Preview – 1994 Select Series 1

The second box break on this blog is 1994 Select Series 1. Here is a preview of the set before breaking the box next week.

Beckett Set Notes (verbatim from Beckett box page)

“Measuring the standard size, the 1994 Select set consists of 420 cards that were issued in two series of 210. The horizontal fronts feature a color player action photo and a duo-tone player shot. The backs are vertical and contain a photo, 1993 and career statistics and highlights. Special Dave Winfield and Cal Ripken cards were inserted in first series packs. A Paul Molitor MVP card and a Carlos Delgado Rookie of the Year card were inserted in second series packs. The insertion rate for each card was one in 360 packs. Rookie Cards include Chan Ho Park.”

Box Contents

24 packs with 12 cards per pack


$10.99 on eBay ($0.99 auction with $10.00 shipping)


Yep, it is a box. The dimensions are approximately 5.5 x 8.75 x 1.25″ (H x W x D). Only 4,950 cases of Select were produced, and each box was tagged with its box number (within its case) and its case number. This particular box is #15 of 24 in case #897 of 4,950.

Here is the box from the top as well as opened for display. The 24 packs are in the box in four stacks of six. The box is only 1.25-inches thick, and that thickness includes the top and bottom of the box, a dozen layers of pack wrapping foil, and 72 cards. Those cards must be on some pretty thin card stock.

Last but not least, here is a closeup of one of the foil packs. The pack image is a bit washed out. The white of the baseball should be more orangish.

Insert / Parallel List (taken from box)

Crown Contenders – 10 cards – 1:24 packs
Rookie Surge – 9 cards – 1:48 packs
Winfield and Ripken inserts – 2 cards – 1:360 packs

The Rookie Surge cards totaled 18 across the two series of Select in 1994. Only nine Rookie Surge cards were included in first series boxes. The other nine were part of the second series.


The Select set in 1994 is often called Score Select. “Select” is not a word often associated with Score, a name synonymous with cheap cards in large volumes. Regardless, Score had to keep up with the Joneses by putting out a premium issue to accompany its basic set. Putting what amounts to a serial number on the box was a nice touch, but it is hard for Score to shake its el cheapo image.

Despite trying to be a more premium set, Select really seems to have dropped the ball in the insert category. The number of non-base cards per box one can expect is one!?! Although weak on inserts, this box of Select still has enough to be included in this blog.

While talking about inserts, let’s do a little math. All 4,950 cases of Select 1 have 24 boxes. That works out to 118,800 boxes of Select 1. The Crown Contenders cards are inserted at a rate of 1:24 packs, or one per box. In total, there are 118,800 Crown Contenders cards out there somewhere. Crown Contenders is found only in Series 1 boxes, and Select was a hobby-only issue (no retail boxes to fret about). So, with Crown Contenders’ being a ten-card set, there are 11,880 examples of each individual Crown Contenders card. Crown Contenders sell for about $1 plus shipping on eBay. The identity of the player does not seem to make much difference.

Against what can we compare this low card price? [From off-screen my three-year-old daughter says, “How about 1994 Donruss Elite Series with a serial-numbered run of 10,000?”] Great idea Sweetheart! Both 1994 Select Crown Contenders and 1994 Donruss Elite have similar print runs. Both consist of superstars. What do 1994 Donruss Elite cards go for on eBay? – maybe $3 plus shipping for commons. Superstars are a bit more pricey yet still normally do not crack the $10 line.

What is my point? I am not sure I have one except that putting serial numbers on cards was a stroke of genius on the part of Donruss. Whether a card is rare or not (10,000 copies is not rare), the serial-numbered card commands more of a premium. In defense of the higher cost of the Donruss cards, I would guess that the total production numbers for Donruss were far higher than Select. So, although the numbers of Elite and Crown Contenders are about the same, the odds of pulling an Elite card from a pack were likely far lower than 1:24.


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