So I’ve been back in the hobby for about 3 months now and what I’m seeing is a lot of old ideas being rehashed for an easy buck. There are several companies specializing in repack products (some as high as $7,000 per box), while Brian Grey essentially put 1992 Leaf back on the market with tiny additions (stamps, serial numbering, autographs). Panini America is pushing old designs from Donruss, while Topps Company is still feeding on 80s and 90s design for the sake of nostalgia.
Trust me, I’m not “that guy” living in the past or hating every product out there but I miss card companies who consistently thought “outside the box”, such as Skybox and Pinnacle Brands. Below is a front and back scan of Pinnacle’s Aficionado brand, which lasted just one year. It didn’t feature any autographs or game-used relics but what it lacked in “hits” it more than made up in design. We know Panini owns the Pinnacle name but even with logos, they could never do anything like this.
In 1996, these cards were out of this world bizarre but as you can see, they have aged like fine wine. There were also parallels (just one) that fell at about 1 in every 2.1 boxes in ratio, making them a lot more desirable on the second-hand market. To put it into perspective, there’s not a single one of Jose Canseco on eBay. There is also one unofficial parallel, which was given away by calling a phone number and those are even more rare as it’s believed the print run is around 50.
The truth of the matter is that this product is light on gimmicks, which is why a hobby box of 16 packs sold for well under $25 recently. It’s one product I need to get my hands on and quickly. If you’re about more than just autographs and worthless memorabilia cards, it’s one line you must experience before this decade is done as it is just a year away from its 20th anniversary and eventually boxes will dry up. I’ll keep my eyes open for another hobby box for an upcoming break at Wax Heaven.