As anyone who is a follower of my blog knows, Topps Heritage is my favorite brand of modern sports cards. I like the way that Topps Heritage incorporates elements of vintage Topps sets with features of current year cards such as relics and autographs.
Topps recently released the sell sheets for 2013 Topps Heritage and I have to say that I like some of the changes Topps has made to this year's installment.
One thing that is a huge value added bonus as I look at the first page of the sell sheets is the fact that autographs will be twice as easy to find. In years past it seemed that autographs were getting tougher to find especially in 2009. Take a look at the odds of landing an autograph over the years:
2001 one in 142 packs
2002 one in 180 packs
2003 one in 188 packs
2004 one in 230 packs
2005 one in 332 packs
2006 one in 366 packs
2007 one in 327 packs
2008 one in 247 packs
2009 one in 560 packs
2010 one in 357 packs
2011 one in 303 packs
2012 one in 289 packs
This shows how much better the odds were during the first four years of Topps Heritage. You can see that starting in 2005, the autos get tougher to find. In 2009 and 2010, some of my fellow Heritage collectors jumped ship as they were tired of Topps Heritage becoming more and more watered down. However, with the announcement of finding autos at twice the rate, look for autographs in 2013 around one in 150 packs or so! :). Maybe I can convince these collectors that bailed out to give Topps Heritage one more shot.
On the second page of the sell sheet, one will notice something that has never been seen in Topps Heritage history -- the addition of Real One Triple Autographs! I suggested this to Topps in an article I sent to them for their review. I'm glad that Topps does indeed listen to their collector base. While Topps didn't include all of my ideas, maybe they will consider them for other upcoming products. Here is a link to my article I sent to Topps months ago:
If I Was In Charge of 2013 Topps Heritage
The Clubhouse Collection and Flashback relics and autographs look stunning while keeping the look of the 1964 Topps design. The cards shown here will be very limited and tough to pull from packs.
There are a couple of interesting twists that Heritage collectors have never seen before when it comes to relic cards. First, Clubhouse Collection Relics will now have a gold parallel version serially numbered to 99. Second, there is a new insert called Esteemed Heritage Book Cards in which Topps has made some special one of one cards featuring a premium piece of memorabilia such as a bat plate, bat knob, or a jumbo patch.
There have been a couple if noticable changes in regards to 2013 Topps Heritage inserts. First of all, preliminary checklists show that there will be 30 New Age Performers instead of the usual 15 card lineup. This will be very interesting to see how it affects the prices of master sets as the New Age Performers are the toughest insert set to put together since the odds of finding one are one in 15 packs. Now that it is a 30 card set, it should be twice as hard to complete. I wonder if people who presell master sets will realize this or not. Another thing that caught my eye was the inclusion of a redemption card for a complete 1964 Topps set. That would be great for people like me who are actively working on a 1964 Topps set to pull out of a pack, but since there is only one card, the odds are not in my favor. I wish Topps would have done the promotion I recommended to them listed here:
New! Graded Giveaway Promotion!! Find a 1964 Graded Giveaway code card, one per case, which can be entered in online to be redeemed for an original graded 1964 card. Every code card is a winner and every card in the set will be available as Topps has purchased several complete sets for this promotion. You will also be able to look online to see what cards have been redeemed and which ones are still out there to be found! (Cards will be graded at least a 5.)
Maybe they will do something similar next year for the 1965 Topps set although I'm only two cards away from completing that monster.
One thing I do not like in 2013 Topps Heritage that I didn't like for 2012 either were the image swap and color swap cards. I know that they are easy for Topps to make but I just don't like them. Same goes with error cards. I know that they say they want to produce these error cards to pay homage to the errors made back when the original Topps set came out, but error cards do not interest me. I didn't like them back in 1989 (remember Upper Deck Dale Murphy reverse negative?) and I still don't like them today. Here was my suggestion to Topps to do away with error cards and include them with something that collectors would actually enjoy collecting:
Base set – 510 cards
425 cards of the game’s best players on the 1964 Topps card design including League Leaders (1-12) and World Series Highlights (136-140) numbered 1-425. Collectors will also find 75 shortprint cards numbered 426-500 and seeded 1 per 3 packs.
• New for 2013!!! Super Shortprints – 10 cards – numbered 501-510 and consist of the top 10 players as voted on by the fans for the 2012 All-Star Game.
A couple things I do like that are included on this page of the sell sheet are the inclusion of mini cards and gold bordered chrome refractors. The mini cards need to be harder to find for their to be an interest in them. If they are seeded one per pack, I think a lot of collectors will be turned off by this as was I back in 2006 when Bowman put one mini in every Bowman Heritage pack. I would like to see Topps make the minis one per box and be sure that all 500 subjects are included. That would make for quite a chase among die hard Heritage collectors. The other thing I do like are the inclusion of gold bordered Chrome refractors. These cards are serially numbered to five copies each and will definitely add value to Heritage boxes if lucky enough to pull one. Because of how limited they are, these will probably be found one per 8-10 cases.
Now is the time for my yearly gripe about the box toppers. I simply do not like the fact that Topps chooses to put an ugly gold foil stamp embossed on original 1964 Topps cards. Some of us are working on the set and would love the opportunity to pull one of these cards WITHOUT the stamp. I would like to take a survey to find out how many people favor the gold foil stamp in the card. The percentage would have to pretty low, wouldn't it? Oh well, I like the idea that Topps is including jumbo cards patterned after the 1964 Topps Giants. Some of these will even have relic pieces and autographs. I wish Topps would have done this instead of the 1964 Topps Giants theme. I wish they would have made a jumbo parallel of all 500 base cards as a box topper. These cards would be collected by the Heritage faithful including me. These oversized cards would be great to take to a ballpark and get autographed in person in my opinion.
I hope you have enjoyed this little preview of 2013 Topps Heritage. The product streets on March 6th. I can't wait for it to get here as the release date for Heritage is one of my favorite days of the year. I would love to hear your thoughts and/or opinions about Topps Heritage. What do you like or don't like about it? Let me know!!