Spring 2017 Major League Baseball "Set Registry Masters" Premium Auction
To peel, or not to peel? That was the question when Topps released its 1995 Finest baseball with so-called skin protectors, a thin plastic peel designed to preserve the delicate chromium card fronts from scratches, nicks, and fingerprint smudges. This debate pitted cardboard purists, who believed the cards were incomplete without their peels, against aesthetes, who wanted the shimmering surface of refractors to shine through. PSA, interestingly, did not choose a side in this dispute; they chose instead to classify Topps Finest sports cards with and without peels as separate entities altogether. Therefore, PSA Registry Master Set collectors will have to obtain two of each Finest card—one with the coating; the other, without—to complete their favorite players' catalog.
The offered 1996 Finest Refractor of Derek Jeter—or, to be technical, it is a 1996 Topps Finest Phenoms Common Bronze Peeled Refractor of the Yankee shortstop—is one of just 10 examples in PSA 10 Gem Mint condition. Interestingly, PSA has awarded an equal number of gem mints to peeled and unpeeled versions of this card, despite the fact that three more cards have been submitted without the skin protector. These stats run counter to prevailing wisdom in the hobby—namely, that cards with the peel intact are tougher to uncover in top shape due to the susceptibility of the removable coating to scratching. In actuality, these peels can sometimes cover up otherwise undetectable flaws in the surface underneath, from micro scratches to dimples to minor refractor lines. The brilliant and colorful specimen in this lot has none of these maladies; in fact, it is every bit the gem mint grade it has rightfully earned. Perfectly centered with a bold, prismatic chrome finish, this Jeter rookie card has been a collector favorite since the day it was released back in 1996. It is—dare we say?—a peeling!
Tough 1996 Finest Phenoms Refractor w/o Coating #92 Derek Jeter RC Rookie Card PSA 10 Gem Mint Pop 10
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