I’m approaching the three year anniversary of my return to collecting and new situations continue to present themselves. I’ve done my best to understand both the ever changing collecting aspects as well as the trends of what works and what doesn’t in the trading card economy.
The release of 2018 Topps Archives has provided a brand new scenario to evaluate! This year’s release continues the tradition of using the designs of three prior Topps releases and including a mix of current and retired stars and prospects. The Sandlot holds the honor of being the featured baseball movie a dedicated insert set is based on which is proving to be a very popular choice amongst collectors. This is the second insert Topps has issued this year, the first was a bonus item in the BluRay release earlier this year, and you can read more about that here!
Cards 1-100 are in the 1959 design, 101-200 utilize the 1977 layout, and 201-300 show your favorite players as they would have looked in 1981. Cards 301-320 are short printed and feature either a 1959 combo card design or the 1977 Turn Back the Clock design. A whole slew of autographs can be found. Some of which are in both hobby and retail, and some which will be hobby only.
In addition, there are a few insert sets for collectors to seek out for their master set desires. The Sandlot set is first up and highlights eleven of the popular characters from the movie, with limited autographed versions serving as the “cards to have”. The Topps Rookie History Set reprints the rookie cards of some of the most popular players of yesterday and today, and feature a glossy finish and a “Topps Rookie History” foil stamp on the front of the card. The 1981 Trios Future Stars set provides a very cool option for some of this year’s hottest rookies like Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuna, and Gleyber Torres.
Many of these same rookies get their own insert card in the 1993 Coming Attraction Set, and finally, blaster boxes come with two metal coins with have both MLB stars and Sandlot characters in the set. Limited blue coins serve as a more limited parallel.
Three players from each design were chosen for a photo variation chase, and a more diverse set of variation is included for the truly dedicated set collector.
The 1959 series has a grey Venezuelan Back parallel, the 1977 series has a “missing signature” parallel, and the 1981 series utilizes an alternative logo to create its variation. Odds for these variations range from 1:48 packs to 1:96 packs, at least in the retail release. Which brings us back to the point I was trying to make at the beginning of the post.
The original release date for this set was pushed back a month. That in of itself isn’t all that unusual, except someone forgot to tell the retail distribution team, and all those fat packs and blasters were shipped out to retail stores at their original time! Retail will be live almost a month before the hobby product hits stores.
I picked up a couple blasters, and as you can see below I did alright!
I can’t wait to see what this does for hobby prices and demand. The Nationals phenom Juan Soto has his first pack issued rookie card in this product, and initial sales on Ebay are starting off pretty strong. Usually, retail is very challenging to get a good return of value, but with it being the only option, prices may stay elevated a bit longer.
If I was looking to sell my Kris Bryant I would have recouped the cost of my blasters. However, that one is going into my PC and the remaining coins and other base cards won’t go quite as far to offset my cost.
Overall, Archives provides a nice walk down memory lane, but it doesn’t quite live up to the nostalgic flashback that Heritage brings. What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Let me know either way!