Just as the 2018 MLB season was getting ready to kick off, Topps announced the release of a baseball card set which would provide a completely new collecting experience.
The Living Set is a direct to consumer product sold on topps.com. The classic 1953 baseball design will be used for the duration of the set, and the artwork is all original from the hands of Mayumi Seto. Individual cards can be purchased for $7.99, and bulk discounts are available for dealers or collectors looking to buy more. Another popular option is to buy the weekly bundle where collectors receive a copy of each of the three cards for $14.99.
So what makes it living? Well, for one, the intention is for it to go on forever. Every Wednesday, three new players are available for sale for one week only. The set contains players from all eras of the game. From rookies, to veterans, to Hall of Farmers, the player selection is robust and will continue to evolve as the years go on. Every player will only have one card unless he changes teams. At that point the opportunity will exist to release a second card of that player. For retired subjects, there will only be one card for us to collect. This has created significant conversation in the hobby about which team should be portrayed for players who took the field for multiple teams throughout their career.
Throughout the 2018 Baseball season, the weekly lineup seemed to put a priority on making sure the 2018 rookie class had RC cards in the series. Most weeks had one rookie joining a combination of vets and retired players. Each week, collectors come together in online forums and social media sties to speculate on who will be featured that week and to discuss what they like and dislike about the lineup.
As the set launched, the print run of each card became a significant topic of interest. Collectors realized that the less popular players sold fewer cards which limited the total number of complete sets that would be available. The lower print runs also led to higher prices for those “short prints” with some players reaching several hundred dollars per card! As of this post, 123 cards have been released. The honor of the lowest print run is owned by Mr. Nick Markakis at 2,678 copies in week 2. The highest print run was card number 19, and it features Ronald Acuna as a rookie with a whopping 46,809 cards printed.
Even though we’re over 100 cards into the set, and the new cards were initially available for one week only directly from Topps, singles and lots can be purchased on eBay, Sportlots, and COMC. In fact, I didn’t start building the set until almost 90 cards had been released, and in a couple months I was able to catch up and complete the set (with new cards being ordered from Topps each week).
So come on, jump in, and add the Topps Living Set to your collection!
See the Photo Checklist with Print Runs Here.
You can also read more about my efforts to build the set and my thoughts on some strategies on how to let the set pay for itself in this post.