Best Set Ever?

Just before Christmas I wrote a piece called ‘The True Nature of Card Collecting‘, in which I gave my reaction to an article written by Braves fan and fellow blogger, Chris Mays. Click on the link and have a read… It’s a great little post, even if I do say so myself… Go on… You know you want to!

Well, another of Chris’ recent articles has convinced me to put fingers to keyboard once more.

Obviously, I’m slightly concerned that Chris is becoming my blogging ‘muse’ (and Chris, if you’re reading this at any point, I’m sure you’re probably worried to), but bear with me… I’m sure its just a phase 🙂

In his most recent article entitled Chipper Jones and Topps Heritage in 2013 published on Talking Chop, a Braves ‘fansite’ on SB Nation, Chris divides his thoughts along two separate lines. The first looks at the possibility of Braves legend, Chipper Jones (despite recently retiring from Baseball), appearing in some of the early Topps releases this year (and if it makes any difference Chris, I don’t think he will either… shame), while the second part looks at how Topps Heritage appears to have lost its way over the last few years. The issues with Heritage are for another time and another post…

The thing that intrigued me the most though were Chris’ musings on Topps Heritage as a brand, which in turn got me thinking about a set that I’d passed over at the time and have constantly considered going back to over… the inaugural Topps Heritage set from 2001!

Up to 2001 I’d never had much interest in vintage Baseball cards. Sure I was well aware of the significance of certain cards, the ’52 Mantle stands out as an obvious one, but vintage had never quite done it for me.

… Until 2001 Topps Heritage came along! Click on this link for the relevant entry in Baseballcardpedia for more details on this set!

I distinctly remember how popular this set was at the time and the look and feel of the cards made me start to invest more of my time (and cash) into researching (and purchasing) vintage Baseball! From there I was hooked and my love of cards, and the history of the game, grew even more! Up until I took a self-imposed exile from collecting due to the birth of my first daughter, and even after my return to the Hobby just over a couple of years ago, vintage was always at the forefront of my mind!

The problem here is that 2001 Topps Heritage did such a good job of turning me onto vintage cards, that I ended up overlooking the Heritage set itself altogether!

It’s now entered into current Baseball card folklore as one of the most important sets in the modern era, even voted ‘Product of the Decade’ by Beckett Media back in 2009!

Having read Chris’s article and some of the information on Baseballcardpedia I’m absolutely amazed and completely unaware of the great job that Topps did with this set. The attention to detail, down to the number of cards, the red and black backs, the SPs, and so on, is just outstanding, and it’s easy to see why this set is held in such high regard over a decade on!

I love the ‘romantic’ notion that this release may have saved the art of set building and collecting! This set is just THAT important!!

I think it’s a collectors dream in the purest sense! Free from the multitude of gimmicks that plague a number of today’s releases (even the modern Heritage releases), the 2001 Topps Heritage is the ‘Gold Standard’ to which all sets should aspire to from a collecting viewpoint!

You know, I may just be forced to pick a few singles up off eBay… Just to see where it might lead!

Personally I think it’s a Pujols RC short of being the ‘Best Set Ever’ in my eyes, but hey, what the hell do I know!!

2001 Topps Heritage Cal Ripken jr

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