Beckett Baseball’s Going retro: We have questions … do you have the answers?

25
Share:

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

With the arrival of Gypsy Queen — a new retro-styled line from Topps — we’re going to take a look at retro-styled baseball card sets in our next issue of Beckett Baseball.

And we want to hear what you think about retro sets.

If you’re so inclined, take a few minutes to answer the questions below in a comment … and include your name and location so we can mention that if your comments are selected to appear in the magazine.

1. What, in your mind, makes a good retro set?

2. Have these sets been overdone … or do you want companies to keep on doing them?

3. What retro-style sets stand out as winners to you — and why? (Example: 2001 Heritage, 2006 Allen & Ginter, etc.)

4. What retro-style sets were losers to you? Why?

5. What retro-style sets would you want to see made in the future?

Leave your answers in a comment below.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Share:

Tens of millions of cards available for sale in the
Beckett Marketplace!

Get up-to-date pricing for your favorite sports cards with a
Beckett OPG Subscription

25 comments

  1. Terry Borning 4 May, 2011 at 10:36

    Pretty much just the Topps Heritage stuff. I grew up in the 1970s and collected stuff from the 50s through 70s. I love the 2011 Topps Heritage based on the 1962 set, also enjoyed the 2005 (set based on 1956) and 2009 (based on 1960).

  2. Rick Klein 4 May, 2011 at 10:37

    I never tire of seeing new version of the ’56 Topps set. The face shots and the action shots, all horizontal — works in any era.

  3. Chuck Vanderbilt 4 May, 2011 at 10:42

    1. Stay true to whatever it is you are throwing back to.
    2. Not over done yet though it is getting close. Maybe the Topps Lineage could be a good place to stop.
    3. Topps Heritage, Allen and Ginter, Goudey.
    4. Gypsy Queen
    5. I’m looking forward to the Lineage set.

  4. Andrew Robinson 4 May, 2011 at 11:28

    My first reaction to retro sets was ‘why?’, but I’ve lately come around on the topic. I think what changed my mind was starting to think of the retro cards more as ‘art’ than as ‘cards I put in a container’. My grandfather had framed tobacco cards of various subjects on his walls, and I always admired them (I was particularly fond of the 1940’s set of WWII aircraft cards he had framed).

    The non-baseball subsets in the 2010 Allen & Ginter set were pretty fun. I could see putting a few of the Mesozoic cards up on my son’s wall. He loved the Betelgeuse card I gave him the other day (he’s 3). The minis are particularly good for display, and the subsets small enough to make collecting and displaying them feasible.

    The standard sized cards are a little less ‘displayable’, but I have a Felix Hernandez ’10 Ginter card that I might put in a little frame on my desk. As I get more focused within the hobby, the idea of displayable cards is becoming my focal point. The retro cards are far better for that than the glossy traditional cards.

    I guess I have a bias towards the really old retro style cards, because I hate this year’s Heritage set. They just look too dated to me. I guess if you are a collecting enthusiast and recognize the historical significance of the era they are paying homage to, it makes sense. But from my perspective the cards are ugly and I can get real ones if I want.

  5. Andrew Meeusen 4 May, 2011 at 11:43

    1. A good retro set should both exemplify and celebrate the product it’s mimicing. I was surprised at how much I like the Gypsy Queen set this year because the art was really eye-catching and the parallels and minis made me want to buy the product. Topps Heritage also provides a good throwback each year in celebration of their prior products – this year’s Heritage paid homage to some of the quirks and mistakes of the 1961 set, which was a brilliant touch.

    2. I think as long as they continue to be tastefully done, there will remain a demand for retro sets. A lot of collectors buy up the retro materials like Allen and Ginter or Heritage because the base cards are great for getting autographs since there’s no gloss to deal with. I buy them only if I like the art or the way the set was put together.

    3. Retro sets that stand out for me are each of the annual Allen and Ginter sets and this year’s Gypsy Queen set. There’s something about the Allen and Ginter artwork that makes me think each card I own is a mini-portrait. It’s very well-done. The 2009 A&G National Pride insert set was especially fun for me to complete, along with the 2006 A&G Dick Perez Sketch cards. I feel much the same about 2011 Gypsy Queen. It just looks awesome however they stylized the players and blurred out the backgrounds to make the player pop right off the card.

    4. I wasn’t much of a fan of 2002 Upper Deck Vintage, 2010 Topps Heritage, or 2009 Topps 206. The Vintage was a really boring set, and trying to keep the black-bordered cards nice was really difficult. The 2010 Heritage set was ugly, even though I know it was based on 1960 Topps. It looked like someone just took a blurry picture of the players and slapped a faded colored cover over top of them. Not to mention only getting one “hit” per box of that stuff; it totally wasn’t worth it for me. Same deal for Topps 206 – it just looked ugly.

    5. Frankly, I’m okay with them continuing Allen and Ginter for a few more years. I’d love to see companies start to wind down the retro stuff so as not to overdo it (even though I know they won’t). I’m probably not going to buy much of the other stuff unless it just looks great like the Gypsy Queen set – and unless products like Topps Heritage start giving me value for the boxes I would buy.

  6. Mark Duell 4 May, 2011 at 11:43

    1. What, in your mind, makes a good retro set?

    For post-war styled sets, I think it is important to have the look and feel of the original. Of course, Heritage is now predicatable and heading toward the styling wasteland of the mid-to-late 60’s in a few years. For pre-war retro sets, I think styling that is similar and in the spirit of the original (for year-to-year issues like A&G) is necessary. The first version should be a “copy,” but the subsequent releases can be in the character of the original. Topps has done a nice job in doing this with A&G.

    And minis. I love the minis!

    2. Have these sets been overdone … or do you want companies to keep on doing them?

    Overdone, yes. Keep doing them, yes to that, too.

    3. What retro-style sets stand out as winners to you — and why? (Example: 2001 Heritage, 2006 Allen & Ginter, etc.)

    Allen & Ginter is the winner of all winners.

    4. What retro-style sets were losers to you? Why?

    2009 and 2010 Topps 206. First, Topps already did that earlier in the decade. Second, the sets were too bland. Where A&G had color, unique designs, and interesting chase cards, the latest incarnations of 206 were just boring.

    5. What retro-style sets would you want to see made in the future?

    How about a set featuring mini cards (instead of a standard-sized set with mini parallels)? I love the minis, but it can be pricey to chase them at one per pack. Use the retro-style to experiment a little with new formats. Shake things up a bit.

    Mark
    Lewis Center, OH

  7. Quentin Paulsen 4 May, 2011 at 12:03

    Personally I’m in the middle when it comes to modern cards with the vintage feel. I collect vintage cards and what I love about them is the basic look and rarity. With that said, what I like about the new throwbacks is the homage to that basic nostalgic look but they no longer have the rarity. Even before mom’s started throwing collections away and kids used them in their bike spokes, Topps didn’t mass produce them. I congratulate manufactures on going back to the basics but with hundreds of parallels and inserts it makes it almost impossible to complete a entire set. I always look forward to Topps Allen & Ginter along with T206 releases!

  8. Burbot 4 May, 2011 at 12:33

    I’m sick and tired of retro sets………….on Ebay or Beckett every card looks 30-40 years old…I liked the old days when as the year opened you knew the cards would be “new”, new designs,new players etc….the first few sets were ok, but I’m tired of ’em

  9. JC Washington 4 May, 2011 at 14:01

    1. A lot of low #’s Autos & GU

    2. Mostly overdone. have 1 retro set per year to capture that market

    3. 2010-2011 Classics Basketball looks nice

    4. The ones that combine black and white with colour. sometimes not making sense which card is black & white and which one they put in colour

    5. Well a UD or Topps Basketball Retro 2010-2011 NBA when they get the license back make up for the sets they missed.

  10. Bryon Pratt 4 May, 2011 at 14:18

    1. What, in your mind, makes a good retro set?

    The set needs to take from a great set, I hope we never get to the point where the companies are making retro sets of something like ’86 Topps.

    2. Have these sets been overdone … or do you want companies to keep on doing them?

    They are starting to get overdone, especially now that Topps alone has 3-4 sets each year that are retro. I definately want companies to continue them, each year Topps A&G is one of my favorite releases and I like the the new Gypsy Queen set as well (if Topps could have included my second autograph in the box instead of having to send in for it anyways).

    3. What retro-style sets stand out as winners to you — and why? (Example: 2001 Heritage, 2006 Allen & Ginter, etc.)

    All of the Allen and Ginters, especially the 2006 set. In todays market it has almost become iconic in that it brought back a great set from the past and is always in demand each year.

    4. What retro-style sets were losers to you? Why?

    Topps 206, some of the pictures were blurry, particularly of the older players which made it no fun to look at them.

    5. What retro-style sets would you want to see made in the future?

    Definately Allen and Ginters, I would also like to see Gypsy Queen come back next year. Heritage is always nice to see, though I tend not to collect too much of it as I typically save my money for some other sets I like more.

  11. RP 4 May, 2011 at 17:01

    1. What, in your mind, makes a good retro set?

    A stellar design and checklist full of veterans, retired stars, and HOFers. It should have minimal focus on rookies/prospects. I liked the days when Topps ATFF and Topps Retired Chrome only featured retired guys. Unfortuntely, Topps has blurred that line in recent years.

    2. Have these sets been overdone … or do you want companies to keep on doing them?

    Topps has way too many retro-themed inserts sets included in Topps Series I, II and Update sets. I’d much rather that they save those ideas for a stand alone product which give the old sets the full justice they deserve.

    3. What retro-style sets stand out as winners to you — and why? (Example: 2001 Heritage, 2006 Allen & Ginter, etc.)

    Topps All-Time Fan Favorites was appropriately my all-time favorite set. I enjoyed the never before seen photos and the tremedous autograph checklist. I liked how it incorporated many forgotten stars like Mario Mendoza who would otherwise never have an auto. I hope Lineage will serve to revive the ATFF brand.

    Of course, Topps Heritage is a perennial favorite. I look forward to the base cards every year. I also liked 2002 Topps T206 and the 2004 Cracker Jack set both sets had the feel of the original set.

    4. What retro-style sets were losers to you? Why?

    Chicle. The artwork was poorly done and the base cards weren’t very appealing.

    5. What retro-style sets would you want to see made in the future?

    Topps should continue Heritage, A&G, and add a third recurrent set with past Topps designs (Lineage/ATFF/Archives). Along with those, have a fourth retro set cycling other vintage like Mayo, Red Man Tobacco, Old Judge, etc.

  12. Chris H 4 May, 2011 at 17:22

    1. The look and physical feel of the cards help a retro set. I also like the idea of having old players in the checklist.
    2. Retro sets are indeed starting to be overdone. Ginter is by far the best, GQ is amazing though. But just put out maybe 2 retros a year, not 4 or 5.
    3. Ginter is great every year and is by far my favorite product every year.
    4. T205/6 is kinda eh. To me it’s just an extension of Ginter, they don’t differ all that much so it doesn’t stand out.
    5. I would love to see a new “Studio” style set. Portraits in a sepia color on a non-gloss cardboard.

  13. Ryan Gluesing 4 May, 2011 at 18:24

    What makes a good retro set? An attractive design that is true to the original, with its art or photography, design, and nuances. To be successful these there needs to be a good hook, as well, with the autographs and relics, parallels, and inserts. A&G has the rip cards and unique relics, Heritage has the Real One autographs.

    Have these sets been overdone? If Gypsy Queen is any indication, no. Provided a set is done right, there probably is no such thing as overdone. However, I think there has been a reliance on recycling old designs for new set concepts, and there hasn’t been much along the lines of new set design.

    What retro sets stand out? The original Allen & Ginter is one of my favorites, as is 2009 Goodwin Champions. Both sets had beautiful designs and images. I think National Chicle deserves more credit than it receives. It has a clean design with an art style that is true to the original, and has a decent autograph list. Heritage as a whole deserves recognition for doing so many things right – being true to the original in design, right down to poses and backgrounds and variations; a solid autograph checklist; and a set-building difficulty that is challenging without being a turn-off. It doesn’t hurt that many older collectors remember collecting the original sets as kids.

    What retro sets are losers? 2007 and 2008 Goudey are sets that I wish appealed to me, but they just weren’t put together properly.

    What sets would I like to see in the future? I think it’s time to get away from early-1900s tobacco and start looking at some of the other pre-WW2 releases. There are many beautiful candy sets and regional issues. I like some of the 1950s Red Man designs.

  14. Mike B 5 May, 2011 at 06:53

    I think a good retro set is one that stays true to the original. The Topps 206 full size cards are terrible, but the minis are a good representation of the originals.

    Topps annual Heritage sets are fun with the variations that reflect the originals. They should keep doing these each year. Keeping true with the inserts is necessary as well. The Bucks from this year are great but Topps missed the mark with last years Dice Game backs. They should have stayed true to the original design. It would have educated many collectors more that this rare test issue existed.

    I’m really looking forward to the Topps Lineage issue this summer. Retro cards of the 1964 Topps Supers and the 1968 3-D cards should be interesting. The Supers are one of the cleanest sets and made great autograph cards. It took me 10 years to finish the original signed set (less Clemente) and I look forward to this challenge!

    I feel Upper Deck trying to retro Topps designs and the O-Pee-Chee brand was very poorly thought out, although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The Chicle set was not very appealing as well as the full size 206 cards.

    I would love to see retro sets of the Red Man cards, 1961-63 Post cereal and the 1962 Salada Coins.

  15. Jason Taylor 5 May, 2011 at 07:35

    1. A true retro set should have the old-school cardboard feel, and be easy to afford. Also, there should be silly cartoons on the back. Always cartoons.
    2. I don’t think they’ve been overdone. If anything, retro sets are filling a clear demand that collectors in their 30’s-40’s want. We grew up busting actual wax packs, chucking the gum, and walking several times a week up to the local 7-11 because that would be the day we’d find Gooden’s rookie card.
    3. Most of Topps Heritage offerings are cool, but the price is always too high. I liked Upper Deck’s Vintage offereings about a decade ago. And I liked the Topps reprint sets they did in the early 00’s that featured retired players on old school designs, but different photographs.
    4. I think any set that prices itself too highly is a loser. Heritage for $100 a box is extreme.
    5. Cardboard, cartoons, classic players. I’d love to see a set that featured both modern players and their historical counterparts, sequentially numbered by team. Retro sets should appeal to set builders who like thier sets numbered by team. And make it affordable. Hobby packs for $2, retail for $1. I dont so much care about autos or jerseys, just a cool set to build that reminds of how fun it used to be to bust wax. Because isn’t that what a retro set should do?

  16. WAYNE EBLIN 5 May, 2011 at 09:16

    I THINK THE RETRO CARDS ARE THE ICE CREAM TO ANY SET OF CARDS I HAVE ALL WAYS SAID THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BAD CARD I GUESS I LOOK AT IT AS WHEN THE PHOTO
    WAS TAKING WAS THAT HIS LAST SWING , LAST PITCH, WHO WON THE GAME THE ART IN CARD
    MAKING TO DAY IS JUST UNBELIVABLE IF YOU ARE A TRUE COLLECTOR YOU SHOULD SEE THE SAMETHING JUST MY THOUGHTS

  17. danny 5 May, 2011 at 10:39

    1. What, in your mind, makes a good retro set? short printed base card cards to make it hard to finnish a set
    but too many variants is over kill

    2. Have these sets been overdone … or do you want companies to keep on doing them?
    topps is over doing them heritage and ginter is enough with every couple of years archives/fan favorites

    3. What retro-style sets stand out as winners to you — and why? (Example: 2001 Heritage, 2006 Allen & Ginter, etc.) all the heritages ginter current design is nothing to get excited about

    4. What retro-style sets were losers to you? Why? t206, t205, chicle, they were just blah some old stuff different name

    5. What retro-style sets would you want to see made in te future? just heritage (maybe with an update set-like the 80’s) and ginter

  18. Kevin 5 May, 2011 at 12:21

    1.) If the source set design is strong then the retro set should be strong. I also like retro sets done aimed at set builders vs hit based products. The focus should be on the actual base cards, not autos or relics. The retro concept should be fun and it lends it’s self to specific themes like Fan Favorites.

    2.) I think it is overdone. Topps Heritage is fine due to the fact it’s a new design every year. Stuff like Ginter and all it’s clones got stale after about 2 years. Retro sets to often have protrait photos. Multiple sets each year with so many protraits offer little variety and excitement in reguards to the picture used.

    3.) Top fo the list is the Topps Fan Favorites from the early mid ’00s, a great mix of retro designs and a fun theme. I also really like 2006 Bowman Heritage. The style of the cards is so different from anything else. The solid color back ground and washed out photos are very memorable, it’s a they are so ugly they are cool sittuation. I am also a fan of 2008-09 ITG Heroes & Prospects. It isn’t a retro set as much as a retro inspired set, but it really did a good job of capturing a ’70s vibe.

    4.) The last two years of Topps T-206, they are very dull looking cards.

    5.) I hope we get a break from retro sets for a few years.

  19. Kevin 5 May, 2011 at 12:22

    1.) If the source set design is strong then the retro set should be strong. I also like retro sets done aimed at set builders vs hit based products. The focus should be on the actual base cards, not autos or relics. The retro concept should be fun and it lends it’s self to specific themes like Fan Favorites.

    2.) I think it is overdone. Topps Heritage is fine due to the fact it’s a new design every year. Stuff like Ginter and all its clones got stale after about 2 years. Retro sets to often have portrait photos. Multiple sets each year with so many portraits offer little variety and excitement in regards to the picture used.

    3.) Top of the list is the Topps Fan Favorites from the early mid ’00s, a great mix of retro designs and a fun theme. I also really like 2006 Bowman Heritage. The style of the cards is so different from anything else. The solid color back ground and washed out photos are very memorable, it’s a they are so ugly they are cool situation. I am also a fan of 2008-09 ITG Heroes & Prospects. It isn’t a retro set as much as a retro inspired set, but it really did a good job of capturing a ’70s vibe.

    4.) The last two years of Topps T-206, they are very dull looking cards.

    5.) I hope we get a break from retro sets for a few years.

    Kevin from Virginia

  20. Dan 5 May, 2011 at 14:21

    All I know is I’m still waiting for Paul Molitor to get his own 1978 style “rookie card.”

  21. Dan 5 May, 2011 at 17:41

    …and stop making cards that have already been made… I already have a 1960 Yaz… why would I care if I pull a re-released one from CYMTO? It’s one thing Topps would put a new picture on it, but my Mom knew better than to touch my cards.

  22. Matt 6 May, 2011 at 08:57

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really care for Allen and Ginter’s. Why do I want a card of a frisbee player, a gymnast, some dude who broke “the code”, Machiavelli, etc.? I want BASEBALL CARDS! That said, there are some AG cards that I think are amazing; I just wish they would cut out all the Americana cards.

    I do really like the new Gypsy Queen set, though. The Gypsies themselves are ridiculous, but at least they are rare (i.e., most every pack just contains baseball players, not the miscellaneous people listed above).

    Heritage to me is pretty bland, especially this year.

    I agree with Andrew above. I think the appeal of the retro sets is that they are “art”; some sets appeal to some people, while other sets do not. I personally really enjoy collecting the base and insert sets for the retro collections that I find aesthetically pleasing. So, in that respect I agree with Kevin above that the focus should be on the sets themselves, not the autos and relics.

  23. Jeff 6 May, 2011 at 13:28

    I don’t like any retro cards. When I see a card, I want to know what it is, I don’t want to have to flip it over and look at a copyright date. When I search for cards on eBay… you get the point. Don’t like ’em at all.

  24. Paul 6 May, 2011 at 22:12

    1. What, in your mind, makes a good retro set?

    Something that has NOT been done before. Also have them look and feel like the originals.

    2. Have these sets been overdone … or do you want companies to keep on doing them?

    No not really. Keep doing them but after maybe two years of each set try something new.(except heritage)

    3. What retro-style sets stand out as winners to you — and why? (Example: 2001 Heritage, 2006 Allen & Ginter, etc.)

    Definitely the Heritage line because it allows to recapture a certain season and revisit legends from that year. And the design is different each year.

    2004 Topps Cracker Jack …. Just a unique look and feel food based issue not done very often.

    4. What retro-style sets were losers to you? Why?

    All Allen & Ginter sets … Done way too many times and nonsense cards like Bigfoot and Nessy. Buildings? Myths? really??

    5. What retro-style sets would you want to see made in the future?

    More food product themed sets.

  25. Charlie DiPietro 8 May, 2011 at 09:17

    1. A good retro set is one that holds true to the original design and theme. Quality must be first rate and must look as good as the original.

    2. Topps Heritage has a new design each year which keeps it fresh. Allen & Ginter continues to be popular. I believe it is because the quality is first rate. T206 picture quality does not match Allen & Ginter and was overproduced in 2010 because of projected sales for Strasburg. If Topps were to improve the picture quality of this product, I believe it could match Allen & Ginter for popularity. Gypsy Queen is a winner but was underproduced. Although not everyone likes retro sets, there is a large enough demand to continue with these products. I have some customers who only buy retro sets.

    3. 2001 Heritage and 2006 Allen & Ginter are the two biggest winners. You can’t loose with a 1952 Topps Retro Set! 2006 Allen & Ginter, being the first of this design, made it the most popular. Each additional year results in this product loosing some of it’s following. Of course, a few high demand rookies should reverse this trend.

    4. I don’t believe there are any loosers. I love retro sets. However, they need to be kept fresh. Picture quality must be of the highest standards. And, the manufacturers must give the collectors value. In the case of Heritage, I would like to see more autographs and game used from players from the original topps sets. In the case of Allen & Ginter, I would like to see more original cards. T206 could have had many more original cards. Even off-condition T206 originals would be a real treat for collectors.

    5. I would like to see Bowman Retros, starting with 1951 Bowman (1948 & 1949 are too plain and 1950 would look too much like 1951 and 1952. I would start with 1951 because it would be great to have a original Mantle RCs (5 in various conditions would be practical) inserted. This could be followed with the 1952 Bowman Retro, to include inserts of 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1952 original cards. In the 1953, 1954 & 1955 Bowman, besides inserting originals, I would like these cards to be made in the original size and picture quality.

    Charlie DiPietro, Owner
    Sports Cards Plus
    San Antonio, Texas

Leave a reply

We use cookies to help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and provide a safer experience. By navigating the site, you agree to the use of cookies to collect information. Read our Cookie Policy.
Accept & Close