2012 TOPPS CHROME CYAN PRINTING PLATE LUCAS DUDA
The concept of serial numbering cards gained mainstream hobby acceptance in the early ’90s, thanks in large part to the Donruss Elite inserts discussed here.
As the decade progressed in a haze of flannel and Seinfeld, the legion of extant card companies kept lowering the limbo stick.
5,000. 3,000. 2,500. 1,000. How low can you go?
The logical endgame seemed more like a punchline at the time, but it was clearly inevitable. And eventually, there it was: the one-of-one card.
Fleer was the first company to take the plunge. Their 1997 Flair set contained a parallel to the regular edition called Legacy– these cards were similar to the regular-issue Flair cards, except for the card-front finish and foil highlighting. These were individually numbered out of 100.
The Legacy Masterpiece versions of these cards were stamped with yet another different hue of foil, and carried on the back a stamp indicating “The Only 1 of 1 Masterpiece.”
The Rubicon having been crossed, the other card companies soon followed suit with their own particular flavors of one-of-one cards. They eventually created an unintended mockery of the concept by producing sets that held multiple one-of-ones of individual players. If you have a couple of grand to burn, I can point you in the direction of 46 different Miguel Cabrera one-of-one cards from the same damn 1998 set…
However, the companies did come up with some interesting ways to scratch the itch for a unique card, and this 2012 Topps Chrome Lucas Duda is a good example.
As a product of the four-color printing process, metal plates are produced in cyan, magenta, yellow, and black for each sheet of cards in a set. When the print run for a given set is complete, Topps cuts the actual printing plates into individual “cards” and inserts them into packs. A sticker is affixed to the back of each aluminum printing plate with the player name, card number, plate color, and a note that it is a “one-of-a-kind collectible.”
And in case you missed the point, the bottom of the sticker reads “1 of 1.”
What this all means, of course, is that I am the only person in the world to own a 2012 Topps Chrome Lucas Duda Cyan printing plate, with all the awesome power/responsibility that distinction confers…