2016 Topps baseball cards: New approach is apparent in Series 1


2016 Topps 1 Mike Trout

By Chris Olds

When Topps released the basic breakdowns and images for the 2016 Topps Series 1 baseball card set, they made it clear that the release of the hobby’s longest-running and most-popular brand is a departure from the norm.

What hasn’t changed is that collectors can expect one autograph or Relic in every 36-pack hobby box or one autograph and two relics in every HTA 10-pack Jumbo box.

Get a fully sortable 2016 Topps Series 1 Baseball checklist and price guide access.

2016 Topps Series 1 Baseball Base Buster Posey

Base Set and Parallels

This time,  the base set for 2015 Topps Series 1 consists of 350 cards — the same higher amount that began this year — and it is a mix of rookies, veterans, league leaders and include a subset of World Series highlight cards. Each card has several types of parallels, including Gold (/2,016), Vintage (/99), Black (/65), Pink (/50), Platinum (1/1), Rainbow, Clear (/10; standard hobby boxes only), Framed (/16; one per case) and 1/1 printing plates. New to 2016 are Negative parallels. These are not numbered but fall about four per hobby case.

Select players also have variations, but there aren’t any Sparkles this year. Instead there are shots of players in camo uniforms and even tougher, more traditional photo swap variations.



2016 Topps Series 1 Baseball has plenty of basic inserts, which is the norm for the brand. Berger’s Best is a year-by-year look back at basic Topps. Others include Perspectives, Pressed into Service, 100 Years at Wrigley Field, Back to Back, Topps Laser, First Pitch and also two stamped buybacks per box. The Laser cards mark a 20-year anniversary of an experimental die-cut insert from the past and this time the approach is used in booklet form. Pressed into Service cards show players in non-traditional roles, while the Wrigley set revisits past moments in the venue’s history. First Pitch, like last year, showcase celebrity and other notable appearances at ballparks.

A selection of manufactured Relics can be found in this one with Team Logo Pins, No-hitter Pins and World Series Stamp and Coin cards. The first two here have autographed parallels limited to only 25 copies, while the coin/stamp cards have denomination versions and some have autographs (/10) as well. All are numbered.

Also to be found are Bunt Code cards and Bunt Player cards that offer an extra way to get into Topps’ mobile apps game for MLB where virtual baseball cards have been generating real cash for some collectors. Codes are good for in-game tokens or exclusive cards found only with the redeeming of the card.




There are eight types of autographed Relics alone in 2016 Topps Series 1 Baseball with most of these cards limited to 10 copies. None of them made to more than 50. That makes them among the toughest pulls in the product. Berger’s Best, Topps Laser, Back to Back, Pressed and Wrigley inserts will be limited to 10, while the World Series winners and Postseason Performance will be limited to 50. A set of Glove Leather autos — signed onto simulated leather like Sweet Spot cards of the past — are limited to 25.

For standard autographs, there are Scouting Report — a chance for scouts to sound off about players’ performances — Berger’s Best, Laser, Back to Back, Pressed, Wrigley, World Series and Postseason. These are limited to 25 except for Series and Postseason, which are limited to 50. A pair of 1/1 inclusions can be found here with Berger’s Best cut autos as well as a standard cut auto set.



Nine different game-used memorabilia sets are in 2016 Topps Series 1 Baseball with the same lineup as other inserts — Scouting Report, Berger’s Best, Laser, Back to Back, Pressed, Wrigley, World Series and Postseason. The only new one here will be In the Name Relics that are 1/1 letter patches from players’ 2015 MLB All-Star Game workout jerseys. These will be found in hobby and jumbo packs only along with the Laser Relics. All standard Relics are be numbered to 99 or 100 save for the Scouting Report, which will not be numbered.

Chris Olds can be found on Twitter by clicking here.

2016 Topps Series 1 Baseball at a glance

Packs per hobby box: 36
Cards per pack: 10
Set size: 350
Release date: February 3, 2016

What to expect in a hobby box

  • Autographs or Relics – 1



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  1. chris houser 17 August, 2015 at 11:15

    man these base cards look really nice better then this year’s I say. I hope someone on the forums pulls that Bo Jackson cut so I can hopefully add it to my supercollection.

  2. phillies_joe 17 August, 2015 at 11:56

    Awesome looking cards from top to bottom! Great job Topps. What does “Vintage” mean in the parallels? Is it a card made on cardboard or a Vintage design? If design, I could do without it. Those book cards look great. Also, nice to see some of this years rookies added to S1 2016….makes for a hot (potentialy hot) product right out of the gate.

    Thnaks for the update!

  3. Greg K 17 August, 2015 at 15:13

    Nice cards but wondering why not put the rookies of guys from this year into this years update set. Someone is going to make rookies of those guys this year and then a 2016 RC card of a guy that has a 2015 true RC doesn’t make any sense. Hopefully these are just teasers and they will actually put the top rookies from this year in this years product. Why add more confusion to an already crappy system of labeling players RC’s?

  4. Charlie 17 August, 2015 at 15:19

    I really like the changes here, at least looking at it on a monitor.

    Hate to burst anybody’s bubble, but they’re off 2 years with the 100 years of Wrigley. Weird.

  5. Frank 17 August, 2015 at 18:27

    Charlie, the Cubs first played in Wrigley in 1916. It was the Federal League park in 1914-15.

  6. Ross 17 August, 2015 at 19:40

    Other than the lack of borders on the base design, I don’t really see how this is an any way a “new approach.” Lots of parallels, scant volume of autographs, manu-relics, resurrecting a 20-year old idea. Sounds like the same gameplan they’ve had for a really long time.

  7. Keith S 18 August, 2015 at 16:07

    I can’t believe that they wouldn’t make a Sano and Schwarber card in 2015 Topps Update. Are the images just samples with the RC logo on them and won’t be when they come out in 2016? Do we have a checklist for 2015 Topps Update anywhere yet?

  8. Clayton 21 August, 2015 at 14:38

    I totally agree with Ross. It’s the same old thing. I loved the redesign in 2015 but 2016 looks too much like 2015. They’re not as bad as A&G in terms of using the same boring format over and over again, but they’re close. Oh well. Hopefully they’ll have more of our favorite 80s and 90s stars (Strawberry, Gooden, Nolan, Canseco – pictured – McGwire and the rest) !!!

  9. Charlie 26 August, 2015 at 09:25

    Frank – the sign on the card says 100 years of Wrigley Field. Not 100 years of the Cubs playing at Wrigley Field.

    I live in Chicago and the Cubs just had a celebration for 100 years last year – in 2014. So it’s hard to not look at that on the card and think “hey, the Cubs just did that 2 years earlier”.

  10. Jeff 1 December, 2015 at 21:45

    Will there be a Matt Wieters this year? I have every Orioles Topps card ever made. Its a shame there has yet to be a Wieters

  11. Dan S 5 January, 2016 at 17:58

    I’ve never been a fan of borderless baseball cards. It makes me a bit saddened that Topps has decided to go this route.

  12. john piazza 7 January, 2016 at 08:03

    All Topps cards from the past 30 years look like nothing special. Take a look at 1954 or 1963. Those cards had character. Why can’t the regular series cards be made to look as good as the Heritage Cards?

  13. Butch Joslin 4 February, 2016 at 14:16

    Base cards look the best in many years. Lots of nice shots of players not the same old pose. But the gold and black need a lot of help. No border and its hard to tell a black from a gold. Maybe its time to put the gold bordered to rest. Inserts look good but still to many. Retail? Target? Walmart? only. Come on make them all available in hobby boxes. Foil cards look good. The major problem will be what do you do next year you cant go back to borders. Going to be tough to improve. All in all after buying cards since 1971 and still get the thrill of opening packs an A+++ Topps.

  14. Mike Smith 7 February, 2016 at 17:37

    It is obvious Topps brass don’t read this forum, because if you go back to the 2013 release, there were a ton of negative comments about all of the inserts which didn’t have any value. Fast forward a year later and more of the same type of comments about the 2014 release, and again with the 2015 release. Do these card companies, and primarily Topps, actually think they are providing a legitimate product when most of their inserts become packing material? Come on guys, I would rather have a 7 or 8 card pack that had 7 or 8 real cards, instead of all these pack stuffers that have no value at all. The vast majority of these inserts are not worth the paper they were printed on.

  15. Patrick Powers 8 February, 2016 at 12:19

    I pulled a Mark Grace 100 Years Wrigley Auto/Relic (5/10) from my a hobby box this past weekend.

  16. Jordan 28 February, 2016 at 11:57

    So I pulled a Carlos Gomez card that looks like one of the chrome cards. That sort of reflective face to the card. But it is not numbered, so I don’t think that it is a variation of the base card such as a pink/gold etc. any idea what it is or just a base card with a chrome face?

  17. nate 8 March, 2016 at 08:07

    The chrome face card is a standard rainbow foil. They are not numbered. I am overall very happy with the 2016 Topps Series 1. It is nice to see overall good reviews. But I do kind of agree there are too many inserts.

  18. Simeon 4 April, 2016 at 19:53

    Hi. For baseball, as a 700 card Topps set been released yet for 2016? I can’t seem to find it online. If it hasn’t been released yet, when is it usually released? thanks

  19. Mr. B 18 September, 2016 at 10:51

    In response to the people complaining that today’s cards aren’t as good as cards from 40 to 60 yrs. ago, this is just a matter of personal opinion. To me, some of the simplicity of the borders was great from the 60’s and early 70’s. But the overall photography was nothing, in it’s infancy, compared to what we have today.

  20. chris 8 November, 2016 at 09:49

    I got a 2016 Jameson Tailon RC out of an Update pack. Its autographed and is numbered wa_8. cant find it listed anywhere. anyone know the value?

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