Completed insert set – 2012 Topps Heritage New Age Performers

8 10 2013

This is my 4th insert set completed from 2012 Topps Heritage. I’ve knocked off both Flashbacks sets, Then & Now, and now New Age Performers.  I’ve still got 1 card to finish off the JFK insert set and then about 8 cards to finish the stick-on set – then my 2012 Heritage “Master set” will be complete!  Getting pretty close!

Info about the set:

Set description:  “15 stars of today who are setting the new standard″.  The front shows a current Major League star with a red lighting effect in the background.  The back features similar to that of the 1963 Topps set as far as color scheme and font.  There is a write-up to the right that compares the “New Age” player to someone who was a star 50 years ago (i.e., Jeter is compared to Nellie Fox), with a few selected stats to the left underneath a caricature of the player.

Set composition:  15 cards, 1:15 odds.

Hall of Famers:  None – as they’re all active players.

How I put the set together:

3 cards from my 2 hobby boxes

1 card from a retail blister pack

8 cards from trades

3 cards from Check Out My Cards

Thoughts on the set:  Love the design – the way the red background is done, it really seems to highlight the player as if they’re the star of the show.  At the same time, it has a groovy effect that seems appropriate for a set meant to throw back to the 1960’s.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it – but for a number of these players, Topps used the same photo as they did for the 2012 flagship Topps set.  I didn’t check every card, but I can tell it’s true for Pujols, Jeter, Braun and Chipper.

Card that completed my set: #NAP-CL – Cliff Lee

I got the last card as part of my recent COMC purchase.

Highest book value: #NAP-DJ – Derek Jeter

Best card (my opinion): #NAP-RH – Roy Halladay

Halladay’s wind-up goes really well with the design – it seems like many of these cards could be stills for a commercial for the All-Star game or something.  He’s compared to Warren Spahn on the back, too – an all-time great hurler who doesn’t get enough mention!

Best card (my opinion): #NAP-JV – Joey Votto

The only Reds card, but it sure is a nice one!  Votto’s write-up on the back is interesting, too.  It compares him to Frank Robinson, who was a full-fledged star for the Reds just like Votto.  It highlights how the Reds had some young stars back then (Vada Pinson and “the future all-time hits leader”) while the Reds have young stars like Jay Bruce to surround Votto.

2012 Heritage New Age Performers

2012 Heritage New Age Performers_0001





Completed set – 2012 Topps Heritage

27 06 2013

I finished my 2012 Heritage set in the Check Out My Cards purchase earlier this month.  This is obviously a “big fish” as far as completed sets go – with 75 SPs and 425 regular cards, it took me about a year and 3 months to wrap this guy up.  Surprisingly, I actually completed this one up about a month quicker than the previous year; I finished 2011 Heritage up in early August 2012.

I haven’t completed the “master set” yet, though I am fairly close on that, too.  I’m 12 cards away from the sticker set and have 1 JFK and 1 New Age Performer left for those insert sets.

Whenever I do finish up the master set, I’ll repost this with the insert information at the bottom.  It’s worth noting that I’m including the Update portion of this set.  It’s sort of sequentially numbered, except Topps screwed up and numbered it from 576 to 675, which skips card #’s 501-575.

Info about my set:

How I put the set (non-SP / then SP) together:

200 (192/8) cards from my 1st hobby box

200 (192/8) cards from my 2nd hobby box

9 base cards from various retail packs

46 (31/15) cards from trades

5 (1/4) cards from Sportlots

9 SP cards from eBay lots

4 SP cards from a card show

27 SP cards from Check Out My Cards

100 card update set purchased directly from Topps

Card that completed my set: #480 – Carlos Gonzalez (1 of 10 SP cards I got from a Check Out My Cards purchase)

2012 Heritage 480 CarGo last card

General Set Info:

Base Set composition: 500 cards (423 individual player cards, 18 managers, 10 League Leaders, 11 Combination cards, 7 World Series Highlights, 12 Team Cards, 19 Rookie Parade)

Base Set & Update composition: 600 cards (515 individual player cards, 8 duplicate players in Update*, 18 managers, 10 League Leaders, 11 Combination cards, 7 World Series Highlights, 12 Team Cards, 19 Rookie Parade)

* – Cody Ross, Ichiro, Juan Pierre, Johnny Damon, Edwin Jackson, Chris Iannetta, Bobby Abreu, Marco Scutaro are all featured on their new team

Earliest active current player from this set: #605 – Jamie Moyer

2012 Heritage 605 oldest Jamie Moyer

When I’ve done this for other sets – I do “last active player”, but for Heritage I do the earliest player.  For last year’s set it was Pudge, but he retired in between 2011 and 2012.  And there’s an even earlier player in this set – much earlier than Pudge, actually.  Jamie Moyer is in the Update set with the Rockies; he made his debut on June 16, 1986.  It would be interesting to know how many players from the set were born after Moyer’s debut!

Jim Thome has the earliest debuts from cards in the regular set (card #296) – he made his debut September 4, 1991.

2012 Heritage 296 oldest Jim Thome

Player with the most cards in the set:  Adron Chambers – 6 cards.

For some unknown reason, Topps put some of the rookie crop on multiple Rookie Parade cards.  Chambers had the most, as he was featured on 5 Rookie Parade cards.  He also has a single player card.

Chambers – #54, 95, 208, 265, 321 (Rookie Parade), #458

2012 Heritage Adron Chambers most cards

Justin Verlander had the most cards if you don’t count Topps strange decision on the rookie thing.  He has 5 cards – 3 league leader cards to honor each statistic from the pitching triple crown he won, a combo card and his base card.

Verlander – #6, 8, 10 (League Leaders), #218 (Tigers Twirlers), #44

2012 Heritage Justin Verlander most cards

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – NL Batting Leaders, #100 – Paul Konerko, #200 – Curtis Granderson, #300 – Carlos Beltran, #400 – Jay Bruce, #500 – Michael Cuddyer, #600 – Yu Darvish

2012 Heritage #1 and 100s_0001

Highest book value: #650 – Bryce Harper RC (see below)

Of course the Update set would get this since it had fairly limited production of 1,000 sets.  Harper’s card is currently valued at ~$60 by Beckett.  From the base set, David Wright, Eric Hosmer and Ichiro all have SP cards valued at $10.

Most notable card: #650 – Bryce Harper RC

2012 Heritage 650 Bryce Harper

Harper isn’t my favorite guy out there, but it’s hard to pick anything but his card as particularly “notable”.

Best card (my opinion): #279 – Matt Kemp

2012 Heritage Matt Kemp best card

Great picture of the guy who looked like he would have the title best player in baseball when this set came out.  Unfortunately, injuries have kept that from happening, but here’s hoping he turns that around.  This was one I didn’t even have to think about or go through cards – I’ve known this was my favorite card from the set.

Second best card (also my opinion): #44 – Justin Verlander (see above)

Verlander was just off my medal stand in 2011 Heritage, but I’m putting him as the runner-up for 2012.  This nudges out the card for Jose Bautista which I also really like.  I may like the Bautista photo just a little better.  But Verlander was coming off a historic season – winning the pitching triple crown and the AL MVP – when this card was released, so that makes it better for me.

Best subset card:  #331 – “World Series Foes” (Pujols / Hamilton)

2012 Heritage Pujols Hamilton best subset

Kudos to Topps with the foresight here!  These guys now play on the same team, moving places as the back to back “biggest free agent signings” in the past two off-seasons.  Too bad they won’t be “World Series Buddies” this year, though.  This card beats out a combo card of Mo Rivera and Joe Girardi.

Favorite action photo: #248 – Kosuke Fukudome

2012 Heritage Fukudome best action

There aren’t many action cards in the Heritage set, but this is a good one.

Favorite non-action photo: #279 – Kemp (see above)

I couldn’t decide if I would count the Kemp in this category.  It is clearly a pose, so I decided it counts – otherwise I’d have put Verlander here.

My Favorite Reds card: #304 – Brandon Phillips

2012 Heritage Phillips pack

Brandon always has great photos.  This is an easy winner.  I’m using a previous picture where I had shown him next to a pack – hence why that wrapper is shown here.

Other Notable Cards: Here’s that Bautista card as well as 2 other cards I thought were fairly notable – a Cespedes RC and Ichiro as a Yankee (both from the Update portion of the set).

2012 Bautista Cespedes_0001





2012 Product of the Year

31 12 2012

Last year I did a post for my “set of the year” in response to a blog bat around was thrown out there by This Card is Cool.  And I feel like I really want to do product of the year, because when you buy a box of something new, it isn’t just the set that matters (though sometimes I wish that was more of Topps’ concern).

This is a good thing to write about at the end of any year, so I’m doing another one now.  Admittedly, I’m leveraging last year’s post for the wording – but which set I pick could be new…

First, I’ll note a couple of things.  Like any collector of baseball cards, I have a limited budget.  There are nearly 40 baseball products out this year if you count all the MLB-licensed things that Topps did, plus what Leaf, Panini and Upper Deck put out.  Because Panini got a license with the Players’ union, this is actually a bit higher than last year.

If you go by order of release date, here’s what came out in 2012.  An asterisk means it’s new (I’m not counting Museum Collection or Archives as new because they replaced sets with similar themes):

Baseball “standard issue” sets (it’s a bit of a stretch for me to include Goodwin in here – but it’s very similar to Ginter and I collected it, so I’m sticking to my guns):

  • Topps (Series 1) – February 1
  • Topps Opening Day – March 7
  • Topps Tribute – March 7
  • Topps Heritage – March 14
  • Topps Museum Collection – April 4
  • Topps Gypsy Queen – April 15
  • Panini Limited 2011 – May 2*
  • Bowman – May 4
  • Topps Archives – May 23
  • Topps (Series 2) – June 2
  • Topps Tier One – June 20
  • Topps Allen & Ginter – July 11
  • Bowman Platinum – July 25
  • Panini Triple Play – August 1*
  • Topps Mini – August 1*
  • Topps Finest – August 6
  • Upper Deck Goodwin Champions August 14
  • Topps Chrome – August 22
  • Topps Triple Threads – September 18
  • Topps (Update) – October 1
  • Bowman Chrome – October 17
  • Topps Heritage (High Numbers) – November 6*
  • Topps Five Star – November 14*
  • Panini Cooperstown – November 14*
  • Panini Signature – November 14*
  • Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects – November 28
  • Bowman Sterling – December 12
  • Panini Golden Age – end of December*
  • Panini Prizm – early 2012*

Topps Attax was the one set that went away here

Minor league card sets:

  • Topps Pro Debut – June 11
  • Topps Heritage Minor League – September 12
  • Leaf Metal Draft – October 15
  • Donruss Elite Extra Edition – December 21st

“Autograph-only” products:

  • Playoff Prime Cuts 2011 – April*
  • SP Signature Edition – May 1
  • Leaf Best of Baseball – July 1
  • In The Game Baseball “Hits” (series 2) – October 25
  • Leaf Valiant – October 31

“odd-ball” sets:

  • Topps Team Sets – April
  • Topps Stickers – March 20
  • Leaf Pete Rose – August 15
  • Leaf Memories – January 2014

Out of those, this year I collected base Topps (both series and Update), Topps Heritage (including purchase of the High Numbers box), Gypsy Queen, Goodwin Champions, Allen & Ginter, Archives and Mini.  Ah, yes, Mini.  My biggest regret this year.

If you consider that I also collected a bunch of earlier Topps base sets – which is actually the “mission” of this blog – this is again a fairly large amount of new cards for me in 2012.  It’s also the exact same number of sets I collected in 2011 – basically swap Archives for Lineage and Mini for Heritage Minor League.  In this post last year I said I may need to scale back, but obviously I didn’t.  Some of the reason for this was that Topps had similar products, and I like all their retro sets.  I did buy less Allen & Ginter and Update (only one hobby box instead of 2) and a little less retail product, but I bought the Heritage high number set, so I bet my money spent on new cards was probably about the same.  Who knows what I’ll do next year – that’s maybe for a later post.

I’m happy with what I collected this year.  I don’t want to buy crappy Bowman (that at one point from 1989-1991 was kind of “retro” set) and it’s 6 bastard children.  Not shiny Chrome or Finest (though I do always like Finest – just not enough to buy it).  Not Museum Collection, Triple Threads, Tier One or Tribute – which I’m pretty sure are all different series of the same thing.  Panini Cooperstown is the one thing I’ve given thought to.  Maybe I’ll buy that someday.  Or maybe I’d just buy diapers for my kid instead.  Who knows.  OK – so what was my favorite set of the year?  Could anything dethrone Heritage from last year?

In short, the answer is no.

But before I get to Heritage – let me do an “honorable mention”.  Last year that was Gypsy Queen.  This year’s Gypsy Queen was not quite as well done as the inaugural 2011 version was.  2012 GQ wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite as good of a design.

My honorable mention for “Set of the Year” would go to Archives.  It’s a great product.  Way better than Lineage, which is the product it replaced.  Could they have put the base set on better cardstock?  Of course.  But having 4 separate old Topps designs was a good idea, and then having 40 Short Prints in the “Fan Favorite” of retired players from different years – but different photos (not reprints) – was a killer idea.  If you’re going to do Short Prints, that’s a good way to do it.

The great thing about this set was that it wasn’t just about this year’s players and then throw in Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax.  Those 4 guys are all in that set, yes.  But the Fan Favorites also have guys like John Kruk, Will Clark, John Olerud, and Andy Van Slyke!!!!!  You really can’t beat that.

Know what else you can’t beat?  Doing cool comparisons like this.

They took the good part of Lineage – the inserts that pay tribute to older Topps oddball sets – and made a better base set.  One with stats on the back (I know, a novel concept)!  The Deckle Edge inserts are a great addition, and there are some other good inserts.  They did the 68 3-D cards, but this time at the same size as the originals.  There were some other cool cards like 82 In Action and the Cloth Stickers were in the same design as the 77 set.  Whenever Topps does something and stays true to the original – I like it!

And the Fan Favorite autos really steal the show.  Finding a Buddy Bell, Mike Scott or Vida Blue auto from a design from a former card they had – well, that’s excellent!

But it’s not the best product.  Well, it might be the best product, but it’s definitely not the best set.   My set of the year is Heritage.  To me, the 1962 design was awesome.  The first older card I ever owned was a Whitey Ford 1962 Topps, and I got it auto’d by the Chairman at a card show in the late 80’s (probably for less than 10 bucks).  It had corner wear, but damn, it was money.  So I knew about that wood border.

What I didn’t know much about was the 1963 set.  Well, I must say – the ’63 design was excellent.  The two picture idea is great, but it’s also well-executed.  And Heritage does a great job of paying tribute to that set.

The card stock is super thick.  The set has parallels with the ’63 set – Jacoby Ellsbury has the same card number as Yaz.  Zach Greinke the same as Warren Spahn.  Curtis Granderson is patrolling center field for the Yankees, and he’s holding down the same card number as the Mick.

Even the gimmicks pay tribute to the original set.  And they have an insert of mini stickers just like the 63 set.  The image swap variations are a cool way to play on the design.

And, dammit – I love the design (this Kemp is probably the best card in the set)!

The 75 SP’s is a bit much, and the High Numbers costing $100 bucks scares the collector in me a bit.  The inserts are standard ones you get each year (Flashbacks, New Age, Then & Now), and they’re all pretty interesting.

There are autographs of players from 1963, on reprints of their 1963 cards, like this one I pulled…

So – that’s my set of the year!  What’s yours?





Completed insert set – 2012 Topps Heritage Then and Now

20 12 2012

This is the third of the “standard” insert sets in 2012 Topps Heritage that I’ve completed.  After this, I’ve still got the “New Age Performers” insert set (1 more card), the Stick-Ons and the JFK variations (1 more card as well) to finish up.  Plus a few SPs still as well.

Info about the set:

Set description:  “10 cards comparing statistical performances of a player from 1963 and a current star”.  The front shows the 2011 Major League leader in a specified category next to a player who was in the top 10 in the same category in 1963.  The reverse shows the MLB top-10 in that statistic for both years.  The players’ names are in a black box with yellow writing and a star saying “63 Then” and “Now 12″.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:15 odds.

Hall of Famers:  8 players – every retired player in this set is a Hall-of-Famer, however, Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax are featured twice.

Koufax, Aaron, Yastrzemski, Marichal, Killebrew, Spahn, Mathews, Aparicio

How I put the set together:

4 cards from 2 hobby boxes

4 cards from trades

1 cards from Check Out My Cards

1 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  Like a few others, this is one that returns each year for Heritage.  This set gets limited by the older players Topps signed to be part of the Heritage brand.  Still, Topps got almost every single leader from 1963 into this set.  In fact, they got all but two – they put Carl Yastrzemski on the average card instead of Tommy Davis.  Davis had the highest average in the majors, but Yaz was the AL batting champion.  And Warren Spahn is on the Shutout card instead of Koufax (whom they could have used as he was on two other cards).  Willie Mays would have been a cool option in the set, but he didn’t lead in any traditional stats in 1963.

Two things I don’t like here.  First, I hate when they don’t number sets – these are “lettered”.  Second, Topps used the same photo for the current players as the base card.  I wish they’d have either a) used a second photo, or b) copied both – meaning they’d use the photo from the older player’s 1963 Topps card as well.  I do like how putting the cards next to each other in the scan below creates an optical illusion as if the cards are slanted.

Card that completed my set: #TN-MV – Juan Marichal / Justin Verlander

I got the last card from Sportlots last month.

Highest book value: TN-KK – Koufax / Kershaw, TN-KV – Koufax / Verlander, TN-AK, Aaron / Kemp

Mickey Mantle isn’t in this set (and neither is Jeter from a current player standpoint), so all of the cards book for fairly similar amounts.

Best card (my opinion): #TN-MB – Eddie Mathews / Jose Bautista

The photos on this card are both very good.  The card with Aaron and Kemp is also really nice.  Kershaw and Kemp – Dodger Cy Youngs – is also cool.

Best Reds card: None in the set.  Kind of depressing they couldn’t get a league leader in either year.

2012 Heritage Then and Now_0001

2012 Heritage Then and Now

Here’s the Statistic associated with each card and where the 1963 player ranked in the majors in that stat if they didn’t lead (and who actually did lead if they weren’t first):

  • TN-AB – SB:  M. Bourn / L. Aparicio (tied with Maury Wills)
  • TN-AK – RBI:  M. Kemp / H. Aaron
  • TN-KB – HR:  J. Bautista / H. Killebrew
  • TN-KK – ERA:  C. Kershaw / S. Koufax
  • TN-KV – K:  J. Verlander / S. Koufax
  • TN-MB – BB: J. Bautista / E. Mathews
  • TN-MS – IP:  J. Shields (Shields was 2nd behind Verlander – not sure why Topps did this) / J. Marichal
  • TN-MV – W:  J. Verlander / J. Marichal (tied with Koufax)
  • TN-SL – SHO:  C. Lee / W. Spahn (2nd behind Koufax)
  • TN-YC – Batting:  M. Cabrera / C. Yastrzemski (2nd behind Tommy Davis, though Yaz was the AL champ)




Heritage High Numbers – base cards

17 11 2012

As mentioned yesterday, I went ahead and picked up the Topps Heritage High Numbers box.  It was a bit of a controversy on the blogosphere, mostly given the price point of 100 bucks.  Actually, it’s $99.95, which kind of sucks because you get free shipping with orders over $100 – so I ordered another item along with it.  I’ll cover that at a later date.

Anyways, it is clearly a money grab by Topps, and I do understand some of the frustration that collectors have – it’s hard enough to complete the Heritage set with the SP’s from cards 426-500, and throwing this on top probably makes people regret that they attempted it.  I think it may be a bad long-term move by Topps.  Heritage seems popular in set collector’s circles, and while they may get some short-term cash out of this move, they could run off collectors for next year’s set.  I wish that it had been announced earlier – I probably would have avoided Topps Mini if I knew this was coming out.  Topps got my money for both of their “online-only” products here, but I’m not sure I’ll fall for the same trick next year!

If the price point had been $50 – I think you’d see a lot less complaints, and even some people saying it was pretty cool to do a boxed set like what Topps Traded used to be – only for Heritage.  But there are some other things that they kind of screwed up with the product:

First – take a look at the box.  I was hoping this was just a promo photo, but they did in fact make the box in the green design of 2011 Heritage / 1962 Topps – not the yellow and red that matches 1963 Topps packaging.

Second, what the hell is the deal with the numbering?  The Topps Heritage set ends at 500.  This High Numbers set starts at 576 and goes to 675.

Both of these scream as simply not paying attention to detail by Topps.  The first one is clearly the case, whereas I’ve read the second one may be some surprise in the future with 75 filler cards.  Who knows – since they messed up the first one, you’ve got to think the numbering may just be a goof as well.  For some products like prospect-driven Bowman, stuff like this probably doesn’t matter.  For a product like Heritage – that plays on the history Topps has and people’s connection to those designs and products – it most certainly does matter!  These two things frankly bug me more than the price.  I love Heritage, and I particularly like the 1963 design.  I’m a little hesitant to pay 100 bucks, but I’m definitely willing.  I just wish when I paid that Benjamin, Topps put the attention to detail deserved by that price.

OK, all that said, it is a pretty neat buy during the off-season of baseball card collecting.  Here’s the base cards from set.  They have a bunch of players that you’d think they would from the Topps set – guys with new uniforms or rookies.

They also have some players who just weren’t in the base set – guys who had surprisingly good performances in 2012 that now get put into Heritage.  This happens when you do things like pitch a perfect game, hit a bunch of homers, come back from Tommy John surgery, step up as a solid starting catcher for a pennant winner … or … take performance enhancing drugs.

There are also a few “New England leftovers” after the fire sale trade that Boston had last season.  It certainly will be a different Red Sox team next year – Cody Ross is the only veteran in the group below, and he’s a free agent.

On the flip side, there are no photo-shopped cards of the Miami fire sale that happened a few days ago :)

There are 4 guys in the set who have rookie cards in this set – but the back of their card has a full set of Japanese league stats!

And you have your more traditional rookies – 4 of the 6 guys who were finalists for the Rookie of the Year award (Mike Trout and Todd Frazier were both in the 2012 regular set).  Of course the Harper is the big card from this set – and frankly he is probably the reason Topps created this set.  On a side note, I really thought Miley should have been the NL ROY.

There are a few guys who I had to wonder – could this be their last card?

Then you have some guys that would have been in your typical traded set – guys who switched teams in the 2011/2012 offseason via free agency or a trade.  This is a neat group of players – they all had a significant impact by keeping their new teams as playoff contenders.

And there were quite a few guys who were traded mid-season.  Ichiro is the most notable, though Scutaro obviously had the biggest impact on the end result of the baseball season.  Like Cody Ross two years ago – he was a mid-season acquisition whose postseason heroics led the Giants to the title.

One last thing – I did a little research, there are only 8 guys who have cards in both the Heritage regular set and the high numbers set – all because of changing teams.  That’s fewer than I would have guessed – so Topps did get a bunch of guys into the set who otherwise wouldn’t have been by doing this high numbers thing.

  • Ross
  • Ichiro
  • Pierre
  • Damon
  • Edwin Jackson
  • Chris Iannetta
  • Abreu
  • Scutaro




Heritage High Numbers – Pettitte Autograph

16 11 2012

So I went ahead and picked up the Topps Heritage High Numbers box.  I know it’s expensive at 100 bucks, and I was a bit hesitant to purchase it – but I haven’t really spent all that much on cards in the last few months, so I’ve got room in the budget for it.

The main way Topps tried to justify the price tag was including an autograph in the box.  For today’s post, that’s all I had time to post about – I got an Andy Pettitte (regular blue version).  A pretty nice name – I’d rather have Bryce Harper to pay for the set (and then some), but I’d sure rather have this than Edinson Volquez.  I’ve put this card up on eBay to recoup some of the cost of the box.





Completed insert set – 2012 Topps Heritage News Flashbacks

29 10 2012

This is one of the “standard” insert sets in 2012 Topps Heritage, though this one has (for the most part) nothing to do with baseball – it honors the 1963 “year in the world”.  They do this every year with Heritage.

Info about the set:

Set description:  “10 world news moments from 1963.”

The set has a white border with a pennant in the top left saying “News Flashbacks ’63”.  The person featured is in the top right, and there is a green circle in the bottom with wording describing the event depicted.

Set composition: 10 cards, 1:12 odds.

Hall of Famers: There aren’t any baseball players in this year’s version, after Jackie Robinson was included in last year’s.

How I put the set together:

4 cards from the 2 hobby boxes I bought

1 card from a retail blister (the ones with 3 packs and 3 black parallels)

1 cards from Sportlots

4 cards from trades

Thoughts on the set: I think they’ve done this each year for Heritage – and I think it’s a good idea.  The point of Heritage is to honor a past Topps set – and having an insert set that also shows what happened in the world is great!

The things I’d change – they are the same I said when I finished off last year’s set.  First, I’d number the cards in chronological order – they don’t even “number” them this year, they alphabetized them.  I hate that.

Also, there are some other things that could have gone in this set – though I think they did a pretty good job with the content.  Things Topps could have considered:

  • Iron Man debuts in Marvel Comics Tales of Suspense.  Marvel also released its first ever X-Men comic.
  • The Beatles release their first album Please Please Me
  • Lawrence of Arabia wins Oscar for Best Picture
  • Buddy Rogers wins the first WWF championship belt after the WWWF splits from NWA
  • Medgar Evers is murdered in Jackson, Mississippi by Byron De La Beckwith – who wouldn’t be convicted for another 30 years
  • ZIP Codes are introduced in the United States
  • The Pro Football Hall of Fame opens its doors in Canton, OH
  • I left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennett was song of the Year

Aside from the Beatles, and maybe Iron Man (both of which probably pose rights issues for Topps), I don’t even know if I’d really change anything from what they did include – the above are just ideas.  The zip code thing is actually featured as a cartoon on the back of each card.

Card that completed my set: #NF-VT – Valentina Tereshkova

This was one of two cards in a trade from Reader Mike just before I moved to Chicago in early September.  I waited to open the package until early October; the month delay is standard for me right now.

Highest book value: #NF-JK, NF-JKE – John F. Kennedy

The 2 cards of the US President carry a little more weight than the rest of the set.

Best card (my opinion): #NF-A – Alcatraz

I love the mystique of Alcatraz – it’s intrigued me ever since Sean Connery did “the Rock” with Nick Cage.  I still wish they had continued the show from last year.

As I did last year – I thought it would be fun to take a look at each of these cards and what they represent.

NF-A – RFK order closure of crumbling Alcatraz: Alcatraz, in need of millions of restoration dollars to remain a viable prison, was ordered closed by U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 1963.  On March 21, the last convicts were removed from “The Rock”, which, for three decades, had housed some of the country’s most notorious offenders.

NF-JK – The end of “Camelot”:  America wept as one on the afternoon of November 11, 1963, when President Kennedy was shot and killed during a motorcade in Dallas.  With wife Jacqueline by his side in a roofless limo, the popular 46 year-old died soon after being struck by two bullets from the high-powered rifle of Lee Harvey Oswald.

NF-JKE – “Berliner” JFK pledges German freedom:  Some 120,000 Germans witnessed a landmark speech by President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963.  With the words “ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”), Kennedy pledged United States solidarity with the citizens of West Germany, and hailed their nation as a symbol of freedom during the Cold War.

NF-MK – MLK’s “Dream” awakens a nation: From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963, Dr. King delivered some of the most compelling and influential words in U.S. history, when he told the world “I have a dream today.”  The 17-minute call for equality among races helped animate the Civil Rights movement.

NF-MKI – MLK’s Letter “The Negro is Your Brother”: A letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in August of 1963 “The Negro is Your Brother” (also known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”) implored Americans to wait no longer for an end to discrimination.  “This ‘wait'”, he wrote while incarcerated for demonstrating, “has almost always meant ‘never'”.

NF-PP – Conclave convoked: Paul to lead Church:  Five years after becoming a cardinal, Giovanni Montini of Italy was chosen to succeed John XXIII in leading the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Paul VI on June 21, 1963.  His election during the ’63 conclave was not a surprise, as he Montini was long-seen as a leader in ministering, teaching and administering.

NF-PS – Beloved landmark bites the dust:  Considered an architectural masterpiece when it was built 53 years earlier, New York City’s Penn Station was demolished amid considerable protest, beginning in October 1963.  The nine-acre station (named for the Pennsylvania Railroad) was leveled, in part, to make room for Madison Square Garden.

NF-UA – Feds vs. Gov as U. of Alabama integrated:  On May 16, 1963, a federal district court ordered the U. of Alabama to admit African-American students Vivien Malone and James Hood.  Governor George Wallace blocked their admission by standing in the front of the doorway on June 11, but ultimately lost his battle to keep the school a whites-only institution.

NF-UC – Cuba closed to American Travel:  After embargoing trade with Cuba in 1961 and ’62 during a nuclear arms crisis, the U.S. went a giant step further on February 8, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy prohibited American citizens from traveling to the island country.  JFK also made commercial and financial transactions illegal.

NF-VT – Pioneering Cosmonaut First Woman in Space:  Tereshkova, the daughter of a Russian tractor driver, turned her early parachuting experience into a role in her country’s cosmonaut program.  On June 16, 1963, she became the first woman in space.  Aboard Vostok 6, Valentina orbited Earth 48 times on a 70-hour mission – a journey that made her a Soviet hero.








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