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First look: 2013 Topps Heritage High Number baseball

Puig

Update: Sets will go on sale on Thursday, Nov. 21.


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps Heritage High Numbers are back this year and some of the top rookies from 2013 will be included.

Topps released the first glimpses at the second-year version of the throwback-style update set on Monday with two notable youngsters among those on the checklist — Los Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig and Miami Marlins rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez, who will be included in the online-exclusive update set.

Fernandez

Set to arrive on Topps.com soon with a price tag of $99.99 per set, it will include one autograph per box while red-ink autos also will be randomly inserted.

Like last year, the release will consist of 100 cards capping the base set. Notables in the base set will include Evan Gattis, Mike Zunino, Wil Myers, Michael Wacha, Gerrit Cole and even player-collector Brad Ziegler.

The autograph lineup will include 30 players. Among them will be Fernandez, Jurickson Profar, Cole, Darin Ruf, Gattis, Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, Shelby Miller, Myers and Puig.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

41 Comments

David Hollingsworth

Any idea when this will be available?

Posted November 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
Ryan

Is this one serial numbered like the last one? I saw no mention of that

Posted November 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
Richard

I don’t think the last one was serial numbered, just stated limited amounts.
The red autos were hand numbered though.

Posted November 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
Richard

In the end, the big question is what will be the production levels?
If they keep it roughly the same, it should be a hit. If they pump up the volume, it will burn the buyers.
That and there had better not be any redemption cards in these things. I gave up on working on last years
auto set because Harper went up too much to even think about it.

Posted November 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink
Jason

The fact that they are not stating the print run is keeping me away. Their first crack at online exclusives were great because of such low production runs (think 2012 mini, 2012 Heritage high number, and 2013 baseball Turkey Red).
They then cranked up the volumes on minis this year and they still have them available online.
Last year this was a steal at $100. This year not so much unless they tell us the print run.

Posted November 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Do you not buy standard Heritage because you don’t know its print run?

Posted November 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink
steve d donaldson

Hey Chris
Jason makes a valid point. We all KNOW standard Heritage is produced without knowing its print run. But if we are going to contemplate paying $100 for an update set, I do not think its unreasonable to inquire if it is going to be limited like last years. No one likes paying $100 for an update set if that market is going to be FLOODED with them.

Posted November 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
Richard

Being wary is sensible. Topps has a spotty history of late.

1) Are all autos on card?
2) How many rookies are real rookies? Last year’s Harper wasn’t.
3) Are the autographs evenly distributed or certain players short printed?
4) Are there any redemption cards? (Kiss of death for me)
5) Production levels are important. I feel it will be higher this year, but by how much?

With a box you can read the odds and make an informed choice.
If they crank it up just a bit, to say 1500 from 1000, it will be OK.
If, however, they push it to 5000 it becomes a losing proposition.
Last year’s autos have long term value built in with low enough production that those that
feel the need to have a “complete” set will always buy, even the commons.
Darvish is looking more and more to be the real deal and I can see it having lots of room for growth.

If, however, they get stupid and make the sets at 1999 Topps traded levels it will kill any potential
value. So the question is, are they wise enough to let it grow and let the collectors see some “profit”
and thus bring in more buyers for next year, or will they kill it at the start?

Posted November 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

1. Does that ultimately matter?
2. There are RCs listed on the posted checklist — that’s not here. Notables are mentioned.
3. How is this different than any other product? (They always are guys who are shorter based on their autos costing more.)
4. No answer.
5. You don’t know the production amounts of any other product … so does it matter here? Topps has never announced production runs on its products. Why is this one any different?

The easy answer is buy it if you like it, don’t if you don’t. If you do, you’re buying a set of 100 cards with a bonus autograph included.

Posted November 5, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink
Richard

Chris,
1) Yes it does matter. The companies have even acknowledged it by advertising the fact.
2) Fine. I have not looked at Heritage, just noting an important fact.
3) No, its not unusual for autos to be printed in equal amounts. Value sometimes becomes
markedly changed once a short print is known. Playoff Contenders being the best example.
Additionally, short prints don’t always get noted or have a different price. Consider leaf metal draft
with many players known to be shorter printed, yet they are lumped in with the other commons.

5) Come on Chris, of course they sometimes note it. Last year they explicitly stated the production. Sometimes these production numbers are further backed up by having the cards actually serial numbered.

The autograph is not a “bonus” it’s the reason why they can charge $99.
If every set were the same and no chance at getting a “hit” they could charge only a fraction of that.

The “easy” answer is rarely the “wise” one.
Doing research helps you better spend your hobby dollars.
If you like the set, but “know” its over priced you wait and buy it cheaper, or perhaps you find a better
product and spend it on that, or even look for some older products/singles instead.

A company that give me value will continue to get my business. A company that attempts to squeeze
every possible dollar out of me will likely end up losing me. I knew a lot of people that bailed on the
card collecting game due to overproduction in the past and never came back.

Upper Deck lost me for a very long time after the French version of hockey getting additional print runs.
It’s why so many of us started insisting on serial numbering to help reduce the odds of getting cheated.

Posted November 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
RJ

One thing, I wish Topps would come up with more than about four total photos for Puig. He played what, 100 games? Is it too much to ask to, I don’t know, use a different photo for each of his cards?

Last year, they did the same thing with Harper in Platinum and Update. Silly!

Posted November 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink
Tom

They announced a production run for this same set last year, it did rather well as a result, it’s a natural question just based on that. Series 1-2 factory sets generally run 50 bucks, often less a few years down the road because there is an infinite amount of them. This is twice that price for a fraction of the cards, unless you think this autograph lottery ticket is special and thus worth the extra 50 bucks, it’s kind of a steep price if there is no limited production run.

To be more specific, check what the rcs of Fernandez and Puig go for in Ginter (and I mean actually sell for), which is often in the same ballpark with heritage rookie cards. You’re talking 20 bucks total for all of them, tops, if there is no production limit. Now if there is a short print run, look at the asking price for Bryce Harper in this set last year and compare it to his Ginter rookie card. I believe the phrase is supply and demand.

On card autos are generally more coveted as well, especially if the guy has a real sig that needs room.

Overall there are people out there who aren’t into haphazardly spending their money, for me I think heritage is great, if there is no short production run I’ll buy the rcs I want for 10 bucks. If there is a short run I’ll want to grab a set on the website if possible and it will probably sell out in minutes.

Posted November 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink
George Hibbs

I am fascinated by the knowledge of collectors today, I enjoy the comments , keep up the Good work n thanx Beckett

Posted November 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

Chris … I collect only for fun, not for profit. One way or another, I’m going to want all the Red Sox cards from this update set. But considering I just went to a show last weekend where someone had last year’s Heritage update with a $500 price tag on it, whether or not it’s limited absolutely matters. I passed on a chance to get last year’s set because $100 is way out of my usual budget, and I figured I could get the singles I wanted for cheap. But if I thought the value of this year’s set would explode like last year’s, I would buy the set and sell the singles I don’t want instead (hopefully getting the money back that I paid and more). But I can’t afford to pay $100 and not be able to recoup that money. I just don’t have that kind of disposable income.

Bottom line, if Topps wants to sell stuff directly to collectors for that much money, collectors have every right to be fully informed as to what they’re getting and if it’ll end up being worth it. Are Heritage cards really worth an average of $1 each if they’re not very limited? I don’t think so …

And on-card autos absolutely matter, at least for those of us it matters to. To me, saying sticker autos are just as good is like saying event-worn memorabilia is just as good as official game-worn. I, quite simply, do not buy sticker autos (or event-used crap).

Posted November 6, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink
Jason

Chris,
Actually I don’t buy standard Heritage. Some stuff I buy simply as a collector because it is fun to open (for me that is Bowman). Others I will not open and actually invest in like I did with last year’s Heritage Update.
The real issue here is their site states “Limited Print Run” which is exactly what it says for 2013 Mini.
That right there in my opinion feels like a gimmick. Some consumers will assume it is limited to something similar to last year since that is the precedent they set. Knowledgeable consumers should always want to know more information before spending their money.
Simply stating it is limited is very misleading, and being misled is something none of us want.

Posted November 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink
Jason

One final comment from me on this. I called Topps today to confirm an address change for my redemptions and asked the gentleman on the phone if there was a plan to release the print run on the Heritage Update. He said no, they will not.
Jason

Posted November 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Jason: Define what “limited” means?

I bet your answer is different than someone else’s. Or someone else. Or someone else.

Posted November 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
Ryan

I think that’s his point actually, limited could pretty much mean anything. In the business world when phrases like “Limited Supply” or “While Supplies Last” are used it’s often times nothing more than a misleading marketing ploy.

In the collecting world the answer to your question is when demand surpasses supply. In my opinion, it would still skyrocket if the run was 2000 and it would still be solid at 5000. Anything over 10k and they have really taken their liberties with the term limited.

Posted November 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

If you ask me, its lame to have an online only update set in the first place. If you remember, Topps Heritage first came out in an attempt to re-engage set builders. Then slowly but surely they worked back in the refractors, parallels, serial numbers, inserts, and now limited edition parts of the full set. In 2012 i finally tried to put together a master set, and then found out the update was released as online only limited edition, and i didnt stand a chance of getting it unless i dropped $300 plus on ebay. I put together the master set (minus the absolutely absurd $150 version of a washed up Phillies middle reliever), and its a shame that i still dont actually have the full set. Topps needs to remember what Heritage is all about and get back to it.

Posted November 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink
Richard

Well, got an email today from Topps.
The good news is that the autographs are all “on card”.
The bad news is that for the first time to my knowledge, a factory set is going to have redemption cards.
The following names are all redemptions
————————————–
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Gerrit Cole
Jose Fernandez
Nolan Arenado
Nick Franklin
Anthony Rendon
Yasiel Puig
————————–
I am happy that they at least listened enough to warn us this was the case.

I like having factory sealed sets. There is a certain magic there for unopened sets and packs.
So now I have a choice to either crack the set, or risk having the potential redemption card expire. :-(
(Or not buy at all.)

Additionally, they still have not released production numbers.
Will it be to a set amount, print to order, or what?

Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink
rick

More snarky replys

Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
Steve

I can’t believe the questions here from Chris challenging people who have very legitimate concerns about the product. Did you miss out on the news that there was a tremendous crash-and-burn on baseball card values after production soared in the 1980s-1990s to something like 307 baseball cards produced in 1991 for every man, woman and child in America? Have you noticed that a 1988 Donruss set sells for about $1 plus shipping on eBay? Do you really think that production volume (a/k/a supply) doesn’t affect price? Did you ever note the prices of 1989 Upper Deck baseball unopened boxes versus 1990?

How about the higher prices that on-card autographs get compared to stickers? Or the fact that no sets advertise “stickered autos” but a lot do stress that they have “on-card autos”?

Or that people prefer to get autographs in their boxes rather than mail away and wait sometimes a year or more?

Unbelievable!

Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
Olds

The reality is that the card companies don’t disclose all kinds of details for all kinds of reasons.

The reality on the buyers’ end — and that includes myself — is that we either want it or we don’t. One shouldn’t need to know all of the production quantities to know whether one wants a set of cards or not.

There are a lot of people who want details — I get that. The reality is that we’re not going to get them — so we can either decide to buy or not based on that.

Things that may be concerns to some are not of others. A company keeps all parties in the spectrum in mind — but also doesn’t have to tell us every little thing. Sometimes it may matter, sometimes it may not. Because, after all, one person’s magic number of “limited” may not seem that way to someone else.

It’s also been said a million times in many places — not every product is made for every person. If somebody wants every card in a product to be serial-numbered so they know exactly what they are getting that’s definitely not this one.

Steve, I am well aware that there is a correlation between production volume and the markets. The reality is that Topps isn’t stating it in this case … so now what?

Posted November 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink
Richard

Chris, it comes down to faith.
One of the reasons collectors started demanding serial numbered cards was the abuses of
Upperdeck when they did additional printing of UD French Hockey. Everyone who bought into
the “limited ” nature of that product, with a stated print run, lost out.

When you have basic Topps, you know going into it they will be printing a lot.
The market reflects it by offering the packs at around $2 per. This is a $100 set which is demanding
the price because it is supposed to be limited (market definition, not weasel lawyer speak definition)
and include a hard signed autograph. Something they used manage to do quite easily back in 1999,
yet seem incapable of doing so today despite a much smaller roster of signers.

Same thing with redemption cards. I, like many others, have been burned many times over the yeas.
Whether it was by the bankruptcy (moral and otherwise) that was done by Signature Rookies and Fleer.
Or by Upperdeck which decided in its wisdom that since they would not be able to send me my
John Stockton autograph card that a Signed Penny Hardaway 8 X 10 was “equivalent”.
Or the various companies having long delays in redeeming the cards or those cards expiring.

So you ask, what now? Fair enough.
When I look at the Topps site, if they announce production numbers and I deem them low enough,
I will still buy a single set. If they choose not to announce it, I will decline to do so.
I may still buy an opened set for $30-$40 provided its still in nice shape and I may still buy selected
individual cards perhaps even the redemption cards if priced cheaply enough.

Is it possible I might “miss out”? Yes.
If after they sell out it turns out Topps releases the numbers and they obscenely low I might miss
out on a price bump. Then again, I don’t really think that will happen. I think they are getting
greedy, again as they have sadly shown themselves to be before.

As much as I like Puig, I don’t see him as being as significant as Harper or Darvish.
He has endless potential, but …..
I have his autograph already on last years Leaf Draft as well as many of the other names.
I would prefer to have them with the RC logo, but for what I paid, I’m content in the same way
as with my rookie signatures Derek Jeter.

Last years product is a classic. If it ends up being the last one I buy because they break the chain
being penny wise. So be it.

Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
Dan

Given the available info on this set, I won’t be buying for $100. If I knew that there were 5,000 or fewer sets produced I might change my mind.

“The reality on the buyers’ end — and that includes myself — is that we either want it or we don’t. One shouldn’t need to know all of the production quantities to know whether one wants a set of cards or not.”

Sometimes scarcity is the determining factor.

Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Richard: Good answer. Sounds a lot like my approach. Hope others will read, absorb and decide their own approach for themselves (whatever it may be).

Posted November 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
Richard

Unless Topps has given you an update to the contrary, should you not note in your news bulletin that several of players are redemption cards?

Posted November 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
Paul Angilly

Considering they’re selling this by the case, and not just by the set, it looks like it won’t be too limited. So for $100 you get 100 base cards plus a small chance at a worthwhile auto, but you’ll more likely get one that’s worth maybe $20 or so. I’m thinking I’ll just get the cards I want from the secondary market.

Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
Paul Angilly

Considering they’re selling this by the case (40 sets for $3,999.99 – which is actually 39 cents more than buying 40 sets), and not just by the set, it looks like it won’t be too limited. So for $100 you get 100 base cards plus a small chance at a worthwhile auto, but you’ll more likely get one that’s worth maybe $20 or so. I’m thinking I’ll just get the cards I want from the secondary market.

Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
Ryan

Honestly you guys run a business based on the monetary value of collectables, namely sports cards. Speculation is a big part of investing in anything. Shouldn’t you be encouraging this kind of discussion? Especially when you consider the volume of posts (many of them being well thought out) versus the average you guys get on articles? Instead of basically saying “buy it or shut up about it” maybe this would be a good opportunity for you guys to show past examples of products with a limited but non specific run and how they fared. That would actually be pretty interesting and might even breed more interest.

Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Don’t confuse brevity for dismissiveness. There’s also no need to beat a dead horse when it comes to production info that topps rarely provides and isn’t likely to in this case.

Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink
steve d donaldson

Ryan
Great post but why would Beckett do anything that informative for its readers. I mean, if they did something that productive people might expect them to start putting accurate prices in their publications. But listing jersey cards values at 1.00 would not sell magazines.

Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

Last year, Topps announced a production run of only 1000 HH# sets. By not announcing a production run, it seems safe to assume that there will be more (significantly more) sets this year — which may not necessarily be a bad thing. It also helps explain the redemptions.

Once they determine the final production run, they can then determine how many autographs they need to produce.

With all that said, $100 for 100 cards and a random autograph is ridiculous. Wasn’t Turkey Red 10 cards and an autograph for $20? Are 90 extra cards really worth $80 more?

Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink
TS

In an earlier response, it was questioned whether “on card” vs. “sticker” autographs mattered. I am surprised that anyone would really ask that question. Beckett distinguishes between the two, Topps adverstises “on card” when it is available and sales prices are much higher for “on card” than “sticker”.

Posted November 21, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink
chrisolds

Steve: Thanks for your input.

TS: Actually, I think people paying more for on-card autos is a bit of a myth. Do we think they are more appealing? Sure, but that doesn’t override the quality of auto or player. Plenty of sticker autos sell quite well.

Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
Richard

OK, the cards are available, but no quantities announced.
So, I’ll pass this time. I wish good fortune to anyone who buys these.

The following are autographed. * means it is a redemption card.

Aaron Hicks
Adam Eaton
Adeiny Hechavarria
* Anthony Rendon
Brandon Maurer
Bruce Rondon
Casey Kelly
Darin Ruf
Didi Gregorius
Evan Gattis
* Gerrit Cole
* Hyun-Jin Ryu
Jedd Gyorko
* Jose Fernandez
Jurickson Profar
Kyuji Fujikawa
Manny Machado
Marcell Ozuna
Matt Adams
Mike Olt
Mike Zunino
* Nick Franklin
* Nolan Arenado
Oswaldo Arcia
Paco Rodriguez
Shelby Miller
Tony Cingrani
Wil Myers
* Yasiel Puig
Zack Wheeler

Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
Richard

Chris, its not a myth. I know plenty of collectors that will not buy sticker autographs, period.
This means that demand is a bit higher for on card autos. Higher demand = higher prices.

Yes, sticker autos will sell. Sometimes for impressive sums.
If you really want to set your mind to it, you can do a comparison.
It won’t be that easy given the variances of production #’s, costs of packs, ability to use logos,
game used material involved, rookie card or insert, etc.
But I’m quite confident that you will find a significant variance that favors on card autographs
when all other factors are figured in.

Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
Richard

Just checked the site.
They still have them for sale. I’m guessing they over produced it.
If they did 1 red auto per 24 box “case” that would mean 300 * 24 sets.
Now in one sense, less than 7200 sets is not a huge production run.
But compared to last years run of 1000 it’s not good for anyone trying to make a quick buck.

You can easily pick up a sealed 1999 Topps Traded set for under $20 and not have to worry
about expired redemption cards either.

Posted November 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
Pablo

richard is very acurate! thanks for the info. everyone has been curious to know how many sets were produced. the answer is probably 7,200 sets. its a shame the Topps company did this. they should have did the same as last year and produced only 1,000 sets but instead, just to make a profit(you can’t blame them, its a business), they over produced! the “limited print run” advetisement is misleading in my opinion. to top it off they included redemptions. makes no sense. as a consumer and loyal topps collector, i feel we got ripped off; not of money but of the rareness of the set. they should have made this set limited to a 1,000 and just charge $150 for it.

Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
Richard

Went back again, still have cases for sale.
Think I dodged a bullet with this one. I they had kept it low and announced a decent print run,
I’d have grabbed a case even with the redemption issue. I’m sure some people will still turn a
buck, but I don’t see this as being something to put my money on now. Autos from last year,
when you can find them, are a much better buy long term given their genuinely scarce production.
I wish I had picked up another Darvish, but ….

Posted November 29, 2013 at 3:28 am | Permalink
Richard

Wow. They STILL have full cases available.
I have to wonder how long before they discount them?
I’m guessing they would approach a wholesaler and dump them rather than lower the price
online. Hopefully they look at what they did wrong and don’t repeat.
Some people made money, but only the ones that slapped up stuff fast or pulled a red auto.

I expect we will see more of these post Christmas time one way or the other

Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

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