Monday, January 28, 2013

30 Year Top 50: 2001 Topps Heritage

#2- The 2001 Topps Heritage set is an absolute masterpiece on cardboard.  While, it's not my number one set on my countdown I had a long debate about putting this set up one more notch from where it sits at #2.  The concept of the Topps Heritage set is simple: start with the 1952 Topps card design and issue a set of modern cards following the design, photography, and overall set up of the set.

1952 Topps Johnny Lipon

Topps would end up resizing the cards from their 1952 size to fit the mold of the 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 modern card size.  The rest of the set would follow the 1952 set to a tee.  Both sets were 407 cards which included short prints in the first eighty cards of the set and the high numbered cards at the end of the set.  The first eighty cards in both sets were also printed in both black and red blacks.  While most cards in both sets featured red backs, the variation on the backs gave collectors something extra to track down.  

2001 Topps Heritage Andres Galarraga 

In my opinion, Topps did a fabulous job of recreating the 1952 cards onto a modern piece of cardboard.     One of my favorite features on the 1952 Topps cards are the pictures.  I am not sure how to create that effect with a photograph, but 50 years later many of the cards in the 2001 Topps Heritage set could fit in with the 1952 Topps set.  Really, before this set was issued Topps did not do enough as a company to highlight it's history within the industry.  While they can be annoying with the history thing at times now, they had not worn it out when they released this set.  The Andres Galarraga card above is a low numbered short-print with the black back.  The low numbered short prints are not as short-printed as the high short prints, but they can be a little bit tricky to track down.  

2001 Topps Heritage Edgar Renteria 

The cards in the middle of the set are referred to as the "commons" of the set.  They obviously are not very difficult to find on the secondary market and can be found in large lots often if you are looking to complete the set.  While they are not as valuable or as rare as the rest of the set, I still love looking through the commons just to look at the cards.  Most of the Cardinals cards in the 2001 set are in the "commons" group which lessens does lessen the monetary value of the set, but it is one of my favorite Cardinals team sets that I own.  Will Clark and Eric Davis in a Cardinals uniform is cool, but I also like some of the horizontal cards like this Edgar Renteria.  

2001 Topps Heritage Jeff Conine

The high number cards in the set tend to be the tougher finds and were seeded at a rate of 1:2 packs, or 12 per box.  In other words, it took several boxes of Topps Heritage to assemble a complete run of high print cards.  However, the boxes for this set did not stick around very long and collectors were generally forced to trade or buy their way to complete this set.  Some of the high numbers are common players, some are mediocre, and there are several stars which are difficult to find.  What makes a great set?  This Jeff Conine card was the last short print I needed to finish this set off several years ago.  I found a copy of the card on Ebay, watched it, and at the last minute tried to buy it.  I ended up spending almost $10 on a Jeff Conine card.  The high number short-prints in this set still sell at premiums and several of the cards have dried up.  

2001 Topps Heritage Cal Ripken

In my opinion, there are three tough high numbered cards: Cal Ripken, Mike Piazza, and Manny Ramirez.  Those three cards rarely sell for less than $10, but can push $20 if you are trying to use an auction site and the bidding gets competitive.  However, I think most people that have assembled this set have run into a card or two that was surprisingly difficult to track down, or cost a little bit more than they had anticipated.  

2001 Topps Heritage Fernando Vina Autograph 

The Topps Heritage set also featured a strong set of inserts that the Topps has generally run throughout the Topps Heritage line over the past decade.  One of the most exciting parts of the Topps Heritage release every year is the autograph list.  There are usually some really good signatures in the sets and the cards certainly carry a premium over some of Topps other autograph issues.  I actually originally owned two of these autographs, but decided to downgrade a bit after cashing out for $1,100.  Currently, I own a Fernando Vina autograph from this set.  I know it does not really seem impressive, but the autographs in this set truly carry a premium.  Most Fernando Vina autographs sell for less than $5.  This Fernando Vina autograph rarely sells for less than $30-$40.  In fact, I thought about looking for a Sean Burroughs autograph after he played for the Durham Bulls a few years ago, but after fidning that the cheapest copy was $50, I decided I really did not need one.  Imagine what good players sell for, if you can even find them.

Overall, an outstanding set and worth your time to pick up a few for your collection.  This set is an excellent challenge for the persistent and the completed set is awesome to look through.  In my opinion, the best product that Topps has put out during my time collecting baseball cards.  

1 comment:

  1. In the beginning I REALLY loved Heritage. After spending too much money trying to build sets, though, the SPs and inserts turned me off.

    I agree, though, they are great cards!