Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's Here! 2010 Topps Heritage Review

Well folks, here it is. 2010 Topps Heritage. I was able to pick up 6 boxes today and I will share with you what I pulled and give my opinions on the product. Heritage is now in its 10th year. Started in 2001, topps has modeled their heritage set with a vintage set. They have gone in order starting with the landmark 1952 set (2001 Heritage). 2010 takes us to that magical year 1961. Obviously a big year for baseball. There are plenty of Ruth, Maris and Mantle to keep you collecting for a long time. Here are the results of my 6 boxes:

Short Prints: (1:3) Expected: 48 Pulled: 51
Base Card Dice Game Var. (1:72) Expected: 1 Pulled: 1 Adam Jones
Base Card Chase '61 (1:435) Expected: 0 Pulled: 1 Babe Ruth
Framed Topps Stamps (1:193) Expected: 0 Pulled: 2
Base Chrome (1:5) Expected: 28 Pulled: 27
Base Chrome Refractors (1:18) Expected: 8 Pulled: 6
Base Chrome Black Refractor (1:167) Expected: 0 Pulled: 1 Aaron Hill
New Age Performer (1:15) Expected: 10 Pulled: 7
Then & Now (1:15) Expected 10 Pulled 8
Flashbacks (1:12) (1:12) Expected: 24 Pulled 25
Clubhouse Relic (1:29) Expected 5 Pulled: 4
Real One Autograph (1:357) Expected: 0 Pulled: 0
Real One Autograph Red Ink (1:586) Expected: 0 Pulled: 1 Raul Ibanez

The Base Cards:

The base set is what always drives topps heritage. This is a set builders set and that means all the cards must look great. I think the cards for the most part are beautiful. The pictures are mostly portrait shots but that is keeping close to the original set. The colors are a bit washed out but I think topps did a great job recreating that old look. Almost all the big name free agents are pictured with their new teams. The card backs list the players complete stats NICE.

Grade B+

The Short Prints

The short prints are once again easy to pick out as they have lighter backs. These fall usually as the last card in the pack. There are also two variation sets that we know of, the first base cards of Mantle, Maris and Ruth (see above). The second is a dice game variation. These cards also have light backs and have the dice game on the back. They will be inserted not as the last card in the pack but further in. At 1:3 packs you have a lot of work to do on the base short prints. Collation was very poor. Triples of some cards.

Grade B-

Insert Sets

Once again 4 insert sets make their familiar appearance in Topps Heritage. The New Age performer set will prove to be the toughest at 15 cards. Also the popular Then and Now set and two flashback sets.The player selection is excellent, even though
Whitey Ford makes an appearance on all the Then & Now cards which feature pitchers.

Grade A


Always a popular set, the chromes are back. This time the base cards have a white border, so it will be much easier to distinguish them from the refractor. The black chromes are once again drop dead gorgeous. Odds for the chromes have been improved over the past few years even though it didn't appear that way in my break. Refractors should fall 3 per every two boxes, but I received 1 per box only.

Grade A


At 6 boxes I did not expect to pull ink, but I did just 30 packs into the rip. It was a beautiful Raul Ibanez card. This is a curious card, it appeared in the 2009 update set but was a redemption and topps has said that Ibanez didn't sign, yet here he is in 2010 as a live autograph. You have to wonder why topps isn't honoring those 2009 redemptions. The one thing lacking initially, is that topps gave no autograph checklist. It appears that Musial and Yaz did not make the set...disappointing, but other surprises have been ink from Frank Robinson and Juan Marichal. Autographs are on card and beautiful, you can't ask for anything more....well better names would help, but this is MUCH improved over 2009.

Grade B+

Extra Goodies

There are extras, those cards that pull tougher than the box odds. Topps has thrown in a stamp set. These are cards that feature two stamps of current players in them. These are framed and are numbered to just 50. It appears initially that the set is very big even though they are hard to pull. There are also box topper panels that use the stamp theme. These can be pulled one in every other box next to the more familiar ad panels. Original cards can also be pulled as box toppers. I pulled 2 of them. They are again stamped. Topps has also put in those rarer cards, dual autographs and multi game used cards. Expect big money if you pull those. These extras make heritage a fun rip for the high roller. They are supposed to come in addition to the one Gu or Auto per box, even though one of my boxes didn't have a hit in it (but that box contained a black refractor and a stamp card in it).

UPDATE: Early box rips have shown that some boxes will not contain the GU/Auto while other boxes will have multiple.

Grade A

Those disappointed with the effort topps gave last year will be happy to know that 2010 topps heritage is a much improved product. It is still not as good as the hey day of heritage 01-03, but there is plenty to collect in this stuff. I have not looked through all my cards for variations, but there are bound to be a few. The 61 chase variations are easy to spot as they are lighter backed. These are the first and maybe only cards of Ruth and Maris and the only base heritage card of Mantle. Expect those to be hot hot hot.

Check back often here for more information regarding 2010 Heritage. It is certainly worth a buy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Thrill of the chase

Few things mean more to baseball fans than the dying days of cold winter who spawn into warm spring mornings. Spring is not only time for birth, but rebirth, when all the memories, good and bad, are gone. When everyone's team is in first place. Topps Heritage always ushers in the spring and this year is going to prove to be very exciting. Mostly because topps has leaked very little about what is actually going to be in 2010 Topps Heritage. In a few days, my blogosphere friends, the hunt will be on! I am anticipating a Wednesday release of topps heritage. I will be hopefully getting mine then if everything goes well, that gives us 2 days to get ready.

If you are a player collector you will want to get busy early. There will be a fury of Heritage opened the first week and a half, many of those collectors will be looking to make a profit early, so keep your eye out for that key card or you might miss it. Many of the people who buy Heritage on ebay put them straight into personal collections, never to see the light of day again! Rarer dual autographed cards will command high prices, so watch out. You should have a good shot at the chrome player "set" of a certain player, that is one chrome, one refractor and one black refractor, even though the latter of the three will cost you as the print run will be only 61. Also be expected to pay well for the red ink autographs...and remember, they are all live this year, no redemptions!

The largest group of hunters will of course be set collectors, not only master set builders but chrome and refractors set builders. Finding a group of traders is the best way to complete your sets. I'll suggest the Freedom Card Board, there will be plenty of traders there ready to help you out with your needs. The great thing about heritage is there is very little waste, someone will be looking for those chromes and short prints, and even the box toppers and stamps. If you go the conservative route and buy off ebay, be prepared to pay a premium early, but prices will come down later on, of course buying off ebay takes the thrill of the pack rip out, but sometimes finding the set for that great price can be exciting also. Also be real careful, those high priced super short prints will be flying (and trading) under the radar the first week of the release. Those who study the set and do their homework can sometimes find these ahead of everyone else and if you do, you will make a killing. (hint: don't forget the checklist cards!)

The last part of the hunt will happen in a another week or so...the retail hunt- searching the targets and walmarts for retail. In the past those early packs have been chock-full of goodies. I have come to the conclusion a long time ago that early retail packs have the best odds for pulling the best cards and after a month or so the blaster boxes and packs are really dead. Some of my best autograph cards have come from these early target packs.

Do you smell it heritage dogs? That is the smell of gum. Now go get it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Topps Heritage Preview

2010 Topps Heritage marks the 10th year of this very popular product. I was able to ask Clay Luraschi, who is director of product development at topps, a few questions regarding the future release.

HK: Hi Clay, thanks for your time. I would like to start with a little history. Recently 2001 Topps Heritage was named the set of the decade. Can any one person take credit for the Heritage idea or was it a group effort, and why do you think it has been so popular for all these years?

CL: The concept of the Heritage brand was definitely an idea spawned by the team. I remember it clearly. We were celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Topps baseball cards that year and we thought it would be fitting to recreate the 1952 set. I remember the group having very deep discussions about how the retouching and the small things (black and red backs, short prints, etc) would make this set great. To have the set of the decade is a great honor for Topps and something we are very proud of. The Heritage brand is one of those brands that the group truly loves to work on. It's out history!

HK: One of the driving forces behind the popularity of heritage are the beautiful on card autographs. How far in advance do you have to work to get those into packs as live cards? Will Musial, Yaz, and Gibson be in packs?

CL: On card-autographs in general are tough to coordinate, because there are so many hurdles that can come up in the process. It can sometimes be even more difficult for Topps, because we witness every single autograph session in person. We are the only company that does that. We start way out with Heritage compared to other products, because we track down a ton of retired players. As you know, we do as many autographs as we can of the players who had their last card in that particular year. And some of these guys are hard to track down. But at the end, the player enjoys it (because many times this is the first card deal they've received since that last Topps card) and the collector enjoys it.

HK: 2010 Topps Heritage will be modeled after the 1961 Topps set, that was obviously a huge year in the history of baseball. What kinds of cards will you be putting into the product to commemorate that season?

CL: Well, the big story in 1961 as we all know is when Roger Maris and Mickey chased after Ruth's 60 HR record. There is a major insert playing tribute to all three players in 2010 Topps Heritage.

HK: One of the most exciting parts of ripping into a fresh box of Topps Heritage the past few years has been the prospect of pulling what has been called, super short prints. Should we be keeping our eyes peeled again this year?

CL: With Heritage, you should always keep your eyes peeled! Like I said, we really enjoy putting this product together and we have so much fun doing so. From selecting the photos and matching them up with the original card numbers to to trying to recreate them as close to the original as's a challenge, but we love what we do. Thanks

2010 Topps Hertiage is shipping to card stores now!