Funny story about this box: I didn’t mean to buy it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I meant to buy it… but I thought it was a different design.
I’ve always been a big fan of the 1996 and 1997 Upper Deck sets. There’s just something about the gold that draws me in. And funnily enough, 1995 never did much for me. But when I was online shopping and purchased a few mid-1990s boxes as a reward for myself, I thought this was one of the gold sets. Lesson learned — always double check yourself, especially if buying cards at 3 am.
But you know, this box turned out pretty great… about 25 years ago. I’ll get to why but first a quick overview:
You’re gonna get a lot of base and a few inserts. This hobby box had 12 card per pack (36 per box) that usually broke down to 11 base per pack and one silver Special Edition card per pack. Generally they have good distribution but I did end up with three doubles in the box. As expected, you will get a good amount of base duplicates in the set but I fell short of getting the full set.
One thing I noticed with this box — a lot of the rookie-type cards were close to miscut or were too bottom heavy. But hey, it was the 90s. Things happened.
On the insert front, there are only a few — a far cry from today’s insert-heavy sets. (A side tangent… I do miss when inserts were something more special and not just like pack-fillers. Tangent over.) Besides the one-per-pack silver Special Edition, there’s a gold variation that based on my very limited first-hand experience fall one per hobby box. You will also pull a few (obviously since-expired) predictor cards that were a cool idea. There are also base parallels from that time — Electric Diamond. I didn’t pull any but they’re out there. Somewhere.
One cool insert I did pull was a Babe Ruth Baseball Heroes card. I think I had this one as a kid but had no idea where it came from… and where it is now. I was pleasantly surprised to see it sell for a couple bucks on COMC. It’s not a world-beater hit but I was happy with it:
The real surprise came toward the end of the box. I pulled a card and thought it was just a promo until I started reading it. Wait, did it say… yes, yes it did. Turns out this product had redemptions. And it turns out that one of the redemptions was for a Willie Mays auto. Woah.
As expected, it expired a long time ago and despite a half sarcastic, half pleading tweet to Upper Deck, they had no intentions of honoring it. Hey, gotta shoot your shot (can’t go any worse than Gendry, right?). I was gonna throw it out but when I posted it to Reddit, I got informed that people buy these expired redemptions so off it went to my COMC account where it currently sits waiting to be processed.
Overall, I was happy with the box. I didn’t mean to bust this set but hey, it turned out to be pretty fun. And it would have been a world beater if I had a time machine. Maybe in a few years I’ll get some loose packs or even another box to see if I can’t finish the set.
But until then, I’ll remember to check the design of the base before buying. At least it wasn’t an expensive mistake.
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