Wednesday, June 12, 2024

the new adventures of old pristine

well, topps gave us a second year of the "new" pristine in 2023, so i guess i may as well show what i added to my collection as a result. i entered a team break and was able to pick up this mookie betts "oh snap" insert
i'm not sure that anything that says "oh snap" belongs in a 2023 release.

before i get to more from last year, let's go back and review previous pristine releases, shall we?

2002 topps pristine - here's shawn green's card
i didn't pay a lot of attention to this release as it reminded me of a finest set which typically wasn't on my radar at all. i did pull some singles from a box at the local card and comic shop, however.

2003 topps pristine - hideo nomo, kevin brown, paul loduca, shawn green
i did not have any 2003 pristine cards in my collection until late last year as it was way off of my radar. also, i have no idea what happened to paul loduca's uniform in that photo. at no point did the dodgers wear black uniforms, and he is still wearing a dodger uniform in the picture. 

2004 topps pristine - shawn green again
same deal here - i had to buy this card to have one to represent the release in my collection. of course, there are only two dodger cards in the team set (anyone have an extra eric gagne card?)

2005 topps pristine - jeff kent
i didn't pick up any of this set, either, but i was acutely aware of pristine in 2005 because of....

2005 topps pristine legends - including maury wills
don newcombe
and others. i was aware of this set because of the 1965 design and the fact that it featured a lot of retired guys that i favored, like three-fourths of the dodger infield. topps also issued uncirculated cards encased in what i assume at the time were screw holders. i've never bothered to check, but maybe i'll see if my ron cey card
reveals anything. these uncirculated refractors are numbered to 549
the dodger infielder who was left out was bill russell, so that means that davey lopes (not pictured) and steve garvey got cards.

garvey got a relic card, too, and i added the refractor version to my collection about a year ago
it featured a new to me photo of the garv and this version is numbered to 25
truth be told, it was primarily the fact that garvey was on the checklist that i paid close attention to the set. as it stands, i am missing don zimmer's base card although i have his uncirculated card.

i was surprised in 2022 when topps brought pristine back, and have only picked up a handful of non-garvey dodgers. one card i did add sometime in the last few months is this mookie betts refractor parallel
when i saw that the 2023 set was coming out, i noticed that the design wasn't too different from the 2022 version. i figured i would join the group break and that would be it. 

in addition to the mookie insert above, the break netted me a miguel vargas pair of refractors - base and purple
a steve garvey refractor (!)
plus all-star cards of freddie freeman
and tony gonsolin
with garvey on the checklist again, i of course went looking for more. i showed some of the cards i picked up in this post but have added a couple more since then. these are the encased orange /25
and encased pink /15

i will be just fine if topps/fanatics gives pristine a rest in 2024, although if they are following their playbook 20 years into the future, i will be on the eye for a 2025 legends release!


  1. Ok, I had to comment at least to give you some major respect for the title, which got a laugh out of me. Also, Pristine's been one of those Topps products I've actually enjoyed so I liked this post for another look at some of those, especially when I think it was at its best (around 2005, like a lot of what you posted here).

    1. thanks dennis. sometimes the post titles write themselves!

  2. The uncirculated cases snap together. Under the hologram sticker is a place for prying it apart using a coin or flathead screwdriver. Same cases as the Topps Retired encased autos. I'm OCD about having my Retired autos encased, but not Pristine refractors (I'm chasing both), and so I have been known to use "doner" cases from Pristine for Retired.

  3. I like Pristine... especially the 2002 set. I considered buying a box of 2023, but then I saw the price tag. Regardless... the whole pack within a pack concept is cool.

  4. I prefer the older designs. The new ones just look like Topps was trying too hard.