Late 90’s Topps Mystery Magic!

Many moons ago, I accidentally won a large lot of Kerry Wood cards. When I say “long time ago” I mean that, at that time, owning a large lot of Kerry Wood cards was a pretty desirable thing. Since Jon is now collecting Kerry Wood cards, I handed him the box and was happy to have it out of my closet. When I say “I was” I mean that my girlfriend was. At any rate, among the many Kerry Kards was a 1998 or 1999 Topps Mystery Finest. I pointed it out and said, “Hey, I pulled a couple of those from packs back in the day. Isn’t it weird how the backs are all black?!” Jon looked at me like I was an alien from the planet NoCardKnowledge and rolled his eyes as he explained that, like regular old Topps Finest, those things were meant to be peeled. And, with that, he peeled the card and revealed the actual front of the card which explained, among many other things, why the “fronts” of the cards had looked like backs to me. I’m sure Jon will get around to posting the results of his pull n’ peel adventure, but I rushed home to look at the ones I had pulled back in the day.

They were, as I expected, in my MVC (Most Valuable Cards) binder. This is a binder that I will get into in detail at some point, as it’s basically a time capsule of my collecting life pre-2000. There are some hilarious gems in there, some of which you’ll likely receive if we ever do a trade. Let’s just say I hope you like mid ’90s inserts of  Dante Bichette! At any rate, I had puled more than I remembered having pulled. The only one I really remember pulling (in the parking lot of local iconic Rockford, IL comic/card shop Tomorrow Is Yesterday, no less) is the Griffey. Here’s what the backs (which, remember, I thought were the fronts) look like.

Worst card front design EVER!

Pretty ugly. But maybe you can understand why I’d be confused. See, I’d never (and still have never) opened a single pack of or handled an actual Topps Finest card in my life. Way too high end for me. These were pulled from 1998 and 1999 regular old Topps packs so I thought it was just another quirky insert set like those kind of awesome Etch-A-Sketch ones (of which I pulled a Maddux that also went to Jon). But no. These were special. Of course, I wouldn’t have guess that given the weirdness of what I thought were the card backs.

Ooooh... anti-shiny.

So these cards sat in my MVC binder until Jon schooled me. There could be a refractor version hiding under that weird plastic coating! And, miraculously, the things seem to peel off without damaging the card. See Jon’s Fleer Mystique break for explanation of my fear there (though, thankfully, those cleaned up nicely!). They are hard to get started though and I think I did pretty well in the not-bending-a-corner-while-peeling category.

Without further ado, here are the results of my peel-fest:

A gun rack? I don't even own a gun, let alone many guns to necessitate and entire rack.

I must say, these fronts are WAY better than the ones I thought were the fronts. They’re chrome-y and shiny and, even with the kind of lame baseball graphic in the middle of the first 3 and the too-large set name on the last one, these cards are kickass. I think the Belle might be special because it has a silver border but maybe someone can help me out there. There’s no info yet on BaseballCardPedia so I’m kind of clueless. More importantly, I don’t collect any of these guys so they’re up for trade. I was hoping to get a Karros or Piazza as I owe Night Owl some cards and don’t know any Angels collectors (and I didn’t even remember Edmonds ever playing for the Angels). But surely a White Sox, Jeter or Griffey fan will step up! Barring that, if anyone can offer up some info one these, it would be greatly appreciated!

9 comments to Late 90’s Topps Mystery Magic!

  • I don’t have my big book with me but a quick eBay check puts these at 1998. There were indeed bordered and unbordered versions. I think the non-borders are more rare. Then there’s refractors on top of that. I’ll check back in later tonight to see if someone’s offered more info.

    I’m also wavering on resurrecting an Albert Belle collection simply to sample a late-90s insert buffet so I might have an interest in it if nobody else does.

  • I wonder if I have anything to offer for that Griffey…

    • Good call Ryan- looks like all of these are 1998 except Edmonds who is 1997.

      And Lonestarr- How about some Stadium Club? Everyone’s got some Stadium Club!

      And if it';s a Maddux, Jon wants it! I’d trade you straight up for that Edmonds!

  • I was just looking at some of the Ripken Mystery Refractors on COMC the other day. It’s amazing what a 15 year old Ripken refractor still sells for, especially considering how cheap modern refractors are. You can pick up a Pujols for under $1, but Ripken will cost you $20. Just another example of how we as collectors inadvertently kill the the things we love most. First it was refractors, then relics, and now autos. If we stay on this pace, in 2 years, 5 colored patches will be $3 a pop.

  • Play at the Plate

    I have three or four of these and I’ve never peeled the black part off. I knew you could, but I never did. I think one of them is Greg Maddux, but I’m not sure.

  • Play at the Plate

    I found it…

  • Awesome- if you want any of those 4 up there, I’ll send them to Jon to head your way with the trade you guys are working on.

  • [...] What’s this?  See Andy’s post from April of last year for more info and then below for my side. Wow, Clemens had a great year. Alllll on his oooowwnn. [...]

  • [...] peel and reveal sparkle? 1999 Finest – BaseballCardPedia.com Here were the topps mystery ones: Late 90′s Topps Mystery Magic! « Community Gum | A Sports Card Blog. With Jokes. __________________ Go Cardinals! 12 in 13! Got a question about Freese rookies? I'm your man. [...]

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