by Chris Harris
Topps has released information for what on first glance appears to be a new brand, 2012 Topps Museum Collection Baseball. But upon looking at the images Topps has released for this supposedly “new” product, collectors might be asking themselves, “Haven’t I seen these cards before?”
That’s because they have. Observant hobbyists many have noticed that about a month ago, Topps posted to their Twitter feed the first images of 2012 Topps Marquee, the sequel to 2011 Topps Marquee. Billed as “Something for everyone at a mid-range price point,” (although at $50/pack, one would question Topps’ definition of “mid-range”) and heavily promoted with images of autographed Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax cards, jumbo-sized Derek Jeter patch cards, quad hits of Babe Ruth, and a one-of-one jersey nameplate of Ty Cobb, Marquee made its debut this past September. And while many of the cards advertised did make their way into packs, most collectors instead found their one-per-pack hit the caliber of a Jose Tabata, Heath Bell, and Brett Wallace.
With a disappointing product in need to a serious overhaul, instead of changing the product to deliver more “value,” Topps has decided to instead change the name. 2012 Topps Museum Collection Baseball is essentially the same product as last year’s Marquee. Each five-card pack will contain three base cards from a 100-card set, one card from one of four different parallels (Blue, Copper, Gold, and Red), and a “hit.” Each four-pack Hobby box will include one autograph, an autographed “Relic” card, a oversized “Jumbo Relic,” and a “Relic” card with four different swatches on it. In other words, 2012 Museum Collection will have the same structure as 2011 Marquee. The usual amount of parallels and variations can also be expected.
Topps is billing Museum Collection as “The most striking cards of 2011 are now the centerpiece of their own product.” However, as with last year’s Marquee, the Museum Collection autographs are seeded at the same “case hit” rate as last year – hardly making them the “centerpiece.”
It is no secret that Topps “high-end” efforts in baseball have been lacking. While Triple Threads has found its niche in The Hobby, Topps has not been able to find that second and third high-end brand to complement it. Marquee/Museum Collection is that brand.
2012 Topps Museum Collection Baseball is scheduled for release, exclusively to Hobby outlets, the week of April 6th, 2012. Each pack will contain five cards and sell for around $50/pack. Check out the checklist and sell sheet below.
Chris Harris writes the popular card collecting blog StaleGum.com.