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First look: 2014 Topps High Tek baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps Tek officially is back.

After several years on the bench, a brand that was ahead of its time back from 1998-2000 is back as Topps officially revealed the basics on the product it had teased at the recent Industry Summit.

This time around, though, it’s 2014 Topps High Tek and it includes autographs as well as buybacks and new cards with the complicated acetate aesthetic that some collectors have come to love over the years.

It will include just eight cards per pack/box — six base cards one parallel limited to 99 or fewer copies and one autograph — when it arrives on Nov. 5. There will be 12 packs per case with each case guaranteeing a buyback autograph or a “re-created design Diffractor.”

RIVERA

High Tek will be a hobby-only release with up to 12 different parallels — background patterns — per card. The base set will consist of 100 cards with nine other parallels per card. While serial-numbering was not announced for most versions, their names were. Collectors can look for Gold Diffractors, Ice Diffractors, Disco Diffractors, Clouds Diffractors, Black and White image parallels (/15), Red Storm Diffractors (/10), Blue Dots Diffractors (/5) and 1/1 Charcoal Galactic Diffractors and printing proofs.

The autographs will all be signed on-card with Disco, Clouds, Black and White, Red Storm, Blue Dots, Charcoal Galactic and printing proof versions. The quantities were not announced for Disco and Clouds, while the others will match their base cards.

Autographed buybacks also will be among the offerings with original cards from the previous three-year run among those to be found. A preliminary checklist was not released.

Among the insert cards in this one will be 1999 Teknicians Diffractors for 25 players in the past style with 10 of those players signing parallels limited to just 10. Also to be had are 2000 TEKtonics Diffractors  also with signed parallels as well as Low Tek Diffractors, Those auto parallels will be limited to 15 copies.

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.

19 Comments

Paul K

Looks like another product I’ll have to hunt down my fav singles!

Posted May 1, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
Larry

Those are some of the most Bad ss cards I have ever seen!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! I hope they make these in 2014 Football as well, that would be awesome and probably put me in the poor house because of how much I would buy.

Posted May 1, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
Joe

WOW, 8 cards/box. Just the hobby needs another CRAPPY, UGLY A$$ high end product. And boy these cards are F-U-G-L-Y. But hey, to each his on.

Posted May 2, 2014 at 1:26 am | Permalink
Mike

Cards look amazing, just too bad topps changed the pack out from original announcement.

Now it’s just ANOTHER $40-50 PACK of cards, something the hobby doesn’t need.

Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink
Nathan Crandell

Lets just hope the price tag is affordable, because I really love this product and will buy one if possible.

Posted May 2, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink
Bodie

bryce harper, the most overrated shlub in sports

Posted May 2, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink
85GoCards

I was REALLY hoping Topps would go back to an “old school” 18 or 24 pack box with 4-6 cards per pack. Making these so high end is going to make it almost impossible to complete a player run, let alone a master set. I think including autos was a terrible idea and basically takes the focus away from the core demographic for this product (set/player collectors).

IMO, a really, really bad move by Topps.

Posted May 2, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink
Ryan

Hey Look! More high end Russian Roulette! Wonder how many redemptions that will take years to fill will be in here. Pass.

Posted May 2, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink
Jeremy

The set design makes me want to have a seizure!

Posted May 2, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink
CFS

Making this a high-end 8 card box is disappointing, pass.

Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
Jason K

I don’t hate it, but I don’t feel the need to start putting aside money so I can get a box (pack).

Posted May 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
Ora

Chris,
I loved the Topps TEK cards when they were live back in 1998-2000. I will say that the 90 card set with 90 variations in 1998 were a bit much but they improved it by degrees in the following two years. I was truly impressed with the variety of designs the developers came up with then and hope that it continues with the revival of the set. When do you think we can view the checklist for the 2014 set?
Thanks, Ora

Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
Mike

What an utter utter disappointment!!

So it look like the Srp is $75 for ONE PACK!

How is this helping expand the hobby? How does this bring in New collectors and kids?

Speaking of which, here’s what topps had to say in ’09 when they got the exclusiveBy making the deal, MLB is expressing optimism in Topps’ ability to appeal to a new generation of young collectors under the watch of Michael Eisner, the former president of the Angels, who acquired the cardmaker in 2007.

“Generations of baseball fans have grown more connected to the game through collecting baseball cards,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “We look forward to partnering with Topps to restore baseball cards as the game’s premier collectable.”

The exclusive arrangement ends MLB’s 30-year relationship with Upper Deck, the other main player in the market — which retains licensing rights from the MLB Players Association. That enables Upper Deck to continue producing cards with players’ images — but team logos and such are out.

Eisner hailed the deal with MLB, earlier telling The New York Times, “This is redirecting the entire category toward kids. Topps has been making cards for 60 years, the last 30 in a nonexclusive world that has caused confusion to the kid who walks into a … hobby store. It’s also been difficult to promote cards as unique and original.

“We’re going to be very aggressive in letting retailers, kids and hobbyists know that we are the card that represents it all.”

“There is a greater chance of organizing the marketplace with a singular partner,” said Tim Brosnan, MLB’s executive vice president for business. “It’s a business that’s critically important to our mission, to make players icons to kids.”

Sadly, all lies.

Posted May 2, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink
CHARLES HENN

WOW THIS MEANS THE UNOPENDED BOXES FROM 98 99 SHOULD
BE WORTH A FEW BUCKS MORE THAN NORMAL.

Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
CHARLES HENN

OK

Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
CHARLES HENN

OLD BOXES PRICE GOING UP.

Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
Doug

Ugly and overpriced, I’m out.

Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
David Blyn

What a disaster!

I was really looking forward to this product since I loved it during it’s original run from 1998-2000. However, I agree with everything said here, there was absolutely no reason to make yet another high end product that I can’t buy boxes of. This didn’t need autographs – this needed a classic configuration and touch and a price that made some sense. The Russion roulette comment above is spot on. Completely not necessary as there are enough products in the market that allow high-end collectors to gamble away their money.

This looks like a really nicely designed product with a very poorly conceivedbreakdown and price point. We don’t need more of this, we need a whole lot less.

Posted May 5, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink
phillies_joe

Very nice looking cards but price point defines set collecting or not for me. This is def a buy singles product. This should be an insert set of another high end offering.

Posted May 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

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