Bert Lance was Jimmy Carter’s Budget Director. We don’t know if Mr. Lance is a baseball card collector, but his influence can be seen in the design and structure of 2013 Topps Tribute Baseball. Lance is attributed with coining the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Topps Tribute isn’t broke, so they decided not to fix it.
The base set will contain a lean 100 cards with four such cards coming in every pack. As in previous years, all cards will be printed on a thicker-than-normal card stock with holographic foil. Unlike in previous years, not every pack is guaranteed a parallel; however, each one of the seven different serial-numbered parallel sets is limited to 99 copies or less.
Of course the main draw of 2013 Topps Tribute Baseball are the one-per-pack “hits;” and every six-pack Hobby box will contain three autographs and three “Relics” – all serial-numbered to 99 copies or less with the usual gaggle of colored parallels for each card also available.
New additions to Tribute include “Best of the Best,” a return to the “materials” cards of the 1990s with cards signed on wood, canvas, or leather-like substrates. Each Best of the Best will be serial-numbered to only five copies. Another new feature are the Allen & Ginter-esque framed mini autographs. Unlike the Ginter framed autos, the Tribute minis will all be serial-numbered to only 25 copies.
Perhaps the most unique Relic in 2013 Topps Tribute Baseball are the Batting Glove Relics – featuring the premium-sized swatch taken from the palm of the player’s batting glove. Game-used cards with swatches of batting gloves are nothing new (Donruss made the first such card all the way back in 1997), but they aren’t early as common as bat, jersey, or pants cards. However, these will be the first feature such a large swatch of a batting glove. Only two of each player (one for each hand) will be produced.
2013 Topps Tribute Baseball is tentatively scheduled for release the week of March 4, 2013. Each Hobby box will contain six packs of five cards and retail for around $300 per box. See the sell sheet, preliminary checklist below.