Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Box Review: 2000 Topps Finest - Series 2 (Hobby)

The 2000 Topps Finest Series 2 box has 24 packs with 6 cards per pack.

Note:  This box was used in a group break in early 2012 but I never got around to writing and publishing the post until now.  Most of the cards featured are long gone by now.

My box also had a box topper which was of Tony Gwynn.  The box topper is probably about half an inch taller and half an inch wider than a regular baseball card.  It's also much, much shinier than it appears in the scan.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the box topper is quite gorgeous.
The other box topper (of sorts) was a checklist.  I wish all boxes came with a nice checklist like this.  Even better (in a way), it's printed on regular paper which means you don't have to feel bad about marking it up...you know, actually using it as a checklist!

According to the pack wrapper, the Topps Finest set is packed full with various inserts (something that's not surprising given the time period).

In fact, you can expect to find the following:
  • Sequentially numbered finest rookies (1:13 packs)
  • Sequentially numbered finest rookies refractors (1:49)
  • Sequentially numbered finest rookies die cut gold refractor (1:448)
  • Finest Counterparts (1:8)
  • Finest Gems (1:24)
  • Veterans/Rookies Refractor parallel (1:24)
  • Counterpart Refractor parallel (1:96)
  • Gems Refractor parallel (1:288)
  • Veterans/Rookies Die Cut Gold Refractor (1:240)
  • Counterpart Die Cut Gold Refractor (1:960)
  • Gems Die Cut Gold Refractor (1:2,880)
  • Ballpark Bounties (1:24)
  • Dream Cast (1:36)
  • Finest Moments (1:9)
  • Finest Moments Refractor (1:20)
  • Finest Moments Refractor with Autograph (1:425)
Now, on to the actual contents of the box...

Since this is a Series 2 box, the card numbering begins at number 147 and ends at number 246 (for the non-short printed cards).  That means there are about 100 cards to chase - and since you get 24 packs (with 6 cards per pack), one would expect a full base set plus a few duplicates.

Unfortunately, that's not how it turned out.  In fact, this is one of (if not the) worst boxes I've ever opened in terms of collation.  My box produced 51 unique base cards with an additional 49 doubles and, even worse, another 30 triples!  Given that I'm missing 48 regular base cards in the base set, getting 79 doubles/triples is unacceptable.

In fact, if you look at the numbers above, you'll see that the box only produced TWO regular base cards that didn't arrive in duplication.  That's awful, plain and simple.

While the base cards were a complete disaster, the inserts were quite a bit better.  As mentioned above, there are a variety of shiny inserts to find in Topps Finest packs, and in that regard, the box didn't disappoint.

Beginning with card number 247, the set is full of short printed cards.  My box had a pair of rookies (seeded 1:13 packs), each of which was serially numbered out of 3000.  As for the set, rookies begin at number 247 and end at number 266.

Cards 267 - 276 are Counterparts cards.  These are seeded 1:8 packs and my box had three such cards (as the odds would suggest).

Finally, the base set concludes with Gems numbered 277 through 286.  The Gems cards are seeded 1:24 packs (i.e. 1 per box).  As expected, I got exactly one such card:  Pedro Martinez.

According to the pack odds, each box should also contain a Veterans/Rookies refractor parallel (1:24 packs).  My refractor was of Raul Mondesi.  It might not be the best player in the set, but he's far from the worst!

Although there are plenty of other inserts, the only other inserts one would expect to get in a box are the Finest Moments (seeded 1:9 packs), Finest Moments Refractors (seeded 1:20 packs), and Ballpark Bounties (seeded 1:24 packs).  My box did a bit better than expected - I ended up with two Finest Moments, two Finest Moments Refractors, and a really awesome Cal Ripken Jr. Ballpark Bounties card.

For all the terrible feelings that erupted from the base card debacle, the inserts did their best to make up for my teeth gnashing.  I also pulled a pair of fairly rare cards!  The first was a Counterparts Refractor (seeded 1:96 packs).

The second rare card was even more difficult to pull - a Veterans/Rookies die-cut gold refractor that is supposedly seeded 1:240 packs!!

Wow is all I can say about the previous two cards!

Overall, I give the 2000 Topps Finest - Series 2 hobby box the following rating:
Set design:   D-
Collation:  F
Opening Thrill:  C-
Overall:   F

If you buy the box just for the inserts, you should raise my rating by a few letter grades.  Unfortunately, who buys a 24 pack box for just the inserts (especially when you only get 14 inserts total?  The base card collation issues (seriously, triples?!) ruined the box opening experience for me.  Even though I did manage to pull a pair of quite rare cards (which helped with the opening thrill score), a pair of extra-shiny cards does not make up for 24 packs of duplicate after duplicate.  Even worse, the base card design is fairly ugly - though the shiny refractors (even of the base version) are quite nice.  The other inserts are also fairly well designed - but again, the majority of the box is base cards...and the same base card after the same base card at that.  Hence, the box gets one of my all time lowest review scores!


Crackin Wax said...

The first time I opened a box of Finest was a hell of an experience. It was a 2008 master box. The cards, at the time, looked and felt like some of the most impressive base cards I'd ever come across, I got some pretty amazing hits (including a Big Hurt printing plate that I flipped for a bill) and I think I pulled all of the Twins--including the Span redemption. Other than that, Finest has been less than thrilling for me.

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