Ted Taylor's Collector's Corner
Ted Taylor has been a life-long baseball fan and collector of baseball cards and sports memorabilia. He began writing a hobby column back in the early 1970s and has been writing it someplace ever since. He was first president of The Eastern Pennsylvania Sports Collectors Club and co-promoter of the Philadelphia Baseball Card & Sports Memorabilia Shows. He served as VP of the Fleer Corporation (1991-97) and was co-founder and the first President of The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society (1996-99). Ted can be heard playing big band and swing music from 8 a.m. to noon every Tuesday on WRDV-FM (89.3), or you can email him at email@example.com.
March 10, 2014
This is our 39th Year of hobby columns
Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner
Topps Tribute Baseball is true “high end” product
A box of 2014 Topps Tribute is going to set you back $250-or-more and that buys you six premium cards – two relics, four autographs and a total of 18 cards. Do the math, this is one expensive product.
The premium cards are numbered to 99 or less. Among the relics I got a jersey swatch of Paul Goldsmith (21/50) and a piece of wood inserted in a card with Rickey Hendeson on it (15/35). The disclaimer is on the back of each – “The relic contained on this card is not from any specific game, event or season.” This begs the question? Exactly what is it, then?
The autographed cards include Freddie Freeman (48/99), Aaron Hicks (05/99), Albert Belle (25/30) and Patrick Corbin (21/25). The Corbin card has an old-timey picture as the background. The other three just have designs.
In my box were old-timer cards of Ty Cobb, Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Nolan Ryan, Harmon Killebrew and Johnny Bench (numbered 29/99 for some reason). The remaining six cards are star and semi-star current players.
It’s quite an attractive set and there are collectors for whom money is no object. This is the set for them.
Topps Supreme Football is also quite “high end”
Here’s a box with four cards in it and it goes in the $75 range. It is the poster child for a high end product. And, like the name suggests, 2013 Topps Supreme Football takes the high-end road. Of the four cards, one is guaranteed to be an autograph, relic or autographed relic. And while there are several other similarly styled products on the market, both from Topps and other manufacturers, the aim of Supreme is to focus more on bigger stars and top rookies.
Excluding rookies, more than 30 current superstars and retired greats have autographs in 2013 Topps Supreme Football. Basic autographs are numbered. And while they use stickers, they're carefully integrated into the design so they don't stand out as much as they do in other sets.
In addition to single-signed cards, there are several different multi-signature cards in 2013 Topps Supreme Football featuring rookies, veterans and retired players.
Topps Museum Collection Football
Making its debut, 2013 Topps Museum Collection Football is also a high-end release designed exclusively for hobby distribution. (Hobby boxes sell in the $190-$200 range.) Every pack promises a hit delivering an autographed relic, an on-card autograph, a jumbo relic and a quad relic. Product Configuration: 4 packs per box, 5 cards per pack
The release offers a 100-card base set. Key veterans, top rookies and retired greats get the call. Parallels come in four levels and fall one per pack.
Signature Series autographs come with on-card signatures. Landing one per box, the checklist includes around 50 different players. Dual Signature Series cards are also possible but they're tough. Base versions are numbered to 25 while Silver Ink and Gold Ink versions are numbered to 5. There are also one-of-one Emerald parallels.
Signature Swatches Dual Relics and Signature Swatches Triple Relics both deliver at least one patch swatch alongside the autograph. All are numbered and have Copper (#/40), Gold (#/25) and Emerald (1/1) parallels.
The Pro Bowl might not get a lot of respect, but Pro Bowl Signature Swatches do offer something a little different from regular jersey swatches. Basic versions are numbered with rarer parallels getting multiple swatches and patches. Pro Bowl Jumbo Relics deliver over-sized swatches.
Jumbo Relics stick with bigger memorabilia pieces. The checklist of nearly 50 players includes both rookies and veterans.
Ultra-rare hits in 2013 Topps Museum Collection include Dual Jumbo Relic Book Cards (#/5), Nike Jumbo Swoosh Relics (1/1), Laundry Tag Relics (1/1) and NFL Shield (1/1) cards.
2013 Topps Museum Collection Football has a pair of high-end case hits. Each 12-box case includes both a Framed Autograph and a Jumbo Patch Autograph. Popular in baseball, Framed Autographs make the jump over. Cards are signed with silver ink, contrasting the dark background. Framed Autographs are available in three tiers: Silver Frame (#/20), Gold Frame (#/10) and Black Frame (1/1). Jumbo Path Autographs feature on-card signatures from more than 15 different rookies. The serial-numbered cards have three parallels: Copper (#/15), Gold (#/10) and Emerald (1/1).
The set also has one basic insert set, another carryover from baseball. Canvas Collection cards feature painted reproductions of top players.
Topps Baseball Sticker Collection Promises Fun
One of the few recent offerings that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – and can be fun for young collectors – is the Topps 2014 MLB Sticker Collection. For about $45 you can get the sticker book and a 50-pack-box that will bring you 400 stickers. (There are 315 different ones to collect.)
It’s great for somebody who wants to build a set without taking a second mortgage and the colorful book looks like pure fun. (I’ll be working on mine soon.)
My sticker book came with six stickers inside the cover – one was Babe Ruth (how cool is that?), another is the Oriole’s bird mascot (also cool).
The idea of stickers isn’t new, but it’s been popular for years – both here and abroad. In the summer of ’73 I spent time in England (classes at Oxford University) and completed a sticker book called “The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars” (First Division and ’73 FA Cup Winners). I still have it. All the greats of English soccer of that era are included, of course my dad’s hometown club – Manchester United.
This new Topps sticker product is a really good way for the economy-minded fan to build a set of current players and add a few retired stars (Ruth) as well. A great start to baseball season.
Special Show – On my Tuesday, March 25, (8AM-Noon) show I’ll be featuring a special salute to baseball, showcasing a lot of baseball-related tunes. Stuff like Theresa Brewer’s song about Mickey Mantle, a Jackie Robinson song, one about Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, an ode to Shoeless Joe, Willie, Mickey & the Duke, Take me out to the ballgame, etc. Show is on the RDV radio network (home at 89.3 FM WRDV FM) and on the web at wrdv.org. I’m on every Tuesday playing big band/swing era tunes.
Thanks –Always happy for your comments on other topics, write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Ted Silary for including this in his web zine and to all of you for regularly reading this.