The regular cards from the Topps Archives set is broken up into 4 different designs in 50 card allotments based on earlier Topps sets. The first 50 cards are based on the 1954 Topps set.
1954 Topps was the first Topps set with multiple pictures on the card front. There’s a color head shot of the player with a smaller full-length shot in black and white. The background consists of a solid color that differs by player, with the name, team and position in one top corner and the team logo in the other. The card backs featuring the card number and a write-up with a white background at the top, the previous season’s and career statistics in green in the middle, and comic strip about the player at the bottom.
There are two players in the Archives set who played from that era. The first is a quick and easy comparison; Jackie Robinson has a 1954 Topps card and has a card in this part of the 2012 Archives set. The original card is on the left, with the Archives version on the right.
The signature looks about the same here. They changed the logo up – I do like that “B” logo for the Dodgers, and I like that the background is Dodger blue on the Archives card. But I also like it better when they keep with the older cards, and in this case, it’s hard for me to argue with the original!
The second one is a little more complex. Mickey Mantle did not have a Topps card in 1954 as he was exclusive to Bowman in 1954 and 1955. But, he was featured in a Sports Illustrated insert that had various Yankees done in black and white in the 1954 Topps design – including Mantle.
He was also featured in Topps Archives from 1994 – in one of the few collaborations that Topps and Upper Deck ever had. Topps released its 1954 “Archives” (reprint) set in 1994, and they wanted to include Mantle. But Upper Deck had the rights to Mantle and Ted Williams (who was cards numbered 1 and 250). Upper Deck was allowed to use the Topps design and include the 3 cards in their All-Time Heroes product. In between the 1994 and 2012 versions of Archives, there were other releases which had Mantle on 1954 design, like the “Lost Cards” from 2011 Topps. I’m comparing the 1994 “Upper Deck” Archives card (left) to the 2012 version here. I’ll tell you what, I like the “older” card just a little bit better here, too (though I can’t call it original). I honestly like both cards here – out of all of the cards from 2012 Archives numbered 1-50, I think I like the Mantle the best. Both black and white photos are cool – the one with Mantle bending over his knees is a classic, but the 1994 version where he’s jumping and throwing is very cool (and I’ve seen it less). I think white the background color goes better than Red, but I just like both photos better (and the logo) for the 1994 card.
Other cards I like from this year’s Archives set are shown below. Kemp is card #1 in the set, and deservedly so. The guy who robbed him of the MVP last year,
Roids Ryan Braun, has a pretty cool looking card in this one as well – the bat over his shoulder is a cool look, even if he is a cheater! Konerko’s card is very cool as well – he’s an underrated player who keeps putting up solid numbers, year after year. He’ll be in Cooperstown someday.