Topps has given us some more images and information in regards to the highly anticipated 2013 Topps Heritage product that is due out March 6, 2013. Now I know it seems a long way off but these release dates have a way of sneaking up on us. Besides, it is NEVER too early to talk about Topps Heritage, my favorite modern brand of Topps cards!
Topps Heritage has been pretty predictable each year as what one would expect. Collectors are used to seeing the following: base set of 425 cards, plus 75 shortprints, plus the same four insert sets (New Age Performers, News Flashbacks, Baseball Flashbacks, and Then & Now) along with the same combos of Clubhouse Collection Relics and Real One Autographs year in and year out. Also, collectors are used to the same parallels of chrome, chrome refractors, and black bordered refractors.
However, Topps has teased the Heritage faithful with some changes in its 2013 lineup - and there are a lot of them. A few might not welcome the changes because Heritage is such a traditional product but I believe most people will once they see what Topps has in store this year.
Topps announced that the base set will once again consist of 425 base cards along with the standard 75 shortprints falling one per three packs.
Topps has also announced that there will be some interesting variation cards to be found. Action Image variation cards feature a different photo and there will be different colored variations for the Heritage hunter to find. The Action Image variation cards will only be found in hobby packs. There will also be error variations -- cards that will have errors on them and based on the same cards produced erroneously back in 1964. The last variation cards Topps has mentioned at this time are Houston Colt .45 throwback variations. Most likely Topps will have a Colt .45 variation card for every current 2013 Topps Heritage Houston Astros card that is made. The error variations and throwback variations can be found in both hobby and retail packs.
Base cards can be found in three different types of parallels. Collectors have really taken a liking to mini cards as found in base Topps as well as Topps Allen & Ginter. This will also be true in Heritage as mini cards will be found there as well. The second type of parallel are Topps Venezuelan cards. These cards are based on the popular regional issue from 1964. The last type of parallel are the typical chromes that collectors have gotten to know over the years. However, collectors take note as there is a change in the lineup! This year, in addition to the standard chromes, refractors, black refractors, Topps introduces for the first time in Heritage history...gold refractors! These gold refractors are serially numbered to just five copies each. I can't wait to see how these look.
In addition to the main four insert sets that collectors have been used to lately (New Age Performers, News Flashbacks, Baseball Flashbacks, and Then & Now), Topps has added a fifth insert type to its lineup -- Memorable Moments. This insert set will have 12 cards featuring the best highlights from the 2012 season.
Box toppers will include a three card advertising panel as well as 1964 Topps buybacks. One thing I wish Topps wouldn't do is to stamp the buy back cards with that gold foil 50th Anniversary stamp. Some of us are working on the 1964 Topps set and would like the chance at an original card without it being stamped. New this year for box toppers are jumbo toppers. I really like this idea. It would be nice if all 500 base cards were paralleled as jumbos. These type of cards would be great to take to a ballpark and get autographed. However, if you don't want to go hunt for an autographed version at a ballpark, you can find autographed jumbos limited to ten copies each inside sealed boxes of Heritage although they will be very difficult to find. Topps has announced that only ten people have signed jumbo box toppers. They also announced that twenty players have jumbo relic box toppers limited to 25 copies each.
It also looks as if the design for the 1964 Topps Giants is being used with current players. Although no information about these cards has been released yet, one can guess that there will be some type of insert set for collectors to complete. Here is the image that Topps released:
Buybacks, buybacks, buybacks! Topps has entered the marketplace to bring 1964 Topps to the Heritage community. Topps has repurchased several original Topps Tattoos and Bazooka Stamps to be inserted in packs.
Also, there will be a redemption card that is good for a COMPLETE 1964 Topps set. Now that is one redemption I'd like to have!
Most Heritage enthusiasts consider a master set to be: 425 base cards plus 75 shortprint cards and the insert sets. It is predicted that the 2013 Topps Heritage master set will be considered complete at 557 cards. However, there are some die-hard Heritage fans that consider a master set complete with all variation cards, relic cards, and chrome cards.
Speaking of relic cards, will 2013 Topps Heritage have relics? Well of course! Clubhouse Collection relics makes its annual return with their usual lineup of basic relic cards. However, new for Heritage Clubhouse Collection relics are gold parallels. These parallels will be serially numbered to 99 copies each.
There will also be dual relics as well. Another popular relic card type that made its debut in 2011 and will return this year are coin cards. This year's edition is called '64 Mint and features a 1964 coin embedded onto a card.
Stamp cards also make a return. Another relic card that will be new for this year are 1964 Topps Coin Relic cards. These cards will use original 1964 Topps Coins embedded on the cards. These will be serially numbered to five or fewer copies each.
Another nice addition to the relic lineup are Esteemed Heritage book cards. These ultra high-end cards showcase premium relic pieces such as patches, nameplates and bat knobs.
Scheduled to be in the set are Yoenis Cespedes, Red Schoendienst, Felix Hernandez, Evan Longoria, and Ernie Banks. It is unknown exactly how many different players will be in the Esteemed Heritage lineup but all cards will be serially numbered one of one.
Do you like autographs? Do you like Real One Autographs? Want to see more of these in 2013 than in the past few years? My answer is yes! Topps has announced that there will be Real One Autos in 2013 and that the odds of finding one are about twice as easier as they have been.
My guess is that you should find one in every four or five boxes. Last year, most case breakers including myself were reporting one auto per case on average. Topps announced that Real Ones are limited to just 64 copies and Dual Real Ones (cards with autographs from two players) are limited to 25 or less.
New for 2013, and suggested by me to Topps a few months ago, are Real One Triple Autos limited to five or less.
There will also be a checklist of cut autographs to find as well -- all one of ones. I find it very interesting to note that with the information given by Topps, it looks like the print runs of Real One autos could be changing. In the past if you got a blue inked Real One auto, it was most likely one of 200 although it was not serially numbered. If you got a red inked Real One Auto, it was serially numbered to the year the card was designed after. This year, Topps announced the print run to be 64 copies each. So will they be serially numbered? Will there be a red ink version? If they are all blue ink then maybe they are doing away with the red ink. My belief is that they are doing away with the red ink version, making them all blue ink. The cards, although they have a print run of 64, will not be serially numbered. This is just my opinion.
And for those of you who want autographs and relics, Topps doesn't disappoint. Autographed relics will include Clubhouse Collection cards and Baseball Flashbacks cards. Clubhouse Collection Duals are hobby only and feature two autos and two relic pieces serially numbered to ten or less although the image of the Clubhouse Collection Dual provided by Topps shows numbered to 25.
I'm excited to hear that the following people have made the preliminary autograph checklist: Ernie Banks, Jose Bautista, Jay Bruce, Madison Bumgarner, Andre Dawson, Todd Frazier, David Freese, Bob Gibson, Paul Goldschmidt, Dick Groat, Al Kaline, Juan Marichal, Starling Marte, Willie Mays, Will Middlebrooks, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson, CC Sabathia, Luis Tiant, Billy Williams, and Maury Wills.
2013 Topps Heritage could quite possibly be the best Heritage product ever although it would be very hard to beat 2001. However, it definitely seems that Topps is connecting more with their customers, listening to their ideas, and even implementing some of them! I will be buying quite a bit of Heritage and can not wait for March 6th to get here. Please continue to follow this daily blog which has an emphasis on vintage Topps and Topps Heritage cards. I welcome your comments and you can follow me on Twitter at @parker94ttu.