For collectors of a certain age there is something oddly comforting about junk wax cards. Far too many were printed, they’re littered with quasi-errors and print issues, and “rare” chase cards are numbered in the thousands. However, they are also full of players who are now in their respective halls of fame, the cards are necessary parts of many PSA Set Registries and a $5 or $10 investment can still bring hours of enjoyment. Not a bad deal. Here is the latest installment in the PSA Blog series called Diamonds in the Junk, where we crack some junk wax, review the results, relate them to the hobby today and have fun along the way.
Cruising the junk wax table at my LCS, I came across a box of 1992 Score Series 1 baseball cards. I hadn’t paid much attention to this set back in the day. I’d picked up a sealed factory set when they were released and stashed it away. Out of sight, out of mind, and another set removed from my want list. I bought the box for $10 as more of an opportunity to actually see the cards for the first time than an expectation of anything significant. True, the Joe DiMaggio insert cards (autographed copies numbered to 2,500 and unsigned versions numbered to 30,000) were randomly inserted into packs, but I had no expectations of pulling them.
The 1992 Score set is broken into two series of 442 and 451 cards. There are a number of subsets scattered throughout, and Series 1 collectors can look for Prospects (395-424), No-Hit Club (425-428), Highlights (429-430), AL All-Stars (431-440), Dream Team (441-442) cards. The remainder are standard base cards. There are 13 non-subset base cards of hall of fame players and unlike most other sets of the era, only two uncorrected errors.
Two main things struck me about this box. First was that I really don’t care for the design of the cards. Player images are partially-removed from their natural settings and superimposed over large blocks of color on the card fronts. I find the result to be disjointed and unappealing. In my mind the card design should complement the player image, not overpower it. I feel that the cards would have looked better if the player was either left alone in his ballpark setting, or if he was removed completely to be placed upon a colored background.
The second and more frustrating of my feelings about this box was the horrid collation of cards. There were 576 cards in this box and 442 in the Series 1 set. I didn’t expect to complete the set in one box, but I didn’t really come close. Consider the following:
- After sorting, I found that I was at 352/442 in terms of completion.Despite being 90 cards short of completion:
- I got four cards each of five different players.
- I got no cards in the number range of 200-221
- Just nine packs into the box I had already three identical packs, and two other identical packs
In terms of box breaks, this one was a bust. The base design, the unattractive subsets and poor collation made this box a drudge to get through. The Joe DiMaggio insert cards are very nice, but it almost seemed that something so nice couldn’t possibly come from such crummy packs, so they really weren’t even on my radar. The subsets make up the final 17 cards in Series 1, so you cannot rely on them to break up the monotony of the 424 consecutive base cards. I did like the idea of the No Hit Club cards, but all the information that is given on the backs is a photo and box score. Some text describing the game would have been helpful, especially in the case of card #427 on which four players combined to throw a no-no (still a cool card, though). The all-star cards remind me of bobble-head dolls, and didn’t excite me at all. Lastly, there is no per-pack insert. No card, gum, sticker, game piece, or anything. Bummer.
I found very little redeeming qualities in 1992 Score Series 1 baseball. I guess you could say that the $10 box kept me engaged for a couple of hours, but if I wasn’t writing about my experience I would have hardly taken the time to sort the cards. I think that there are varying degrees of junk wax, and this is among the junkiest of the junk. Couple that with the fact that there is SO MUCH OF IT OUT THERE that I found it to be a real turn off. Looking back, I would have been better off with a 1990 Donruss Baseball or 1990 Pro Set Football that would have sent me on an extended error hunt.
THE DIAMOND IN THE JUNK: #427 No Hit Club – Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson, Gregg Olson