Part 2 of my series on 1996 baseball cards from my reference card collection. See Part 1 here.
Upper Deck produced the Collector's Choice for 5 years from 1994 to 1998. It was the first new set from Upper Deck in 1994, and in 1996, Upper Deck was still making only 2 different sets. Collector's Choice was meant to be a low-cost alternate to their Upper Deck set. a 12-card pack in 1996 cost 99 cents. There were 730 cards in the set which was issued in two 365-card series. The cards were mostly white bordered, either vertically or horizontally oriented. The backs feature an Upper Deck holographic logo.
The Collector's Choice set featured a number of subsets. This Tony Gwynn card is from the All-Star subset. Notice that although the back is the same, the front features full-bleed printing. The other subsets were: Rookie Class, Stat Leaders, International Flavor, Fantasy Team, Checklist (which featured a player photo), Traditional Threads, and All Rookie. Most of these had difference designs than the base cards.
Collector's Choice Gold
Collector's Choice Gold cards were inserted in packs at a ratio of 1:35. These were a full 730-card parallel set with gold borders and gold foil facsimile signatures on the front. Beckett lists these at a considerable premium over the base cards, 15 to 25 times the base.
Collector's Choice Silver
The silver parallel set was easier to get as one was inserted into every pack. It featured silver borders and a silver foil facsimile signature.
Collector's Choice Nomo Scrapbook
This cards from this 5-card set were inserted at a ration of 1:12 Series 2 packs. Nomo-mania was still in full swing in 1996. I never got one of these in a pack but bought the entire set on eBay in 2004 for $3.25.
Collector's Choice You Make The Play
Another baseball card game. One of these cards was inserted into every Series 1 pack. There were 90 cards in the set.
Collector's Choice You Make The Play Gold
The glod version of the You Make the Play cards. These were inserted at a ratio of 1:35 packs. This is the only one of these I have and I actually pulled it from a pack. This is one of the best pulls in the set. There apparently were not silver versions of this card.
There was one other insert set called "Crash the Game" which I don't have.
Donruss started featuring full-bleed printing in 1994. This set continues that practice (which would be continued until Donruss went out of business in 1999). There were 550 cards in the base set, issued in two series of 330 and 220 cards. A 12-card pack cost $1.79. The design of this set is plain and I like the big picture and stats on the back. I do not like the box which appears between Cal's legs. In the box is the team name, team logo, and uniform number. I think the placement of the box is awkward on most of the cards.
There were no real subsets issued. The checklist cards feature a player photo and rookie cards had a Rated Rookie logo on the front. Winfield had retired in 1995.
Donruss Press Proofs
This was a basically a parallel set similar to Stadium Club 1st Day Issue cards. The cards with the Press Proof mark are supposed to be the first 2,000 of each card produced. They were inserted at 1:12 in Series 1 packs and 1:10 in Series 2 packs. I managed to pull two of these from Series 1 packs. The cards are not numbered. Murray hit is 500th home run in 1996.
Donruss Diamond Kings
Diamond King cards were introduced by Donruss in the early 1980s and used to be the first 20 or so cards of the base set. In 1992, Donruss made Diamond Kings an insert set. In 1996, for the first time, Donruss also made them a limited production numbered set. 10,000 doesn't seem so limited these days but these are among the earliest numbered sets. They were inserted at 1:60. This is the only one I ever pulled, and lucky me it was a Phillie (even if it was Gregg Jefferies).
Donruss introduced the Elite series in 1992. I believe these were the first serially numbered baseball cards. The cards were numbered consecutively since the 1992 cards. The 1996 set was numbered 61 to 72 and were inserted at a rate of 1:140. I didn't pull this from a pack. I think I bought it in a card shop around 2000. Sanders was coming off an All-Star year in 1995.
Donruss Freeze Frame
Are you seeing a trend here? Yes, every insert card in 1996 Donruss was serial numbered to either 10,000 or 5,000. Freeze Frame was numbered to 5,000 and featured 8 cards. I got this one on eBay in 2004 for $3.49. The card features rounded corners and gold foil logo. Chipper was an All-Star in 1996, with 30 home runs and a .309 average. The Braves went to the World Series but to the Yankees.
Donruss Hit List
A 16-card set numbered to 10,000. These cards feature the Dufex printing process on the front and gold foil. I got this card on eBay in 2003 for $2.99. 1996 was another big year for Baggy, with 31 home runs and a .315 average. He won an All-Star berth as well.
Donruss Power Alley
A 10-card insert set numbered to 5,000. The front of the card features a refractive foil design. I got this on eBay in 2004 for $4.50. Albert Belle was still a big player in 1996, hitting 48 home runs with a .311 batting average.
Donruss Round Trippers
A 10-card set numbered to 5,000. The 17 on the card is for the 17 home runs Griffey hit in an injury shortened season in 1995. He hit 49 home runs in 1996. I got this card on eBay in 2003 for $6.40.
This 8-card set featured a pitching/hitting matchup. I'm not sure how many times Griffey batted against Maddux. I think this is the only card in the set to feature players from different leagues. These also feature Dufux printing and gold foil and are numbered to 10,000. I got this on eBay in 2004 for $5.75.
In mu quest for 1996 cards I actually have all the inserts from the Donruss base set. Stay tuned next week for Part 3.