The Beckett Monthly lists 300 different base sets and insert sets for 1996. I currently own 167 of them. In this first part of 2009 I plan to go after 1996 cards aggressively on eBay to get the number I own up to 200. That's 33 cards I'll be after. Doesn't sound like much but the low hanging fruit is gone, most of what I don't have are going to be difficult to find or expensive (I don't like expensive). From my reading of other baseball card blogs, I get the impression that many of them (you) got out of the hobby in the 1990s and have recently returned. So I thought I'd highlight my 1996 cards so you can see what you missed. I never stopped buying so many of these cards I acquired in packs bought at my local card shop (I actually had a local card shop then) or in a big box store. eBay wasn't a factor for me in 1996. These cards are what I consider my reference cards for each set. Usually, but not always, the reference cards is the best card in the set that I own.
Topps issued cards under the Bazooka name at various times. There was a Bazooka set also in 1995 but not again until 2003. This was a 132 card set. A 5-card pack would set you back 50 cents, and I think there was gum. I only bought a handful of packs. As you can see there was some kind of game on the back which I never tried to figure out.
Topps had been producing Bowman sets since 1989 and continues to this day. I like the 1996 set. There were 385 cards. An 11-card pack cost $2.50. Pretty pricey compared to Bazooka. The base cards came in two flavors. The veteran cards had a blue back while the rookie cards (labeled as Bowman 1st Card) were green on the back. The Bowman logo is in red foil while the player name is in silver foil.
For 1996, Bowman issued a full parallel set. The cards had a foil background. The backs were identical to the base set. The foil cards came one per pack. And they don't scan well.
Bowman Minor League Player of the Year
This was a 15-card set inserted 1 in 12 packs. I bought the Guerrero card on eBay in 2004 for $3.00.
Bowman's Best Previews
Topps introduced Bowman's Best in 1994. It uses their chrome technology developed for Topps Finest. In 1996, the 30-card Bowman's Best Previews were inserted at 1:12 in Bowman packs. I got this card in a trade last December. I'd never seen one before. Silver cards were rookies and gold cards were veterans.
Bowman's Best Previews Refractor
The refractor versions of the cards were inserted at 1:24 packs. I got the Bagwell on eBay in 2004 for $2.25. I'm not sure where I got the Sexton card. There are also Atomic Refractors which were inserted 1:48 packs but I don't have any of those.
There were 180 cards in the set. I only have 8 of them and I probably bought them new. There is a parallel set of Refractors (inserted 1:48 packs) and Atomic Refractors (inserted 1:192 packs), neither of which I have.
Bowman's Best Cuts
These were inserted 1:24 packs. I got this one on eBay in 2003 for $3.00. There are Refractor versions (1:48) and Atomic Refractors (1:96), again I don't have either of these. There are currently none of them listed on eBay.
There is another insert set, Bowman's Best Mirror Image. This is a 10-card set whih I don't have. They were inserted at 1:48 packs, Refractors (1:96) and Atomic Refractors (1:192).
This was a new 200-card set issued by Fleer/Skybox. They featured a crazy looking background on the front but a more conventional back. An 8-card pack cost $1.99. I didn't care much for them and only bought 1 pack. The cards are pretty simple, with a glossy finish, made of thin white card stock with no foil. Circa would return in 1997 and 1998 (although it was called Circa Thunder) and then disappear.
The set featured a numbered (to 150) parallel set. It had some holographic foil in the front to distinguish it from the base set. I think this is the first limited edition numbered set offered by Fleer. I got this card on eBay in 2004 for $6.89.
This crazy thing was a 30-card insert set (1:12). It is the size of a normal card but it folds out. There are 3 panels printed front and back. I got this on eBay in 2004 for $5.49.
Boss was a 50-card set inserted 1:6 packs. I got this on eBay in 2004 for $6.50. It looks like the card is refractive but it is not.