 2008 but not this year.

Price: C

For just under $100 dollars you can go home with a beautifully designed product but when it comes to the “hits”, 2 signed, manufactured patches you really take a nosedive. The two that I pulled (Gamel & Antonelli) can both be found on eBay selling for well under $10 dollars, with the Antonelli refractor versions selling for barely one dollar.

These kind of autographs provide no real value to the “high-end” crowd and while the Refractors add something to the overall product, adding one or two more guaranteed autographs or even printing plates, could have saved Finest’s grade.

Pulls: B-

You can never go wrong with pulling a handful of Refractors, including Derek Jeter, plus a Gold David Ortiz but there is just not enough product to justify a close to $100 dollar price tag.

The Autographed Manufactured patches look amazing but unless you pull one in a low serial number parallel form, you’re not looking at much of anything in value, unless you still use a Beckett price guide.

Overall: B+

If I could grade Finest on design alone it would have been the perfect product. Unfortunately, when you factor in the low value on the autographs and the amount of cards compared to the price, ultimately you are left with a product that’s all flash, not enough content.

If Topps can make the necessary adjustments and apply them to Topps Chrome, which will be here in a couple of months, you might finally see the day Topps Chrome puts an end to Finest’ reign among non-prospect Chrome collectors.

Topps, are you up for the challenge?

(thumbnails lead to full-size scans)

Topps Finest (almost) perfect

I have seen a lot in the 16 years since the debut of Topps Finest.

From the introduction of seemingly dozens of new parallels to the over production of “game-used” relics and pack-inserted certified autographs; somehow Finest has always been above all those gimmicks.

Sure, it may have lost its “King of Chrome” title to Bowman and it’s likely now in third place behind Topps Chrome but to many collectors including yours truly, nothing beats bustin’ a box of Topps Finest.

This year, Topps almost hit a grand slam with Finest. If it weren’t for the inclusion of the overused manufactured patch, it could have been the perfect release of 2009. It also hurts that Topps went back to sticker autographs after the 2008 release featured mostly all on-card autographs.

Design-wise, Topps truly hit card board gold. If you don’t get a thrill from opening packs of 2009 Finest and seeing just how beautiful Refractors look all these years since their debut, you are probably close to the end of your collecting days.

Topps ruined Stadium Club in 2008, Upper Deck did the same with SPx in 2009. Look around, old man… Fleer and Pinnacle are long gone, while many favorite brands from Yesteryear have been discontinued. Topps Finest is the last of a dying breed among 90’s collectors who refuse to accept the latest “gimmick” of the times.

I for one know that as long as Finest is around, so is my love for collecting.

2009 Topps Finest preview

2009 Topps Finest is back and in my opinion better than ever. I have always cherished this brand but I think 2008’s design left a lot to be desired. This year’s base design looks excellent but I don’t know why they would force Rookie Autographed Manufactured Lettermen on Finest collectors.

Product Details:

Each master box contains two mini-boxes with 6 packs per mini box and 5 cards per pack. Each box will yield two numbered autographed rookie patch cards, 10 parallels, and one 2009 Rookie Redemption card. There is no word yet if a Finest Moment Autograph replaces a patch autograph or is a bonus.

Release Date: March 30th, 2009

Checklist: Full list in comments

Price: $70-$75 per master box

Box Break – 1997 Topps Finest

A few weeks ago I had a dilemma. My Upper Deck sponsorship came to an abrupt end and suddenly I was looking at the real possibility that I might not get to bust wax again for a long, long time. A couple of days later Jeff from the popular blog, ‘I Am Joe Collector’ e-mailed me asking if I’d like to trade one of the football “hits” from a U.D Sponsored break. He also said he’d be interested in buying whatever autographs and game-used jerseys I didn’t want.

To be honest, the idea of exchanging money did not interest me so I came up with a plan. I asked Jeff to buy me 1 or 2 unopened wax boxes from HERE and I would send him everything. That’s every single game-used relic, autograph, and even serial #’d card I own with the exception of Marlins and Jose Canseco.

Well, Jeff came through with 1997 Topps Finest series 1 & 2. I have to thank Jeff for helping Wax Heaven and I hope you enjoy the box of “hits” coming your way. As for the two boxes of Finest, it was non-stop fun and a thrill to be able to open a product that I would have only dreamed about busting in 1997.

Topps Finest had a very unique product in 1997. Instead of every single card being the same, they put out “themes” which included Warriors, Hurlers, Masters, Power, and so on. My absolute favorite was the Masters theme with Power being a close second.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pull the Jose Canseco I needed from these two boxes but I did manage to find an Embossed Refractor of Sammy Sosa with stated odds of 1:196 packs. I would highly recommend this product (preferably series one) to any collector who can get their hands on one. You won’t find any game-used relics or certified autographs but if you are lucky you could make a “pull of a lifetime” like this guy did.

As always, each thumbnail leads to a full-size scan. ENJOY!

Warriors

Hurlers

Competitors

Power

Masters

Acquisitions

Blue Chips

Embossed

Refractors

Embossed Refractor

Card of the Day – Finest Refractor Auto

I will never understand the generosity of Wax Heaven readers. In over a year of writing for the site I have received so many card goodies in the mail you’d think I was some sort of celebrity. A couple of months ago, ‘Lonestarr‘ sent me a package which included two Marlins autographs (including Andrew Miller) and a special gift for my 2 1/2 year-old son.

The card is from my favorite all-time Topps product, Finest. It’s from 2003 and not only does it include a beautiful certified autograph it also just happens to be a Refractor. Having discovered baseball seven years after Fergie left the game, I never really knew much about him. As it turns out, Jenkins was one of the most dominant in his era, winning at least 20 games seven times, including a six-year run from 1967-1972. As amazing as his numbers were, he was only a three-time All-Star and won the Cy Young Award once.

What’s surprising about Lonestarr including this beautiful Cubs card in the package is that according to his blog, he is a lifelong Cubs fan (link). That’s like me sending out my best Andrew Miller autograph to a Tampa Bay Rays fan. Luckily, I am a true collector and can appreciate the beauty that only Topps Finest can create and have this card safely stored in my box of stars, inside of a Top Loader and Penny Sleeve.