Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks: 1996 Topps Gallery Baseball
This week’s break features a debut Topps product, 1996 Topps Gallery Baseball. The brand was a mainstay until 2003. After a 2004 hiatus, the product returned in 2005 before being retired for more than a decade. Topps Gallery would make a Brett Favre-like return in 2017 as a Walmart exclusive, which it has been the last three years.
The art-themed 1996 debut release features a 180-card base set split into five different themes: Classics, New Editions, Modernists, Futurists and Masters. The set features one parallel, Player’s Private Issue, which is found once in every eight packs.
The art theme continues with the three insert sets; Expressionists (1:24 packs), Photo Gallery (1:30 packs) and a Mickey Mantle Masterpiece card found once in every two boxes.
The product had a $72 box price when it was released.
1996 Topps Gallery Box Break
Cards per pack: 8
Packs per box: 24
Price paid: $39
Pack 1 highlights:
Ivan Rodriguez, David Justice, Greg Maddux & Barry Bonds
Raul Mondesi, Dante Bichette, Dennis Eckersley, Barry Larkin & Mickey Mantle Masterpiece (1:48 packs)
Andy Pettitte, Eric Karros, Mo Vaughn & Matt Williams
Vinny Castilla, Rod Beck, Fred McGriff, Tony Gwynn & Chuck Knoblauch Player’s Private Issue (1:8 packs)
Kirby Puckett, Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith & Terry Pendleton Player’s Private Issue (1:8 packs)
John Olerud, Mark McGwire & Eddie Murray
Ken Caminiti, Hideo Nomo (I love cards featuring pitchers at the plate), Roger Clemens & Edgar Martinez
Jay Buhner, Troy Percival, Will Clark & Joe Carter
Roberto Alomar, Jason Isringhausen, Eddie Murray & a great shot of Ken Griffey Jr.
Shawn Green, Trevor Hoffman, Tim Wakefield & Gary Sheffield
Ryne Sandberg, Johnny Damon & Juan Gonzalez
Ken Caminiti, Cecil Fielder, Garret Anderson & another Mickey Mantle Masterpiece (1:48 packs)
Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens & Mike Piazza The Expressionists (1:24 packs)
Joe Carter, Bret Boone, Barry Bonds, Bernie Williams Player’s Private Issue (1:8 packs) & Atlanta Braves Photo Gallery (1:30 packs)
Jim Thome, Orel Hershiser, Ken Griffey, Jr. & Barry Larkin
Billy Wagner, Paul Molitor & Matt Williams
Paul O’Neill, Billy Wagner, Mike Piazza & Jim Thome
Tom Glavine, Jim Edmonds, Albert Belle (my favorite Belle video of all-time is of him plowing over Fernando Vina on the basepath) & Roger Clemens
Lee Smith, Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton & Edgar Martinez
Will Clark & Chili Davis
Ivan Rodriguez, Tim Wakefield, John Olerud, Derek Jeter, Mike Mussina & Cal Ripken Jr.
Dante Bichette, John Smoltz, Cecil Fielder, Paul O’Neill & Mark Grace
Trevor Hoffman, David Cone, Tim Salmon & Albert Belle
Tony Clark & Frank Thomas
Lastly, the five different card backs.
I have always been a fan of Topps Gallery. It got even better for me in 1997 when they included the stained glass designed Gallery of Heroes. The Braves Photo Gallery card was a cool pull for me, personally, as I was a Braves fan back then. How does a NH kid turn into a Braves fan? Well, I have changed to a Red Sox fan since then, but when I was a kid I could watch every Braves game on TBS. That was enough for me to be a Braves fan, especially with that ’90s team they had.
The highlight of the box, though, was definitely hitting the two Mantle Masterpiece cards. I would imagine hitting two of those in a single box didn’t happen often with the 1:48 pack odds. Plus, as we all know, I am a big fan of highlighting baseball legends in products.
I would certainly buy this one again, with the hopes of pulling different parallels and insert cards.
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Want more installments of Shane Salmonson’s Cheap Wax Wednesday? Check out his other breaks in the archives.