Friday, February 3, 2017

1996 Leaf Studio

1996 Leaf Studio #14

The Studio brand changed a lot in a little bit of time, and I can't say for the better. What started out as a set that featured posed, black & white portrait like photographs evolved into this in 1996. Not my favorite design, especially for Studio.

Like with many other mid-90's products, this is loaded with parallels. The Press Proof parallels come in Bronze, Gold and Silver and each had varying odds at which you could pull these cards. 

Press Proof Gold #14

I'm still lacking the Bronze & Silver versions so if someone out there has it please let me know. I still can't figure out why these two parallels have been so hard for me to track down!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

1996 Leaf Signature Series

1996 Leaf Signature Series

I remember when this set was released it had everyone going bonkers over it. Boxes and packs were selling at what seemed to be crazy high prices...all because you were guaranteed one certified autograph per pack. In addition to the autograph cards were base cards, such as the one above. Very basic design, bordering on bland for my tastes. I believe there were 150 base cards in the first series.

Gold Press Proof 

Platinum Press Proof

Like with any mid 90's release, parallels were becoming the norm. The base set featured two levels of parallels, Gold (1:12 packs) and Platinum (1:24 packs).

Bronze autograph

Silver autograph

Rey was featured in the first series of autographs. The Bronze auto was the base auto, with gold and silver parallels. While the cards aren't serially numbered, the reported print run was 3,500 for bronze, 1,000 for silver and 500 for gold. It took me awhile to locate the silver parallel, but as you can see I've still yet to acquire the gold parallel.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

1996 Leaf Preferred

1996 Leaf Preferred #117

The 1996 Preferred set is probably most remembered by it's insert set of cards made out of steel. It's a side set that I'm still actively working on completing, however this card of Rey is from the base set. It's got a decent design. Like how they have an image of him fielding the ball on the front and him batting on the back. Rey never was known for his offensive skills so I'd much rather have a defensive image on the card's front.

1996 Leaf Preferred Press Proofs #117

One parallel set existed, Press Proofs. The silver foil is replaced with gold foil. The Press Proof parallel name would pop up in later Leaf and Donruss sets.

Monday, November 14, 2016

1996 Leaf Limited

1996 Leaf Limited Limited Rookies Silver #9

While Rey didn't make it into the base set of 1996 Leaf Limited, he was included in their Limited Rookies insert set. The card came in two versions, silver and gold. This was another parallel that originally escaped my knowledge of it's existence. It's currently on my want list for a later date. Both of these cards feature a full foil front and looks much better in hand than the scan shows.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

1996 Fleer Ultra

1996 Fleer Ultra #514

Ultra started out as a set boasting multiple pictures of the player, then went on to introduce UV coating and gold foil stamping. Finally in 1996 it lost some of the gaudy "look at me" design in favor for a borderless look with full bleed photos and toned back the goil foil. I personally like the design, though Fleer also used this design for their minor league set, Excel.

1996 Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion #514

The Gold Medallion parallels just didn't do much for me in 1996 or even today. There is just a thing as too much foil and this is a prime example. Like others, these cards are notorious for showing finger prints so beware when handling. I should also mention that the player image is embossed similar to the Circa Boss inserts from the same year.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

1996 Fleer Flair

1996 Fleer Flair Gold #325

Back when the Flair brand was new, I was absolutely in love. From the fancy cardboard packs to the thick card stock, I loved everything about Flair. While the brand would evolve over the years, it always was a fun pack to open.

1996 Fleer Flair Silver #325

What I originally didn't know is that these cards came in two varieties...with gold foil and silver foil.

1996 Fleer Flair Wave of the Future #18

While I love lenticular cards, they just don't scan well. This insert set would continue to improve it's look over the years to come, but this is where the set got it's start.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

1996 Fleer Circa

1996 Fleer Circa #161

Fleer introduced Circa as a new set in 1996 and it was seemingly welcomed by collectors as it went on to last a few years before it was retired. Although I find the card fronts to be a little busy, I seem to remember buying a lot of this product. It seemed as if this was the first year that Rey was being compared against other notable short stops. This card's back mentions him as the successor to Ozzie Smith, the "Wizard" himself!

1996 Fleer Circa Access #24

The Access insert was one of the first folding baseball cards that I can remember. I'd previously seen this done with basketball cards (Collect-A-Books), but not in baseball. The card opens up like a trifold wallet, with the middle picture above being the first image you see when you open up the card. Interesting concept with some cool trivia info inside.

1996 Fleer Circa Boss #42

The Boss inserts feature the player on the fronts embossed. Not a new technology, but something that just makes the cards stand out a little more (no pun intended).