1999 Topps Crystal. Never heard of it? That’s alright. Many people haven’t. I was debating whether or not to use this for this post since very little is known about it. But then I thought perhaps just talking about it could shed some new light on this set.
Right now, there are only five different cards known to exist that come with the Topps Crystal name – Craig Biggio, Wally Joyner, Ivan Rodriguez, Andy Brown, and Mike Mussina. Every card that has surfaced is serial numbered to 99 copies. Given how rarely you see these popup, I highly doubt 99 copies were actually made for each card though.
The reason why you probably haven’t heard of Topps Crystal is because it was never released. Many people believe that Topps printed these cards as a test for what would eventually become 2000 Topps HD. The printing technology between the two is very similar. Topps HD was a minor success, but only survived for two years. What made the cards standout was the fact they were printed on thick plastic. Its unfortunate that they didn’t catch on. I think they look really well done. Especially the handful of on-card autographs that include Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Adrian Gonzalez.
Seeing that Topps Crystal was never officially released, it makes you wonder how these five cards found their way out. The most logical explanation is that someone at Topps walked out the door with them. Prices can be all over the place. A Craig Biggio recently sold on eBay for under $100. The odds of finding a new Topps Crystal card are slim, but it could happen. It would be cool to find one from the Phillies. For all we know, one of Pat Burrell could be out there somewhere.