The second box I opened on my birthday, this box of 2003 Topps Finest was originally videotaped, but due to the horrible overall quality (lots of lag, audio distortion), the video was never published. As you’ll see, it was a pretty darn good break.
Box Details: 6 packs of 5 cards each per mini box, 3 mini boxes per master box, $75
From:Dave and Adam’s Card World
Uncirculated Box Topper (numbered to 199, 1: box): Each master box is accompanied by a silver pack holding an uncirculated Gold X-Fractor. Numbered to just 199, these gold parallels mirror the entire set, autographed rookies included. It just so happens that my Gold X-Fractor was a signed rookie card of J.D. Durbin (030/199). Durbin was a prized possession of the Minnesota Twins’ Minor League organization, and even received their Pitcher of the Year Award in 2002. He is currently a free agent.
Base set: The base set is comprised of 100 short set cards, followed by 10 short-printed, autographed rookies. As was the norm with that era of Finest, each base card has a unique color background, influenced by the depicted player’s team. My box yielded 85 out of 100 short set cards (85%) and no duplicates.
Refractors (1: mini box): One of the key differences between 2003 Finest and say, 2009 Finest lies in the refractors. 2003 Finest does not have the bevy of colorful refractors that collectors have become accustomed to in recent years (red, green blue, gold, black, etc.) Instead, only basic Refractor and X-Fractor parallels exist (box toppers aside). The basic Refractors are seeded at a rate of 1 per mini box (SP’s 1 in 34) while the X-Fractors are seeded at a rate of 1 in every 7 mini boxes (SP’s 1 in 68). I did not pull any X-Fractors in this box, but I did pull basic Refractors of Tim Hudson, Larry Walker, and Barry Zito. I’m sure I will be sending the Zito out to New Mexico sometime. As for the Walker, it came out of the pack with significant damage to its back (a giant scrape). Why did it have to happen to a Refractor??
Finest Relics (1: mini box): Inserted into each mini box is a game-used bat or uniform relic. Each relic is designated to a certain “group” based on rarity. The odds of finding a particular relic from each group are as follows:
Group A: 1:104 mini boxes
Group B: 1:32 mini boxes
Group C: 1:29 mini boxes
Group D: 1:42 mini boxes
Group E: 1:40 mini boxes
Group F: 1:23 mini boxes
Group G: 1:18 mini boxes
Group H: 1:24 mini boxes
Group I: 1:12 mini boxes
Group J: 1:22 mini boxes
Group K: 1:21 mini boxes
Group A: 1:28 mini boxes
Group B: 1:11 mini boxes
Group C: 1:11 mini boxes
Group D: 1:10 mini boxes
Group E: 1:19 mini boxes
Group F: 1:12 mini boxes
Group G: 1:34 mini boxes
Group H: 1:17 mini boxes
I pulled bat cards of Nomar Garciaparra (Group A) and Rickey Henderson (Group J) as well as a uniform card of Eric Chavez (Group B).
Team Topps Legends Autographs (10 cards, randomly inserted): And now, here are those Hall of Fame autographs I mentioned in my last post. 10 Team Topps Legends signed cards for this special set, and just like the relic cards, each autograph belongs to its own specific group. The complete checklist is below, pulls highlighted in bold.
Group A: 1:168 mini boxes
Group B: 1:68 mini boxes
Group C: 1:32 mini boxes
Group D: 1:23 mini boxes
Overall, autographs (rookies, Finest Moments (link), and Team Topps Legends) fall at a rate of 2 per master box.
For the second straight break, the box delivered the inserts and “hits” perfectly, all without a single duplicate. Very nice.
Condition was the only issue I had in this box. In fact, if it weren’t for this category, this box would get straight A’s across the board. Only 2 cards from this box came out of the pack with noticeable damage, but considering that both of those were chase cards (Walker Refractor, Gossage autograph – look at the blemish on the front, towards the bottom), I had to drop this down a grade.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I got lucky with this box. The 2 autographs I was supposed to pull were both Team Topps Legends (as opposed to failed prospects) and I even got a bonus autograph with the box topper! Not to mention that I also pulled the rarest bat relic available in Nomar…
Regardless of where you purchase this box, you should be able to find it for less than $80. For that price, you should find a nice little box containing 5 hits (3 relics, 2 autos), 3 Refractors, a Gold X-Fractor, and possibly one more X-Fractor if you’re lucky. I’d say go for it.
Overall Grade: A