by Rich Klein
Topps’ baseball card license extends through all levels of the Major League domain: majors and minors but let’s face some facts. Producing card sets for major league players is usually pretty simple. You make cards of players in the majors and the odds are pretty good that most of your collectors will have heard of most if not all of the players in a set. Not so in the minors. You’d better have a good product because you’re going to rely a lot on ‘prospectors’ to buy it. 2012 Topps Heritage Minors extends the look and branding of the primary Heritage brand to a realm where (you hope) the stars of tomorrow reside.
I go in and not only get price quotes from my local store owner (Triple Cards, Plano TX) also to get a little information on the products. His comment about Heritage Minors was that his customers knew almost none of the players in the product but they all ended up buying 3-4 boxed because they liked it. The design is, of course, similar to this year’s primary Heritage baseball which was based on the 1963 Topps set.
Heritage Minors is in many ways similar to the many of the mid-late 1990's card company products in which there were some hits and easily understandable inserts.
Topps also tries to include as many cards of better prospects as possible so that a good chunk of the checklist remains relevant.
Unlike the big league Heritage, the base set is 200 cards rather than 500 and there are 25 short prints, not 75. Each box should contain at least four SPs. That makes it a lot easier to complete a set. Forty different players have signed stickers for Heritage Minors and there are 15 dual autograph cards in all. There are 20 different relic cards and a smaller number of dual relics, so the checklist is not large—even for the inserts. Of course, as with most Topps products, there are parallels, but not as many.
Heritage Minors was issued in 24 ct boxes with nine cards per pack and the packaging also states each box contains two autographs plus one relic card. My aforementioned local card store sold a decent amount of boxes at $74.25 each while leading online retailers are currently in the $50-60 range.
Here’s what we pulled:
Base Set: 198 of 200. I did not see any duplicates so that is 99 percent of the set. An easy pickup of the final two cards will complete the low number base set.
SP's (these cards are the ones numbered 201-225): Javier Baez, Dante Bichette Jr, Jeurys Familia, Anthony Gose, Seth Maness
My local store owner was telling me about these variations before I opened the box, and of course, I kept looking for the player's photo in the circle. Finally near the last pack I saw the second Dante Bichette Jr. card and wondered how Topps could have such bad distribution on the SP's since I’d already pulled a Bichette. Well, of course, this one turned out to be the photo variation
Prospect Performers: Nolan Arrenado, Gerrit Cole
Clubhouse Collection Relic: Dylan Bundy
Real One Autographs: Tyler Collins, Telvin Nash
After seeing what we got from our box, which I suspect is reasonably consistent with all I have heard, if you like reasonably safe chances at a long-term investment this is a really good product to pick up at the current lower online levels. The near complete base set, the SP's. the two autographs and one relic card-- not even counting what might be a better insert-- makes this a nice value We’ll wait to see on Collins and Nash. As with all young players, the jury will be out for awhile.
Bundy was already called up to the majors and if the Orioles make the playoffs, maybe he becomes this year’s Frankie Rodriguez. If he does, then the relic card from his minor league career is an even bigger immediate hit which would be really cool indeed. 2012 Topps Heritage Minors is a fun late season product, and especially attractive if you already are a fan of the Heritage brand.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]