This year, the holidays bring the final episode of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. That means another card set, as well. This was released the same day as the movie. As with other recent movie releases, the first series has many characters and some scenes, but it’s light on anything really resembling a spoiler.
This release is similar to other recent movies. You get a small base set, parallels, and a number of insert sets including stickers, illustrated character, and ships and vehicles. One unusual thing that stands out, however, is the base set. It’s 99 cards, rather than something round. I guess that’s not really good or bad, just surprising. It’s not clear why that change. Could it be so the set will fit in pages nicely?
A box advertises 24 packs with 8 cards per pack. This includes two hits per box, one of which is guaranteed to be an autograph or sketch card.
There’s not much new to say about the Topps Update release. It provides a nice end to the year of collecting during the playoffs. I know Topps releases products year round, but starting with series one of the flagship all the way through update provides a nice bookend for the season.
Maybe I just haven’t paid as close attention before, but the set does feel much more rookie heavy than I remember. That’s not a bad thing, but it seems a lot of them have barely been in the league. The base set contains 300 cards with the usual assortment of SPs, SSPs, and parallels. There are also a number of inserts sets, many of which are along the same line as those from previous releases. Unfortunately, the numbers start over again.
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.
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.
As a follow up to the A New Hope release from 2018, Topps releases a new set featuring The Empire Strikes Back. When it first showed up last year, I wasn’t sure what to really think of it, but over time the release grew on me. The black & white photos bring a less familiar feel to the thirty-six year old images.
It follows the same format as last year, with a 150 card base set, parallels, and a few insert sets. There is nothing really surprising, but this is more about the images than anything else. This is going to be a tough set to put together from packs, however. A box contains 7 packs with 8 cards in each. Each box also advertises one autograph or sketch card.