09 February 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 42: R.A. Dickey Finest Gold Parallel

This is another one of those auctions where I bid the starting price and wound up getting the card. For under $3 I got this Gold parallel of R.A. Dickey from 2013 Topps Finest, numbered # 41 / 50. I can't decide how I feel about the design of this set. It seems like there isn't a whole lot going on as far as design work goes. Maybe I am wrong and a huge amount of work has gone into getting the balance of the cards right, but it looks like something you could whip up in about fifteen minutes with some cutting, pasting, and dragging of boxes.

The best-looking (to me) cards from this set are the 1993 throwback inserts. They come straight out of that era with their bright colors and WordArt. The 1993 Finest (68 cards) and the 1993 Finest All-Star (32 cards) combine to make a much better 100-card checklist than the base set. That 1993 throwback set would be fun to put together, but it looks like commons run $2-3 apiece, with most players falling in the $5-8 range and the usual collection of superstars commanding upwards of $25-30 each.

As a little experiment I went to COMC and added up all of the 1993 Finest and 1993 Finest All-Star cards that they had in stock to see what such a conglomerate set might cost to put together. It's not very scientific, but it's probably a decent ballpark figure. Getting good deals on some of the key cards in the set would go a long way toward reducing the cost, but some cards you will have to shell out for no matter what.

COMC had 46 / 68 cards from the Finest insert set with a total of $216.83, or $4.71 per card. Extending that out to 68 cards makes $319.64 for the whole set. There was a decent mix of high-dollar cards and some of the cards were on sale. For the purposes of my back-of-the-envelope math it all washes out in the end.

The Finest All-Star set had a higher cost per card, with 23 / 32 cards in stock for a total of $196.18 and an average per card of $8.52. Extended out, that makes $272.94 for the complete set. The additional few dollars per card over the other set seemed to be borne out by the checklist. There was again a good mix of superstars and relative scrubs, with seemingly appropriate prices across the board.

Together, that comes out to $592.58 for all 100 cards in the two sets, which breaks down to $5.92 per card depending on how you like to round. It would be a good-looking set, but that's a fair amount of scratch. You can get the base 2013 Finest set all day on eBay for $20. Someone actually went to the trouble of completing the 100-card 1993 Finest and 1993 Finest All-Stars throwback set that I've been theorizing about here. It's listed on eBay right now with a Buy It Now price of $1500. That's quite a markup.

In all likelihood I will probably just ignore this year's Finest offering aside from a couple of singles like the Dickey featured here. There are a couple of Josh Reddick cards I wanted to pick up as well.

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