2016 Topps Heritage releases on March 2nd so I thought it would be a good idea to give a detailed preview of my favorite brand of baseball cards. 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! The 2016 Topps Heritage series is patterned after the iconic design from 50 years ago -- 1967 Topps. Does anyone remember seeing these wax boxes on store shelves? Well, back then you could buy a box for a mere $1.20. Today, if you can even find one of these in mint condition with all 24 unopened packs, it would cost you around $20,000!
Topps Heritage has been pretty predictable each year as to what one should 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 Now/Then) 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 although recently Topps has added gold refractors numbered to five to make things a little more interesting.
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. Rookie stars are base cards that pair two rookies on the same card. This is patterned after what Topps did back in 1967 with two other famous rookie cards!
Base cards can be found in seven different types of parallels: Mini, Red Back, Chrome, Chrome Refractor, Black Chrome Refractor, Gold Chrome Refractor, and Purple Chrome Refractors. Collectors have really taken a liking to mini cards which became extremely popular in Topps Allen & Ginter. This will also be true in Heritage as mini cards will be found there as well. Mini cards usually are serially numbered to 100 copies each and I would believe that to be the case this year. The second type of parallel are red back cards. All 500 base cards will be paralleled with a red back version. This version will be tough to find in packs and if history repeats itself, there will be 10 copies of each base card available. Other types of base parallels are the typical chromes that collectors have gotten to know over the years -- Chrome (#ed to 999), Chrome Refractors (#ed to 567), Black Refractors (#ed to 67), and the recently added Gold Refractors (#ed to 5). Gold refractors can only be found in hobby boxes. Purple refractors are like an added bonus for case busters. One box per case will have what is called a "hot box" in which each pack will have a purple refractor card. These cards are not serially numbered like the other kinds of refractors are. Purple refractors can be found in both hobby and retail.
Topps has also announced that there will be some interesting variation cards to be found. Action Image variation cards feature a different photo and will only be found in hobby packs. There will be 25 cards in the checklist and these are usually found about one per box although exact odds have not yet been released. There will also be team name color variations -- cards that will have different colors to make them stand out more and will be different looking than the regular issue team cards. There are also 25 cards in this checklist and are historically about twice as hard to pull in comparison to the Action Image variations. Also, Topps will have 20 Throwback Uniform Variation cards. These cards will feature star players wearing a uniform from the past. Most likely Topps will have some unannounced super short prints for collectors to chase. Super short prints are very scarce and are highly collected by those who think they must have them in order for their Heritage set to be complete.
There will also be four main insert sets that collectors have been used to lately. They are: New Age Performers, News Flashbacks, Baseball Flashbacks, and Now & Then. The New Age Performers insert set will contain 20 cards and has historically been the toughest basic insert to set to complete based on the larger number of cards (20). These cards will feature modern day players. The News Flashbacks and Baseball Flashbacks insert sets will have ten cards in each set and will take us back in time to 1967 and give us a highlight from that year.
The Now & Then inserts (which have been called Then & Now for many years until recently) contain 10 cards in the set. Each card will pair up a current player with one that played in 1967 and usually will compare the stats of each player.
Will 2016 Topps Heritage have relic cards? Well of course! Clubhouse Collection relics makes its annual return with their usual lineup of basic relic cards. Generally, the lineup is rather weak as far as player selection goes but the checklist is rather large. Plus, for the fourth year in a row, Clubhouse Collection relics can be found in a gold parallel. These parallels will be serially numbered to 99 copies each.
There will also be dual relics as well. These cards will be numbered to just 67 copies each. And if this isn't enough for you, you can also look for triple relics numbered to 25 and quad relics numbered to 10.
Another popular relic card type that made its debut in 2011 and will return again this year are coin cards. This year's edition is called '67 Mint and features a 1967 coin embedded onto a card. Coin cards are only found in hobby packs. Collectors can find the following varieties: Nickel (serially numbered to 15), Dime (serially numbered to 10), Quarter (serially numbered to 5), and Half Dollar (serially numbered to 1).
And for all you philatelists out there, don't feel left out with these coin cards. Your hobby is covered to in the form of stamp cards. Stamp cards will feature players and stamps on the same card. Serially numbered to just 50 copies each.
Do you like autographs? Do you like Real One Autographs? Want to see more of these in 2016 than in the past few years? My answer is yes! I would love for Topps to include one autograph per box. Maybe one day, Topps can make this a reality. I am very interested to see the final autograph checklist and hope it is a strong lineup with several in the set.
My guess is that you should find one in every four boxes or so. Topps announced that Special Edition Real Ones (also referred to as Red Ink Autographs) are limited to just 67 copies each and Dual Real Ones (cards with autographs from two players) are limited to 25 or less. There will also be Triple Real ones numbered to just five copies each. Thankfully, every autograph found in Topps Heritage is ON CARD meaning there are no cheap sticker autographs. After all, Topps Heritage is all about Real One autographs! It is yet to be seen how many redemption cards will be in this product however Topps has done a pretty good job lately in cutting down the number of redemption cards.
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. Both of these autographed relic cards will be serially numbered to just 25 copies each. Clubhouse Collection Duals are hobby only and feature two autos and two relic pieces serially numbered to ten. There will also be a checklist of celebrity cut autographs and baseball cut autographs to find as well -- all one of ones.
Recently, I found these pics of 2016 Topps Heritage Real One Autograph cards being signed. Check them out! So now we know of two rookie cards that will be on the checklist. I can't wait to see what legends and stars will make the full checklist. It would be awesome to see a Carl Yastrzemski autograph. After all, 1967 was a huge year for Carl and the Triple Crown!
One thing I look forward to are the "box toppers". Box toppers are like little bonuses that Topps put on top of the packs inside each sealed hobby box. In the past I have pulled some pretty good ones including an Ernie Banks autograph. This year, box toppers will include a three card advertising panel as well as 1967 Topps buybacks. One thing I wish Topps wouldn't do is to stamp the buy back cards with that gold foil 50th Anniversary stamp. I say this every year but I guess I am in the minority. Some of us are working on the 1967 Topps set and would like the chance at an original card without it being stamped.
Another type of box topper are the 1967 Topps Posters. There will be 20 of these Topps Posters that mimic the 1967 design. Each poster will be serially numbered to 50 copies each. It would be neat if there was am autographed version! Wait! There is! Up to 10 of these 20 posters will be autographed and serially numbered to just 10 copies each! And the last type of box topper are the 1967 Topps Punch-Outs. What sounds like a Mike Tyson boxing card is actually a card styled after the 1967 Topps Punch-Out game. There will be 20 subjects with a jumbo patch relic version serially numbered to 25 and an autograph version serially numbered to 10 copies each. Also, there will be an autographed, jumbo patch version also serially numbered to 10 copies each.
Most Heritage enthusiasts consider a master set to be: 425 base cards plus 75 shortprint cards and the four basic insert sets. It is predicted that the 2016 Topps Heritage master set will be considered complete at 550 cards. However, there are some die-hard Heritage fans that consider a master set complete with all variation cards, relic cards, and chrome cards. I hope that 2016 Topps Heritage is one of the best Heritage products 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 2nd to get here. Please continue to follow this 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.
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