Topps rehashed Gold Label a few years ago and it completely stinks. The card stock is flimsy and they overcomplicated the checklist by adding more parallels, inserts, and autographs. Gold Label was originally a pretty simple product when it was first released in 1998. One insert set that was Hank Aaron themed, three different variations for each player, and a pair of serial numbered parallels. Still sounds complicated, I know. The card stock on the original sets was much better.
I am going with the second-year Gold Label card from 1999. The original 1998 set looks similar in terms of design minus the team logo in the background.
The three Lankford variations all have the smaller picture of him batting in the Cardinals road uniform. The other cards have a different second photo along with a different Cardinals logo. This is the easiest card to find, Class 1. The other two variations, Class 2 and Class 3 are slightly short-printed.
I like the concept and the cards are high quality. Better than some of the variations Topps puts out these days with minute details that are a pain to find.
The back of the card is nice too.
The stats on the back seem a little random, but there is some attempt to be original. More importantly, I really like the color photo at the top of the card. When I first saw this card, the picture didn't seem that interesting, but the photographer actually did something pretty cool here.
I probably blurred this picture too much, but you can see the reflection of Busch Stadium in his sunglasses, which is also the background on the front of the card with the green walls.
Really great way to tie the front and back of the card together.