Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Griffey Gets Foiled

Today and tomorrow I will cover two of my favorite pickups this year, these cards are from the early 1990s and are a bit more on the expensive side when you consider that they are just base cards (of sorts)...What a base card from the early 90s junk era costing more than a cup of coffee?
Yes, believe it or not these two cards are a little more special than the standard cards that came in packs in the early part of the 1990s. I will cover one of the cards today and the second will be tomorrow because I want to give them each their own focus.

The card today is the 1990 Topps Glossy Rookies Ken Griffey Jr. Foil Test cards. The card has three gold foil bars across the front; base (under Griffey’s name), across Griffey’s face and a small bar across the top of the card. The card is graded SGC 92 and it cost me right around $22 shipped.

I wanted a graded version (to show it is authentic) and even though SGC is not a super well known grading company like PSA or BGC I accepted this one because it was graded rather high and because there are three bars across the card (one at the bottom below name plate, one over Griffey's dace and a portion of one at the top), most cards have just one bar.

I may add additional Griffey cards in the future if I can find the other foil test colors (red, blue, green, purple, silver and gold). Blue and purple are my favorite colors so those would be my priority and I probably will skip the remaining colors unless I can find them at insane prices.
There are currently two Griffey versions up for auction, one Green auction style and one Gold BIN


To give a bit of history on the Foil Test cards.

In 1990 Topps was considering options that would make their baseball cards stand out. Upper Deck had just introduced the “Premium” set with the release of the 1989 Upper Deck baseball release and Topps was still offering a plain set and they were looking for that little extra “oomph”. This led Topps to look in to using foil on their products but they didn’t want to just create a set using foil and packing it out in case there was a problem so they decided to use extra cards from the Glossy Rookies insert that were packed out in to 1990 Topps jumbo packs. This gave them a smaller set to work with, 33 cards on the checklist, and they could see what looked best and where.

These cards were the perfect Guinea pig and Topps used several colors of foil; gold, silver, red, green, purple and blue, but I have never seen a card with more than one color. Sometimes the gold is listed as copper and the red is listed as pink but there are officially only the 6 colors I listed.

As expected the Griffey rookie is the most wanted card in the set so prices tend to be a bit higher as well as cards with higher grades and multiple bars. Some other notable players in the set include Jim Abbott, Kenny Rogers and Gary Sheffield. I haven’t noticed a premium for one color over the others but to me it appears that Gold and Green are the more common colors.

Topps used this experience learned from this test set on the base sets of the 1991 Stadium Club release and the 1991 Topps Desert Shield release (hint for the near future?)

I do not know how the cards made it in to the public but they are rather easy to find and usually run a couple of bucks to around $20 for the bigger names.


  1. That is so cool, and yet another one I don't yet have!

    Also, SGC is solid. There aren't as many SGC-graded cards out there, but they're a good outfit.

  2. Great card. Congratulations on adding this cool card to your Griffey PC.