Monday, December 22, 2008

Monster Card of the Week - 1993 Front Row/Spectrum Autographs

In the early 1990s, card manufacturers were a dime a dozen. Among this multitude was a company called Front Row. Front Row's main gimick was limited, serial numbered print runs of their cards. While their print runs seem huge (most of the ones I have were in the 5-25,000 range) compared with the quantity of /50 or less cards available from current products, it is possible that Front Row was the first to put serial numbers on their products. Most of what Front Row offered were small 5-7 card sets of the hobby's major stars, though they also produced basketball and baseball draft sets. Front Row's cards were simple and clean in their design, however they did not have a MLBPA license so their cards didn't feature team logos. They also offered a subscription club (which I was a member of) that got you cool promo cards and first crack at their "limited" issues. At some point, Front Row became Spectrum and they started producing really gaudy gold and hologram cards as well as offering autographed versions of their cards. They still produced their staple small sets however.

One of these sets, produced in 1993 was a 5-card Red Sox set that featured Carl Yastrzemski, Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant and Bobby Doerr. Front Row/Spectum offered autographed versions of these cards and it is a pair of these that are this week's Monster Card of the Week.

These are probably the first autographed cards I ever owned. In fact it would be 15 years before I would added another autographed card to my collection. And you know what? Despite being unlicensed cards produced by a fledgling company that no longer exists, I prefer this pair to the stickered autographs being produced now. The design is simple and the bold blue ink is striking in its matching simplicity on the card. Topps and Upper Deck take note, this is how autographed cards should be done.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Somebody else that remembers Front Row! :)

I think those cards look a lot nicer than the stuff Donruss put out this year.