by Chris Harris
The year was 1994, and Upper Deck unveiled a concept that had never been tried before. For the Hobby edition of their flagship baseball product, Upper Deck unveiled “Diamond Collection,” an insert that featured 30 of the top players in baseball. The Diamond Collection wasn’t anything all that special (with the exception of a Michael Jordan baseball card, it was the standard “best player for each team” insert that was common in the era) except for the way it was distributed: geographically. The packs containing the Michael Jordan and Frank Thomas Diamond Collection cards were only sold to Hobby dealers in the middle of the country. Likewise, the East Coast players were only available on the East Coast, and the Western players in the West. In the almost two decades since, Upper Deck’s regional distribution method has never been replicated, that is until now.
2013 Topps Museum Collection Baseball will have separate production runs for the American and Japanese markets. We don’t know what (if anything) will be exclusive to the Japanese packs as Topps has yet to release that information. However, a series of 100 one-of-one “Momentous Materials” Laundry Tag cards will be exclusive to the American packs.
The remainder of 2013 Topps Museum Collection Baseball should be familiar to collectors of last year's debut product. The base set will consist of 100 cards, all printed on thicker-than-normal cardstock. Each five-card pack will consist of three base cards, a serial-numbered parallel, and low-numbered autograph and/or game-used “Relic” card. Each Hobby box will have four packs and the four “hits” Topps promises are: An on-card Autograph, an Autographed Relic card, a Jumbo Relic card, and a Quad Relic card. In addition, each 12-box case will yield a serial-numbered to ten Momentous Materials Jumbo Relic Autograph and a framed Museum Collection autograph, numbered to 15, ten, or five.
One new addition to 2013 Topps Museum Collection Baseball, and one that collectors interested in buying by the individual wax box should be alert to, are randomly seeded box toppers. Among these cards include an oversized partial parallel of the one-per-box Canvas Collection inserts (each serial-numbered to 25, with an autographed edition that will be numbered to only five), and a one-of-one “Jersey Nameplate” card. Obviously, not every box will contain one of these box toppers and it’s unclear what, if anything, Topps will do to conceal these cards from pack searchers.
2013 Topps Museum Collection Baseball is scheduled for release the week of March 19, 2013. Each box will contain four packs of five cards and should sell in the $50/pack range. Check out the preview images below.