FanFest, Preview, Sampler, Special F/X, and Fuzzy Cards. Oh My!

I'm back with another round of cards from my (now, not-so-recent) Barry Larkin lot purchase.  

Let's start with my personal favorite out of this particular bunch - a 1996 Leaf "Hats Off" insert card.

This card features a "fuzzy" front - the red you see has a fabric-like quality to it which immediately makes the insert card feel special (literally).  This sort of gimmick was common in the mid-90s but I have to admit, anything that makes an insert seem like it's actually special is okay in my book (it also doesn't hurt that the Hats Off cards are numbered out of only 5000 copies on the back)!

Heading back in time now, let's go back to 1992 Upper Deck.

That's an All-Star FanFest Gold parallel of the regular '92 Upper Deck All-Star FanFest set.  There's a silver version of this card as well (which I already owned).  Nice to have both cards safely tucked away in my Larkin Collection binder!

Next, from 1993:

That's a 1993 Donruss Preview card of Barry Larkin.  Interestingly enough, the actual 1993 Donruss set used the same photo on the back of the card as was on this preview card but the front photo was changed.  

Sticking with 1993 for a moment:

That's a 1993 Finest card of Larkin.  I don't even think I knew that Topps made a Finest set in 1993 prior to this year when I went through and started to truly organize my "haves and needs" for my Barry Larkin Collection!

From 1994, another Finest card:

This is a "Superstar Sampler" from the 1994 Topps set.  I'm going to have to do some proper research about this set prior to my corresponding Barry Larkin Collection post for this card (there's also a Larkin Superstar Sampler card of his with the Stadium Club design from 1994).

Going forward a year to 1995:

That is a SP Special F/X insert of Larkin and it's a gorgeous looking card (even if it looks terrible in the scan, trust me on this one)!

Sticking with 1995, here's another sample card - this time from Summit:

Not sure Score had to plaster the giant "Sample" over the entire front image but I guess you can't miss it when sorting cards!

And last but not least, from 1996:

That's a Hobby Predictor Exchange insert card from the '96 Upper Deck set.  I believe the only way to acquire this card was via mailing in the appropriate Hobby Predictor card.  Like many of the other sets featured in today's post, I'll have to do some more proper research prior to featuring this card in its own post!

That'll do it for this round of cards...but believe it or not I still have quite a few awesome Larkins from the purchase to show off!  This does finish off all of the Larkins that I acquired from 1996 or earlier so my TCDB want list is fully up-to-date for that batch of years!


  1. That Hats Off insert is fantastic! Cards like that are what made '90s inserts so special. I dont think I bought Leaf after 1994 but I remember chasing similar cards in jumbo and hobby packs. I'm off to TCDB to see who else has a Hats Off card.

    1. It's a loaded checklist despite being only 8 cards in size (Ripken, Larkin, Thomas, Vaughn, Griffey Jr., Nomo, Belle, and Maddux). When Albert Belle is the worst card in the insert set, you've probably got a strong checklist!

  2. Like the '93 and '94 Finest the best. Fuzzy cards freak me out, my version of nails on a chalkboard.

    1. As a teacher, I get the chalkboard thing! I'm one of the rare math teachers who prefers whiteboards over chalkboards and that terrible screeching is one reason why.

  3. I'm probably in the minority, but I liked the SAMPLE being billboarded across cards. At least those ones stood out a little more some of the other prototype/sample cards.

    1. I do agree with your about that part - especially when sorting through hundreds of Barry Larkin cards from the 90s! It's definitely nice when I don't have to bust out a magnifying glass just to see if I have a random variation, parallel, etc.!

  4. Surprised Larkin's '93 Finest refractor isn't more on your radar. Those "original refractors" seem to hold a lot of prestige for collectors of 90s players.

    1. Yeah, the '93 refractor is definitely one of those early "white whales" for player collectors! However, at the going right now (~$250 on eBay) I don't see myself getting one of those cards any time soon!


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