One Man's Thoughts on Sports Card Collecting

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012 Topps Series 1 Box Break & Set Review

As we all know, there has been a lot of negativity around this year's Topps flagship release.  I wanted to reserve judgement until I had the cards in hand.  Now that I've gotten an up close look, I would say I'm mostly positive on the set, though I do have a few criticisms as well.  Let's get to the break!

Base set completion - 296 out of 330, no duplicates
1987 Topps Minis - 9
Golden Moments - 9
Golden Greats - 9
Golden Giveaways - 6
Home Run Legends - 2 (Weeks 6 and 8)
Timeless Talents - 6
Gold Futures - 6
Gold Standard - 6
Classic Walkoff - 4
Gold Parallels - 9

My one hit for the box was a pretty decent one:

Not the greatest looking signature though.
I purchased a few jumbos along with my box, and those packs produced a couple more hits:

Thoughts on the base set:
I have a feeling this is going to come off more negative than I intend it to, but I do have a bit of a complaint about this year's design.  It is perfectly OK.  And that's my issue with it.  When I look at the three Topps sets I've seen since getting back into the hobby (2010-2012) I think all of them are fine, but they are all very similar. There's nothing truly interesting or unique about any of them, as if Topps' goal is to make sure nobody could possibly be offended by the look of the cards.  In 20 years I think I would have a hard time remembering which year was which.  Contrast that with another 3-year period back in the 90s:

Those three designs are each very distinct - more than 15 years later I have no problems picturing the designs of 1993-1995 in my memory.  Of course the risk in doing this is that sometimes you're going to come up with a design that people don't like, for example I was not a big fan of the 1995 design.  But I would gladly put up with an occasional clunker to get others that are fresh and exciting.

Like I said, I hope that didn't come off too negative, because I do like the set this year.   I just want Topps to take more chances! 

The photgraph selection was really good in Series 1, lots of plays at the plate and other unique perspectives.  The focus for some of them seemed just a tiny bit fuzzy though, I couldn't tell if that was just my eyes playing tricks on me or not - did anybody else think that too?

Thoughts on the inserts:
I'm mostly pleased with the insert sets this year.  I do understand the complaints some have voiced that these are the same concepts under a new name: Timeless Talents is Legendary Lineage from 2010 and Dynamic Duos from 2011, Gold Standard is this year's "Topps 60", Golden Moments is like Peak Performance from 2010, etc.  However, from a looks standpoint I think these cards are very sharp, the best of the past three years.  I especially like the Timeless Talents, Gold Standard and Golden Greats cards.  The gold parallels also look good - not as good as last year's Platinum Diamonds, but nice.  And of course, there's also the AWESOME 1987 Topps minis.

I do have a minor issue that the Classic Walkoff and Gold Futures sets were clearly designed with making them into patch cards in mind - they look good when there is a patch or auto on them, but the base versions are kind of ugly in my opinion.  The Golden Moments set was also clearly designed to be hit cards, but in that case I think the base versions still look nice.

Favorite non-hit card:

Least favorite card:
I'll remember that last pitch of the NLCS at Miller Park until the end of my days.  At least I got a second one in one of the jumbo packs, so I was able to do this:

That felt surprisingly satisfying.

Bottom line - I enjoyed busting these packs.  The 1987 Topps minis were just as good as I hoped they would be!  Now if I can just get Topps to start putting Griffey in their insert sets we'll be in business....


  1. Is that Kershaw auto up for trade?

  2. No doubles in the whole box. Can't complain about that. At least Topps is getting better at something.

  3. I'd be thrilled with a box that yielded an auto of my favorite player. Nice work! (P.S.: his signature was better a few years ago, but I'm sure he's getting a lot more signing requests now!)

  4. As I mentioned in your preview post, I would love to trade for Clayton....

  5. @Dodgerbobble - Greg had contacted me before about a possible trade for the Kershaw, so I was going to give him first dibs on this one. But I do have some other nice Dodger cards I'd be willing to part with for the right deal! I'll e-mail you what I have

    @Greg - I'm willing to part with Clayton, email me and we can set something up.

    1. Cool cool, I'll shoot you an e-mail before the night is over!

  6. Replies
    1. By the way, it might show as from KempKershaw. That'd be me, and Yahoo sometimes sends my e-mails to spam folders. If it's not there, let me know!

  7. Right way I knew you'd have the Dodgerati swooping in for that Kershaw!! Nice hit. And thanks again for the offer of the Jumbo Wrappers, but I'm good, I'm sure there's someone else at there that would kindly take them off your hands.

  8. Ahhh....Ripping up cards,a phenomenon without compare...