The 2021 Topps Update Series Baseball Variations look to finish what the SP and SSP cards from Series 1 and Series 2 started. That means more ballpark fun, some alternate rookie shots and the return of retired legends.
At first glance, variations look like standard base cards. The big difference is the photo on the front. Or, in some cases, the player.
Typically, a lot of flagship Topps variations come with fun photos even if they don’t all follow a specific theme. Celebrating with teammates, hanging out with fans or simply out-of-the-ordinary shots offer a clue that you might have a variation. There’s also the fact that they can be upside down in the middle of the pack as a potential tip off when busting boxes and packs.
SP Variations aren’t too tough. Hobby odds aren’t yet known, but they’re 1:50 retail packs. SSP Variations, on the other hand, are much harder to land at 1:1,100 retail packs.
Ultra Short Prints do exist. Believed to be the toughest of all the 2021 Topps Update variations, these give players big heads. Think caricature t-shirts from the ’80s or playing NBA Jam at the arcade. Specific odds or print runs aren’t known for Ultra SPs but they’re scarce.
Like usual for flagship releases, Topps didn’t include the variations on the final 2021 Topps Update Series Baseball checklist. As a result, it might take a bit for all of them to surface. In the meantime, there are some simple ways to spot them (including the handy gallery below).
2021 Topps Update Series Baseball Variations: Codes to Look For
For some, the preferred way to check for variations is using the card backs. The key here is in the block of small print on the bottom. Once you get past all the copyright info and legal stuff there’s a CMP code. Although its purpose is for production purposes, the code does offer some insight into different card types. It’s not fun and the writing is tiny but it is a quick and easy method to confirm SP and SSP cards.
The code is long but it’s only the end that you really need to look at. These are the code endings you need to know for 2021 Topps Update Series Baseball variations:
Base – 395
SP Variations – 416
SSP Variations – 417
Ultra Short Print Variations – 418
2021 Topps Update Series Baseball Variations Checklist
Here’s a list of 2021 Topps Update Baseball SP and SSP variations. If you’re looking for a specific card, click on the links to see what’s currently available on eBay.
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.