After a week of speculation and questions after it teased the masses with preview images, Topps finally pulled back the curtain on its plans for its 2011 baseball set Friday evening.
Among the surprises? Actual diamonds embedded into a set of baseball cards found only via an online code redemption.
The diamond anniversary of the longest-running manufacturer of cards includes looks at countless cards from its 60-year history as well as some new insert lines that will be found in its packs when it arrives in mid February. The base set will consist of 330 cards — 264 veterans, 30 rookies and several subset cards — with Platinum 1/1 parallels, Black parallels limited to 60 copies each, Golds limited to 2,011, printing plates and silks.
There are a pair of other diamond-themed parallels, including Canary Diamond cards — 1/1s — along with Platinum Diamond cards, which will be found in every four packs.
As with past Topps sets, there also will be autograph and Relics for the World Series winner. New Relic cards will include manufactured Glove Leather cards, which will fall one per hobby case and one per jumbo box. Also to be found is a Mickey Mantle 1964 Reprint Relic along with 2010 All-Star Game In The Name Relics. These game-used cards feature a letter from a player’s All-Star Game warmup uniform.
For the autograph hunters, there will be Baseball Legends cuts — 15 big names from the past — along with 60th Anniversary autographs, which will have a congratulatory inscription noting the anniversary along with the autograph. These cards will be limited to 60 apiece.
For vintage fans, Topps introduces a new insert — Kimball Champions — based on the N184 cards from 1888. These cards will be found throughout the 2011 sets from the company with the first 50 showcasing current and past stars, while the other cards will be found in later series.
Much like this year’s Peak Performance cards, there will be a Topps 60 line of cards, which will be inserts, autographs, Relics, jumbo Relics and more. The players will be those who are among the top 60 on the all-time MLB lists for various stats.
The 60th Anniversary reprints will replace this year’s Cards Your Mom Threw Out with various cards telling tales from the history of the hobby — also to be found with original backs — while there will be Reprint Relic versions of these cards as well. Three other inserts will be of the retro feel with The Lost Cards being famous omissions, History of Topps and Reproduction Cards that show the world of cards before Topps. Also to be found are Hall of Fame buybacks and autographed versions of these cards as well.
Other inserts include Diamond Duos — two players paired together in both standard and Relic versions — and 60th anniversary Sketch Cards, too.
The online presence started with the Million Card Giveaway this year also continues. This year, the Diamond Giveaway code cards will be found one in every six packs and that’s where the diamond-embedded cards come into play. Among the cards that can be found are vintage cards, special Diamond Die-cut Cards and the Diamond Collection parallels, which will have the gem placed in the card.
Also found only as part of that program are Black Diamond Die-cut cards, which will be limited to 60.
We’ll have more on this product in the coming weeks and months before its debut.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.