The seeds of 1992, began to spring up years earlier. The hobby as it was known was being changed forever. The changes began in 1988 when Score came on the scene and the number of manufacturers where beginning to increase. In 1989, the “rare” Lombardi Trophy hologram in Pro Set football would lead to the “chase” insert craze that would take off in full force in 1992. In 1990, Upper Deck offered autograph cards of Reggie Jackson, By 1992 Score would offer rare insert autograph cards of Dimaggio, Mantle and Yaz, Topps offered 12,000 autos of No 1 draft pick Brien Taylor, Donruss would offer autos of Cal Ripken and Upper Deck would offer autographs of Ted Williams.
Topps and Upper Deck expanded into the four major sports. The number of sets in each sports were exploding and continue to grow through the years. 1992 was the last official year of the junk wax era (though 1991 may have also been it) . By 1993, the actual number of cards produced per set were being cut back.
The most important change, Topps changed its card stock from gray backs to white backs and upped the price of a pack of cards. The days of getting 15-17 cards per pack for 50 cents was gone forever. Donruss and Fleer “upgraded” the card stock on their cards and upped the price of packs, also. 1992 Donruss had almost a glossy feel to it. It was similar to Upper Deck but less glossy than today’s Topps cards.
As an insert Topps introduced Gold Foil Stamped cards. This would also change the hobby forever, as anyone who collects 2012 Topps cards can attest. . 1992 was a no going back point of return year.
* The end of the thin grey back cardstock
* Higher price per card, (better cardstock?)
* The rise of the “chase” inserts,
* The autograph card insert
* Gold Foil Stamping.
The only thing that was missing was game used inserts. However, inserts were taking over and surpassing the base cards as a reason people supposedly collected.
Once Topps changed their cardstock from the thin gray back card board, the first 40 year era of the sports card hobby came to an end. For the last 20 years we have been collecting in the 2nd era of the sports card hobby.