Pinnacle Brands

Leaf’s Forgotten Record

It’s been a slow week in The Hobby. No card company disasters to report on. No player scandals. No new releases, either. So instead, I’ve decided to write up a little story on some of the most underrated inserts of the 90s. No, these inserts won’t make you rich but design-wise, they are about as unique as they come. They are also extremely outdated but hey, so is much everything from 1996.

With 1996’s Studio release, Pinnacle Brands, who had purchased Donruss/Leaf, put out a magnificent product filled with extremely popular parallels that sell for hundreds of dollars to this day. However, it’s the inserts that caught my eye, specifically, Hit Parade. These cards, which are #’d to 5,000 were seeded 1:48 packs and were designed to resemble a vinyl record of all things.

This again is yet another example of Pinnacle Brands thinking way outside the box and quite frankly, it worked. The cards aren’t eBay Killers but at 5,000 copies a piece they weren’t meant to be. Still, they are about as memorable and interesting as any cards from 1996. Below is a front and back scan for you to memorize. Who knows? You may find one of these in the dollar bin at your next card show.


Categories: eBay Treasures, Leaf Trading Cards, Pinnacle Brands | Tags: | Leave a comment

How Ahead of Its Time Was Pinnacle Brands?

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.

Categories: eBay Treasures, Pinnacle Brands | Tags: | 1 Comment

Unreleased Pinnacle Brands Magic

There was once a time when Pinnacle Brands products flowed through my collector veins. I was the ultimate Pinnace Brands fan, blogging about them over and over again. To me, they could do no wrong. With the amount of traffic the original Wax Heaven was pulling in, I believe I helped get them back on card shelves. What and how Panini America did with their 2013 comeback, is their own business.

That being said, it was heartbreaking to see Pinnacle Brands file for bankruptcy in 1998, leaving behind new cards and ideas to perish. Thankfully, and I say that without sarcasm, someone or some people were smart enough to take home at least a few cards. I don’t condone theft but for baseball card history, 1998 Pinnacle Brands cards NEED to see the light of day and thanks to eBay, they have.

One such card is this 1998 Select ‘Numbers’ insert which looks like any card you would have pulled out of a pack of 1998 baseball cards. There’s no official number (and there won’t be) of just how many of these cards exist but a Randy Johnson ‘Numbers’ insert sold for $130 dollars recently. That’s a card featuring no game-used relic, certified autograph, or even a serial number.

These cards are extremely desirable to many collectors. I would give ANYTHING to speak with ANYONE on Pinnacle’s original design team. While Upper Deck and Topps Company were hitting home runs left and right in the 90s, it was Fleer/Skybox and Pinnacle Brands who were completely out in left field putting out some of the most unique cards collectors have ever seen.

Thank you, Pinnacle Brands.

*to read more on unreleased baseball cards, click HERE.

*to read about what 1998 Select would have looked like, click HERE.

This card screams “1998”.

Categories: eBay Treasures, Pinnacle Brands | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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