Best Set: Topps Five Star
2012 Topps Five Star Evan Longoria Auto/Quad Jersey Book
In my opinion this was a pretty easy choice. Topps put out about a dozen baseball products this year and I really liked several of the products for different reasons, but found many positives with the Five Star product. First, the cards are very well designed, limited in quantity, and feature on-card autographs. I did really well with this product by not opening the packs and instead strictly relying on trading and buying single cards on the secondary market. I am sure that there are many people that have opened boxes of this product and had great fun in doing so, but I would probably end up with a few Vida Blue autographs, or Luis Tiant's, if I actually touched a pack myself. No disrespect to Luis Tiant or Vida Blue intended. So, for half a pack's worth of trade value I was able to pick up an Evan Longoria autograph/book last week.
2012 Topps Five Star Terry Pendleton
I was also really happy with the actual signers that Topps featured in the set. As a Cardinals fan, I was able to add several nice Allen Craig and Jon Jay autographs to my collection early in the year with a few of the early Topps releases. However, the pair were featured over and over again in sets throughout the year. Five Star throw out some new names that collectors could target and add to their collections. I really enjoyed tracking down this Terry Pendleton autograph two weeks ago. While, he might be best remembered as a Brave, he spent the beginning portions of his career in St. Louis and he also has a limited quantity of autographs on the market.
Best Set Runner Up: Topps Archives
I will keep this one a little bit simpler. I really enjoyed the card designs, especially the 1984 designed cards. One of my favorite sets as a kid and I still love them almost thirty years later. Topps did a spectacular job of copying every last detail into the design of the Archives cards. Of course, Topps also used designs from the 1971 and 1980 Topps sets too in producing this year's Archives release.
2012 Topps Archives Allen Craig
The autographs in the set were also really cool. There were many different players from different eras, and of differing star level featured in the set. More on that later too.
2012 Topps Archives Jose Oquendo Autograph
Favorite Autographs of 2012
I am actually going to go with a list here. I am also not going to limit this list to cards issued in 2012, but will open it up to any autographed card that I added to my collection during the past year.
2011 Topps Finest Mike Trout Autograph
2011 Topps Tribute Sandy Koufax Autograph/Jersey
2010 Donruss Elite Jordan Swagerty/Magic Johnson Error Autograph
2006 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Miguel Cabrera Autograph
2012 Topps Archives Ray Lankford Autograph
Pretty easy list to explain. Mike Trout received a lot of attention this summer from collectors, and while I did not go out and try to find a Mike Trout card, I ended up adding one to my collection anyway. The card has grown on me throughout the summer and hope that he can repeat his success again next year. The Koufax card was just a nice addition and I do not own much in the way of Koufax stuff. There also isn't a ton of it out there. The last three cards were much more intentional additions. The Magic Johnson/Jordan Swagerty error autograph is a card that I have looked for the past few years, the Miguel Cabrera autograph was my favorite Cabrera autograph I added this year (I add a lot of Cabrera cards this year), and the Lankford autograph was a welcome addition to my already existing collection of Lankford cards.