Completed insert set – 2011 Topps Prime Nine

22 10 2015

Continuing on with my feeble attempt at posting about all the insert sets I’ve completed…  Next up is “Prime Nine”, which was a hobby shop redemption.

Info about the set:

Set description:  Prime 9 redemption cards were inserted into 2011 Topps series 2 packs.  You would get a card that looked like this:

2011 Topps Prime 9 redemption 4

Starting with Johnny Bench in mid-July, Topps would announce the “Prime 9 Player of the Week” on their Facebook page every Monday.  Once your card # was announced, you could, in theory, go to a participating Home Team Advantage store and redeem your card.  I say “in theory” because, in practice, it didn’t always work that way.  I pulled card #4 above, which is Derek Jeter, but as you can see below Jeter was my last card in completing this set.  When I went to the card shop near me, they had 7 of the cards, but had given out all the Jeter cards already.  My guess is they just asked collectors who they wanted, and Jeter was the most popular (I lived in New Jersey at the time).  That was fine; they gave me all 7 of the cards they had.

The card themselves have Topps patented chrome finish, but have more of a Topps Finest finish.  They are very colorful.  Prime 9 is a show on MLB Network, which showcases the top 9 of anything.  There is one player representing each position, with a top 9 moments for that player listed on the back of the card.

Set composition:  9 cards, 1 card per redemption – 1:18 odds (2011 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  6.  Johnny Bench, Jackie Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax

How I put the set together:

  • 7 cards for my 1 redemption
  • 1 cards from the 2013 NSCC
  • 1 card from COMC

Card that completed my set: #4 – Derek Jeter

I got this card from COMC last December.

Thoughts on the set:  Putting aside the issues I described above with the redemptions, these cards are really nice.  And I like the idea of working in social media and hobby shops at the same time.  This is a fun set that wasn’t too hard to finish off.

Best card (my opinion): #6 – Hank Aaron

The 70’s Braves uniform was really cook.  This is actually a photo of Aaron I haven’t seen before – unlike the Robinson or Koufax cards.

My Favorite Reds card:  #1 – Johnny Bench

The only one in the set.

2011 Prime 9 complete

Any other tidbits:  Three of the four “Greatest Living Players” were included in this set.  Willie Mays didn’t have a contract with Topps in 2011 (he would a year later), but Bench had been in sets for a while and Koufax and Aaron had signed with them in 2011.

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Completed insert set – 2011 Topps Kimball

18 08 2015

I completed a big insert set in December last year from 2011 Topps.  It’s one of the “retro-themed” products inserted into flagship Topps, and it’s one of the cooler sets they’ve done.

Info about the set:

Set description: “150-card continuity installment featuring current and retired players on elegantly vintage-designed mini cards.”   The set pays homage to the tobacco cards from Kimball & Co. – the 1888 N164 set.  These tobacco-sized minis have a color close-up of the player at the top with an action shot at the bottom.  The original set was 50 color pictures of athletes across many different sports, including a few baseball players.  Here’s one of the 4 original cards, pitcher Hardie Henderson, a fairly forgettable 19th century pitcher who was actually toward the end of his career at the time the set came out.

1888 Kimball Hardie Henderson

Topps redux of the set has active and retired players in the mix.  The cards come 50 cards per each series of 2011 Topps.

Set composition: 150 cards, 1:4 odds

Hall of Famers: 60.  Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb (3 cards), Pee Wee Reese (2), Mel Ott (2), Hank Aaron (2), Sandy Koufax, Carlton Fisk (2), Nolan Ryan (2), Stan Musial, Tom Seaver (2), Tony Gwynn, Johnny Bench, Greg Maddux, Luis Aparicio (2), Juan Marichal, Jackie Robinson, Bob Gibson, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson (2), Robin Roberts, Roy Campanella, Brooks Robinson, Ernie Banks, Phil Rizzuto, Eddie Murray, Bob Feller, Lou Brock, Frank Robinson (2), Eddie Mathews, Barry Larkin, Craig Biggio, Mike Schmidt, Ryne Sandberg, Willie McCovey (2), Whitey Ford, Andre Dawson (2), Jim Palmer, Duke Snider, Hank Greenberg, Frank Thomas (2), Wade Boggs, Carl Yastrzemski, Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken Jr., Paul Molitor (2), Gary Carter (2), Babe Ruth (2), Jimmie Foxx, Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, Johnny Mize, Christy Mathewson, Bert Blyleven, George Sisler, Ozzie Smith, Joe Morgan, Rogers Hornsby, Cy Young, Joe DiMaggio

How I put the set together:

  • 37 cards from 4 hobby/HTA jumbo boxes I purchased across the 3 series
  • 12 cards from various retail packs
  • 28 cards from trades
  • 12 cards from the National Sports Card Show
  • 61 cards from Sportlots/eBay/Beckett Marketplace

Thoughts on the set: Like many others – I love the design of these cards when they came out.  I kind of wondered if Topps was using this as a test to do a full-blown Kimball Champions product in the future, though that seems to have gone by the wayside.  It was a really cool card set to collect, and I like that Topps did cards across each series.  The action pictures at the bottom of the card tended to be very recognizable – Ichiro or Mel Ott in their notable batting stances, T

On the negative side, 150 cards is just too much to collect.  That’s why I’m posting about completing the set some 4 years after it came out.  It did seem like a weird set to do in the 60th anniversary year, as well.  Finally, if you noticed above, Topps doubled up on a ton of players.  Usually this was by putting 2 different uniforms – i.e., Hank Aaron with the Braves and the Brewers.  But Ty Cobb has 3 cards in the set, while Ott and Pee Wee Reese are shown with the same team on their 2 cards.

Card that completed my set: #KC-125 – Nolan Ryan

2011 Topps Kimball Nolan Ryan

One of 3 cards (the other being Ford) that I got in a Beckett.com purchase in December last year.

Highest book value: #KC-7 – Mickey Mantle

2011 Topps Kimball Mantle

If there’s a Mick in the set, he’s usually the top for “book value”.

Best card (my opinion): #KC-149 – Cy Young

2011 Topps Kimball Cy Young

Those are two recognizable, iconic photos of the 511-game winner.  And, more importantly, he is the only guy who feels like he could have been in the original (even though he first played in the majors a couple of years after the 1888 set came out).

My Favorite Reds card:  KC-79 – Barry Larkin

2011 Topps Kimball Larkin

Larkin is wearing my favorite version of the Reds’ uniforms – the sleeveless pinstriped jerseys with the black-billed cap.





Completed insert set – 2011 Topps 60 Years of Topps

19 09 2014

I also finished the 2011 version of Topps’ humongous reprint set this summer – just a couple of months after the 2010 “Yo Momma” set.  This one is called 60 years of Topps.

Info about the set:

Set description: “The 60-year of Topps chronicled with a reprint of one card from every year.  Each card back narrates the story of that year’s design as well as other interesting minutiae”.  Topps basically cut and pasted the wording from last year on their sell sheets – though the last word was “tidbits” in 2010 instead of “minutiae”.

Set composition: 118 cards, 1:3 odds

Hall of Famers: 55. About the same as the year before, even though there are only 2 series while the yo momma cards were inserted in all 3 series.

Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Monte Irvin, Ernie Banks, Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle, Pee Wee Reese, Stan Musial, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Frank Robinson, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Al Kaline, Tony Perez, Brooks Robinson, Tom Seaver, Reggie Jackson, Nolan Ryan, Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Mike Schmidt, Carl Yastrzemski, Robin Yount, Bruce Sutter, Phil Niekro, Eddie Murray, Paul Molitor, Andre Dawson, Jim Palmer, Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Dennis Eckersley, Greg Maddux, Roberto Alomar, Frank Thomas, Barry Larkin, Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Luis Aparicio, Richie Ashburn, Harmon Killebrew, Orlando Cepeda, Duke Snider, Steve Carlton, Johnny Bench, Goose Gossage, Don Sutton, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken, Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Craig Biggio

How I put the set together:

  • 32 cards from various hobby boxes/packs
  • 9 cards from various retail packs
  • 22 cards from trades
  • 28 cards from an eBay lot
  • 26 cards from online dealers
  • 1 card from the National

Thoughts on the set: This idea had kind of jumped the shark after doing in 2010 with the Yo Momma cards.  Topps would also insert reprints into 2012 Archives – so I think they should have just done 1 set like this over that time. This probably was the year that made the most sense since it was the “60th” year of cards – but it felt kind of silly after they had the same thing in 2010.

Still, it was an impressive list of players and a fun set to collect.  And one thing I like better about this set than the one from the year before are the card backs.  The write-ups on the back are much more about the specifics of the set design and history compared to the 2010 “yo momma” cards.

Card that completed my set: #75 – Steve Carlton (1967)

2011 Topps 60 Years Steve Carlton 67

I got this card from Beckett’s marketplace in July.

Highest book value: #91 – Cal Ripken (1983)

2011 Topps 60 Years Cal Ripken 83

Best card (my opinion): #20 – Nolan Ryan (1971)

2011 Topps 60 Years Nolan Ryan 71

One of the most prominent forms of advertising in Topps’ history is also one of the best cards out there.  They don’t directly say anything on the back of the card about the RC Cola ad, however.  I also really like card #61, which shows Warren Spahn with the Boston Braves.

My Favorite Reds card: #115 – Josh Hamilton (2007)

2011 Topps 60 Years Josh Hamilton 07

This beats out the 1967 Tony Perez, which is a great card.  Since I haven’t started collecting 2007 Topps yet, I’d never seen this card.  I always had a soft spot for Hamilton’s time with the Reds – I wish we could have kept him somehow.

Any other tidbits: Topps goofed with 1979 – they featured the same Eddie Murray card in both series 1 and 2 as the 1979 version.

The 1957 Mantle card with the “ghost player” is featured in this set – but the write-up on the back is silent to the fact and the front has been edited to not show the “ghost” figure.

2011 Topps 60 Years Mickey Mantle 57

Also, the back of Juan Marichal’s 1961 card discusses the fact that Topps started taking pictures of guys without hats so they didn’t have to airbrush the photos later on.  Finally, the back of Frank Robinson’s card discusses card #537 – which featured rookies Pedro Gonzalez, Ken McMullen, and Al Weis as well as “happening to include the future all-time hits leader”.  A subtle non-mention of Pete Rose a few years before the hobby got all up in arms for what Topps did on the back of the 2013 base cards.





Completed insert set – 2011 60 Years of Topps: The Lost Cards

5 01 2014

Another insert set I completed last year was from 2011 Topps.  It’s long name is “60 Years of Topps: The Lost Cards”, though the Lost Cards is just fine with me.  These were only inserted in series 1.

Info about the set:

Set description: “These 10 cards fill in famous card numbering gaps found throughout Topps Annals.  The card back recounts the anecdote surrounding each card’s history”.  They are also available in the original back parallel versions.  Now, I’d never want to go complete the bigger 60 years or yo momma card original back sets – but this one may be worth pursuing someday.  It’s reasonable at 10 cards, and you’re getting a card back that didn’t really exist.

Set composition: 10 cards, 1:36 odds (2011 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers: 6. Every player in this set is a Hall of Famer, but Stan Musial has 4 cards and Mickey Mantle has 2.  The other 4 guys are Whitey Ford, Bob Feller, Roy Campanella and Duke Snider (see below for the applicable years showcased).

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from a hobby box
  • 2 cards from an HTA jumbo
  • 4 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  This is one of my favorite concepts, but I wish they’d have gone even further with it (much further, actually).  Topps went specifically with cards where there were skipped numbers in some of their earlies sets.  This is cool, but there were more skipped numbers than what they did show.  And, when I hear the term “Lost Cards”, I immediately think of some other cards.  Not just skipped numbers from ’53, ’54 and ’55.  I think of Maury Wills in 1962, A-Rod in the mid-90’s, Reggie Jackson’s Orioles card that became a Yankees card.  I wish they’d have gone deeper on this set and cut out something like Legendary Lineage.

Card that completed my set: #LC7 – Bob Feller

One of 2 cards (the other being Ford) that I got in a Sportlots purchase containing cards from this set.  I actually finished it quite a while ago – sometime in the middle of 2012.

Highest book value: #LC3, #LC8 – Mickey Mantle

If there’s a Mick in the set, he’s usually the top for “book value”.

Best card (my opinion): #LC10 – Stan Musial

They did well as far as the photo selection (Stan the Man in his classic stance) working with the design.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

  • LC1 – Stan Musial (1953)
  • LC2 – Duke Snider (1953)
  • LC3 – Mickey Mantle (1954)
  • LC4 – Roy Campanella (1954)
  • LC5 – Stan Musial (1955)
  • LC6 – Whitey Ford (1955)
  • LC7 – Bob Feller (1955)
  • LC8 – Mickey Mantle (1955)
  • LC9 – Stan Musial (1956)
  • LC10 – Stan Musial (1957)




Completed insert set – 2011 Before there was Topps

17 09 2012

I already finished the History of Topps set and posted about it back in January.  That was a series 1 insert set; Topps created a similar set for series 2 that covered baseball card history before Topps started up – “Before there was Topps”.  I finished this set shortly thereafter, but didn’t get around to posting on it until now.  Since I’m moving this week, I don’t have much time to do new posts, so I’m going to take this opportunity to do some of these overdue “completed set” posts.

Info about the set:

Set description: “A 10-card review showcasing the world of vintage baseball culminating with the founding of Topps!”  At least that’s the way they describe it on the sell sheets.  Everything is correct – except this is really just a 7-card set.  The cards in this set have a tan border surrounding an oval “mirror”, with a card from the highlighted vintage set showcased.  In the top part of the border is the wording “Before There Was Topps”, while the name of the set showcased is in the bottom.

Set composition:  7 cards, 1:18 hobby odds (2011 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  7.  All the cards displayed feature Hall of Famers.

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from a series 2 HTA jumbo
  • 1 card from a series 2 blaster
  • 2 cards from a card show
  • 2 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:

I think the fact they did this set as part of their 60th anniversary was a good idea.  From that vantage point, I like this better than the Vintage Reproductions they had in series 1.  This set goes well with their “History of Topps” set – though I’d have added some cards.  Here’s what they did include:

  • BTT1 Honus Wagner (1909 T-206)
  • BTT2 Christy Mathewson (1911 T-205)
  • BTT3 Walter Johnson (1911 T-201)
  • BTT4 Babe Ruth (1921 Exhibit Supply Co)
  • BTT5 Jimmie Foxx (1933 Goudey)
  • BTT6 Mel Ott (1939 Play Ball)
  • BTT7 Stan Musial (1948 Bowman)

I would have included as much as possible, including these sets:

  • 1869 Peck & Snyder – the first card of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings would have been great for this set – heck, they even mention it on the back of the Wagner T-206 card!
  • 1887 Allen & Ginter – obviously something they can make happen
  • 1887 Gypsy Queen and/or Old Judge – they clearly have the rights to the Gypsy Queen set
  • 1888 Goodwin Champions – though there may be some rights issues here since Upper Deck has the rights to this set.  But I don’t know if it matters – I think they use the “informational” thing here.  Because I think UD has the Play Ball and Goudey rights that Topps did still use.
  • 1888 – Kimball Champions – they have an insert set of this in 2011 Topps.  A card with a description about the set would have been cool.
  • 1912 – Hassan Triple Folders – I love these cards!!!!
  • 1914 – Cracker Jack.  This is a must!
  • 1916-1938 – Zeenut – I don’t know much about these, so another card would be great!
  • 1930’s – US Caramel – they had these in the Vintage Reproduction set – why not here?
  • 1941 – Double Play – ditto

There’s at least 8 ideas they could come up with there!

Card that completed my set: #BTT1 – Honus Wagner (1909 T-206)

I got this card along with card #2 in a January purchase from Sportlots.

Highest book value:  They are all the same value.

Best card (my opinion): #BTT1 – Honus Wagner (1909 T-206)

Hard to go against the Holy Grail.  I also really like the Mathewson T-205 card.

My Favorite Reds card:  There aren’t any.





Completed insert set – 2011 Topps Reproductions Cards

13 08 2012

Vintage Reproductions was another set Topps did in its 2011 Topps product – this was a series 1 insert set.  I kind of question the relevance on this one – why have a bunch of reprints in the year they’re celebrating their 60th anniversary.  Not saying the set isn’t kind of cool – it is – it just seems like it would have fit in a different year.  These cards have a CMG prefix because CMG Worldwide is the marketing company that represents the deceased Hall of Famers.

Info about the set:

Set description: “A retrospective showcasing the world of vintage baseball cards pre-1952 and pre-Topps!”  They sort of tie it in that way to the 60th anniversary thing – but I don’t get why they have this set and the “Before there was Topps” set.  Anyways, the design is dependent on the card – but I’d note that Topps “stretches” each card so that it’s the same size as a standard card.

Set composition: 30 cards, 1:8 hobby odds (2011 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  16.  Babe Ruth, Hank Greenberg, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, George Sisler, Jackie Robinson, Honus Wagner, Jimmie Foxx, Enos Slaughter, Johnny Mize, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson.  All the players in the set are in the HOF, but many of the players have multiple cards.

How I put the set together:

  • 5 cards from a series 1 hobby box
  • 5 cards from a series 1 HTA jumbo box
  • 1 card from a retail jumbo pack
  • 2 cards from a blaster
  • 8 cards from trades
  • 7 cards from eBay and/or card shows
  • 1 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from Check Out My Cards

Thoughts on the set:  Like I said above – I like the set, I just don’t know if this was the right year / product for it.  Also, I’d have rather had them just pick only one card per set, go in chronological order, and maybe do a few more sets, like Ginter, Gypsy, Kimball and others.  All that said – the set does look pretty cool scanning them all in together.

I did find a couple of errors they made in the write-ups on the back.  The Jackie Robinson 1950 Bowman card says he was in Topps first set, “in 1951” – Robinson was not in the ’51 Red or Blue Back set, but he was in the 1952 Topps set, so I think that’s what they meant to put.  A bigger mistake – the George Sisler card says it’s from 1921 National Caramel, designated E220, and the back proceeds to describe how he’s reaching for a ground ball.  Well, the 1921 E220 National Caramel card does show him reaching for a ground ball, but that’s not the card pictured on the front!  He’s shown hitting on the front.  The confusion is that it’s actually the E121 set from American Caramel.

Card that completed my set: #CMGR22 – Mel Ott (1933 Goudey)

I got this card from Check Out My Cards in January.

Highest book value: #CMGR1, CMGR2, CMGR4, CMGR5 – Babe Ruth

Best card (my opinion): #CMGR17 – Jimmie Foxx (1935 Diamond Stars)

Double-X with an old school catchers mitt.  Love it.

My Favorite Reds card: There are none.





Waiting until the last minute of the Topps Diamond Giveaway

30 06 2012

Today was the last day you could just about everything (redeem codes, trade cards, dig, etc.) for the Topps Diamond Giveaway.  I believe the one thing you can still do is request delivery until the end of July.  I stopped biding my time about a week ago and went onto the site to take delivery of my cards.  I didn’t realize how it worked, but I also had 2 “Factory sets” as prizes in my queue.  I was wondering about those – for some reason I assumed they would be sent when I won them, then forgot about them.  But they actually showed up when I went to redeem the other cards.  Also, it ended up earning me free delivery, so that was pretty cool – I guess when you’ve won a prize, you get free shipping instead of the total rip-off if you have to pay (like 3 bucks first card, 50 cents each additional).

I have quite the plan for these.  I think I’m going to try to sell one set, but for the other I’ll try to sell some team sets and keep the box to put my 2011 base set.

As mentioned, I also got some cards.  Here they are, basically in chronological order.  Naturally, the older cards are in worse condition.  That McMillan would be pretty good if it wasn’t completely offset.  The McMillan and the other Red, the 1960 Rookie Stars Ted Wieand, were two cards I was looking forward to seeing.  Too bad they’re in bad shape, but I guess that gives them “character”.  The McRae and Reuss from 1973 are pretty cool cards – I turned down a number offers for each of those cards.

Next up, cards from the mid-late 1970’s.  The 1975 MVPs with Ernie Banks was the one I got the most trade offers for, and now I wish I’d have taken the best one.  It’s really in bad share.  Not only are the corners beyond rounded, the card has a wax stain on the back.  Oh well, what can you do.  Overall, some nice cards here as I wrap up my 2011 Topps extravaganza.