There's never going to be another year like 2015.
I look forward to putting together my Top Acquisitions list every year, but this one is particularly special. Many of these cards are of the highest supercollecting caliber – true cardboard superstars. Many of them I haven't even shown on the blog yet.
Don’t get used to it, of course. Barring some unforeseen windfall, I can say with 100% certainty that never again will there be another year like 2015 when it comes to acquiring Griffeys. I’ve been keeping track of this list in a Word file over the past year, and perusing it while trying to put the cards in some kind of order has become a real challenge. It’s like ranking Beatles albums: they’re all amazing, so what’s the point of ranking them? It seems arbitrary, but I did it anyway.
One fun aspect of this year’s list is that I grouped certain cards together when it seemed appropriate. Some of my best acquisitions were rainbows, complete sets, or siblings of one another that are more than the sum of their parts. I think that makes the list a lot more fun. That also means there will be more than 30 cards in the Top 30 (67, actually).
Anyway, sit back and enjoy a snapshot of what will forever be my greatest year of Griffey collecting:
30. 2015 Topps Steel Rookies #/99 & Steel 1993 Finest #/99
These were acquired directly from Topps, but look at those numbers. Not only are there only 99 of each, but I got #1 and #2! The rookie is great, of course, but I cannot tell you how excited I am to see Junior on the regular (non-All-Star) 1993 Finest design. Topps can keep sets like this coming – I love ‘em.
29. 2003 E-X Rainbow w/ backdoored Essential Credentials Future
It’s a rainbow (kinda)! That Essential Credentials Future card is actually a backdoored card from the Fleer bankruptcy. The legitimate version would have a visible serial number run well into the hundreds, so I’m not above counting this ever-so-naughty version of the real deal as the last piece of the finished rainbow. Did I mention how naughty it is?
28. 2008 SPx American Hero #KG82 (last card to complete the set)
This set took many hours of work to make happen over the last three years, but it’s finally finished. I try and keep with my tradition of showing high-quality front and back scans of every Griffey I showcase, but that may prove to be a little too much work for this blogger when it comes to this mammoth insert.
27. 1990 Donruss Rack Pack Sealed w/ Three Visible Griffeys
I found this warlock on eBay by accident, and I consider it providence that I actually got the chance to own it. It was mine for a measly tenner. That's a steal. The guy could have gotten another $20 out of me if he really wanted. I feel like I won the Powerball. Or, more appropriately, he won the Powerball and sold me his winning ticket for ten dollars. Really, what are the odds that they would all be in the same pack let alone all on top??
26. 2007 Upper Deck Premier Premier Patches 3 #PP3-KG2
My first spelly-patch card. I'd rather it said "Kid" or even just "Jr," as "Cin" is not really a word. Eh, next time.
25. 2015 Topps Factory Set Refractor Reprints (1989, 1999, 2007) Regular and Gold Complete Sets
Topps knows exactly how to get me. The moment I saw sealed Factory sets at Target (exclusive) heralding chrome refractor Griffey reprints, I knew they would someday all be mine. It took a few weeks of waiting for the prices to cool down until the deed was done. I haven’t been able to find production figures for these, but it seems the golds are at least a little bit rarer than their standard refractor counterparts. Either way, as reprints go, these are well-executed.
24. Donruss Elite Series #/10000, #/2500 (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
Every brand has brought something new to the cardboard universe. Score gave us the first full-color backs with photos, Upper Deck gave us the first relics, and Donruss gave us The Elite Series which was the first of a lot of things. The first premium insert, the first serial-numbered insert, and the first continuous multi-year insert. This year I finally got them all, including the 1993 Elite Dominator which was actually a Home Shopping Network exclusive. There was also an Elite Series insert in 1991, but Griffey had no card in it. Harumph. Anyway, look for a Donruss Elite Design Timeline coming soon.
23. 2012 Playoff Prime Cuts Timeline Triple Jersey Relic #/10
I landed this beauty early in the year and more or less by accident. I was not actively shopping Griffeys at the time, but it popped up on fleaBay at a crazy low price (probably because no logos) and nobody outbid my minimum, so here it is. It’s an oddball as relics go in that Griffeys tend to be red and/or blue and green with white or gray fabric relics more often than not. I’d never come across a goldenrod-colored card with relics as dark as these. Plus it’s numbered to only ten, making it the lowest-numbered Griffey relic card I have.
22. 1994 Topps Superstar Sampler (Finest, Bowman, Stadium Club) (sealed set)
I got an e-mail from someone who wanted to know the value of this set. Not knowing in the slightest (I’d never heard of these cards), I asked a few questions and ventured a guess. Apparently my guess was wrong. Turns out this little pack of three cards is pretty darn tough to come across. Then when I saw these cards listed on the 1996 Beckett Griffey Tribute checklist, I figured out I had missed an opportunity. Luckily this one popped up on eBay and I Best Offered it into my mailbox. Sealed it shall remain.
21. 1996 Donruss Power Alley Regular #/5000 and Die-cut #/500
You're going to see a lot of amazing 90's inserts on this list because - let's face it - they're the best. Take this insert from 1996, for example. Not only is it mindbogglingly (real word!) cool and detailed, it's got a unique parallel. They made 5,000 for each player in the set, but the first 500 were die-cut as you can see there on the left. A run of 500 is pretty darn scarce for 1996 (cards tend to get exponentially harder to find the further back in time you go), so a matched set of this insert is a rare thing, indeed.
If you think these were some nice Griffeys, just you wait. We still have 20 more cards to go, and I can assure you they only get better.