Card I selected: #421 – Carlos Delgado
Delgado isn’t a Hall of Famer. This isn’t the best card from this set. But the blue goes well with his team (the Blue Jays). And Delgado was an underrated player. Most importantly, I was able to snag a card of Delgado from the Kanebo set, which is easily the hardest of the parallels to find.
There is one card of his I’ve never seen – the silver refractor which was only available in retail series 2 chrome packs.
# of cards (including the Topps card): 13
The parallel sets in 2003 include:
- Home Team Advantage
- Opening Day
- Opening Day Get a Hit Scratch-off
- Chrome Refractors
- Chrome Silver Refractors
- Chrome Gold Refractors
- Chrome Black Refractors
- Chrome Uncirculated X-fractors
2003 Topps #421
2003 Topps Gold #421
Topps Gold was back for the third straight year (5th overall). This parallel had a shiny gold foil border and was numbered to 2,003 on the back in gold foil stamping. The front also has “52 years of collecting” written across the top.
2003 Topps Black #421
Topps started Topps Black as a much rarer parallel insert set in 2003. The border is black. Topps Black was numbered to 52, with a gold foil stamp on the back, to honor 52 years of collecting since the 1952 set. It has the same “52 years of collecting” at the top of the front.
2003 Topps Home Team Advantage #421
Topps Limited was gone, but Topps still created a Home Team Advantage (HTA) factory set with a foil-stamped “Home Team Advantage” logo on the front.
2003 Topps Kanebo #8
Topps issued Japanese versions alongside a company called Kanebo for the 2nd year. These seem to be harder to come by than the 2002 versions. There are 55 cards, The backs are written in Japanese, and the card numbers are different. The front differs from the regular Topps card in that it doesn’t have foil stamping and there’s no Topps logo. The borders on the front and back are a different shade of blue – very close to the Opening Day cards.
2003 Topps Opening Day #15
Opening Day was back for the 6th time in 2003. Tge 165 card set was retail only, and features the same photos from the base Topps set. The border is a little bit lighter shade of blue, and the team logo on the front is replaced with the Topps Opening Day logo. The back is the same as the Topps set except for the different number and slightly different copyright info.
2003 Topps Opening Day Scratch-Off #NNO
These stickers had a play-and-win game on the back. It’s a partial parallel of the Opening Day set (72 cards).
2003 Topps Chrome #259
Topps Chrome was back for the 8th year. It was 440 cards, so not the same size as the regular set. The front of the card reproduces the base set using Topps chromium technology and the logo is the Topps Chrome logo. The back of the card is the same as the regular set except for the Topps Chrome logo and slightly different copyright wording.
2003 Topps Chrome Refractor #259
Inserted every 5 packs of Topps Chrome were refractors with their colorful, reflective shine. The word refractor is written by the number on the back – otherwise the back is the same as the regular Chrome card. In 2003 Topps started numbering these – they were stamped in gold foil out of 699.
2003 Topps Chrome Silver Refractor #259
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Series 2 retail packs had special silver refractors. So it wasn’t a full parallel of Topps Chrome, which is a bit weird. I’m on the lookout for this card, but I’ve never seen it before.
2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor #259
Topps Gold Refractors had the gold border and the refractor effect. These were numbered out of 449. The word gold refractor is noted on the back by the card number.
2003 Topps Chrome Black Refractor #259
Black Refractors were back, this time numbered out of 199. The black refractor wording is noted on the back by the card number.
2003 Topps Chrome Uncirculated Xfractor #259
These cards came one per box as a box topper. They have the refractor / diffraction effect but with a checkered finish that’s called “X-fractors”. They come in a hard case and are thus “uncirculated”. Xfractor is written at the bottom by the card number.
That’s page 1. Page 2 is…
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Hopefully I can find the silver refractor someday.
Any sets I didn’t get: A few worth mentioning. First, the Kanebo set comes with copper parallel. Considering how hard it is to get the base card, getting the copper just isn’t realistic. Though if I ever see it, I’ll try for it. Also, Topps did create super-rare trademark variations where the Topps logo was the old logo from the 1970’s. Delgado has a variation card, but it’s too rare for me to chase and I’m going with “variation isn’t a parallel” here.
Other cards I would have liked to do: Griffey’s card is great in this set, and he has all of the above parallels. But I did Griffey in 1999. I thought about John Smoltz – he’s in a throwback Braves uniform on his card – but he didn’t have a Kanebo card.