Thursday, August 18, 2011
2011 Topps Lineage, Topps Stickers, & The National
After successfully staying away from buying any packs of Topps cards since I finished the 2011 Heritage base set, I succumbed to my weakness once again. Fucking Topps. In my defense though they've actually released something interesting enough to warrant it.
Topps Lineage is one of the cooler sets I've seen in some time. It's a tad bit pricy ($3 for a pack of 8 cards, $5 for a rack pack of 14 cards, and $20 for a blaster box of 56 cards and a relic card), but luckily it's a small set with no short prints, so it's reasonably affordable.
The base design isn't anything special, but it's not bad either. It looks like something that would normally be used for a regular Topps set.
I really like the mix of Hall Of Famers, current stars, and prospects. It seems like a quarter of the set consists of about five teams, but overall it's a decent mix. The Tiger checklist is modest for a 200 card set.
43 Victor Martinez
105 Ty Cobb
143 Miguel Cabrera
156 Austin Jackson
187 Justin Verlander
The big draw here of course are the '75 Mini inserts. This is a fantastic tribute to an iconic set. It's a little bloated for an insert set (200 cards, same checklist as the base set) but otherwise it's a great throwback. Hell, most of the ones I've picked up are even off-center, just like the originals.....
The cloth stickers and Venezuelan cards are disappointing. I assumed the cloth stickers would have the 1977 design and the Venezuelan cards would have one of the 60's designs. Instead both have the same design as the base cards. It's not terrible with the cloth stickers, but the Venezuelan cards are completely indistinguishable from the base cards on the front. The only difference is on the back, where the copy is in Spanish and the numbering is slightly different. Yawn.
I'm ambivalent towards the 3D and Pop Up cards. It's odd that the 3D cards have all the elements of '69 Topps, yet are rearranged around the card. I'd like them a lot better if they'd used one of the Kellogg's designs or even the design of the 3D cards from the mid-90's.
Continuing with the throwback theme, Topps has thrown their hat back in the sticker ring again, more or less rebooting the line from where they started in 1981. It's a very nice, simple, clean design (with the names on the front now! No more having to turn the stickers over to tell the difference between Kiko Garcia and Lenn Sakata!!) The set is very basic: 9 players from each team, a 9 player HOF Foil subset, and foil logo stickers. If you were a fan of stickers in the 80's (as I was) then you'll be a fan of these. A pack of 8 is $1, so this should be a fairly inexpensive set to assemble.
64 Alex Avila
65 Austin Jackson
66 Magglio Ordonez
67 Brandon Inge
68 Jhonny Peralta
69 Brennan Boesch
70 Miguel Cabrera
71 Victor Martinez
72 Justin Verlander
298 Tigers Foil Logo
Of course there's a sticker book that can be purchased too. As an avid collector of stickers though, it would be nice if Ultra-Pro or somebody would come out with sheets for the stickers. They are just a bit too wide to put in the tobacco sheets. (Hey Ultra-Pro! If you're reading this, how 'bout making some pages for the 75 Topps Minis and 80's League Leader Minis while you're at it???)
Finally, the National was here in Chicago a few weeks ago. No, not the awesome band, but the National Sports Collectors Convention. It was quite possibly the most disappointing card show I've ever been to. I'd guess that close to half the dealers there were peddling graded cards from the 50's, 60's, & 70's. Probably another quarter were selling high-end memorbilia such as jerseys, helmets, bats, framed/autographed posters, etc. Most of the rest were either grading services, auction services, or tables piled sky high with overpriced recent unopened boxes. I found a whopping three tables that were selling 2011 baseball singles (and a couple of those folks thought they were selling 1952 baseball singles, but I digress.....)
As someone who almost exclusively collects Tigers cards, there was very little there to justify the $20 entrance fee 9without a single promo/giveaway this year) or the four hours spent walking around only to leave with a handful of Tigers cards and a bunch of $3 boxes of 80's Topps Stickers. The weekly Sunday card show in my neighborhood has more to offer me and the admission is usually free. If you're into big ticket collectibles, then the National is the place for you. Unfortunately, it's no longer the place for me. Which means, of course, that the next time it's in town I'll be back.....
All was not a wash at the National though. I added these two gems to my collection:
One last note. I've got relic cards of the Lineage '75 Minis of Andrew McCutchen (bat), Aramis Ramirez (gray jersey), and B. J.Upton (gray jersey), as well as an on card auto of Fausto Carmona (2008 Topps replica) if anybody might be interested in trading me a similar Tiger counterpart.