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Review: Topps 75, Panini Beach Boys Take Collectors Down Different Path

If you have been one of my loyal readers for the past three years (and thank you for reading both Rich’s Ramblings and the box reviews) you are probably aware that in addition to sports cards, a major theme of my life is my love of pop music from the 1955-1991 era. In other words, the type of music you will rarely hear on the radio anymore as that music is starting to age out of desirable demos for advertisers.

Beach Boys packHowever, some groups and singers will continue to be known and loved even after most of their music is no longer on the radio. One of the few really classic American groups of the rock era are the Beach Boys. The intricate harmonies fashioned by Brian Wilson to go with the great voices made the Beach Boys the summer group of the 1960′s. Although their personal histories match many dysfunctional families, the music trumps all and the Beach Boys in some fashion are still making music more than 50 years after they began.

That was why when I first saw Beach Boys cards by Panini opened my first reaction was ‘wow about time’ and my second reaction was ‘this will be a really cool set’. The retail box we recently received from Panini did not disappoint on either level as the cards evoke memories of summer which is always useful as we approach the shortest days of the year and outside of Florida, most of us have gone through a rotten cold snap.

The retail box we opened contained 24 packs of these cards with eight cards per pack. The box does say an outside chance of autographs but we are guaranteed one commemorative guitar pick per box. The hobby boxes are currently available from leading on-line retailers at the $60-65 level so I would presume the retail boxes are a few dollars less. The base cards have multi-colored borders with the Beach Boys logo in the middle and if the card features an individual band member his name is noted on the bottom.

Here’s what we pulled:

Base Cards:  We received 140 cards and the base set is 120, While I did not sort the cards, from that count one can either complete or trade with someone else to complete a set so you can figure a complete set from a retail box.

Parallel Foil Cards: (Foil Cards come one per box and do include some insert sets): We received 12 foil cards of the base set and the breakdown goes lilke this: Al Jardine 58, 116; Bruce Johnston 16; Mike Love 77, 95, 100; Brian Wilson 3, 30; Dennis Wilson 73; Group Photos 61; 87 and 109

Artist Proof (#d to 99): Group Photo #28

Etchings: Bruce Johnston, Mike Love

Gold Albums: Beach Boys, Shut Down

Honors: Award of Merit, God Only Knows, Good Vibrations, I Get Around; In My Room, Sounds of Summer; ,

Honors Foil: Award of Merit, Singing National Anthem at Dodgers Stadium

In Their Own Words: Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, David Marks, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson 2 and 9

Sounds of SummerIn Their Own Words Foil: Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston

On the Records: Keepin’ the Summer Alive, Still Cruisin, Surfin Safari

Sounds of Summer: Don’t Worry Baby, God Only Knows, Sloop John B, Surfin’ USA, Surfin’ Safari, Wouldn’t it be Nice

Sounds of Summer Foil: Don’t Worry Baby, Sloop John B

Top 10 Hits: California Girls, Fun Fun Fun, God Only Knows,Help Me Rhonda, Little Saint Nick, Rock and Roll Music, The Man with all the Toys, When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)

Commemorative Guitar Pick: Mike Love

When we realized this was a retail box we did not expect any major hits; however, the sheer depth and variation of the photos help to bring back earlier times in our lives when unless we were living in California, we all dreamed of going there and finding bronze goddesses of our own. After all, Wouldn’t it be Nice if we could just say Don’t Worry Baby for the rest of our lives.

Topps 75A few days later we received Topps 75 which features reprinted cards of various non-sports sets.  Not every “reprinted” set works but the Topps 75 box has exceeded all expectations. This set is a mix of remakes from a whole mix of non-sports sets Topps has produced over the past 75 years. For collectors of just about any age there is guaranteed to be a few cards one probably remembered from their youth. Plus the other “hits” from the box seem to make this even better.

I checked with both Nick’s Sportscards and Triple Cards about this box and both reported just about being sold out at the $90-95 mark. Meanwhile leading on-line retailers are currently between $85-90 for the box.

The boxes contain 24 packs eight cards per pack. The box does say four hits per box which are noted as three autographs and one buy back card per box. Frankly with the low prices of some of the non-sports sets Topps has issued, one could argue that you could include another 1-2 buybacks per box but that is being very persnickety. Both owners at Nick’s and Triple Cards reported universal client satisfaction with this issue and it’s rare to see such agreement from everyone who has handled this release.

StarTrek Topps 75Base Cards: We received 159 from our box and with an 100 card set a collectors is pretty much guaranteed a complete set out of the box. Al at Triple Cards reported all of his collectors did receive a complete set in every box. And even if you aren’t able get a set, the amount of duplicates makes completing the base set a pretty easy process.

Rainbow Foil Parallel (One per pack): Back to the Future II, Beverly Hillbillies, Bazooka Joe, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Desert Storm, Funny Monsters, Get Smart, John F Kennedy, Laugh In, Lost in Space, Man on the Moon, Mars Attacks, Michael Jackson, Moonraker, Planet of the Apes, Rails and Sails, Soupy Sales, Star Trek, Superman the Movie, Tarzan and the She Devil, Who am I, X-Ray Roundup, Zorro

Diamond Anniversary Parallel (#d to 75) Creature Features

Minis: Animals of the World, Bring em Back Alive, Jets, Scoops

Dawn Wells autographTest Card: Superman in the Jungle

Buy Back: Blair Witch Project #49

Autographs: Marta Kristen (Lost in Space), Dawn Wells (Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island), Joyce DeWitt (Three’s Company)

The Topps 75 box provides everything advertised but even more important because of the card mix, the set provided a neat telescope into the past and just about everyone who opens a box can relate to a card they owned when they were younger. It’s rare when a product works on all levels but from being able to complete a set from the hobby box, to the memory pangs to the guaranteed four hits including three autographs there is truly something for everyone in the Topps 75th box.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]

About Rich Klein

Rich Klein has spent almost his entire life collecting baseball cards having begun at the tender age of seven. He has spent more than three decades in the organized hobby including editing the first 12 editions of the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Card and Collectibles. He lives in Plano, TX along with his wife Dena and their two dogs. You can reach him at [email protected].