Topps: Finest

My Topps: Finest Collection (Updated December 28th, 2021)

1992 Topps Finest: “Barry Sanders” #26

1995 Topps Finest: “Herschel Walker” #106*

*Note: I do not own the card above. Unfortunately, I haven't taken the time to put this set together. 

1997 Topps Finest: “Walter Jones” RC #282*

*Note: I do not own the card above. Unfortunately, I haven't taken the time to put this set together. 

1999 Topps Finest: “Chris McAlister" RC #160

In 1992 Topps released a introductory test set of sorts called Topps: Finest. This set which was only a 45-card set was made as a box set, (See the 1992 Topps Finest Barry Sanders" #26 left). My first take on the "Topps: Finest" wasn't good. The set size wasn't the issue either. I understood that it was a test set so a small # of cards is good here, but I just didn't like the card fronts. The border was too big it crowded the player's picture. I did like the card stock though, that was a huge improvement over current sets available at the time.

Its unknown, (at least to me), why Topps decided to forego the '93 edition of Topps Finest because for some reason it was never released. However, in 1994 Topps decided to bring back the '92 test set for it's true initial release. And just like it's processor, the '92 set, I didn't like the '94 set either. Just the overall design of the set didn't appeal to me at all, (See the 1994 Topps Finest "Demetrius DuBose" Refractor RC #159 right), I've never been a fan of player pictures posted on silly backgrounds and this set is one of those sets. The good thing was, this set wasn't a 45-card set it was a solid 220 cards.

One thing that stayed true about the Topps Finest releases, the front picture is always cropped and pasted onto silly backgrounds. The '95 release was the poster-child for this, (See the 1995 Topps Finest "Herschel Walker" #106 left). The lightning was a little too over-powering for me. The hobby probably liked it, I didn't. What I did like, the set size increased in '95 from 220 cards in '94 to 275 cards in '95.

Whatever Topps did the previous years, they corrected in 1996. Although, the '96 set wasn't my favorite set from the '96 year, it wasn't the worst either, (See the 1996 Topps Finest "Brian Dawkins" RC #344 right). I don't yet own this set, price and availability are both reasons why I don't. One thing nice about this set was the awesome set size, at 359 cards, this was the largest Topps Finest set to date. 

The '97 release went back to do something the early sets did, it was released without any insert sets. And although the '97 set was another set with players' pictures pasted on silly backgrounds, it wasn't that bad, (See the 1997 Topps Finest "Walter Jones" RC #282 below left). This is another of the Finest sets that I do not yet own. The main reason is because this set is still extremely hard to find complete and if you do find it, it's not cheap. 

The '98 set was a very nice set compared to some of the earlier ones and it seemed to get a more modernized facelift, as in it had a massive number of insert sets with 10. A full 5 more insert sets than the 5 previous years combined. But what I really liked was the design of the cards with the porous look on the front of the card, (See the 1998 Topps Finest "Peyton Manning" RC #121 right). The cards just looked cool and as always the card stock was 2nd to none. The only draw-back on the '98 set, the set-size started to 

1994 Topps Finest: “Demetrius DuBose” Refractor RC #159

1996 Topps Finest: “Brian Dawkins” RC #344*

*Note: I do not own the card above. Unfortunately, I haven't taken the time to put this set together. 

1998 Topps Finest: “Peyton Manning” RC #121

drop. This set was only 270 cards, much smaller than the previous 3. I guess that is what happens when you had 10 insert sets.

The '99 set was another very nice set and the rookie cards were also really cool, (See the 1999 Topps Finest "Chris McAlister" RC #160 below left). The chrome look was still there as was the amazing card stock, so what was missing? the cards themselves. The set-size dropped again in '99 from 270 in '98 to 175 in '99. I said in the previous paragraph that the "Topps: Finest" sets were getting modernized, the reduction in cards was also a form of modernizing by Topps. 

As the new decade started the "Topps: Finest" title stayed the course, the look of the 2000 set looked just like its earlier brethren, (See the 2000 Topps Finest "Damon Huard" #108 below right). The 2000 release had a slight bump in the # of cards to 205 and although the # of insert sets stayed at 7 they did include Finest's first memorabilia set, the always popular Pro Bowl Jersey set. So the 2000 "Topps: Finest" release didn't set the hobby world on fire, but it was a step in the right direction.

There was on set, and more importantly, one card that did set it apart from all the others, (See the 2000 Topps Finest "Mike Jones" Finest Moments #FM19 below left). What a great Super Bowl moment that was captured on a sports card to be remembered forever. Topps may not have gotten the memorabilia set right, but this set they did. 

The 2001 release of the "Topps: Finest" title looked slightly different than previously titles, it actually looked like 

2000 Topps Finest: “Damon Huard" #108

an earlier 90s version of Pinnacle, (See the 2001 Topps Finest "Anthony Thomas" #121 below right). The 2001 release had a huge decrease in the # of cards to 140. Topps was getting down to set size that makes me want to ask, why release a set in the first place?  And although "Topps: Finest" included it's first autograph insert set, the low # of cards in its base is just too much to overcome, in my opinion. 

2000 Topps Finest: “Mike Jones" Finest Moments #FM19*

*Note: I do not own the card above. Unfortunately, I haven't taken the time to put this set together. 

The 2002 "Topps: Finest" title went back to its roots; a intense chrome look and no insert sets to accompany the base set, (See the 2002 Topps Finest "William Green" RC #128 below left). The 2002 Finest release may not have had any insert sets, but Topps still found a way to

In closing, the "Topps: Finest" title just hasn't interested me enough to recommend it to anyone. It definitely wasn't crap, (like some of what Collector's Edge released over the years), but it definitely wasn't worth spending huge amounts of money on either. And even though the "Topps: Finest" sets had a slight comeback later on, (1998 release on), it just wasn't enough, in my opinion. I guess thats why I have so many holes still to fill.

2002 Topps Finest: “William Green" RC Autograph #128

include memorabilia and autograph cards. The memorabilia cards were from the veterans and the autograph cards were from a select # of rookies. 

2001 Topps Finest: “Anthony Thomas" RC #121*

*Note: I do not own the card above. Unfortunately, I haven't taken the time to put this set together. 

I have complete sets:

Topps Finest:

1) 1992 Topps Finest Set

2) 1993 Topps Finest Set - Does Not Exist

3) 1994 Topps Finest Set

4) 1995 Topps Finest Set

    A) Pro Bowl Jumbos Insert

5) 1996 Topps Finest Set - Do Not Have

6) 1997 Topps Finest Set - Do Not Have

7) 1998 Topps Finest Set

    A) Stadium Stars Insert

8) 1999 Topps Finest Set

    A) Double Team Insert

    B) Leading Indicators Insert

    C) Main Attraction Insert

9) 2000 Topps Finest Set

    A) Out of the Blue Insert

    B) NFL Superstars Insert

10) 2001 Topps Finest Set - Do Not Have

    A) Rookie Premiere Jerseys Insert

    B) Stadium Throwback Relics Insert - Incomplete ( 18 / 20 )

11) 2002 Topps Finest Set