by Rich Klein
It’s interesting just how long some products have been around. While Topps Finest is nearing two decades, the company has been producing Chrome for a decade and a half now, including the latest installment: 2011 Topps Chrome Baseball.
Back in the day, when Topps used to visit the Beckett offices, one of their key phrases was ‘brand loyalty’. What they seemed to understand was to create customer loyalty, the products had to be recognizable on a year-to-year basis.
The company could always adjust how the product was produced, change the quantity of the production and create new packaging. However, the best idea was that collectors would be able to see the product and understand it fits in neatly with what has come before.
Of course, that does not mean Topps has to maintain a static list of products. In fact, the hobby needs Topps (as well as the other manufacturers) to continue making new products to go with the already existing ones. How else are we as a hobby going to see growth and innovation?
However; if you like the Chrome line, this year’s edition brings a mix of what a collector may have expected back in 1997 and still expect in 2011. Shiny, glossy cards with some of the year’s first official rookie cards. Last year’s product was plagued by a production issue that seemed to give each card a bad case of the bends. Surely, Topps placed a strong emphasis on making sure that didn’t happen this year.
Each box contains 24 packs with four cards per pack. In no less than four places on the box, Topps touts the two on-card autographs. Hmm… I wonder what the hook for the 2011 Topps Chrome product is?
Topps also has brought back some of the old designs from Chrome sets gone by to make things interesting—a nod to the history they’ve tried to develop with the Chrome brand.
Topps Chrome is currently selling from leading on-line retailers at the $60-70 box level. In addition, there were a few other twists in our box which helped to bring the value to a higher level. Without further adieu, here is what we got from our box:
Base Cards; 73 of 220 or approximately 33 percent of the set. Personally, I always enjoy looking at the photos to see if any players appear in new poses not in the regular set.
Refractors: Jason Bartlett, Brandon Beachy, Miguel Cabrera, Tyler Colvin, Felix Hernandez, Dustin Pedroia, Carlos Pena, Carlos Ruiz, Travis Wood
Blue Refractor (#d to 99): Chone Figgins
Sepia Refractor (#d to 99): Eric Sogard
Rookie Autographs: Darwin Barney, Ben Revere
Vintage Chrome: Evan Longoria, Brian McCann, Buster Posey
Topps Heritage Chrome (#d to 1962): Carlos Beltran, Mark Texeira IA, Jayson Werth
Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor (#d to 562): Adam Dunn
Overall, not a bad haul of cards from a reasonably priced box. If you like refractors and parallels, this set is for you. The price point isn’t bad for a pair of rookie autographs and if you’re lucky you’ll score a lower numbered auto. We didn’t find anything spectaculr, but 2011 Topps Chrome does deliver what it promised.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]