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Old 01-22-2015, 09:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1993 Finest Refractor Stories

I know a good chunk of the board wasn't alive when these came out, but to me 1993 Finest is probably the best modern baseball set. The mania surrounding the refractors was like nothing else that had happened up to that point. I thought it would be cool to have a thread where people share some stories about this set and some hearsay as well.

I always thought the various supposed short prints were fascinating. Does anyone have any stories about why certain refractors are perceived as short printed, and to this day sell rrally strong? Probably the most famous example is Andre Dawson buying up his own refractors back in the day (although they dont go for much these days, so i wonder if they found their way back onto the market). Back in the day I remember Pudge Rodriguez and especially Juan Gonzalez being perceived as short, whereas these days Orestes Destrade and Willie Greene seem to go for a ton

Anyone got a cool story?
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I was 14 and couldn't afford the packs. If I remember they were $15 a pack which was unheard of. I did trade for refractors. I used to have 75% of the set but sold in the late 90s before price exploded.
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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75% of the refractor set? Wow
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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75% of the refractor set? Wow
I never did have griffey or ryan . They were stupid priced even back then.
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I remember the packs being between $10-$15 a piece at the local card shop when they were released. I was like 11 at the time, so I could really only afford the standard issue topps packs. Now that I think about it, I do remember seeing a Griffey refractor in the display case at that same shop. I can't remember the price he was asking, but I do remember just being in awe at how cool it looked.

Isn't the Nolan Ryan one of the most sought after refractors in the set?
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah I think nolan ryan has to be #1 with griffey and ripken not too far behind. I remember packs being $30, dont really remember them in the $10-$15 range although obviously they had to have been at some point. Anyone have any info on how certains ones came to be perceived as short prints? I always felt like that was the most secretive, underground thing back in the day, heh
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I worked in a card shop back in 93 when this came out. It was unheard of back in the day to pay $8 for a pack which was cost. I opened it the first day it came out and pulled a shiny green card. I noticed it was different than the others because there was a sheen to it and it was Frank Thomas. I had no idea what it was worth and no idea how hot the product would eventually become. The next day, my boss was talking to the distributor about the card and he called back and said that someone was willing to pay $75 for it. I figured "Why not? It only cost me $8." So I sold it and next thing I know, its the hottest product ever. Beckett comes out and I remember it booked for $750. Man, that was a kick in the balls.
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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They were selling for $15 a pack when you could get a box of Topps for about $20-25 at Sams. No kids I knew could afford them. I think maybe I got one pack and no refractor, since they were one per box (if I remember correctly). I own a Greg Maddux now. Will be getting it graded soon.
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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There is a now-known collector who owns almost 10% of the entire print run. If he sold now the markets for several players would be flooded. For example, Beckett used to (not sure if they still do as I haven't read one in years) list Randy Myers as a short print. He's not, as there are no SPs. This guy just owns 60% of the entire print run for that card.
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sbfinley View Post
There is a now-known collector who owns almost 10% of the entire print run. If he sold now the markets for several players would be flooded. For example, Beckett used to (not sure if they still do as I haven't read one in years) list Randy Myers as a short print. He's not, as there are no SPs. This guy just owns 60% of the entire print run for that card.
who is this GUY you speak of!

edit: Looks like I found it - Phil Gold
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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who is this GUY you speak of!

edit: Looks like I found it - Phil Gold
That would be him. He also hoards Pinnacle Museums and Artist Proofs.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I thought there were 251 of each, so nothing was short-printed, but there was a condition-sensitive designation for a few. Then again, I'm based that on what I think I recall from about 15 years ago, so take that for what it's worth.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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That was a cool set but i remember the two years prior with first 91 Stadium club with the amazing pictures and color . Then 92 with Fleer Ultra and all those inserts and Bowman Baseball revamped its image. Those to me were Huge at the time I don't think the Finest product really hit it big at first due to the price.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Walmart had dollar packs around 1995 that would contain refractor and base cards from 1993 finest. I remember pulling a ripken and Griffey refractor out of those packs. Can't remember what else was in with them but they were in one of those giant bins. Those were the days. Also used to love the dollar mixed bags from the 80s that had packs. Pulled so many ripken rookies from donruss.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson View Post
I thought there were 251 of each, so nothing was short-printed, but there was a condition-sensitive designation for a few. Then again, I'm based that on what I think I recall from about 15 years ago, so take that for what it's worth.
There where 267 of each.
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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There where 267 of each.
I thought it was 241?
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I bought a huge collection of cards last year from a closed down shop. It contained 3 or 4 sets of 93 Finest. One of the sets had a John Smoltz refractor in it. Guess the guy couldn't tell the difference or anything. It wasn't in a soft sleeve, or a toploader, nothing. It looked great so I sent it to PSA and got a 10. I sold the card for $850 if I remember right. I also found a Carlos Garcia Refractor which graded a PSA 9, got about $40 for it.

At the 2009 National in Cleveland I opened 3 boxes of 93 Finest and pulled a Ripken Refractor, Paul O'Neil Refractor, and a Dykstra Refractor which all graded PSA 9's. Those are the only 93 Refractors I have ever owned.
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:26 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by no10pin View Post
I thought it was 241?
That's the number I've always heard attached to the set.
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
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i have 2 jack mcdowells. always wanted one as a kid. i think i payed like $20-30 each for them. worth every penny haha
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:49 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ernieren View Post
That was a cool set but i remember the two years prior with first 91 Stadium club with the amazing pictures and color . Then 92 with Fleer Ultra and all those inserts and Bowman Baseball revamped its image. Those to me were Huge at the time I don't think the Finest product really hit it big at first due to the price.
No doubt, 91 stadium club was also a monster set, I remember the Nolan Ryan tuxedo card and the frank Thomas both being $25 cards, but that pales in comparison to the impact of finest. I'm not remembering much of an impact from 92 ultra, but definitely 92 bowman, the original prospect product


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Originally Posted by lklopfenstein View Post
Walmart had dollar packs around 1995 that would contain refractor and base cards from 1993 finest. I remember pulling a ripken and Griffey refractor out of those packs. Can't remember what else was in with them but they were in one of those giant bins. Those were the days. Also used to love the dollar mixed bags from the 80s that had packs. Pulled so many ripken rookies from donruss.
This.....,seems really hare to believe, as ripken and griffey refs would have been 1.5k cards by then. 93 finest was fully blown up by the time 94 finest came out, which I think has to be considered one of the biggest flop products of all time. I also remember 95 finest being hot out of the gate as well (although nothing compared with 96 finest)

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I thought it was 241?
Yep, 241 is the number that's always mentioned


I've got to look up this Phil Gold guy, that's amazing! Who are the other scrub guys who are big money?


And that's awesome on the PSA 10 smoltz. Smoltz was actually the biggest one I owned back in the day, I had a PSA 9 o/c, it was like a $250 card at the time. Also had a raw Dwight gooden which was like a $150 card
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:41 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I actually like 94 Finest. It was a huge flop at that time though but Series 2 is pretty darn nice. Series 1 has to be one of the worst checklists of any product during that time. I hit a Griffey Ref from a series 2 box last year.

I have always wanted to be the first person to get a Bernie Williams PSA 10 1993 Refractor. What would that card be worth?
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:45 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Wow, Bernie is a pop zero? That's pretty crazy, wonder who else are the tough ones
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:50 PM   #23 (permalink)
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This is a great read

1993 Topps Refractors: A New Era in Modern Sportscards
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:18 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernieren View Post
That was a cool set but i remember the two years prior with first 91 Stadium club with the amazing pictures and color . Then 92 with Fleer Ultra and all those inserts and Bowman Baseball revamped its image. Those to me were Huge at the time I don't think the Finest product really hit it big at first due to the price.
I remember the sell sheet for 92 Fleer Ultra was originally Fleer Elite but they changed the name to ultra due to the Donruss Elite inserts.
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Old 01-22-2015, 05:44 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I remember the sell sheet for 92 Fleer Ultra was originally Fleer Elite but they changed the name to ultra due to the Donruss Elite inserts.
Sure that wasn't 1991 ultra? That was the first year, though 92 was the first year of gloss and foil
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