Just like last year – I’m in a temporary break from my primary project. I went through an overview of the 1963 Topps set and then did a comparison of cards from that set and this year’s Heritage set. Here is the overview for the 2012 Topps Heritage set.
- Subsets: League Leaders (#1-10), World Series (#142-148), Rookie Parade (19 4-player cards throughout), Multi-player specials (11 throughout), Team Cards (12 throughout), Managers (18 throughout), Topps All-Star Rookies (10 throughout). The subsets in the heritage set mirror the subsets in 1963 Topps. Topps put the same trophy cup – a much larger one than this year’s base set has – on the All-Star Rookie player cards. Additionally, cards #426-500 are short-printed; they are inserted at a rate of 1:3 per hobby or retail packs. There are also 6 checklists numbered separately from the set.
- Set Design: The design is exactly the same as the ’63 Topps set, with a colorful picture in the top 80% of the card and a black and white inset photo in a circle to the bottom right. The backs are yellow with a cartoon on the back when there is room. The Heritage card stock is noticeably thicker, though.
- Packs: Topps issued the set in 1 series. The short-print of the last 75 cards mimics the seven-series 1963 release, where the high numbers are generally considered more difficult to find – and some of the cards from that series were themselves short-printed. Cards are available in 9-card hobby packs that come 24 to a box, 9-card retail packs ($2.99), and 16-card jumbo packs ($4.99). In addition to being purchased “loose”, retail packs can be found in 8-pack blasters ($19.99). Evan Longoria was featured on the front of the retail packs.
- Rookies: Matt Moore is really the only key rookie card as of now from this set.
- Hall of Fame: None after there were 3 in the Babe Ruth subset from last year’s Heritage.
- First non-active player: Carl Yastrzemski was the last active player from the 1963 set. Last year, I did the reverse of that – Manny Ramirez was the first player out of baseball. But now he’s back. There isn’t really an equivalent of this in 2012, but Chipper Jones has since announced his retirement at the end of this season.
- Variations: Topps didn’t have the “green tint” printing errors from the year before to copycat for this year’s Heritage set. They did do some pretty interesting variations that play with the 1963 design, however. First up, they created 25 image swap variations where the black and white image from the inset is swapped with the regular photo. The Image Swap variations have a relic version of the cards, where the relic is inset into the circle in the bottom right. There are also 25 color variations where the background color from the inset photo is swapped with the background color where the player name – obviously these are a little harder to tell by just looking at the card! There are also 10 variations mirroring errors or variations from the 1963 set. These are extremely rare. There are als0 2 sets of 25 retail-only variations. There are Wal-Mart Blue Border and Target Red Border variations. Topps took cards that had a red or blue bottom border and made the whole border that color. Finally, there is a 7-card “JFK Story” that is designed the same as the World Series subset. There is a relic version of the JFK Story subset that has a 13¢ stamp inset into the card. Additionally, there are 49 unique JFK Story ’63 Mint cards. Each one will have an embedded JFK Silver Half-Dollar – one for each year these coins were issued (1964-2012).
- Image Swap (no stated odds – these appear in every ~2 boxes from what I’ve read and seen)
- Color Swap (no stated odds – appear ~1 per case from what I’ve read)
- Error Variants (no stated odds – appear ~1 per 6 cases from what I’ve read)
- Wal-Mart Blue Border (1:8 – Retail only)
- Target Red Border (1:8 – Retail only)
- Image Swap Relics (no stated odds – #/63)
- JFK Story (no stated odds – appear ~1-2 per case from what I’ve read, Hobby only)
- JFK Story Stamp Collection (1:2,950 – #/63, Hobby only)
- JFK Story (1:26,520 – #/1, Hobby only)
The box resembles the 1963 box, with a photo of a batter (in this case, Evan Longoria) and a catcher waiting for the pitch. The box has the words “Baseball Trading Cards” but no bubble gum reference like the 1963 box. The sides have a couple of other action shots from a distance, while one side has a Longoria (just like Stan Musial) advertisement for the product, claiming “Topps Baseball is the finest series ever”. Note: odds below are for Hobby packs, unless otherwise noted.
Topps also issued the standard parallel sets consisting of 100 cards from the base set with their own numbering with a “HP” prefix. I guess that stands for Heritage parallel? Last year there were 100 more Heritage cards inserted into the Topps Chrome product – I’m guessing they’ll do this again.
- Chrome – 100 cards (1:11 – #/1963)
- Chrome Refractors – 100 cards (1:37 – #/563)
- Chrome Black-Bordered Refractors– 100 cards (1:329 – #/63)
Heritage again had a number of inserts that cover events from 1963 and the lineage of today’s players with players from then. Additionally, Topps issued 46 different Stick-Ons of current players and framed a limited number 1963 Topps Stick-Ons bought from the secondary market.
- Baseball Flashbacks – 10 cards (1:12)
- News Flashbacks – 10 cards (1:12)
- Then and Now – 10 cards (1:15)
- New Age Performers – 15 cards (1:15)
- Topps Stick-Ons – 46 stickers (1:8)
- Framed Buyback Topps Stick-Ons – 46 stickers (1:13,120; #’d – Hobby only)
There are 2 different hobby box-toppers collectors can pull. Every hobby box has one of the 2 sets below:
- Advertising Panels (1 of 2 Hobby boxes)
- Just like the 1963 advertising panels, this panel has 3 player cards on the front and promotional material on two of the card backs. Where the 1963 panels had a Stan Musial card back on the third card (regardless of the front card), this year’s has Topps spokesman Evan Longoria.
- 50thAnniversary Buyback (1 in 2 Hobby boxes)
- Every other box has a buyback of an original 1963 Topps card set. These cards are stamped with a 50th anniversary logo. The best card in this whole set can be found here.
Relics and Autographs
Back in 2012 are ’63 mint cards, which contain a coin minted in 1963. Clubhouse Collection is back from previous years of Heritage with a couple of variations as the primary Relic insert set. Topps also issued Real One autos of players from 1962 and current players.
- ’63 Mint Coins – 20 cards (1:288 – Hobby only)
- Clubhouse Collection – 71 cards (1:29)
- Clubhouse Collection Dual – 5 cards (1:9,280 – #/63)
- Clubhouse Collection Autograph – 10 cards (1:11,850 – #/25)
- Clubhouse Collection Dual Autograph – 6 cards (1:14,833 – #/5 or #/10, Hobby only)
- Flashback Stadium Relic – 12 cards (1:1,459)
- Flashback Autograph – 5 cards (1:23,480 – #/25)
- Flashback Autograph Stadium Relic – 5 cards (1:23,480 – #/25)
- Real One Autograph – 51 cards (1:289)
- Real One Autograph Special Edition – 51 cards (1:738 – #/63, Hobby only)
- Real One Dual Autograph – 9 cards (1:5,215 – #/25, Hobby only)
- 1963 Cut signatures – 10 cards (1:250,000 – #/1)