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2014 Topps High Tek Preview

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Like the title of a song says, “Everything old is new again.”

Rumors keep going around about Upper Deck being serious regarding a rebirth of Fleer Retro for baseball. The Donruss product released a couple of months ago by Panini hit a friendly nerve with many collectors who loved the 1980s throwback. And, earlier this year we learned 2014 Topps Tek–a late 1990′s/early 2000′s issue– was in the comeback pipeline. They also made it known that the Stadium Club brand was coming out of moth balls as well, and fans of both sets have been buzzing about the announcements – with both pros and cons – ever since.

Well, the Major League exclusive license holder has lifted the veil on the Tek line, and they are making it clear that this Tek is not like that Tek. How? They are accomplishing the blend of nostalgia and newness by calling the upcoming edition 2014 Topps High Tek Baseball.
HARPER
The word “High” in the title is what stands out right away, and it is meant to do that. In fact, Topps is even using the phrase “Low Tek” to refer to some of the parallels in the set that are “paying homage to the Tek heritage…featured on refractor foil technology.” Yep, according to Topps the refractor foil technology is now officially old school. It is meant as good old school, but it is evidently no longer the top dog in Topps order.

2014 Topps Tek Basic Info

Scheduled for an early November release and expected to cost about $70 per box, Tek is somewhat intended to appeal to the higher end collector. This will be evident not only from the design and details of the cards, but also the packaging. Although they have not been seen in a photograph from Topps, the “packs” or boxes of 8 cards will actually cone in hinged boxes (plastic?). These boxes will come 12 to a case. It is an important distinction as in addition to the promise of an auto in every box, Topps promises that each case will guarantee one  re-created design Diffractor OR a Buyback Autograph card.

Topps believes that part of what made the earlier versions of Tek so memorable was “its vast array of patterns and parallels.” And they REALLY believe that as the revamped 2014 Topps High Tek will have plenty of different versions of its 100 card base set for collectors to chase. There will be lots of color and a plethora of ways to design foil and acetate according to the Topps information.

Tek Parallels

TANAKA

Each box of 2014 Topps High Tek will provide six base cards. The company states that “no two packs will be the same,” and with up to 12 different background patterns and the variety of color parallels, it promises to be an accurate statement. Just using the 100 base cards, the following parallels will be available:

  • Gold Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d.
  • Ice Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d.
  • Disco Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d. (Jokes about Disco Demoltion are being held at bay here.)
  • Clouds Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d.
  • Black & White Image Parallel: sequentially #’d to 15.
  • Red Storm Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d to 10.
  • Blue Dots Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d to 5.
  • Charcoal Galactic Diffractor Parallel: #’d 1/1.
  • Printing Proofs: #’d 1/1.

By the way, the word from Topps is that these Hobby exclusive packs will have six base cards, plus one parallel base card numbered to 99 or less. And, just in case that is not enough variation, the company says buyers can look for 12 Base Card Pattern Variations! Whew.
RIVERA
For many, of course, the appeal will be the guaranteed hard signed autograph per hinged box. Topps says the autographed cards will feature on-card autos of MLB rookie stars, veterans and baseball icons. Of course, as you might have guessed by now, these will not be left without their own variety and parallels. The signatures will be on-card, but those cards will definitely vary. Topps says the autos will fall into the following categories:

  • Disco Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d.
  • Clouds Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d.
  • Black & White Image Parallel: sequentially #’d to 15.
  • Red Storm Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d to 10.
  • Blue Dots Diffractor Parallel: sequentially #’d to 5.
  • Charcoal Galactic Diffractor Parallel: #’d 1/1.
  • Printing Proofs: #’d 1/1.

Tek Diffractors

Earlier it was mentioned that Topps has stated that each case of 12 boxes guarantees one re-created design diffractor OR a Buyback Autograph. Again, the autographed buybacks of Diffractor parallels and inserts from the 1998-2000 Topps Tek series will be signed on-card. Topps is offering 3 different types of the Diffractor cards:

  • 1999 TEKnicians Diffractor – up to 25 subjects will be featured on a re-creation of the 1999 TEKnicians insert design that are sequentially numbered. These will have autographed parallels that are #’d to 10.
  • 2000 TEKtonics Diffractor – up to 20 subjects will be featured on a re-creation of the 2000 TEKtonics insert designthat are sequentially numbered. These will have autographed parallels that are #’d to 10.
  • And, as we mentioned above, the Low Tek Diffractor – Topps says these cards are meant to pay homage to the Tek heritage, and will have up to 35 subjects will featured on refractor foil technology. These will be sequentially numbered, and have an autograph parallel of up to 10 subjects. These parallels will be #’d to 15.

TROUTThe song, “Everything Old Is New Again” (yes, I know Barenaked Ladies also have a song by that name) has a chorus that says, “Don’t throw the past away/You might need it some rainy day/Dreams can come true again/When everything old is new again.” It doesn’t seem like the hobby is in any kind of a rainy day, but for those who love chasing pattern after pattern and parallel and parallel, their dreams are about to come true with 2014 Topps High Tek. Of course, that might be a nightmare for others.

The autograph checklist will include these guys (and others) when it arrives:

  • Oscar Taveras
  • Jose Abreu
  • George Springer
  • Jon Singleton
  • Paul Goldschmidt
  • Freddie Freeman
  • David Wright
  • Bo Jackson
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Bryce Harper
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Sonny Gray
  • Paul O’Neill
  • Ivan Rodriguez
  • Frank Thomas
  • Mike Trout
  • Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Cal Ripken Jr.
  • Miguel Cabrera
  • Giancarlo Stanton
  • Tom Glavine
  • Ernie Banks
  • Mark McGwire
  • Randy Johnson
  • Sandy Koufax
  • Edgar Martinez
  • Ernie Banks
  • Yordano Ventura
  • Pudge Rodriguez

Topps even made a Topps Tek video.

Have a hankering for Tek?  Click here to see the old school edition on eBay.

About Larry Pauley

Larry Pauley began collecting in the 1960's, opened his first card shop in the KC area during the late 1980's, and today, when not combing flea markets for the next “find,” he runs MLB Memories—a card shop in Nixa, MO, a website at mlbmemories.com, and stores on eBay and Amazon. Track him down @MLBMemories on Twitter or Facebook, or e-mail [email protected].

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