30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Start of a New Era

1992 ushered in the start of a new era for card collectors.  Although card companies had been producing insert sets for years, 1992 was truly a breakout year for them and our hobby.

One of the insert sets that really got collectors talking was the 1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations that could only be found in their cello packs.  A lot of collectors including myself found the blue bordered glossy inserts with the gold foil lettering to be very attractive.  Plus at the time they were considered tough pulls.  Sure it's been estimated that there were anywhere from 2 to 6 of these inserts in every box.  But compared to wax boxes, cello boxes were much more difficult to come by.  This fact combined with the insert set's soaring popularity had collectors paying $5 for a single cello pack.

At the time, Frank Thomas was one of the hottest players in the hobby and outside of his 1990 Leaf rookie card, this card was one of his most popular cards:

According to my October 1992 copy of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly the card booked for $50.  However... I know that there was a time when people paid $70 to $100 for their copies.

Today you can find completed sets on eBay for under $20.  I picked up 19 of the 20 cards for $4.10 (+ $3.50) back in May.  The bad news is the card I need is Jeff Bagwell, who is one of three hall of famers in the set.  The good news is he doesn't sell for anywhere near $24 anymore.

Anyone else remember how hot these inserts were?  Anyone else collect them?

What's even crazier than seeing how cheap these inserts currently sell for... is the fact that it's already been twenty-five years since collectors were going wild over these.  Time sure does fly by.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!


  1. I loved that set. Fleer, for as little as I cared for their base sets, sure could pull off some beautiful inserts!

  2. How was Frank Thomas ranked hot and cold at the same time?

  3. I remember how prized these were as well! I picked up the Thomas and Bagwell not long after returning to the hobby for nostalgia's sake. Great stuff Fuji!

  4. Dude, I remember having my family drive me to different drug stores with hopes of finding cello packs...but never having any luck.

  5. Nice set-I really appreciate the '90s inserts-but two things are a bummer for me-the Cardinals sucked the first part of the decade-and everyone else love the inserts too and they are not so easy to pick up. Great score!

  6. I never had any but I loved the snap shot of that Beckett back issue!I've always wanted to look through one to compare the values then to now.

  7. I hadn't started collecting yet to remember how hot they were but I did collect some

  8. cardboard jones - me too. i actually was a big fan of their all-star inserts from the 80's. never came close to completing one of those sets though

    ketchupman36 - great question. beckett based their hot and cold lists by reader votes. i guess some readers felt he was super hot... and some felt he was cold... which put him on both lists.

    shoeboxlegends - can't wait to add bagwell and close out this set

    colbey hopper - lol. that's because card shop owners were paying managers a premium and snatching them up before regular customers could

    b man - ray lankford has a card in this set ;) you can grab him for less than a buck on comc.

    tony - it was a fun read. that issue was all about the blue jays an juan guzman

    sport card collectors - you're lucky. that means you never overpaid for them ;)

  9. Beckett hot/cold list Dara was culled by surveying Topps Direct dealers across the States, thus Frank Thomas could be hot in one region while simultaneously being cold in another. Sportsflics on the other hand were cold across the board. In '92 I was flush with junk wax and exited the card scene in favor of comic books before hitting puberty and eventually turning my interets towards music albums & the opposite sex, only return to the hobby of cardboard iconography in 2013 after being blessed with an amazing son whom I hope to pass the hobby onto in the not too distant future. Beckett Archives are as entertaining as this gem of a blogspot. Chronicles of Fuji delivers dank posts with the consistency of Cal Ripken without the nepotism.

  10. Ray Lankford. That is a name you don't hear everyday. Those cards were on fire when I was working at the card shop!

  11. xavier higgins - when i looked back in that issue, it said that reader input determined the hot/cold rankings. but i do remember in the 90's that beckett would survey dealers around the country to determine price values. i hope your son falls in love with the hobby too. i think it's the coolest thing when i read about parents collecting stuff with their children.

    sumomenkoman - yeah... they sold for a ton back in the day.