Completed insert set – 96/97 Topps Mickey Mantle Finest

11 04 2016

Last year I posted about the completed insert set of Mickey Mantle reprints that Topps produced in 1996 and continued in 1997.  I finished the regular set back in December, 2014.  This is the Finest version.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  To honor the Mick, who had passed away in August, 1995, Topps issued reprints of the full run of Mantle base cards from his career.  This included Bowman for the years when he didn’t have a Topps card – from 1951 through 1969.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1951-1969 were issued from 1996 Topps series 1; the Finest version came in series 2.  His 1951 Bowman reprint was issued in 1996 Bowman; the Finest version was inserted into packs of Bowman’s Best.  Finest reprints of his subset cards from Topps flagship, as well as his 1952 and 1953 Bowman cards, were issued in 1997 Topps series 2.

This post is for the Finest version of the set, which came with the (annoying) protective peel.

Set composition:  36 cards in total.

  • 19 cards, 1:18 (1996 Topps series 2)
  • 1 card, 1:24 (1996 Bowman’s Best)
  • 16 cards, 1:24 (1997 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  4 – obviously Mantle is on every card, however the last 16 subset cards have other Hall of Famers in them.

Mantle, Yogi Berra, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from 1996 retail box
  • 3 cards from 1997 retail box
  • 1 cards from trades
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 2 cards from Beckett’s Marketplace
  • 10 cards from Sportlots
  • 17 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #27 – 1962 Topps Managers’ Dream (with Willie Mays)

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest 62 Topps Manager Dream

I was 1 card short for a little while, but I picked this one up on COMC in May last year.  And here I am, posting about it less than a year later – but not by much.

Thoughts on the set:  It’s the Mick, on cards from 20 years ago.  Before the idea of reprints had become completely overdone.  This wast one of the first sets in the Retro craze that began in the early-mid 1990’s.  On some level, this led to having sets like Heritage, which has a Chrome parallel that uses the same technology.  It was great at the time, even if it seems overplayed out a little now.

Best card (my opinion):  #2 – 1952 Topps

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest 52 Topps

You can’t beat the most famous card in the history of the hobby.

My Favorite Reds card:  There obviously are none.

Here’s a scan of the full set.

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest complete

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest complete 2

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest complete 3

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest complete 4

Any other tidbits:  None that I can think of.  At some point, when I’m wrapped up (or caught up) with the Lifetime Topps Project – I’d like to do post where I cover the amount of different Topps designs that certain players have been on.  For example, Mantle has been on 1952-53, and 1955-69 from his playing days.  I know he’s been on 1954 and 1955 in “Cards that Never Were” inserts, and he was featured as card #7 in the 2006 through 2012 sets.  In 2006, they caught up to the missing card #7 with designs from 1996 through 2005 in a special Mantle Collection set.  He was on the 1987 design in the 2012 Topps mini ’87 insert.  He was on the 1975 design in the form of the 2011 Lineage parallel.  He was on the ’51 design in the insert sets Topps did exclusively for Target and Wal-Mart in 2010.  That’s 38 designs as I count them.  I wonder if that’s the most?  It’s probably not.  But it would be fun to do a post with scans of notable players with that in mind.



One response

2 06 2016
Completed master set – one last look at 1997 Topps | Lifetime Topps project

[…] Team Timber, Hobby Masters, Willie Mays Reprints, Willie Mays Finest, Mickey Mantle Reprints, Mickey Mantle Finest, Awesome […]

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