We see another regular release during the great trading card boom. Recent releases seem to immediately shoot up in price. People are going to retail outlet and clearing the shelves to resell blaster boxes at three times the normal price online. Will that continue with Archives? That’s not clear, yet, but I suspect not. While Archives may contain some of the new rookies, the hits are primarily focused on retired players from years gone by.
It’s early, but so far, this release doesn’t seem to have the same bump. Is the bubble starting to slow down a bit? Or is this a one-off because it’s not rookie focused? Time will tell. It’s still difficult to find at retail, but that is often the case during the first week or release. Some people claim that no product being available is a great sign for the hobby, but I don’t think so. If you spend a few minutes online, it’s very clear that product is selling out because people are trying to resell it for an inflated price, rather than actually collect the product. That’s anything but good for the hobby. If product is not available, people are going to end up not buying any. After a few releases where someone can’t find any product to buy, why would they want to keep looking?
I don’t really have much to say about Archives. It doesn’t really feel to me like it’s needed, when there is a Heritage release. In recent years with all the tributes to sets from the 80s showing up in the flagship release, it feels like reusing old designs is getting overdone.
Archives usually focuses on three designs. This year, the main designs are 1958, 1975, and 1993. We also see 1978 Record Breakers, as well as 1994 Future Stars. The base set features 300 cards, with an additional 30 Short Prints. Unlike some of the other releases, the SPs seem to be pretty achievable.
This is an interesting release this year. Archives normally comes out around late May, but as the summer started, there was talk about it being pushed back until August. That much isn’t particularly unusual. Releases get delayed frequently for any number of reasons. What is unusual, is what happened in August.
The cards hit retail in August, but hobby was nowhere to be seen. It
wasn’t really clear when hobby was coming, or why the delay, but hobby was eventually released on October 24th. There are a lot of rumors about why, but I’m curious to see what it does to the product. I feel like a lot of people had a chance to get their fill at retail long before hobby hit stores. It’s interesting to see how few of some autographs really hit the market from retail, though. It’s also apparent that some retail redemptions came back and were packed in live for hobby, which is a benefit, I guess.
I have a love/hate relationship with Topps Archives. I like the theory of using throwback designs, but it’s much better executed in Heritage. It can be nice to see the more recent vintage designs, without the almost 50 year lag time, though. That shine can be easily lost a bit when recent designs like 1982 get overused. This year’s set features 1960, 1982, and 1992.
One improvement in this year’s release, is the lack of regular short prints as part of the set. There are alternative image short prints, as well as various parallels. In the past, Archives has offered insert sets like cards from the motion picture Major League. This year, their pop culture references involve autographs of people like “Bald Vinny”, who seems to have limited appeal outside of Yankee stadium, and a baseball collector that most are not able to name. I’m not sure I would exactly call that an improvement.
A box advertises 24 packs of 8 cards, including two autographs per box.
This is a little bit different kind of release. It features one reprint from every year of Topps to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the card releases. At times the checklist is a little bit puzzling to me (1975 Randy Jones?). And while it is a small set, it still seems a bit strange that more teams are not represented in it. The retail “blaster box” contains one pack of sixteen cards, including one autograph. Despite it being a single pack, there apparently is no guarantee you won’t get duplicate cards in it, though.