You Won’t Believe What I Paid for this Darren Daulton 1993 Finest Refractor

Darren Daulton 1993 Finest #171 Refractor /241
Darren Daulton 1993 Finest #171 Refractor /241

How I acquired this card might floor you. Read on…

1993 Finest Refractor baseball cards have always been one of the most collected parallel sets to come out of the 1990s. It’s a significant set that ignited a hobby trend that’s become a staple concept – the refractor. The holo-foil rainbow finish is one of the most aesthetically appealing concepts and it really makes a standard chrome card come to life. I’ve always appreciated the concept and am consistently taken by the appearance of these 1993 Finest Refractor baseball cards.

Inserted into pack of 1993 Finest at a rate of 1:18, these refractors hold a print run of just 241 copies. That may seem like a lot by today’s standards but back in 1993, that was a tiny, tiny number. Total print yield at that time, even for these premium cards, was many many thousands per card. Many thousands.

The popularity and value lends itself to an assumption that these have been hoarded, which is highly possible given how well they perform in market literally every single time. From a consistency standpoint with regard to sales, 1993 Finest Refractor baseball cards are in the upper echelon. Whenever I see a 1993 Finest Refractor for sale anywhere, it’s my immediate understanding that it won’t be available for long and it’ll transact well when it’s ready to change hands.

You’re probably still wondering how I acquired this here Darren Daulton 1993 Finest Refractor.

It was fall of 2009 and I had just moved to Southern California. Being new to the area, I needed to find the card shops near me. I found one in the next town over from me, not too far away. I cruised over and scoped out what they had. It seemed as if the place was phasing out their sports card inventory. I was the only guy in there looking at sports cards and their inventory looked to be thinning out considerably. Showcases were nearly empty and the stuff that did exist seemed to appear covered in dust. There were minimal, if any, new products. Just beyond the counter, I spotted a clear set box full of 1993 Finest so I asked to look through it. The gentleman retrieved the box and handed it over to me. “A dollar each” he said. I said “thanks” and proceeded to look through the pile.

I wasn’t concerned with who was in the pile, I was looking for drastic characteristic differences in the cards. I was looking for refractors. I saw one card had the holo-foil rainbow finish. I didn’t care who it was, I was swiftly prepared to fork over $1 for it. To my surprise, when I peeked at the player, it was a star. I said, “I’ll take this one.” The guy looks at me, then the card, then the price guide, then back at me as he briefly contemplated his next move while at the same time gently tapping the edge of the raw card against the glass of the display case. He then looks back at me and says, “Ok.” I hand him a dollar; he hands me the card and I ask for a penny sleeve and toploader to get the card safely home. Both parties are happy but I think I’m happier. I couldn’t believe it; I just bought a 1993 Finest Refractor for a dollar!

To see the current eBay auctions for 1993 Finest Refractors, click here.

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