After spending the first 45 minutes or so of Monday's card show finding cards from 1976 Topps, I knew it was necessary for me to look around and see what other vendors had to offer.
Ultimately, this search brought me back to the same dealer that I purchased the vintage dime cards from. Amongst a stack of junk wax packs, I spotted a bunch of 1989 Topps Baseball Coins for only 25 cents a pack.
In what eventually became the easiest decision I made all day, I grabbed 8 packs for a mere $2 with each pack promising 3 coins. Oh, and a 30-year old stick of bubble gum as well.
Before I found these bargain packs at Monday's card show, I had only opened 1 pack of coin cards in my life, and the pack was from the mid-1980s. The 1989 Topps Baseball coins also inspired the blaster-exclusive coins from 2018 Topps Archives with both products utilizing the same design.
Though I ended up with a few duplicate coins, I have zero room to complain at 25 cents a pack, especially since I ended up with an Eddie Murray coin on the LA Dodgers since he was one of the 3 players I pulled in my previous coin pack.
Even though this set was released just before the 90s officially began, the design still looks reminiscent of the late 70s and early 80s, featuring stars and bright colors. While the silver coins use a light green "wave," the gold coins' design features warmer colors like orange and yellow that, like the silver coins, change shades from beginning to end.
The gold coins were where I had the must duplicate cards and the least amount of luck, yet even my dislike of steroid user Mark McGwire can't interfere with how well-made and sharp his '89 Topps coin appears.
After opening all 8 packs, I ended up with 2 All-Star coins that consist of much more colorful borders and a star-filled background. Walt Weiss isn't a player I'm super familiar with, but Tony Gwynn is a player that I collect, and his blue-bordered coin is instantly eye-catching.
I'll probably send out some in future team collectors packages, but 25 cents a pack is a heck of a deal for these sweet looking coins. However, the '89 Topps Baseball coins weren't the only packs that I opened at Monday's show.
Despite being unlicensed, 2018 Panini Chronicles will go down as one of my favorite Baseball card sets in recent memory, and I felt lucky to have picked up 3 blasters of the product at my local Target.
I stayed away from hobby boxes and even hobby packs of the set due to the high prices, but I wasn't feeling incredibly inspired at the Mansfield show to search through dime boxes or Red Sox bins.
After spending almost an hour looking for '76 and '79 Topps set needs, I didn't want to spend much more time looking through boxes. Because of that, I tested my luck with a single hobby pack of the Chronicles set and later returned to the same dealer for her final 2 packs from the product.
Among the dozen or more Panini products included in 2018 Panini Chronicles, there's Spectra, cards that fall at 2 per hobby box and feature numbered parallels and even autographs and relics.
While my card isn't numbered, landing a card of Gleyber Torres, one of the top 5 rookies of 2018, demonstrates that you get a ton of bang for your buck when buying Panini Chronicles. Certainly, this is helped by the sheer strength of the 2018 MLB rookie class.
While I pulled either 3 or 4 numbered cards per blaster of 2018 Panini Chronicles, each hobby pack delivers a similar number, usually around 2 per pack. After all, with 15 or so products and 25 or more players per set, there's bound to be a surplus of numbered cards, especially when it comes to rookies.
As far as the design goes, Crusade is easily one of the more creative products within the Chronicles set, a unique style that is aided by the untraditional choices for parallels.
Numbered out of 199 copies, this ruby wave Rafael Devers rookie parallel is my 2nd serial numbered Devers card out of this product, the 1st of which being a blue cracked ice card from Contenders Optic.
While they don't have the licensing rights and won't until at least 2025, in the case of Chronicles, Panini more than makes up for it with unorthodox parallels, unique set designs, and one of the most creative products I have ever seen in my life.
While the "purple' parallel is only evident through the changing of the word Classics to purple, the card is nevertheless a serial numbered parallel. Better yet, it's numbered 10/10, tying it with a few other cards for one of the lowest serial numbered cards in my entire collection.
I don't know all that much about Mets shortstop Amed Rosario, but if I remember correctly, he was a high-ranked prospect before his rookie season in 2018. If he makes it big, I'll have a valuable card on my hands, and even if he doesn't, it's pretty cool to have a card that's numbered out of only 10 copies.
With hits falling at 4 hobby packs per 6-pack box, I was guaranteed at least 1 relic or autograph after purchasing 3 total packs, and it was the thinnest pack of the bunch that landed me an autograph card.
This is the Panini Phoenix set design, one of a couple chrome stock card sets within Panini Chronicles. I'm not incredibly upset that I didn't land a huge name. Instead, I wish the autograph was on-card since a chrome set like Phoenix is basically perfect for on-card autos.
I happen to have 1 more hit to display to wrap up this post, but I felt it was necessary to show this card as well, the highlight of the 3 packs when it comes to parallels that I pulled. I couldn't care less about Panini not having the licensing rights, especially when I pulled this card.
After all, it's a Shohei Ohtani pink parallel, numbered 8/25. Given what other copies of this same card appear to be going for on eBay, it looks as if I could pay for all 3 packs that I opened solely from this card. Because it's a rookie card, however, I'll likely be hanging on to this one.
As for the 2nd hit, it's hard to find a more beautiful card than this, and it's of a well-respected rookie from 2018 as well, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, Jack Flaherty, from the hobby-exclusive Cornerstones set.
I can count on 1 hand how many autographed relic cards I have in my collection, nevermind an on-card auto with 4 relics, 2 of which are patches. Better yet, it's a rookie auto and a granite parallel as well, numbered 22/25 on the back which just so happens to be Flaherty's jersey number.
With all the different elements of this card, you don't even notice the fact that it's unlicensed right away, and that's the sign of an excellent Panini Baseball card. All around, it's truly a fantastic card, and along with the Ohtani, was the highlight of this 3 hobby pack break.
After all, when you have a set as creative and loaded with as many top tier rookies as Panini Chronicles is, it's difficult, for me, to care all that much about there being no logos or team names.