Monday, May 28, 2012

2012 Topps Archive Review

I was at one of my local card shops on Friday to pick up some 15 pocket sheets for my 2009 Tristar Obak T212 minis and they had hobby boxes of Topps Archive for sale for $108. I thought about it and decided that I would rather get a small stack of 1971 high numbers for that coin and passed.

But then everyone has been posting about Topps Archive, and it seems folks were pulling good hits. So, I picked up a blaster at my local big box store just to see what it was all about.  Here is my summary of Archive. I will admit up front that I am grouping the cards differently than how Topps does.  The entry at Baseball Cardpedia is true to how Topps envisioned the set.   But, I formed my opinion of this set before I looked at the article, so this post will follow along with my thought process.

Archives is made up, at least in my mind, of five major themes:

1.  Modern players on classic designs

I liked this concept the first time, when it was called Heritage.   I wonder what ever happened to the Heritage set?  Oh, wait..........

2.  Greats of the past on card designs they never appeared on

It is an interesting idea, but it just isn't grabbing me. I am not sure why exactly.  It may be because they aren't all on the same design. It may just be that I am experiencing being "unstuck in time"  à la Billy Pilgrim.
3.  Greats of the past on card designs they did appear on, as a reissue

FWIW, this is considered an insert rather than part of the base set.

This I get. It isn't something I would go hog wild over, as I intend to eventually collect the originals (at least for pre-1978 sets.)  But, it does appeal to me and I am pretty confident that I'll have to settle for a Topps Archive '52 Mantle (and other such expensioso cards) instead of the original.  But, if they issued a whole set of these kinda cards, I would definitely collect it.

4.  Greats of the past on card designs they did appear on, but not a reissue

These are, as I understand it, the base set short prints. What you see here is a side by side of the original issue (on the left) and the 2012 Archive (on the right.)  What is the point?  I don't know.  You tell me. 

5.  Various inserts

3D cards. Overall, I like these cards and think Topps should promote them from insert to an entire set of their own. Just like I did last year when they appeared in Lineage.

Floating head stickers appeared in this year's Heritage issue.  And, while these are larger than the Heritage equivalent, they are a little too similar to be interesting. It kinda seems as if Topps bought an expensive machine for making stickers and is trying to keep the machine running,  even if they aren't printing anything exciting.

I'd almost be inclined to make a smart ass remark about stickers being for little kids and not for the more typical modern collector, a mid 40s suburban male with a slight paunch, but I think we all know at least one mid 40s suburban male that loves Stickahs!  And I wouldn't want to insult someone with a larger readership than me.  So, I'll keep that to myself.

This is all kinds of awful.  It really needs to be submitted to Photoshop Disasters.  Ignoring the fact that the Willie Mays picture was take before Pee Wee Herman Tim Lincecum was even born, the lighting on this is all wrong.  Both are being lit from their left.  But, Mays is probably being lit from  a non-natural source at ground level. The light source for Timmeh is a mid-day sun.  Just horrid.

Now, this I can get into. I like deckle edge cards. I intend, at some point, to put both the 1969 and 1974 deckle edge sets together.  So, I will probably try to pick up some of these Archive deckles too.

There was also cloth stickers in this set, but I managed to not to scan one.  This was also done in Lineage last year. Yawn.

Overall Review:

Like Lineage before it, Topps is trying to do too much with this set.  In my opinion, they threw a bunch of stuff against the wall and there is no unifying theme and little originality.  Just too much overlap with Lineage and Heritage.

If was designing the set, I would limit the base set to two themes:  reissue of great Topps cards of the past (like the Ryan and Strawberry) and mix in all-time baseball greats on classic designs (like the Cobb and Clemente). I would also only include one or two insert sets; most likely the 3-D and deckle edge cards.  I'd also make them both larger than 15 cards, as they are currently. Truthfully, I'd prefer the 3-D cards to be promoted to a full set, but I don't see Topps doing that, so a nice 48 to 50 card subset would be pretty cool.

I won't be collecting this set, other than (maybe) the deckle edge cards.  If anyone is collecting it, and has a want list to point me to, say so.  Anything I got in this blaster is available.


  1. Thanks for the review. I've got to agree - it's too much hodgepodge and not enough consistency. It's almost like Topps has put the insert sets from the past couple of years of their flagship brand (CYMTO, Vintage) with Heritage and tried to create something new. Topps keeps going to the past to create new products. Maybe it's about time they started trying to create something new and original instead of recreating the past.

  2. I have almost a complete set of 1969 Deckle Edge cards with some dupes that I would sell.

    Twitter: BigShep79