What was the first serial #'d subset cards produced?

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I'm still wondering if introducing numbered cards was a good thing for the hobby.Its going on 20 years now and it still doesn't make sense to me,especially when it comes to estimating values.
I wish they would release a base set and not inform anyone what the print runs are.Let the collectors enjoy finding out for themselves.The WWW has opened a new door and it would be cool to let the collectors decide what something is worth,..

Just my 2 cents,

According to Beckett.com:
1990 Upper Deck Jackson Heroes #AU1 Reggie Jackson AU/2500 $150

This ten-card standard-size set was issued as an insert in 1990 Upper Deck High Number packs as part of the Upper Deck promotional giveaway of 2,500 officially signed and personally numbered Reggie Jackson cards. Signed cards ending with 00 have the words "Mr. October" added to the autograph. These cards cover Jackson's major league career. The complete set price refers only to the unautographed card set of ten. One-card packs of over-sized (3 1/2" by 5") versions of these cards were later inserted into retail blister repacks containing one foil pack each of 1993 Upper Deck Series I and II. These cards were later inserted into various forms of repackaging. The larger cards are also distinguishable by the Upper Deck Fifth Anniversary logo and "1993 Hall of Fame Inductee" logo on the front of the card. These over-sized cards were a limited edition of 10,000 numbered cards and have no extra value than the basic cards.