My favorite release was 1994 Finest, the brand's second year. They're almost as green as 1991 Fleer is yellow.
|1994 Topps Finest #32 Charlie Hayes|
But then things started getting weird. In the mid '90s, well after the 1994 strike and the subsequent collapse of baseball card values, Topps decided to inject some novelty into the brand. They came up with this barely comprehensible idea of a "fractured set". And for good measure, they even gave us a handy clear protective coating on the front of the card, just like those peel-away films you find on new computer monitors and smartphones. In all honesty, I find an inordinate amount of joy in peeling those away as part of the unboxing process. And finding an unpeeled film on a years-old gadget (like my mom's microwave) is cause for celebration and can even become legendary.
|1996 Topps Finest #B8 Terry Pendleton|
What, after my admission above, you think I leave Topps Finest Protectors on? Absolutely not.
However, after a decade or so in a discount box, the Topps Finest Protector can become fused to the card itself, making removal quite problematic. Take a look at these two examples from 1999 Finest.
So given that it's a common, (the B in the card number indicates that it's Bronze, as opposed to Silver or Gold), surely removing the protective coating won't do much to harm its long-term value.
There. Much better.