Topps Heritage will be live at the end of this week on Friday, March 7th. Prior to then, Topps is releasing several images to entice collectors to buy their product. This time of year for me is like being a kid on Christmas morning -- a tradition unlike any other.
The design of 2014 Topps Heritage is one of my favorites. It ranks right up there to 1952 and 1957 in my opinion. I like the large pennants that feature the logos and team names. Here is a sample of a 2014 Topps Heritage card:
There will be 425 base cards in the set with an additional 75 cards being inserted one in every two packs as short prints for a total of 500 cards. Base variation cards are back and this year offers more variations than last year. Error cards will be intentionally made to reproduce the errors that were made for the 1965 Topps set.
Back in 1965, Topps made a few errors that went uncorrected and a couple of cards had minor variations. Here is a list of those cards. Clicking on the card will direct you to eBay so you can see what these errors are selling for.
1965 Topps #43 Mike Shannon-- UER: Name in red on front
1965 Topps #62 Jim Kaat UER: Name misspelled as "Katt" on front
1965 Topps Checklist #79a Checklist 1-88 VAR: #61 is Cannizzaro
1965 Topps Checklist #79b Checklist 1-88 VAR: #61 is C. Cannizzaro
1965 Topps #160 Roberto Clemente UER: Pittsburgh misspelled as "Pittsburfh" on back
1965 Topps #442 Vic Power UER: DOB 1931, should be 1927
1965 Topps #462 Lew Krausse UER: photo actually Pete Lovrich
1965 Topps #472 Don Pavletich UER: Listed as a pitcher
1965 Topps #508a Checklist 507-598 VAR: large print on front
1965 Topps #508b Checklist 507-598 VAR: small print on front
1965 Topps #519 Bob Uecker UER: Posed as left-hander
1965 Topps #526 Athletics Rookies (Rene Lachemann, Johnny Odom, Skip Lockwood, Jim Hunter) UER: Jim Hunter misspelled as "Tim" on back
1965 Topps #532 Hector Lopez UER: DOB 1932, should be 1929
Three other types of base variation cards in 2014 Topps Heritage include throwback uniform, action image, and logo variations. Here is most likely a throwback uniform base variation card:
In my opinion, I would like to see Topps cut back on the amount of these types of cards. They do not cost much to make, which is why Topps likes for collectors to go after these. They are what I call “gimmick” cards. Want to know my definition of a gimmick card? A gimmick card is a card that costs relatively nothing to make in hopes that collectors will shell down big bucks on product for a chance to get one. These variation cards drive Heritage loyalists crazy when trying to build master sets due to the number and scarcity of them. In fact, I know of some people that have stopped collecting Heritage altogether because the challenge of a master set has been too hard to complete due to the number of chase cards out there. I remember the days when a Topps Heritage set included variations in the SP set. Now, in addition to the 75 SP cards, there are several different variation cards not to mention the blue and red cards you can find at Walmart and Target.
Topps Heritage collectors will find the four usual insert sets that they are accustomed to: Then & Now, New Age Performers, Baseball Flashbacks, and News Flashbacks.
In 2014, there will be two more insert sets to collect in 1st Draft inserts and Topps Embossed inserts. Here's a preview of what those cards will look like:
Just as Topps has done with regular Topps, Topps Heritage has increased the number of different parallel cards over the years. For 2014, Topps Heritage will include: base cards, chrome cards, chrome refractor cards, black refractor cards, gold refractor cards, black backs, and mini base variations. Here is a picture of a mini card and a black refractor card:
I believe that the more variations there are the more likely you are going to drive set collectors away. With so many different variations to collect, the definition of what constitutes a master set has become puzzling. It used to be that a master set consisted of the base set, short prints, and the four main insert sets. Nowadays, collectors aren’t so sure. Topps Heritage master sets have become increasingly difficult to complete each year due to the number of different parallels and variations that exist. So much so that some Heritage enthusiasts have given up the chase. Although player collectors like the variety, I believe that Topps Heritage was built with set collectors in mind and it seems lately Topps is losing focus of that.
It is my opinion that Topps Heritage should cut down on the number of inserts, get rid of the gimmick cards, and focus more on what collectors want more of – relics and autographs.
2014 Topps Heritage will have a nice offering of relics and autographs. The Clubhouse Collection relics are back and I have to admit that this is my favorite Clubhouse Collection design from any year.
The Clubhouse Collection relics will also have a gold parallel serially numbered to 99 just like they did last year. Dual Clubhouse Collection Relics will be numbered to 65 copies.
New for 2014 will be the inclusion of Triple Clubhouse Collection Relics which will be numbered to 25
and Quad Clubhouse Collection Relics numbered to 10.
There will be plenty of different autograph types to chase after in 2014. In addition to Real One Autographs (and most likely red ink autographs),
collectors can find Dual Real One Autographs numbered to 25 each and Triple Real One Autographs numbered to 5 each. Combining relics and autographs together, collectors can chase after Clubhouse Collection Autograph Relics numbered to 25.
There will also be Clubhouse Collection Dual Autograph Relics numbered to 10 as well as Flashback Autograph Relics numbered to 25.
Boxtoppers, also known as boxloaders, will be found inside every hobby box of 2014 Topps Heritage. Collectors can find three-card panels with advertisements on the back. Back in 1965, these panels were used to help promote the sale of Topps baseball cards. Collectors can also find original cards embossed (defaced) with a gold 50th Anniversary stamp. I have contacted Topps in the past about stamping these original cards and have asked them to survey their customer base to see if collectors would prefer not to have these cards stamped. I feel very strongly against the embossing of these original cards. I would much prefer to find a vintage card that's in it's original condition. The last type of boxtopper are oversized baseball player cards. These cards can also be found in relic form numbered to 25 and autographed numbered to 10.
2014 Topps Heritage will also have some pretty expensive pulls although very hard to find:
1965 Topps Set Redemption Card -- this card can be redeemed for the complete set of 1965 Topps cards.
Book Cards -- there were be a few book cards that will feature either a bat knob, patch, or a bat plate. These cards will be 1/1's.
Cut Signatures -- these rare cards will feature the cut signature of a famous person. Each card will be a one of one.
Here's a look back at the "gimmick" cards that collectors have clamored over beginning in 2006.
1) 2006 Topps Heritage #255 Alex Gordon Cutout – this card was slated for production but immediately stopped due to the fact that Topps “discovered” Alex Gordon hadn’t yet played in an MLB game and thus Topps was not allowed to produce cards of him. Topps cut out a big square in all of these cards during production so they did make their way into circulation with a hole in the card although very short printed. These cards routinely sell for around $200.
Whether this was an intentional marketing strategy or an honest mistake by Topps, we will never know. Intentional or not, Topps saw the success of what this error craze created so they created more errors for master set collectors to collect. This card is what I call the original Topps Heritage gimmick card.
2) 2008 Topps Heritage #201 Johan Santana and #440 John Smoltz -- these two "error" cards fueled the sales of 2008 Topps Heritage. Again, they don't cost much to make yet for some reason collectors like to collect them. I remember seeing these cards sell for over $200 each back in 2008. A check of eBay shows that a Santana error recently sold for $22.50.
Error cards in Topps Heritage have historically not held their value over time. This is another reason why I would like to make a push for more autographs as those tend to hold their value and even appreciate in value.
3) Coin Cards – Topps is continuing the use of coin cards in the upcoming Heritage release. These coin cards were neat when they first came out in 2011 but I think that these coin cards have stayed around too long and need to be discontinued. Topps is “banking” on hoping that collectors don’t realize that 1965 was the first year that dimes, quarters, and half dollars are not made from 90% silver as they have been in year’s past. Coins from 1965 are very common. In fact, if you grabbed a handful of dimes and quarters, chances are you will probably find at least one from 1965. I will admit that half dollars from 1965 are harder to find because there is 40% silver content in them but not as much as in 1964.
The reason why I bring this up is that I hope that collectors realize that these are gimmick cards. Guess what the nickels and dimes from 1965 are worth? If you answered face value then you are correct. However, glue a 1965 coin to a card and limit the production of it to 15 or less and collectors will put down a lot of “coin” for one.
4) Stamp Cards -- Very similar to coin cards, these do not cost much to make but some of these go for quite a bit due to scarcity.
5) Beatles Buybacks -- these cards were selling for over $100 each when first released. They are very hard to find in packs. However, if collectors would consider that all this card is simply a 1965 Beatle card, which can be found for a dollar or two, with a gold foil stamp, maybe they would reconsider putting down so much money on one.
Topps likes these kind of inserts because of the low cost and hopes that you will too. They are counting on it with 2014 Topps Heritage as they have included the following Buyback cards: Hot Iron Transfers, Gilligan's Island, Flash Gordon, and King Kong. C'mon Topps! King Kong in Heritage???? That's so A & G-esque!
As a long time Heritage collector, I am looking forward to Friday. As much as I dislike the gimmick cards, I hope I find several. That way, I can sell them and buy cards I want. The market shows that people live the gimmick cards and as long as people keep buying them, I'm sure Topps will keep making them.
Thank you for reading my blog. I would like to hear your comments!