Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Five: Top 5 Sets From 2003

You know the routine: My favorite five sets from 2003.  I spent a lot of time flipping through my boxes of 2003 cards.  There was Topps, Playoff, Upper Deck, and Fleer.  I am not sure the total number of products released in 2003, but I have more than 20 different sets in my collection from that year.  Scary number to sort through and some of them are really not very good.  Here's a look at this week's list:

5.  EX- You guys know that I love these sets and sadly this was the end of the line for this product.  It was a great run while it lasted, but for whatever reason Fleer pulled the plug on this product after 2003.  I like that they went back to a card design that was a little reminiscent of the 1998/1999 products.  There are autographs and relics in this product, but I am not a huge fan of those.  Just the base cards.  I assembled this set in 2003 and took on assembling another copy of the set after I found a couple cheap boxes of this product floating around Ebay a few years ago.  Fun set to put together and there are still wax boxes out there.  

4. Donruss Signature-This was the typical huge autograph product.  One autograph per pack with plenty of cool names.  There were some base cards in each box too, but the autographs were the main focus here.  I opened one box, pulled an Andre Dawson autograph, and then went straight on to picking off single cards on Ebay.  The SRP on these was $50, and while I love Andre Dawson, he's not a $50 autograph.  Not many players are.  Like many of the other mega-autograph sets there are a lot of good players to pick up from this set on the cheap.  There are also a few negatives in there too: sticker autographs, fading sticker autographs, and chippy edges (see Eck).

3. Topps Gallery HOF- There were two Gallery products released in 2003: Topps Gallery and Gallery HOF.  Topps Gallery has modern players in it, HOF has Hall of Famers.  The latter has some great looking art work in the set and features, not only a lot of Hall of Famers you say regularly in Topps products, but also some less common names too.  Most Hall of Famers deserve a little cardboard love from time to time.  As a Cardinals fan I can find names like Musial and Gibson on cards in the set, but can also find guys like Dizzy Dean and Frankie Frisch.  Some cool autographs add to the set and the first coin cards also appear in this product.  If you like the Gyspy Queen/Allen & Ginter type of products, and did not collect in 2003, this should be a set you go back and check out.  

2. All-Time Fan Favorites- This was essentially the Archives products from the early 2000s, but a little more chaotic.  The early Archives products featured players first and last year's cards, but this set just featured a bunch of random designs.  Two things I love about this set: Lots of different card designs and autographs.  Great autographs.  Just like the modern version of Archives, Fan Favorites featured actual team favorites.  Sure Topps could have thrown a Stan Musial autograph into the set and Cardinals fans would have gone crazy and bought all of them up, but Willie McGee was there instead.  He's not a Hall of Famer (hate to crush you if you believe that-yes there are people that do), but there is no denying he is really popular around St. Louis.  Right?  

 1. Topps Heritage- I swear I won't make Topps Heritage first every week, but this remake of the 1954 Topps set is awesome and incredible.  Both.  There are a lot of different variations here with colors and logos on the card, but the base set is just a really well done remake of the original.  The boxes are still around, but quite pricey.  Base sets, with no short prints, are not bad prices and often can be found for less than $50.  Lots of short prints lots are floating around too.  You cannot go wrong with the early Topps Heritage sets.  


  1. Love both Topps Gallery products from that year. Great list. Hard to argue with your #'s 1, 2, and 3 on your list and EX is a solid choice for #5. Not a huge fan of Donruss Signature, but I since I don't have a replacement... I should probably shut my mouth.