1999 TOPPS FINEST GOLD REFRACTOR AL LEITER
I peeled Al Leiter tonight.
OK, it might be helpful if I rewound a bit and explained.
Back in the late ’90s, card manufacturers were dabbling in all manner of metallic printing.
Collectors loved the shiny stuff, but balked at how easily these cards would get scratched or otherwise defaced.
The Topps Finest issues were particularly vulnerable to outrageous fortune, so the company began applying plastic protective coating to cards like this 1999 Al Leiter gold refractor.
This practice left collectors in a quandary: Remove the coating and greatly improve the presentation of the card, or leave the plastic sheet in place to maintain the card in its original state.
It came to pass that the prevailing wisdom in collecting circles was to leave the coating intact. But as we all know, sometimes prevailing wisdom is just plain stupid.
These 1999 gold refractors are pretty things. In addition to the mirrored gold surfaces, there is an elegant patterned printing effect that swoops around the left third of the cards. All four edges are treated with a fine scalloping, and the backs are stamped boldly in gold with a serial number out of 100.
I stared at this coated Al Leiter for a long time. It looked like he was having trouble breathing under there, and the tiny air bubbles popping up under the surface seemed to support that notion. So it felt good after all these years to finally pick at the corner of the card and peel and remove the damn coating…