Thursday, January 28, 2016

NBA 20th Anniversary Countdown #18: 2002-03 Topps Pristene

Sometimes, something just works out where you end up liking it despite the fact that it doesn't fit with everything else you like.

This is one of those cases.

Normally, I can't stand when the background of a photo is edited out to make room for a computer generated design. I also normally can't stand high end sets. Yet this one is both of those, and I love it anyway! It's also a small set, something else I don't like.

#18: 2002-03 Topps Pristene

Why I like it: Memories mostly. 2002-03 was an interesting time for me. Not all of it was good- I lost my dad in 2002, and I don't have a lot of good memories from that time. The only good memories I have from that year are related to cards. I got more cards in 2002 than in any other year of my life.

Set size/completion: 125 cards, I have 76, or 60.8% according to the Database. It is the smallest set and the lowest percentage of completion among sets that make my Top 20.

This card shown is actually the refractor- the only time in this countdown that a base card is not the main image. I love the Refractors in this set. The rookies are the most common, and the base rookies all feature this blue background. The veteran player cards are team color-coded, and the veteran refractors are limited to 99 copies each. The base blue rookies, like this one, are SN1899.

This set was the most high end Topps issued in those years, and normally I can't stand high end my opinion they are everything that's wrong with the hobby. Yet I love this set anyway. Go figure. Each pack was 3 in one. There were base cards, then a rookie sealed inside a plastic case, and a single packed relic card in each pack. There were three different cards for each rookie in the set. The main one, the blue design as shown above, was unnumbered. The second design was numbered to 1499 and the third rare design to 499.

Here is what a non-refractor rookie looks like.
Level 2 Rookie:
Level 3 Rookie:

Chris Wilcox is the only rookie in the set where I have all three versions, although I have not scanned the basic blue one yet.

Here is a veteran: (Shaq is card #1)
Although the set is a favorite of mine I have only scanned a handful of them. Only three veterans have been scanned, even though I have more than 20 of the 50 in the set. As I related in the most recent HOST, I am not even yet to halfway in scanning.

There were LOTS of relics in the set. Each pack included one. There were also refractor versions of each relic, which were SN to 25. I am lucky enough to have two of them.
The Personal Endorsements autograph insert reached it's multi-year peak, printed on clear acetate and featuring on-card autographs. I have extensively chased all the relics in this set, but even so I have no more than 8 cards from the largest representation, and only 2 from the smallest.

Here is the back of the base card.


  1. I like that it has so many relics.

  2. I recently got an Andre Miller gold refractor 20/50 in one of those Topps sealed cases from this set. And since this is yet another set I hadn't seen before and hadn't looked into the particulars yet, it was nice to be able to come here and get a breakdown of the set.

    And on an unrelated note. If you were ever to visit Portland, DO NOT mention Qyntel Woods, as he is absolutely loathed by all.

    1. I forgot to mention the gold refractors. There are two versions for the veterans- die cut and non-die cut. Diecuts SN99 and non-die cut are SN50. Last I knew (circa 2012) Beckett does not recognize the SN50 non-die cuts.

      I can imagine...I don't remember all the details but I recall that he had some "issues" while there.

  3. I think this is how relic cards should be done.