There's really nothing like collecting a new—or new to you—set. I'm just putting the finishing touches on 1988 Topps baseball (only six cards to go!) and now I'm itching to start another. I've got it narrowed down to two possibilities: 1991 Topps Stadium Club baseball or 1992-93 Topps Stadium Club basketball.
I never collected either when I was a kid; both were too expensive. Fast forward 25 years and you can still find unopened wax for under $20 a box (what an investment that turned out to be!). Here are the pros and cons of each set...
1991 Topps Stadium Club baseball
As Topps's first foray into super premium design and materials, 1991's TSC had an undeniably great design on both front and back. It was also the first Topps baseball product to be released in more than one series in 18 years (last multi-series Topps baseball set was in 1973). There was a card of Nolan Ryan wearing a tux. For no good reason. (Collection idea: Guys in tuxedoes. There are a ton of cards depicting players in formal wear, for some reason most of them produced in 1991.) The backs featured an inset of that player's Topps rookie card. This was especially great when that player's rookie card was his 1991 Topps Stadium Club card. My 12-year-old self really loved the crap out of this ripple in the spacetime continuum. The photography is fantastic, and with full-bleed photos without borders, getting a miscut card is a really big deal (no borders mean miscuts are obvious; an excellent prospect for miscut collectors like me).
There are few drawbacks to this set. Foremost are the head-scratching data splits on the card back. Second, because the cards are basically just 25-year-old color photos, the cards stick together. Also, there are only 600 cards in the whole set, which means the last of the scrubs won't have cards. Also, there are few rookies (Bagwell, Luis Gonzalez) and no Chipper Jones.
1992-93 Topps Stadium Club basketball
I only purchased two packs on these when I was a kid, since packs were insanely expensive. Now you can buy a jumbo box of series two for $40. The photography is exquisite. The backs feature "rookie cards," which is self-defeating, since Topps did not create basketball cards from 1983 to 1991. Conversely, the actual rookies in series two are great, as the 1992 draft was hobby-defining for the 1990s: Shaq, Alonzo Mourning, Christian Laettner, Jimmy Jackson, Harold Miner, Walt Williams; even Latrell Sprewell. The checklist is robust at 400 total cards, which is especially deep for a pre-Toronto/Vancouver NBA expansion set.
And series two featured the ridiculous "Beam Team" insert, which was meant to highlight a laser-light extravaganza shown at halftimes of select NBA games and instead became the hottest insert of the early 1990s. Man, how I wanted those cards! And I don't think I ever even actually saw one in real life, just in Beckett.
The drawbacks are similar to those of the baseball set: clumped card stock, data points that make no sense to little kids, and the aforementioned non-rookie rookie cards.
So now I leave it up to you...