Topps’ 1967 baseball card set was visually appealing and boasted the largest checklist to date (609 cards). With the hobby release of 2016 Topps Heritage Baseball scheduled for March 2, Topps is hoping to recapture the simplistic beauty of the original. The checklist is available at the bottom of the page.
Ode to the Original
The 1967 set was a sparkling departure in terms of design. Utilizing nearly full-bleed color photographs of the players, Topps made sure they were the focus.
No pennants (1965), wood grain borders (1962) or secondary player mug shots in tiny circles (1963). In ’67, the player’s name was unobtrusively situated at the top of the card, while the team name adorned the bottom in colorful block letters. A facsimile autograph completed the picture, and the card backs were tinted lime green.
As always, the design for the Heritage hobby box is pretty close to the original.
2016 Topps Heritage Basics
2016 Topps Heritage will consist of a 500-card base set, with 75 of those high-numbered short prints. A hobby box will contain 24 packs, with nine cards to a pack. Topps is promising one autograph or relic card per hobby box.
The price range should be around $2.99 per pack, and in the $65-$80 range per hobby box.
Mike Trout, card #1 in the Topps Series 1 flagship issue, is the final card in the Heritage base set.
Just like the original, there will be league leaders and World Series cards.
2016 Topps Heritage has Superfractors. Unannounced and very scarce, the 1/1s did begin showing up on eBay as the product was released.
Inserts, Variations, Parallels, Autographs
Heritage is known for its variations, some of which will mimic the originals but are always a little different. There will be 20 throwback uniform variations, plus hobby exclusive action images (25 of them) and team color variations (25). Also sprinkled in hobby boxes will be original cards from 1967 with a foil stamp. Rookie cards will follow the 1967 format of two player panels per card but look for single player variations of the “Rookie Stars” cards which carry the same number as the dual-player versions. They’ll likely be among the most popular cards in 2016 Topps Heritage, especially those of players who break out as the year commences.
The team name color variations will be rare as well, albeit a little annoying.
You can see 2016 Heritage variations listed on eBay here.
Parallels for Heritage will have red, rather than green backs. Mini cards of these parallels will be numbered to 100, and there also will be chrome versions. Chrome refractor parallels will be numbered to 567, while black-bordered chrome refractors will be numbered to 67. There’s even a gold-bordered chrome parallel that is a hobby exclusive and numbered to 5.
There will be three different styles of hobby exclusive box toppers. A three-card ad panel strip will be the most common, but vintage collectors will wax nostalgic with the other two options. One is a poster box loader, which will take the design used from the 1967 Topps poster inserts. There will be 20 different players, and the posters will be limited to 50 each. A parallel featuring an on-poster autograph will be limited to 10 subjects and will be numb
ered to 10.
The last box loader option pays tribute to the much rarer Topps Punch-Out set. There will be 20 different subjects, and there also will be jumbo patch relics numbered to 25 and autograph jumbo patch relics numbered to 10.
Inserts will be familiar to Heritage collectors, with the return of New Age Performers (20 cards) and Then and Now Baseball Flashbacks and News Flashbacks (10 cards apiece). Look for Flashbacks autographed relics, hand-numbered to 25.
Real One autographs will be on-card and will include current veterans and retired stars along with some “common” players who appeared on the 1967 Topps set. Nolan Ryan will be part of the autograph checklist along with young stars like Kris Bryant, Corey Seager, Steven Matz and Kyle Schwarber. A special version will be signed in red ink and hand-numbered to 67. Hobby-only dual autographs will be hand-numbered to 25 (more Hall of Famers paired with current stars), while triple autograph cards will be hand-numbered to 5.
Cut signatures of baseball players and celebrities from 1967 will be 1/1. Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Diana Ross are among those on the checklist.
Clubhouse Collection relics return for 2016 Heritage and will feature memorabilia from game-used uniforms or bats from current and retired players. A gold parallel will be numbered to 99. Dual relics (numbered to 67), triple (25) and quad (10) also will be in the mix.
Autographed relics will be hand-numbered to 25, while dual auto relic cards are hobby exclusives that will be hand-numbered to 10.
Coin and Stamp Cards
U.S. currency had gone off 90 percent silver in 1965, but Topps will be including embedded coins from 1967 in its ’67 Mint subset. Ask any numismatist — the 1967 “silver coins” lack silver.
The Roosevelt dime, for example, is made up of 91.67 percent copper and 8.33 percent nickel. However, if Topps pulled the coins that will be embedded from Special Mint Sets, then the cards will have some value. There were no proof sets issued between 1965 and 1967, so an SMS coin in a card would have some nice value. Not sure if that is the case here, however.
Topps also plans to have U.S. postage stamp relics. Notable players and events will be matched with stamps that were issued in 1967; the cards will be numbered to 50.
Back in Time
The 1967 baseball cards probably provided a respite from an increasingly complicated world going through some challenging times. The year will be remembered as a tumultuous one in U.S. and world history. America’s race riots saw inner cities go up in flames (notably in Detroit and Newark), the Vietnam War was in full swing, and the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt put world powers on high alert.
But in music and pop culture, 1967 was the Summer of Love. And from artistic sense, Topps reached a high point with its elegant, simple baseball card design.
Collectors can only hope 2016 Topps Heritage can live up to it.
Click here to see boxes and more on eBay.