Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Set So Nice They Made it Twice: 1995 Collector's Choice SE

1995 Collector's Choice SE #125

In my collection: dupes of all but the gold signatures

Griffey looks: tongue-tastic

Is this a good Griffey card? Yes.  A rare mid-baserunning portrait from a fan favorite set of the '90's.

The set: I know I usually poo-poo sets that seem indulgent and unnecessary.  I'm not getting soft, I swear.  There are plenty of sets out there that just didn't need to be made and they will have my ire.  But this is not one of them. 

That being said, this is the second set in the same year released under the Collector's Choice banner, and it is perfectly awesome.  Perhaps it had to do with the strike or perhaps the brand's inaugural '94 set was a big commercial success because Upper Deck added this Special Edition with a slightly higher price tag and a little bit more foil for the kids.  They also expanded the silver/gold signature parallels to incorporate the border which looks pretty cool, especially on the golds.

They also kept the stellar, often quirky photography to which we collectors had grown accustomed.  The card back design is nearly perfect and the simple two-level parallel and low price made CCSE a joy to buy and a breeze to collect.  Everything about this set is fun and easygoing.

Here are a few from my personal keeper box:

If that Randy Johnson batting card alone doesn't make you make you love this set, you don't like baseball cards.  The one-armed Maddux is framed beautifully as is Buhner in the outfield.  The Fantasy Team subset is pretty cool, too, despite the fact that Griffey is not included.  And that is, admittedly, one of the ugliest A-Rod "rookies," but the Rookie Class subset itself isn't half bad.  I remember pulling a dozen or so of the Jason Isringhausen.

Here's the Griffey:

This photo reminds me of an old joke: a guy walks into a bar hoping to meet a lady, but he quickly notices that all the women in the bar are crowding around one man at a table in the corner.  So our guy goes to the bartender and asks, "Hey, what gives?  How does he get all the ladies?"  Then the bartender says, "I don't know.  Every night he just sits there in the corner, licking his eyebrows."

Despite how tongue-tastic this photo is, a shot like this is uncommon on a Griffey card.   It's so up-close for a running shot and can almost be described as a portrait.  And is he stealing a base?  I mean the guy's no slow-poke, but we just don't get to see that very often.  Well done.

1995 Collector's Choice SE #125 Silver Signature

The card backs of the parallels are identical to the regular base cards.

While not making an appearance in the Fantasy Team subset, Griffey is the first non-rookie card in the set in the Record Pace parallel:

1995 Collector's Choice SE #26 Record Pace

Bright primary colors made these cards appear to explode out of the pack.  It's a fun design with multiple action shots per card, but only five players were given cards in this subset for some reason.  I would like to have seen more.

Here is the parallel:

1995 Collector's Choice SE #26 Record Pace Silver Signature

A well-designed checklist rounds out the Griffeys of this base set:

1995 Collector's Choice SE #126 Checklist

Since Griffey got one of the borderless All-Star cards, this is the only one of his cards with a blue border (and silver and gold, if you're lucky).  All three look amazing with the grainy black & white photo.  These are among my favorite checklists ever made.

The silver signature looks even better:

1995 Collector's Choice SE #126 Checklist Silver Signature

That's a pretty nice checklist card, huh?

According to the checklist, there are only nine total Griffeys to be had here, but you know I'm not one to stop at the regular checklist.  Like a truffle pig I nose out my quarry and unearth those obscure Griffeys that the checklist omits.  Don't get too excited, though.  It's just a promo:

1995 Collector's Choice SE #125 Promo

They got it pretty close - just remove the border and add the little All-Star box and there's the base card.  The regular Collector's Choice Promo wasn't even close:

I'm still looking for the three Gold Signature parallels:

1995 Collector's Choice SE #26 Record Pace Gold Signature
1995 Collector's Choice SE #125 Gold Signature
1995 Collector's Choice SE #261 Checklist Gold Signature

Everybody loves the Collector's Choice brand, particularly from '94-'96.  I would like to see another quirky, low-cost brand with different photography (looking at you, Topps).  Let's get a petition started or something.  Come on, card makers!

Now in the interest of my own anal-retentiveness, here are a bunch of side-by-side comparison scans.  Enjoy!

#125 Promo, Silver Signature, Regular

Promo back, Regular and parallel back

#26 Silver Signature, Regular

#261 Silver Signature, Regular

1 comment:

  1. These are some of my favorite cards from the '90s. I think I still have a Griffey Checklist in a toploader.