661 and Beyond: 2012 Topps Bryce Harper Rookie Card Variations


Bryce Harper was a late addition to the 2012 Topps Series 2 Baseball checklist. With not a lot of wiggle room to get him into the regular part of the base set, he was tacked on to the end. But there were some other repercussions as the regular 2012 Topps Bryce Harper #661 is a tough short print.

Further complicating matters is the fact that the card has a few different variations available elsewhere. So unless you know what to look for, it can be a little confusing.

2012 Topps Bryce Harper #661 Rookie Card

Just one Bryce Harper base card made its way into 2012 Topps Series 2 packs.

2012 Topps Bryce Harper 661 SSP

The knee-up photo is a definite short print (often referred to as an SSP). It’s much tougher to find than the other 2012 Topps Series 2 base cards. An exact production run for the card has never been released.

However, there is no shortage of collectors after the card. Bryce Harper fans, Rookie Card collectors, set builders and lots of people in between are still chasing it all these years later.

This is considered the regular version of the card and carries the RC tag in the Beckett database.

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2012 Topps Bryce Harper Factory Set Variations

More plentiful 2012 Topps Bryce Harper variations can be found in factory sets. All have an exclusive variation of #661 with Harper in a similar pose as the SSP only with one leg up. His foot is clearly visible on this version of the card.

Retail factory sets come with five additional Rookie Variations, Harper being one of them. Again, numbered 661 on the back, this version has him yelling. The “leg up” variation is also included in the retail factory sets.

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2012 Topps Bryce Harper Autograph

Yet another version of the 2012 Topps Bryce Harper #661 was available through the Golden Giveaway. These were the code cards that were found throughout the flagship product that, when entered online, could unlock exclusive cards and prizes.

One of those was a 2012 Topps Bryce Harper autograph. The design is essentially the same as the short print Rookie Card.

2012 Topps Bryce Harper 661 Autograph

The signature comes on a label and there is the “Topps Certified Autograph Issue” on the front to help differentiate it from an in-person autograph or even potential forgery. The back of the card is the same as the unsigned base version.

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2012 Topps Mini Bryce Harper Rookie Card

The 2012 Topps Mini Bryce Harper #661 is the easiest version of the card to spot simply because of its shrunken side.

It’s part of the separate 2012 Topps Mini Baseball release that recreated the 2012 flagship set in a sort of homage to 1975 Topps Mini.

The photo is the same as the regular set’s short print.

2012 Topps Mini Bryce Harper RC

Unlike the flagship version of the card, the 2012 Topps Mini Bryce Harper has the set’s full run of parallels. That said, there are a lot. Gold is the most plentiful at 61 serial-numbered copies. Others include Silver (/5) and four different one-of-one Printing Plates (Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow).

Although 2012 Topps Mini Baseball was primarily an online-exclusive release, boxes were also available at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore. For the event, Topps created a set of five mini-style promo cards with the same general design. Numbered TMB2, the outfielder is pictured differently and the NSCC logo is at the top corner of the card making it easy to spot.

2012 Topps Mini National Promo Bryce Harper

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2012 Topps Update Bryce Harper Cards

While that’s the end of the 2012 Topps Bryce Harper cards numbered 661 on the back, he still has a couple more cards with the flagship design courtesy of Update Series.

Card #US183 is part of the Rookie Debut subset noting his first MLB game on April 28, 2012. This card has caught on, fetching decent prices given the fact that it’s a basic Topps card and not a short print. With the original #661 so tough to come by (not to mention, expensive), this has become a viable second choice of sorts.

2012 Topps Update Bryce Harper US183

Harper also has an All-Star subset card (#US299), which doesn’t carry quite the same clout.

2012 Topps Update Bryce Harper US299

What it does have? A couple of variation short prints. Both were included in packs like other traditional modern photo variations. One pictures Harper at the All-Star Game with Chipper Jones. The other has him wearing a suit in the All-Star parade.

2012 Topps Update Bryce Harper Variation - Chipper Jones

2012 Topps Update Bryce Harper Variation - Suit

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Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.


Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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