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. Recently while I was organizing my cards and updating my master list, I discovered the 1996 set came with both gold foil and silver foil on the front. I'm missing the silver foil parallel at this time, but thankfully it isn't a hard card to find.

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).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

1996 Fleer Update


 1996 Fleer Update #U160

1996 Fleer was a nice change of pace for baseball cards. Gone was the slick UV coating on the cards and in its place was a matte finish. The cards still included gold foil stamping for the logo as well as the player's name, team and position. The matte finish made these cards perfect for autographs and while I never was able to get any autographed, this set still holds up as one of my favorites.

 1996 Fleer Update #U248

The Checklist cards were numbered as part of the set and surprise, surprise, Rey was given the real estate on the front of one of the checklists.

 1996 Fleer #U160 Tiffany parallel

If memory serves me correctly, the popular Tiffany parallels were found one per box, so if you were trying to put a whole set together of these I would imagine one would have their hands full.

 1996 Fleer #U248 Tiffany parallel

 1996 Fleer New Horizons #19

These New Horizons cards look better in person than the scan makes them look...but just a little. The write up on the back mentions Ozzie Smith, a fellow short stop that Rey was often compared to in the mid to late 90's.


1996 Fleer Smooth Leather #8

The Smooth Leather insert features a rather plain look, but Rey makes for a good inclusion in a set based on fielding skill.