I was looking through an old Beckett Baseball Card Monthly I still have from my younger collecting days and noticed an article titled, "The Attraction of Refraction", by Tol Broome. The article discussed the popularity of Refractors in the mid to late 90's, starting with the groundbreaking initial release. With the glut of Refractors in the hobby today and the additional emphasis placed on memorabilia cards and autographs, it is easy for collectors to forget how rare and popular these cards once were.
|1993 Topps Finest Refractor #73|
I remember the hype surrounding the 1993 Finest Refractors and even for other later issues (At the time of this article the 1996 Finest Refractors were extremely popular with their bronze, silver and gold tiered format, so were the Micky Mantle reprint Refractors). I wanted one of these cards and it did not matter who the player was, but even the common players were expensive. As a teenager in high school, I had a limited budget that prohibited me from trying to pick one up. I had never heard of the set in 1993 and by the time I knew of it's existence, people had realized how scarce these cards were, placing them altogether out of my price range .
My chance to own a 1993 Finest Refractor came at a card show in 1996. A dealer had opened a box and was selling packs for ten dollars. This was the first time I had ever seen packs of the product and I decided to buy two. Ultimately, I did not pull a Refractor. I was never able to own a 1993 Finest Refractor and still today do not have one in my collection, but I do have about a dozen Finest base cards that I now (more than in 96') appreciate for their high quality and unique design and can understand why collectors in the Fall of 1993 went crazy for the issue.
Through the years I have always liked Refractors and as far as parallels go, they have always been my favorite. Even today a well designed card with the Refractor technology can really make a card pop and stand out. Since that card show I managed to acquire a few other Refractors issued in the late 1990's( I did pull a 96' Finest Refractor of Chuck Knoblauch, that I still have) and will end with one of my favorite examples from my collection. This card came from a Topps hobby pack in 1997.
|1997 Topps Mickey Mantle Refractor Reprint #23|