2013 Topps Five Star Baseball Preview

It’s been awhile since Topps released a preview of an upcoming product, at least it does seem that way. There was a glut of releases just over a month ago and since then nothing – not a thing! And, out of the blue, this week Topps comes out swinging for the fences with an early look at 2013 Five Star Baseball.

Last years ridiculously high-end product is back and is looking, well, very similar to last years from the looks of things – albeit with a slightly different colour scheme, it has to be said!!

There’s not a lot I can really say about Five Star Baseball – it’s not really for me but the cards look pretty nice, it’s absolutely loaded with hits (in fact pretty much every card is a hit), and it will probably sell by the bucket load to collectors who love this type of product.

Take a look at the sell sheet right here to make your own mind up!

Hopefully Topps will have addressed the chipping issues that plagued last year’s Five Star Baseball, and if they do then they’ll have a bona fide smash on their hands, irrespective of the high price tag attached!

I’d sooner pick up a few singles myself if there are any that take my fancy, but overall (and as with last year’s release) I’ll probably ended up admiring Five Star Baseball from afar!!

Nice Things In Small Packages

As part of their 2013 Tribute release, Topps sneaked in a ‘little’ little something under the radar to make us autograph fans love the product just a little bit more! But when I say ‘little’ what I actually mean is ‘mini’.

See what I did there?? ‘Little’ as in mini, but also as in ‘mini’?? Anybody???? No?

— sigh — It’s hard work sometimes! Let me explain!

Basically, It looks as if Topps has seeded some special mini autographed cards into Tribute, all #’d/25, of the following players!

  • MT-JM Juan Marichal – Giants
  • MT-KG Ken Griffey Jr. – Mariners
  • MT-MM Manny Machado – Orioles
  • MT-RD R.A. Dickey – Mets
  • MT-YD Yu Darvish – Rangers

These appear to be made from the same card stock and carry the same design as the main cards in the set, but they’re simply minis!

So far on eBay I’ve only seen the Marichal and the Machado materialise! And this is hardly surprising given their scarcity. But I guess I have a question for Topps – Why only five players?

This is a great little idea and has the potential to be a highly popular set, so why limit it to just five players??

And how exactly do these cards appear in the packs? Initially I thought that they’d be loose as they are in Gypsy Queen and Allen & Ginter’s, but after revisiting the original Tribute sell sheet it looks as if they come in one of those plastic frames, as per the relics you find in GQ and A&G. Here’s an image taken directly from the sell sheet (apologies for the size) –

Yet here are the images of the two that are on sale on eBay –

Mmmmm, no sign of that stylised plastic border! So I’m not really sure how these cards are supposed to look straight out of the pack.

As a big fan of mini cards and of autographs this insert set ticks all the right boxes, but I still can’t believe how under-produced it is in terms of the range of players in the set. Five just seems to be too small a number resulting in a bit of a missed opportunity here.

That said, this may well be Topps’ way of testing the water with this new idea for 2013 Tribute, and if it proves to be a hit then maybe next year we’ll see a wider range available!

Nice cards from an even nicer set! Hats off to Topps for the overall design of 2013 Tribute – it’s a real winner!!

The 2013 Topps Tribute Baseball Review Hub

Wow! Products are falling thick and fast at the moment and I’m struggling to keep up 🙂

We’ve got a couple more Topps releases over the coming month but firstly we’ll turn our attention to 2013 Topps Tribute, which hit the stores a few days ago!

Tribute is Topps’ first high-end release of the year and one of my favourites! The cards just look so damn pretty!! However due to the high price point I don’t expect that we’ll be seeing too many reviews of this, but I’ll put this particular ‘Review Hub’ in place just to see what rolls in!

Beckett Media

Sports Card Forum

*

The Cards Infinity Video Break (starring Chris Justice)

As always, please keep me up to date with any dead links that you might find so that I can remove them!!

Please Be Upstanding – For 2012 Panini National Treasures

You know it’s not very often that I get completely flawed by a set of sports cards!

Occasionally there’s the odd element of surprise…

“Ohhhhh… Look what they’ve done with 2011 Topps Heritage, it’s just how I originally remember” (had I been collecting cards in 1962… and actually been living in the country where they were produced)

The last time I can actually remember being taken aback by a set was when Fleer first released their Greats of the Game product back in 2000! It was just at a time when I was really starting to appreciate the history of Baseball, and all of a sudden WHAM!… A whole set dedicated to that one topic with the most awesome autograph checklist ever committed to a Baseball card product!

It wasn’t difficult to appreciate that particular release, and while others have come and gone since then it’s not until now that something has come along that’s made me sit up and take notice!

Last week I wrote all about my initial thoughts on Panini’s National Treasures Baseball. Click the link to read all about it!!

Well now the cards have officially hit the streets and the secondary market has been flooded with them…

And WHAM!! There I go again…

Personally I think that these are some of the most beautiful cards I’ve ever seen! The design is transcendant!! Truly awesome looking cards!!

I know that they aren’t officially licensed by MLB… but who cares??

These are cards for collectors!

They won’t come cheap, but Panini should be applauded for the job they’ve done with them. There is pure Baseball history in these cards, and there are many players in the set who don’t normally appear in regular Baseball releases… Names such as Dave Bancroft, Lloyd Waner, Chuck Klein and Nap Lajoie might not be household names outside the world of the Baseball historian or the avid Baseball fan, but here they are immortalised on card courtesy of Panini! And for that we should be grateful!!

The set is absolutely stuffed full of relics and autographs! There are big hits and there are HUGE hits! There are modern stars sitting alongside HOF’ers, Prospects alongside Veterans! There should be something for absolutely everyone!!

Naturally, I concede that these cards won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you take one look at these cards and fall in love with them in the same way I have then go do yourself a favour and pick a few up… Somehow I don’t think you’ll regret it!

You may want to wait for a while until the heat dies down and some of the prices start dropping off. I did see a 1/1 Patch-Auto of Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario going for a Buy It Now price of $860 earlier… which is both unrealistic AND obscene in equal measure!

You can check on eBay for a good section of cards, but here are a few of my favourites that I’ve found so far and just wanted to share with you… Enjoy!!

This Ozzie Smith ‘Laundry Tag’ card #’d/3 was spotted by my fellow Cardinals fan, James Ruffin (@jamesmruffin), so thanks for that my friend!! I can’t take the credit for that one!!

2013 Topps Triple Threads Baseball Preview

Here we are rounding off Topps’ latest Baseball trifecta with 2013 Triple Threads Baseball, the very latest (but definitely not the last) of their high-end releases!!

As with most of Topps’ high-end output I can’t help but approach it with a high degree of indifference. The designs look nice, as always, but the price bracket is way out of my range and as a result I can’t really muster up a great deal of enthusiasm for it.

In fact I don’t recall ever owning a Triple Threads card! If you’re a player collector and you manage to get hold of one of these cards then I’ve got no doubt they make a nice addition to anyone’s collection – a great centrepiece to show off and base your other cards around.

But deep down I can’t help but see it as a product that panders once more to the ‘hit’ chasers rather than the actual collectors… which is a shame as some of the relics do look rather nice!

Click here for all the details and let me know your thoughts on this, along with some of the high-end releases that are produced all year round, not just by Topps I hasten to add. Are they for you? Or will you just end up passing?

Pushing All The Right Buttons

Oh Gods of Baseball Card Collecting, why do you tempt me so???

What have I done to deserve such torment??

Ok… I come out and say that I’m taking a step back from collecting for a while. Surely that’s not unreasonable?? I would have come back into the fold at some point in the future.

But you can’t just let it be, could you? Oh no – you have to go and throw Panini’s National Treasures Baseball in my face!

I’ve only just spotted these pieces of cardboard perfection today and (as I believe the kids all say these days) OMG!!

I’ve made it clear on a couple of occasions that I’ve never been the biggest fan of non-licensed cards but Panini really blew me away last year with their Cooperstown Baseball set. I collected my thoughts on it in this semi-review last December. As a result of that set I’ve slowly been coming round to non-Topps Baseball cards as a viable collecting alternative!

I’d love to see what Panini would do with an official MLB license, I really would! This isn’t meant to be any anti-Topps rhetoric, I just think that, given the opportunity, they’d knock it out of the park… And given the over all look of 2012 Timeless Treasures Baseball I’ve got no reason to doubt it!

Check out some of these images from the official Panini America blog, The Knight’s Lance –

2012 Panini National Treasures - Lou Gehrig Button
2012 Panini National Treasures – Lou Gehrig Button

2012 Panini National Treasures - Buster Posey Button/Autograph
2012 Panini National Treasures – Buster Posey Button/Autograph

2012 Panini National Treasures - Bryce Harper Button
2012 Panini National Treasures – Bryce Harper Button

2012 Panini National Treasures - Miguel Cabrera Button/Autograph
2012 Panini National Treasures – Miguel Cabrera Button/Autograph

2012 Panini National Treasures - Pee Wee Reese Button
2012 Panini National Treasures – Pee Wee Reese Button

2012 Panini National Treasures - Mariano Rivera Button/Autograph
2012 Panini National Treasures – Mariano Rivera Button/Autograph

2012 Panini National Treasures - Satchel Paige Button
2012 Panini National Treasures – Satchel Paige Button

You can click here and here for more details about this product that hits the shelves next week (don’t quote me on that but that’s when Tracy Hackler believes it’s happening so that’s good enough for me).

UPDATED – I’ve now added the sell sheet for you to cast your eyes over.

At around $340 a box, which contains a single pack of 8 cards, this won’t be a product for everyone. And given what I’ve written about over the last couple of days concerning the ‘big hit’ mentality it’s a wonder I’m bringing these to the attention of anyone at all…

But the cards look so damn pretty!!! The mono-chrome image design set off against the clean white backgrounds really sets these cards apart from other high-end releases! Panini have really gone to town on these cards and the results are simply stunning!

And they’ve got buttons on cards!!! How cool is that?!?!?!?!?!

It might be the case that you’ll be able to pick up some singles from the set, along with some of the inserts and relics, at cheaper prices after a short while. Who knows, maybe the non-licensed aspect to it will scare some collectors away?

I certainly hope so… More of the good stuff for the rest of us if that’s the case!

I’ll be keeping a close eye on eBay over the coming weeks to see what sort of prices these are going for.

Hold on a sec, I’m not supposed to be collecting at the minute!!

Oh, screw it… that didn’t last long!