I always begin these Topps Heritage reviews by admitting it’s my favorite release each year. Having been a collector for many years and then a dealer who always loved older cards, there is always something special about seeing modern players in an old-school set. Topps to their credit, takes a great deal of love and care with the Heritage set and in many cases has either the player match the pose from the original or mirrors an original card number with something similar in Heritage.
With Heritage Baseball 2015 it was time to honor the 1966 Topps issue. Buster Posey as card number #1 is obviously a nod to Willie Mays who was card number 1 way back in 1966. He’s even grinning much like Willie.
The Giants’ World Series hero, Madison Bumgarner is card #260 just as Bob Shaw (then a Giant) was in 1966. Because there are many more more teams today than there were in 1966, matching the original card for card isn’t possible, but a mix of cards mimicking the original and those with new poses or new ideas is the right way to go.
I do have several constant issues with Heritage each year. One is at this point, the Heritage set should be 600 cards with the last 100 being higher numbers. A decade ago, the 500 card set made sense but beginning with the 2008 set, I believe Topps should have created a set that was closer to the number of the original set. We’d love to see team cards and a larger selection of players from each club.
Also, it seems to me last 75 cards in the set seem to have a higher percentage of star and superstar players than the rest of the set. Again in the original sets, that wasn’t usually the case. Many of the key higher number cards today are where they are because they were rookie players who developed into future Hall of Famers rather than being stars at that time.
With those minor quibbles out of the way, we proceeded to open the 1966…er… 2015 Topps Heritage box we received from Topps. Each box has one autograph or relic card.
My local card store (Triple Cards in Plano TX) reported traditionally strong sales at $74.25 per 24-pack box while Nick’s Sportscards was doing equally well at $79.25 per box. Leading on-line retailers are at $65-70 per box and with shipping costs that means the brick and mortar stores are right in line with what these hobby retailers are getting for their boxes.
Here’s what we pulled:
Base Cards: 191 of 425. You’ll need three hobby boxes to finish a set even with perfect distribution
Short Prints: Adrian Beltre, Ian Desmond, Jose Fernandez, Carlos Gomez, Evan Longoria, Manny Machado, David Price, Jered Weaver
Gum Smell Back Parallel: Huston Street
Chrome Refractor (#d to 566): Adam LaRoche
Flashbacks: Ernie Banks, Jimi Hendrix, Al Kaline, Metropolitan Opera House (New York)
New Age Performers; Billy Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey
Then and Now: Lou Brock/Dee Gordon; Sandy Koufax/David Price
Advertising Panel (Box Topper): Clayton Kershaw/Andrew McCuthchen/Chris Johnson
I think the best review of Topps Heritage came from the owner of Triple Cards when I asked him about the hits in the product he did rattle off a few of the better cards his customers received and then said; “My customers don’t care about hits out of Heritage because they are having too much fun putting together their sets.” And he’s right. Heritage isn’t a hit-based product. It’s not perfect, but for those who appreciate hobby history, it’s still a winner.
You can see 2015 Topps Heritage on eBay here.