1996 Finest is a 359 card set issued in two series of 191 cards and 168 cards respectively. A protective film, designed to keep the card from scratching and to maintain original gloss, covers the front.
One of the most bizarrely structured products ever released, '96 Finest provides collectors with the opportunity to complete a number of sets within the set, each with a different degree of insertion. In Series One the set is sub-divided into four distinct themes: Phenoms, Intimidators, Gamers and Sterling. Within these themes, the cards are fractured into three levels of scarcity: Common (bronze trim), Uncommon (silver) and Rare (gold). For the first series, the breakdown for the player selection of common, uncommon and rare cards is completely random. There are 110 common, 55 uncommon (1:4 packs) and 26 rare cards (1:24 packs). Each card is sequentially-numbered twice: once by theme, and twice as part of the set as a whole. In addition to the cards' borders, each card will also have either "common," "uncommon", or "rare" written within the numbering box on the card backs to let collectors know which type of card they hold.
Series Two has another four themes also with common, uncommon and rare cards seeded at the same ratio. The four themes are: Franchise, Additions, Prodigies, and Sterling.
Series One Gold Refractor Lawsuit
As part of the sell sheet for 1996 Finest Series One, Topps claimed that no more than 150 copies of each Gold Refractor would be produced. Dr. Joseph Sentef managed to collect over 220 Greg Maddux Gold Refractors often paying as much as $900 for each card. Sentef sued Topps and settled out-of-court for an undisclosed figure.
Hobby boxes contained 24 packs with 6 cards in each pack.
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The base set is fractured into Bronze (B), Silver (S), and Gold (G) cards.
NOTE: There are 110 Bronze, 55 Silver (1:4), and 26 Gold (1:24) cards in Series One.
There are 110 Bronze, 36 Silver, and 22 Gold cards in Series Two.
Each base card is available in a Refractor parallel.