How to Tell the 2017 Topps Heritage Baseball Parallels Apart



By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Sometimes parallels can be a little tricky. Telltale signs like serial numbers and brightly colored borders can give way to more subtle differences. Such is the case with the 2017 Topps Heritage Baseball parallels where some of the rarest — and potentially most valuable — can require a close look on the back.

Let’s break down the differences between them all and hopefully make things a little easier to tell apart.

Parallels in 2017 Topps Heritage Baseball come in three forms: regular, Chrome and Mini. Regular parallels cover the entire 500-card checklist. The Chrome and Mini cards have 100 and 130 cards respectively.

How to Spot 2017 Topps Heritage Baseball Parallels

Let’s start with the regular parallels because these are the hardest ones to tell apart. These come with the following versions: Blue Border, Bright Yellow, Gray Back and Flip Stock. Because none of these are serial numbered, spotting them can be tough.

Related: 2017 Topps Heritage Variation Short Prints Gallery

We’ve enlisted Corey Seager to illustrate the difference of each. Here’s a look at the front and back of each along with notes on exactly what to look (and in the case of Flip Stock, feel for).

It’s important to start with a base card as a benchmark.

Base Card

2017 Topps Heritage 440 Corey Seager Front

Base – Front

2017 Topps Heritage 440 Corey Seager Reverse

Base – Back

Blue Border

Print Run: 50 (only in hobby packs)

These are the only regular parallels where the front has the discerning characteristic. And with blue borders over the regular brown, they’re also the easiest and most straightforward to spot.

2017 Topps Heritage Blue Border

Blue Border – Front

2017 Topps Heritage Blue Border Reverse

Blue Border – Back

Bright Yellow Back

Print Run: 25 copies

Fronts are irrelevant when you’re looking for 2017 Topps Heritage Bright Yellow Backs. As the name suggests, look to the reverse. Regular base cards have a hint of orange to them. Bright Yellow Backs could almost be camouflage for Big Bird.

2017 Topps Heritage Bright Yellow Back Corey Seager Front

Bright Yellow Back – Front

2017 Topps Heritage Bright Yellow Back Corey Seager Reverse

Bright Yellow Back – Back

Gray Back

Print Run: 10 copies

Gray Backs might be the hardest ones to tell. The base cards are already a little on the dark side. And the Gray Backs aren’t exactly gray. They are darker than base cards, but it’s fairly subtle. To confirm things, look to the white spot at the top with the player’s vitals and the comic on the bottom. These show the gray the most.

2017 Topps Heritage Gray back Corey Seager Front

Gray Back – Front

2017 Topps Heritage Gray back Corey Seager Reverse

Gray Back – Back

Flip Stock

Print Run: 5 copies

Flip Stock cards can be hard to see. Rather, it’s in the feel where you’re bound to notice them a little easier. These cards are printed like the sheet was upside down. So the fronts are a little rougher while the backs have more of a glossy feel than regular base cards.

2017 Topps Heritage Baseball Flip Stock Front

Flip Stock – Front

2017 Topps Heritage Baseball Flip Stock Reverse

Flip Stock – Back

2017 Topps Heritage Baseball Chrome Parallels

Nearly all of the 2017 Topps Heritage Chrome parallels come serial numbered (on the back) so they’re fairly easy to tell apart. But they’re still not as easy at a glance as most Refractors. That’s because the borders aren’t a solid color. The burlap spots are small and can be a little tricky to tell apart. And if you’re looking online or have a hard time making out the serial number on the back, the fronts are important.



Print Run: /999

Key Characteristics:

• no rainbow finish

2017 Topps Heritage Chrome Corey Seager


Print Run: /568

Key Characteristics:

• rainbow background
• brown burlap

2017 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor Corey Seager

Purple Refractor

Print Run: unknown, only in randomly inserted Hot Box packs

Key Characteristics:

• purple burlap
• rainbow background
• only 2017 Topps Heritage Chrome cards that aren’t serial numbered

2017 Topps Heritage Chrome Purple Refractor

Blue Refractors

Print Run: /68

Key Characteristics:

• blue burlap

2017 Topps Heritage Chrome Blue Corey Seager

Gold Refractors

Print Run: /5, only in hobby packs

Key Characteristics:

• gold burlap

2017 Topps Heritage Chrome Gold Refractor


Print Run: 1/1

Key Characteristics:

• gold spirals tiled in background

2017 Topps Heritage Chrome Superfractor

2017 Topps Heritage Mini Parallels

For the sake of completion, here’s a Mini parallel. Besides being smaller than normal, they’re also numbered to 100 copies. Like Chrome cards, the serial number is on the back. These have no further parallels.

2017 Topps Heritage Mini Corey Seager Front

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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  1. Chris Harris 9 March, 2017 at 13:00

    The fact that an explanatory article showing what all the parallels look like is necessary just goes to show that there are too many parallels in Heritage.

  2. Han 10 March, 2017 at 22:08

    I think they made a huge mistake doing the bright yellow parallel. It is just too confusing. I have pulled several possible bright yellow, definitely a brighter yellow than the base color. Some are a lighter faded yellow then the example you showed and some are bright yellow but a darker contrast. I am afraid to list these on ebay because they may not be and it worries me that I will have to refund with adding extra shipping fee. I wish they added a code like they did with the other variation cards. Not happy with this parallel and wish they would give more information so that we the consumers know for sure.

  3. Mike hasty 11 March, 2017 at 09:17

    I agree with Han. I’ve been pulling my hair trying to figure out the flip stock and gray backs! A bunch are definitely lighter than others but they don’t look gray. I’ve seen a bunch sold on eBay for $40 or whatever that look just like some of mine but others seem to be even darker…I don’t wanna list a SSP for a buck and be a chump. I think parallels should be serial #d in EVERY set, especially when you’re just guessing like with these cards. I bet half the gray backs being sold are base cards from looking on eBay…lot of people getting ripped off without knowing. Thanks Topps! I did like the product though. Got purple chrome hot box which seems to be a curse. The base Sp’s are selling for more than the “special” Chrome Inserts! Does anybody have any idea about how rare the purple Refractors are?

  4. Michael Smith 11 March, 2017 at 19:20

    I was wondering if any of them can be found by the code on the back, I know all of the “Photo” & “Action” Variation have different codes, are any of these different??

  5. A. Tebbano 14 March, 2017 at 17:59

    Just curious – can all (or any) of these parallels be found in retail as well as hobby? Thanks.

  6. tom 15 March, 2017 at 20:08

    I have a real one player sample auto of Andrew Benintendi. Any idea on how many were produced. Not sure if were inserted in error

    • Ryan Cracknell 16 March, 2017 at 10:50

      Not sure how many were inserted but probably not many. They’re generally reserved for the player to keep but it looks like his were included in the main stack and got included in packs.

  7. Bill 17 March, 2017 at 14:00

    I have a couple of what I think are grey backs, but can’t tell. Also, opened a blaster box today and got a purple chrome in each pack. is this a hot box as they say?

  8. James 24 April, 2017 at 14:17

    HOT BOX IS HOBBY ONLY I pulled one hot box from 2 cases – one with one, one without. You did get a lucky pull taking 2 purples from 2 retail packs. Rare find!

  9. Chris Ford 19 July, 2017 at 13:48

    I’ve opened two blaster boxes that had AT LEAST one purple refractor per pack. Both boxes I bought from Walmart. Never have had that happen with blasters from Target.

  10. Fred 26 July, 2017 at 12:31

    I have a dark Gray card that is definitely different from my other gray back cards. The dark gray card has a GOLD, not bright yellow stripe on the bottom border. Not sure what that card is, the serial # ends in 1867.

  11. JediStarkiller 16 September, 2017 at 00:43

    I too pulled a purple refractor from each pack out of a blaster but I got mine from target. Also this may be a dumb question but anyone know what the white cards are that have a facsimile auto, picture but no name of player and rounded corners with words: double, single, etc and numbers in the corner i.e. 0,1,2,3 are? I’ve gotten several of these.

  12. John Natoli 1 March, 2018 at 11:19

    Hey guys,

    First time comment or question…just opened a hobby box and every pack had a purple refractor in it. Is this normal?


    • Ryan Cracknell 1 March, 2018 at 11:55

      @John – You got a “Hot Box”. In hobby, the Purple cards are only available in these special unmarked boxes.

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