What I enjoy about one of my local card stores is the shelf of $10 boxes. Unlike the other local card stores which greet you with $70 boxes of 2010 Topps Update Hobby. No, seriously, click on the link to see the price. Seriously, I went with cash in hand to that store yesterday, saw that when I opened the door and was unable to find one thing at a marginally reasonable price worth purchasing.
At the other local card store yesterday, I went over to the shelf of $10 boxes and found new boxes for sale. Usually, there is a selection of junk era wax that I am often familiar with. Late 80' or early 90's Topps, same for Donruss and Fleer, some occasional Stadium Club or Leaf. Yesterday, I did find some new boxes, including a box of 1993 Studio, along with another box I've put away for a rainy day. The Studio called to me, look quite sharp with strong images on all over the box. Plus, it is from an era where I actually remember most of the players, unlike with today's sets where at times I am familiar with no more than half the pack.
Without further ado, let's discuss what was actually in the box.
Collation - With a set size of 220 cards and 432 cards in a box, I expect to complete one set. And I did. It was quite a great feeling, cards on the floor, being sorted. When I reached Joe Oliver, he was sorted in the wrong pile, nearly leading me to believe I had 219 cards for a set. Of course, with Joe Oliver found, the rest of the sorting commenced and the set was completed. This is one of the very complete sets I currently have. There are some complete Sportsflic sets from a trip to the highly disappointing Tuesday show in Parsippany and the 1982 Donruss factory set I bought in the 1980s, which in my youth, I took out the puzzle and completed one, very bored night.
In terms of duplicates, the distribution was fairly good. The Barry Larkin pictured above was the most prevalent card in the box, with four (4) of them inside the box. I also managed to pick up duplicates of most Hall of Famers and soon to be Hall of Famers. I even noted that George Brett was always stuck to Mike Piazza when found in the box or that Griffey, Bonds and Ripken came out of the same pack twice. 1990s collation at its finest.
Style and Selection - The player selection was pretty fantastic, with the set containing a large number of stars and few, if any missing players from the era. I was a little disappointed by the lack of Kevin Appier and David Cone, but basically any other player of note in the 1990s was in the set.
The cards also look great. The cards with the darker backgrounds really pop, with very strong photography. Given that it is Studio, the pictures are all posed headshots, but they are well done and not once during the box did I miss the action shots of today.
Inserts - We cannot discuss sports cards without inserts today. Back during my original collecting days, all we had to look forward to were errors and corrected errors. But since we now live in the lottery era of sports cards, we need to discuss the inserts. There were six inserts in the box, one Frank Thomas Collection (boring as it is just a picture of Frank and a discussion of his love of his family), two Superstars on Canvas, including the Bonds shown above and Joe Carter (debasing the term 'Superstar') and three Heritage cards.
The Heritage card of Roger Clemens was the best card in the box. The classic flannel uniform, the strong sepia-toned photography, the nod to the era of Smokey Joe Wood, all things I thought were great about this card. The other Heritage cards in the box were nice, but without the classic uniforms, it felt a little disappointing after seeing the Clemens.
Downside - The downside of these cards was the gloss turning into a glue. It's possible the cards were once stored in a high temperature area, leading to many of the cards sticking together when pulled from the pack. The damage when pulled apart was limited to the back, with a fair number of cards suffering from white speckling and a few cards, like one of my Greg Maddux cards having a white line across the black reverse.
Overall, I really enjoyed opening this box, as I was able to complete an entire set, enjoyed seeing the players of my youth again and really enjoyed the design of the cards. Though I learned the valuable lesson of not paying a high price for older, glossy cards as peeling apart cards led to damaging the backs of many cards, acceptable in a $10 box, not a $100 box.