Beckett Baseball: The Best of 2013 Awards — Collector’s Choice portion

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The baseball card year for 2013 is nearly complete and the calendar has turned, so now is the time where we are preparing our selections for the Best of 2013 — aka The Awards Issue of Beckett Baseball — where we present our picks for the memorable and notable cardboard of the year

As part of the issue, we wanted to make sure that you, the collectors, also have your picks noted. Here are the major categories that you’ll find in the next issue.

Cast your votes — after the jump — and let us know more in the comments below if you feel the need.

The Beckett Baseball Product of the Year for 2013 is ...

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See the rest of the categories after the jump.

The Beckett Baseball Player of the Year (on cardboard) for 2013 is ...

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Best Topps Product for 2013 is ...

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Best Panini America Product for 2013 is ...

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Best High-end Product is ...

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Best Retro Product is ...

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Best New Brand is ...

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Best Bargain ...

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Best Prospecting Product ...

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Best Base Set ...

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In the comments below, let us know your picks for …

Card of the Year (best/most iconic single card released in 2013 — one that defines the times)

Best Autographed Card

Best Memorabilia Card

Best Autograph Set

Best Memorabilia Set

Best Insert Set

Best Parallel Set

Best Box-topper Set

Best Rip

Best Gimmick

Best Base Set

Best ManuRelic Set

Best RC Crop

Best Photography

Best Surprise

Most-improved Brand

Best Shop Card Promotion

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 Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.



For best Panini America brand you did not list Elite Extra Edition. Just wondering why not.

From mod: Fixed

Posted January 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

I covered a bunch of these in my own awards a few weeks ago, so I’m going to plagiarize myself a bit here. There may be a slight Mets bias in these picks.

Card of the Year
2011 Bowman Platinum Autographs Matt Harvey BPA-MH

If a two-year wait for a redemption autograph from one of the game’s biggest young stars who just had major surgery and will now miss all of this season doesn’t define the times, I don’t know what does.

Best Autographed Card
Topps Opening Day Mascot Autographs Mr. Met MA-1

An autograph from the best sports mascot ever? Nothing else even comes close.

Best Memorabilia Card
Topps Museum Collection Primary Pieces Four-Player Quad Relics PPFQR-13

R.A. Dickey, Matt Harvey, Johan Santana, and Tom Seaver memorabilia all on one card. While it’s tempting to go with something more like a 1/1 booklet card, I picked from the cards I actually bought last year.

Best Autograph Set
Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs

Retired player autograph sets are making a comeback and this has been one of the best since 2001, before the Fan Favorites name was adopted. I can’t wait to see the 2014 checklist.

Best Memorabilia Set
Topps Tribute WBC Prime Patches

This is the first time that WBC patches could be obtained at reasonable prices. It was strange not to have any WBC jersey sets, but this made it worth it. Besides, where else are you going to find Jae Seo memorabilia cards these days?

Best Insert Set
Topps Series 1-2 Cut to the Chase

Die-cut chrome cards aren’t usually found in base Topps products, so this was nice to see. The Gallery of Heroes insert set in Topps Archives is also worth considering.

Best Parallel Set
Topps Archives Orange Parallel

Parallels are running rampant in most Topps products these days, but Archives is only up to two parallels. The new one this year was a fluorescent orange parallel available only in 25-cent cello packs from hobby shops. This was something unique in a year filled with pink and camo parallels.

Best Box-topper Set
Topps Chrome Division Die Cut Boxloaders

Are there really enough of these out there to need a category for them? Most boxes don’t even have one.

Best Rip
Topps Allen & Ginter’s Box Lids

Just be careful where you rip them.

Best Gimmick
Bowman Sapphire Rookie Card Reprints

I’m not sure what counts as a gimmick here considering that just about every other category is for one gimmick or another. The running insert set of sapphire RC reprints in all of the 2013 Bowman products is a bit different and the cards look great.

Best Base Set
Bowman Chrome

Are we counting the prospect “insert” set as part of the base set? Because it’s silly to consider it anything else except for loophole purposes. Bowman Chrome’s delay until late September helped to load it up with Rookie Cards and the prospect set had lots of big names, including a few that were in the chrome prospect set from Bowman. With the same photographs. The timing of the release (just two days after Topps Chrome) may have caused it to be overlooked.

Best ManuRelic Set
Topps Proven Mettle Coins

I don’t know how you can top huge pieces of metal with a card wrapped around the edge to leave both sides exposed.

Best RC Crop
Panini America’s Pastime

Jersey and patch cards from Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, and Scott Rice. And probably some stuff from the other 29 teams.

Best Photography
N/A – too many duplicate photos used over and over.

Best Surprise
Bowman Chrome Byron Buxton Blue Wave Refractor Autograph BCP-BB

How could pulling one of these from a redemption pack not be the best surprise?

Most-improved Brand
Bowman Sterling

2012 Bowman Sterling had a lot of design problems, so just about anything would have been an improvement. With better card design, a better checklist, and better refractors, Topps brought it up to the level of a premium product.

Best Shop Card Promotion
Panini Black Friday

There’s just nothing else in the industry like Panini Black Friday. There’s not all that much baseball in it, but as a baseball-only collector, I like getting a few nice cards from other sports along with some interesting baseball cards. The multitude of Topps Archives promotions this year had me hitting all of the local card shops repeatedly, but nothing that come out of those was better than the Puig lava flow parallel I got from Panini Black Friday.

Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
Ian Gibbs

Card of the Year – Puig Topps Chrome Auto

Best Autographed Card – Puig Topps Chrome Auto

Best Memorabilia Card – Triple Threads

Best Autograph Set – Topps Chrome

Best Memorabilia Set – Triple Threads

Best Insert Set – Archives Basketball retros

Best Parallel Set – Bowman Chrome

Best Box-topper Set – Archives

Best Rip – Bowman Sterling

Best Gimmick – Archives Stickets

Best Base Set – Topps Heritage

Best RC Crop – Topps Chrome

Best Photography – Topps

Best Surprise – Puig!

Most-improved Brand – Bowman Chrome

Best Shop Card Promotion – Topps Archives promotions

Posted January 29, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink
Jason K

Card of the Year – Topps Chrome Puig

Best Autographed Card – Topps Chrome Puig Auto

Best Memorabilia Card – 2013 Topps Ultimate Chase Ruth Auto Relic (the one the girl pulled in her first box)

Best Autograph Set – Hometown Heroes or Archives (Tie)

Best Memorabilia Set – Triple Threads

Best Insert Set – A&G Across The Years

Best Parallel Set – A&G Minis

Best Box-topper Set – A&G 1/1 (If you count that as a box topper)

Best Rip – ARCHIVES!!!!

Best Gimmick – A&G 1/1

Best Base Set – Topps Series 1&2

Best ManuRelic Set – No such thing as a good ManuRelic

Best RC Crop – Bowman

Best Photography – Topps Series 1&2 (every year)

Best Surprise – A&G 1/1

Most-improved Brand – Not a brand. But, as company, Panini’s products were better this year than last

Best Shop Card Promotion – Archives

Posted January 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

Card of the Year – 2013 National Treasures Yasiel Puig from National Pastime- THE CARD THAT WAS ADVERTISED AND DOESN’T EXIST!

Best Autographed Card – see above.

Best Memorabilia Card – see above.

Best Autograph Set – 2013 National Treasures RCs

Best Memorabilia Set – see above.

Best Insert Set – 2013 Allen & Ginter Bicycles minis

Best Parallel Set – 2013 Golden Age Nadja Back Minis

Best Box-topper Set – 2013 Allen & Ginter Wonders of the World

Best Rip – 2013 Allen & Ginter Box Lids

Best Gimmick – 2013 Allen & Ginter Mythological Relics

Best Base Set – 2013 Allen & Ginter

Best ManuRelic Set – none. ever. period. Unless 2013 Allen & Ginter Mythological Relics are considered manufactured.

Best RC Crop – 2013 Bowman Inception

Best Photography – 2013 Topps SPs

Best Surprise – 2013 Allen & Ginter Box Lids

Most-improved Brand – 2013 Golden Age, because they left it the same! Love that product, and Panini usually finds a way to mess it up after a year or so.

Best Shop Card Promotion – 2013 Black Friday.

Posted January 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

great looking cards nice break we like watching LETS GO BUCS

Posted January 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

would love to see a poll for worst products of the year let down product of the year as well

Posted January 29, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
Cory Furlong

Best Autographed Card – Axl Rose

Best Memorabilia Card – 5 Star bat knobs

Best Autograph Set – Topps Archives

Best Memorabilia Set – Topps triple threads

Best Insert Set – Topps Chrome Update Chasing History

Best Parallel Set – Bowman Gold refractors

Best Box-topper Set – Ginter

Best Rip – Archives

Best Gimmick – Topps Update Mega Box

Best Base Set – Topps Update

Best ManuRelic Set ?

Best RC Crop – Topps Chrome Update

Best Photography – Topps Series 1 & 2 and update

Best Surprise – Bowman Inception

Most-improved Brand – Panin

Best Shop Card Promotion – Archives orange foil cards

Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
Mike Pereira

Card of the year is got to be Puig’s superfactor. That thing had a journey of its own this year and made alot of people money.

Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

Mr. Met as the best sports mascot ever? He’s not even the best in his own division of his sport!

Posted January 30, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

You needed to segregate Topps Update Chrome from Topps Update and Topps Chrome (I don’t count is as an insert or continuation). That is one awesome set!!!!!

Card of the Year – Puig Update Chrome
Best Parallel Set – Topps Pink
Best Box-topper Set – A & G
Best Gimmick – A&G cards hidden in lid
Best Base Set Topps Flagship
Best Photography – Topps Flagship… Wise from Update best picture
Most-improved Brand – Topps Flagship
Best Shop Card Promotion – Spring Fever

Posted January 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

Card of the Year – 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter #44 – Yasiel Puig

Best Autographed Card – 2013 Topps Turkey Red TRA-MTR Mike Trout

Best Memorabilia Card – 2013 Panini Golden Age Museum Memorabilia – 21 Max Baer Jr.

Best Autograph Set – 2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions

Best Memorabilia Set – 2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions

Best Insert Set – 2013 Topps Chasing History

Best Parallel Set – 2013 Topps Opening Day Blue Foil

Best Box-topper Set – 2013 Panini Cooperstown

Best Rip – 2013 Topps Opening Day

Best Gimmick – The flood of prospecting products and the fools who think they’re making a smart investment in them

Best Base Set – 2013 Topps

Best ManuRelic Set – 2013 Topps Retail Rookie Reprints

Best RC Crop – 2013 Topps Update

Best Photography – 2013 Topps (Not a good year for photography overall. Need Upper Deck or Stadium Club back!)

Best Surprise – 2013 Topps Opening Day

Most-improved Brand – 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen

Best Shop Card Promotion – 2013 Topps Archives Promos (other than the 3 week delay)

Posted January 31, 2014 at 2:57 am | Permalink
Nick Mikulicich Jr.

Does an Axl Rose redemption count as a gimmick?

Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

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