2021 Topps Archives Baseball Variations Guide
The 2021 Topps Archives Baseball Variations have a lot going on. Much like the potluck-themed product as a whole, there’s lots to look for, some of it a little more stealth than others.
When it comes to SPs and SSPs, there’s not one single thing to look for. It’s several. From traditional photo and player swaps to nods to the past to logo changes, the variations checklist is a varied one.
With so much going on, it’s understandable that some could easily be missed. But once you know what you’re looking for, none are particularly hard to spot.
One of the reasons that there are so many different styles of 2021 Topps Archives Baseball variations is the splintered nature of the base set. Seven past designs and one from a distant and imagined future are used. It’s only natural that some of these variations are based on some old-school quirks.
An example of this can be found with Francisco Lindor and Bryce Harper. Their base cards fall under the 1962 portion of the base set. Both have variations that offer a tip of the hat to the original release’s Green Tint variations. While harder to notice, there’s a slight cropping change to their photos as well.
Shohei Ohtani also has a 1962 tint variation, however his base card is part of the 1973 subset so this one should jump out a little easier. Ohtani has a second variation that’s a little more subtle. The photo is the same as his regular card, but if you look to the icon, the SSP has a pitching icon rather than a batter.
Mike Trout and Jackie Robinson, both part of the 1991 subset, have basic photo switch variations.
The 1983 Topps design is used to showcase four sets of father-son MLB connections. Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Daulton Varsho are all in the primary photo spot on these cards. The smaller inset photo has their fathers: Dante Bichette, Craig Biggio, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Gary Varsho.
Four 2021 Topps Archives Baseball variations introduce new players to the checklist. Three of these are Mickey Mantle who has cards at #7, 107 and 207. Bill Greason, a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher in the 1950s who also served in World War II and played in the Negro Leagues. Greason had never appeared on a Topps card until now.
As far as the number of 2021 Topps Archives Baseball variations goes, the majority of them fall under the Emblem Variations category. These simply make a small but easily noticeable change to the Topps logo on the card front.
Emblem Variations are available for more than 90 total cards in the 1991, 2001, 2011 and 2091 subsets.
Regular base cards for the 1991 and 2001 have the “40 Years” and “50 Years” commemorative logos the original sets used. 2091 base cards come with a hypothetical “140 Years” logo. 2011 base cards have the standard Topps logo.
2021 Topps Archives Emblem Variations change these to have “70 Years” commemorative logos, a nod to 2021’s anniversary.
Besides the regular SSPs, Emblem Variations can be found with Red Hot Foil (/50) and FoilFractor (1/1) versions.
Buffalo Blue Jays
Buffalo was the home away from home for the Toronto Blue Jays for much of the pandemic. Topps give the city a nod with variations for the team’s eight active players in the base set.
These are easy to notice for a couple of reasons. For starters, they have “Buffalo” written clearly as the team across the top. They also use the 1974 Topps design, one that isn’t part of the base set.
According to the codes on the back and the pack odds, these Buffalo Variations fall under the Emblem category. However, their approach is very different from the rest.
Like Emblem Variations, these cards do have Red Hot Foil (/50) and FoilFractor (1/1) parallels.
How Tough Are 2021 Topps Archives Baseball Variations to Pull?
The odds on 2021 Topps Archives Baseball packs group all variations into two groups.
“Base Card Variations” are 1:305 hobby packs while “Base Card Image/Emblem Variations” are 1:114 hobby packs. This is easy when it comes to the Emblem and Buffalo cards. They’re both part of the 1:114 group.
Others aren’t quite so clear and might require a little time to see how frequently they pop up. That said, the 1962 Green Tint, 1983 Father/Son, 1991 photo swaps and Ohtani icon change cards all have the same CMP code on the back, which may suggest they’re the “Base Card Variations.”
As for the Mantles and unannounced Greason, they’re still to be determined.
One thing to also consider is the number of cards in each section. Although Emblem Variations are much easier to pull as a whole, there are at least 100 different cards that fall under that category. So individual cards might actually prove to be lower.
Using Codes for Confirming 2021 Topps Archives Baseball Variations
The code at the end of the fine print on the card backs can be used as a cheat for telling variations from regular base codes. With so many variation types, there are several to keep track of. Here are the code endings required for identifying 2021 Topps Archives Baseball variations:
- Base – 267
- Greason – 040
- 1983 Mantle (#7) – 041
- 1991 Mantle (#107) – 042
- 2011 Mantle (#207) – 043
- 1962 Green Tint – 297
- 1973 Icon – 297
- 1983 Father/Son – 297
- 1991 Image Variations – 297
- Buffalo Blue Jays – 298
- Emblem (1991, 2001, 2011, 2091) – 298
2021 Topps Archives Baseball Variations Checklist and Gallery
Use the tabs to navigate between variation types. Each has full checklists and visual breakdowns so you know exactly what you’re looking for.