The Topps flagship release is one of their most well known and widely loved releases. It feels pretty basic compared to other releases, but it’s really not. It comes with a an assortment of insert sets, along with a large number of parallels and hits.
As this is a continuation of the earlier series 1 release, many of the inserts sets also continue from that release. We see an insert set modeled after the 1984 release, but this time featuring rookies and All Stars. We also get more sets celebrating the 150 years of professional baseball. The release is not without controversy, however. One insert set features a polarizing figure in the hobby, in Gary Vee. He has definitely brought some fresh eyes to the hobby, but it’s not clear to all collectors whether that’s good or not.
The base set features 350 cards, with 76 SP or SSPs variations, including a SP for hot rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. A box contains 10 packs with 46 cards each. There are two relic cards and one autograph advertised in each box.
Ah Bowman. I’m not sure there is another product in the hobby today that leans in to the lottery ticket aspect of collecting quite like Bowman. There aren’t many products upon release where base autographs can sell for many hundreds of dollars. The box prices end up reflecting this, however. While the suggested price is somewhere around $240, the boxes have been seen closer to $350.
Is it worth that price? Well, that’s where the lottery aspect comes in. If you hit a big prospect, it would be worth that much and plenty more. Most people will not hit the big prospect, however, and end up losing out. If you like the gamble of the prospect game, this is one of the best products for you. If you don’t, it’s probably better to just pick up what you like on the secondary market.
A jumbo box includes 12 packs of 32 cards, and advertises three autograph cards per box.
With Spring Training right around the corner, we get the first new signs of spring. After a very cold few days, any sign is welcome. It’s a fairly standard release, but it seems to have a few unwanted surprises this year. It seems the production has greatly increased once again. As a result, the chances at many of the number parallels are much more difficult than recent years.
Another unfortunate surprise is the apparent reconfiguration of the Jumbo box release. Aside from the more difficult odds for parallels, it seems many possible cards are either completely unavailable in Jumbo boxes or are on much steeper odds than the regular hobby release. In particular, the alternative image SPs and legends SSPs seem to be much more available in regular hobby box.
This release comes as the post season is coming to a close. That’s rather fitting because while it is not the last release of the year, it does provide a bit of a wrap up for a lot of collectors. It features players making their debut during the season, as well as veteran all stars and other traded players.
It’s a very familiar set. Boxes contain 10 packs of 50 cards each. Every box advertises three hits, one of which is an autograph. We see the continuation of some insert sets, like the 1983 35th anniversary, but also includes some new insert sets such as international affair. As an added bonus, during the initial hobby shop release, each box also included two bonus packs, containing 4 special 1983 Chrome cards.
The Topps series two release continues on much of the first release of the year. It features base cards 351-700, along with many new and familiar insert sets. It comes at a time when the top rookie from the beginning of the season, Shohei Ohtani, is out with a potentially season ending injury. He’s still heavily featured in this product, and we see his first flagship Topps base rookie card.
As the season has moved on, other top rookies have emerged. This has led to some rookies that may be able to replace Ohtani for hobby prominence. To partially solve this, Topps issued SP variants for a couple of the top guys in Acuna and Torres, rather than include them in the base set. These SPs join alternate photos along with many legends as extensions to the set. This seems like a reasonable compromise to me, to get these players in, without making them part of the set.
This is the normal jumbo box configuration, consisting of 10 packs of 50 cards each, including three hits. On release day, two additional silver packs were included, containing four 1983 Chrome cards each.