Wednesday, March 7, 2012

1991 Baseball Cards A-Z (Part 5)

The latest installment in my review of my 1991 baseball card collection. I think I'll be able to wrap this up with one more post after this. I hope you've been enjoying this as much as I have been putting it together.

As was the whole industry, Topps was in a transitional year. Several long time inserts sets wrapped up in 1991, and the company started to use more white card stock. They also started looking to their past more. Maybe turning 40 made them nostalgic for their youth. In later years, Topps will have a lot of product based on old designs (think Heritage). It all started here.

1991 Topps Rookies #28 Frank Thomas
Topps had been producing this insert set since 1987. This was the last year. The design, except for adding the 40th anniversary logo, remained unchanged from year to year. This year's 33-card set was available 1 card per jumbo pack.  The card fronts have a heavy glossy finish but the backs are unfinished. I actually have the entire set which I obtained mostly through repacks.

1991 Topps Magazine #34 Mark McGwire
It's a bit difficult support the contention that these were a major card release but since I have some and since it's an interesting set, I'm including it. Some cards featured modern day players on past year's card designs. I think this may have been the first time that Topps did something like this, mining their past for card designs. Other cards looked like this:

1991 Topps Magazine #61 Jeff Bagwell
The cards came 4 to a sheet and had to be cut apart with scissors. The magazine came out quarterly but I don't think it lasted even 2 years.  There were a total of 112 cards published.

1991 Toys R Us Rookies #33 Todd Zeile

This 33-card set was available as a factory set through Toys-R-Us stores. The cards are glossy on the front but unfinished on the back. The set was produced by Topps. I only have a few of these which I probably got in repacks. The set is very similar to a Toys-R-Us set produced in 1987.

1991 Topps Glossy All Stars #7 Ken Griffey, Jr.
 Virtually the same design as the Rookies set, Topps had been producing these since 1986, but this would be the last year for this set as well. The 22-card set was available as inserts in retail packs.

1991 Topps Traded #45 Jason Giambi
Topps had been producing the Traded sets on white card stock for a few years. The white cards were available as a factory set while the gray backs came in wax packs (this may have been the first time Topps made the Traded cards available in wax packs). This Giambi card and the Ivan Rodriguez card (#101) are the key cards in the set.

1991 Topps Traded #43 Jim Fregosi
1991 Topps Traded Tiffany #83 Phil Nevin
As with the regular Tiffany set, these were only available as a factory set. Just taking a quick look on eBay, it looks like the value of these cards may be increasing. I paid $3.25 (including S&H) in 2004 for this card. Someone is asking $4.50 for it now.

1991 Topps 1953 Archives #88 Willie Jones
The first Topps Archives set. This 330-card set reproduced the 274-card 1953 set, with added cards. The cards are printed on white card stock and glossy on the front and back. The cards numbered above 274 are called "the cards that never were" and feature players from 1953 who, for one reason or another, did not appear in the 1953 set. These extra cards do not have a facsimile signature on the back.

1991 Topps 1953 Archives #288 Robin Roberts
 I acquired the Phillies cards from this set a long time ago, probably at a card show. If you're interested in this set there appear to be a lot of auctions on eBay and you can get an unopened box for a reasonable price.

1991 Topps Debut ‘90 #153 Frank Thomas
I believe Topps produced a set like this only 3 years, 1990-1992. The 1991 set had 171 cards and was only available as a factory set. I snagged the entire set in 2004 for $10 at a card shop. The cards feature players who debuted in 1990. The card fronts look like the 1992 Topps design while the backs look like the 1991 set. 20 years later it looks all too confusing, but it's a nice set.

That wraps up the 1991 Topps cards. The next installment will feature Fleer Ultra and Upper Deck and we'll be done.

1 comment:

madding said...

The truly terrible 1990 Topps Traded set was also available in wax packs, so there are both white and grey back versions of that set as well... not that anyone would want them.

Interestingly enough, I swear that this is the first time I've ever seen the glossy all-stars or glossy rookie inserts. I don't remember the 40th anniversary logo, that's for sure. And I thought I had seen it all when it comes to 1991.