The Internet And Collecting In 1996

1996 Topps Finest Series 1

It is very hard to think of the collecting without the internet these days. Heck, we purchase cards on our phone every day. Back in 1996 a collector used the internet to build his collection and call out Topps.

In 1996 I was 14 years old and faintly remember the case of Dr. Joseph Sentef vs.Topps. I won’t go into details, but Sentef was able to amass 220 Greg Maddux 1996 Topps Finest Gold Refractors. Topps originally claimed each Gold Refractor was limited to 150 copies each. Lawyers got involved and they eventually settled out of court. If it wasn’t for the internet, he never would have been able to amass that many rare cards.

1996 Topps Finest Gold Refractor Greg Maddux #145
1996 Topps Finest Gold Refractor Greg Maddux #145

His Collection Is Still Impressive

To this day, I am still impressed. 2016 Topps Finest Gold Refractors were found 1 in every 288 packs or 1 per 24 boxes; a very rare card by 1996 standards.

The internet was still young in 1996; eBay was only a year old and Americans were on… America Online. Even with the limited internet resources, Sentef was able to put together an impressive collection.

Imagine putting this collection together without the internet. Would it even be possible?

Is This Possible Today

Even today, this collection would be a feat. I know a print run of 150 is not “rare” in today’s market, but being able to obtain even half of a 150 card print run isn’t easy. It helped that Dr. Joseph Sentef was offering up to $800 per card, but you would have to be a little crazy paying $800 for a card with a 150 print run.

Topps mistake was one thing, but I was more astonished by the feat Dr. Joseph Sentef was able to build with the available resources.

Author: BaseCardHero

Ryan is a baseball card dork and PHP developer. He has been collecting cards since he was six starting with 1988 Score. Reigning from Minnesota, he is an avid Minnesota sports fan.

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