by Rich Klein
Out of all the products issued in an average year, my favorite almost always is Topps Heritage. Now well into the second decade as a hobby staple, Heritage has a great reputation for doing a pretty fair job honoring the past, commemorating the stars of today and giving set collectors a challenge. It also shows players who changed teams in the off-season in their new uniforms. 2012 Topps Heritage is modeled, of course, after the 1963 Topps set.
There is something refreshing in honoring each of the designs of the past with more modern technology which enables better photo and card quality than the original. Heritage also tries to mimic some of those little errors and variations that were prevalent back in the day.
Here are a couple of examples of how much attention to detail Topps pays for this product. Card number 237 in the original product is Jim Coates, who spent several productive years with the Yankees, while promising youngster Ivan Nova has that card number in the 2012 set. Card #279 is the 2012 set is Matt Kemp while in the original 1963 set that card number belonged to Wally Moon. Now Wally Moon never quite had a season like Kemp did in 2011 but the outfield position and the Los Angeles Dodger team is the same. Those are just two of the many obvious– and not so obvious– comparisons with the original 1963 set. Sometimes, Topps creates some variations that weren’t there originally, though.
There are a few things, mostly minor, that I would change with Heritage. First, I would expand this set to 600 cards and make the final 100 cards the short prints. At this time, and frankly for the past five years, that would be more appropriate for a set designed to mirror the original set. I would cut back on the plethora of “parallel” short prints. Any time I open a box of cards and feel I need to keep the Beckett checklist open to make sure I don’t accidentally sell or trade any SP’s as commons means the set is too complicated. Please, Topps, for 2013, dial back the short print parallels. In addition, I would also not have a player on a multi-player rookie card as well as on a single card. Please pick one or the other option for those players.
Now to the nuts and bolts of 2012 Topps Heritage for the collector thinking about taking the plunge. My local card store (Triple Cards in Plano, Tex.) has sold through five cases at $74.25 per box. Each box contains 24 packs with 9 cards per pack with each box to contain one autograph or relic card. The shop owner told me everyone has been getting what they’re supposed to, the value is good for what comes out and overall Heritage has been popular. Most boxes on eBay are going for $60-65.
Here’s what we pulled:
Short Prints (All numbered between 426 and 500) Adron Chambers, Prince Fielder, Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Joyce, Gerardo Parra, Kyle Seager, James Shields, Alfonso Soriano
Checklists (of which there are variations): 1 4 and 5
Peel Offs: Starlin Castro, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler
Solid Background SP: (The main background photo is solid while the small circular photo is the usual main photo background) : Felix Hernandez
Then and Now: Harmon Killebrew/Jose Bautista; Juan Marichal/James Shields
Flashback: Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, John F Kennedy, Vaelntina Tereshkova
New Age Performers: Derek Jeter
Clubhouse Collection Relic: Jose Reyes (Interestingly pictured as a Met although his regular card shows him as a Marlin
Original Buy Back: 1963 Topps Jim King
No autograph. The Reyes relic is going for about three bucks on eBay. It is always fun to see the original buybacks come out of these.
As Topps has shown for more than the past decade, the Heritage brand is one of their strongest lines and a few simple tweaks might make this product even more profitable. We didn’t fare tremendously well with this box, but it’s not really a ‘hit oriented’ product. I think 2012 Topps Heritage is worth a box or two. A lot of folks have been doing that. There are over 18,000 listings on eBay right now.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]