Fast forward to yesterday where I was attending my first ever card show in Hickory, NC. I found one dealer who had a box completely full of baseball, football and basketball packs ranging from early 80's Topps, Score and Donruss to the mid 90s. The majority of the packs were 80's junk wax or 90's sets that I have already mostly completed. However after doing some digging around in the box I found a few packs each of 1995 Topps Finest, 1995 Emotion, 1996 Topps Finest and 1996 Donruss. The first three sold back in the day for $4-6 a pack, and he was selling these at 3 for $1! What a deal! The Donruss certainly wasn't a remarkable series but it was the last baseball set they made as an independant company as well as the last year that Dick Perez produced the Diamond Kings series. As I had not collected much of this set I decided to grab two packs of it as well as three each of both Finest sets and four of the Emotion set. So based on my research and calculations I got 12 packs for $4 when in 95/96 they would have cost me $58. That sounds like a Rickey Henderson quality steal to me!
Here is a sampling of the cards contained in the packs.
Back in the day I bought a total of one pack from this set and it has ever since been one of my favorites. The photography and editing was well done for the mid-90's but the best part was the double-thick cardboard. The cards have a nicer feel than typical 90's set.
I was a little surprised at the thickness of these cards, or the lack thereof. They feel a little flimsy for what was at the time one of the higher end sets in the hobby. However the protective film on each card does help make up for it. One thing that surprised me was that there were two Albert Belle base cards in one pack. A duplicate...in the same pack!!! I don't think I had EVER had that happen to me before. Topps catches a lot of flack these days for a myriad of things but I can only imagine the hate they would get from collectors if they made a habit of doing that now.
Interesting that they decided to use multiple designs this year. Now you see that David Justice card in the middle? I got three of those...in three packs...and one pack did not contain one. That's right folks! Another case of a duplicate in the same pack! I know these two sets came out 17-18 years ago but what gives, Topps? Duplicates are inevitable when you buy a lot of packs but in the exact same pack? That's no way to treat your customers. Maybe I'm glad I waited nearly two decades to spend money on this set. Ten year old me would have been mighty pissed off about that.
One of the best things about buying the Donruss packs is that they did yield quite a few HoF/Future HoF players. Though they don't have much monetary value it is always nice for sentimental value to see cards for players that you grew up watching. As an added bonus, all of the inserts in this set were sequentially numbered. The Frank Thomas Round Trippers insert is numbered 2488/5000.
Despite the duplicate annoyance I am really happy I was able to make this purchase. It brought a lot of memories flooding back about standing in the LCS for what seemed like forever trying to decide what to spend my money on. Sadly the LCS closed many years ago and I have to do most of my in-person card shopping at Wal-Mart. At least I have my memories...
Further Card Show reports will be coming in the following days.