Topps American Pie Review

by Rich Klein  

For as long as I remember, the term “As American as Apple Pie” has been used to describe traditions in these United States. In the past 40 years, the “Apple” has disappeared and American Pie is now a well-known term. The first active usage of American Pie came courtesy of Don McLean in 1971 when his single and title track to his album created a long-standing discussion of exactly what did McLean mean in that song. And until McLean tells us what he really meant, that discussion will continue for as long as “Classic Hits” stations play that song on the radio. And with the long version of American Pie running more than seven minutes, that song will be played so radio personalities can heed calls of nature.

Topps American Pie Mr. RogersAmerican Pie is also used as the title of a series of “teenage” related movies. A few expressions have come into play courtesy of those movies and if you are a male, there is little doubt Shannon Elizabeth was a highlight of the very first movie.

In terms of sports cards, the American Pie brand name was used back in 2001-02 and those sets were quite a bit more sports related than the 2011Topps American Pie set. Now, if you expected something with a sports emphasis this time around, you were bound to be disappointed. I know when I checked with my local store owner (Triple Cards in Plano, TX) he was expecting a mix of baseball players and historical cards similar to the 2001-02 schematic. There are some sports cards here–the first Sports Illustrated, Lance Armstrong, the first use of Instant Replay and other milestones are documented, but there’s no Mickey Mantle or other headliner.  As for me, I enjoyed looking through the time capsule and learned a few fun facts as part of the historical tour.

The front reminded me of the 2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams design with the borderless photo and the decade notated at the bottom. The back has an informational blurb about the importance of the photo on the front.

Henry Winkler Topps American Pie relicThe 2011 Topps American Pie box has 24 cards with eight cards per pack. In addition, each box says there are three memorabilia cards inside. With all that, how is the box faring in the secondary market? Leading on-line retailers have this box available in the  $70-80 range while my local store is at $91.25 and fully expects to discount this box in the near future.

How did we do from our box?

Base Cards: 163 of 200 with no duplicates for a bit more than 80 percent. Less than 10 percent of the cards we received were even tangentially related to sports.

Foil Parallels: (I will say these seem to be the foil parallels but these were very hard for me to determine): James Dean, E-Day (Debut of the Edsel). Approval of “The Pill”. Donna Reed, Tennis Anyone (About Atari) (With a title like that in the 1970’s, I expected a Chris Evert card), John Travolta (with Karen Lynn Gorney) in a Saturday Night Fever pose, John Wayne.

Stamped Buy Back: “Baby” #33. I had forgotten/never heard of this. Baby was a 66 card set about a hero dinosaur from 1985.

Fads and Fashions: Atkins Diet, 3D Movies (1950’s not today), Big Hair, Go Go Boots, Pet Rocks, Telephone Booth Stuffing

Hirsute History: Faux Hawk, Goatee, Sideburns, Soul Patch

Topps American Pie Sean Astin autographHollywood Walk of Fame: Marlon Brando, George Burns, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Alfred Hitchcock, Grace Kelly, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Spencer Tracy

Relics: Mickey Rooney, Henry Winkler

Autograph: Sean Astin

As long as you did not open the American Pie expecting it to resemble the 2001-02 product, this is an enjoyable box to open for those who remember post-War history. If you thought there was going to be a mix of baseball favorites, then you were going to be disappointed after opening the first box.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]