First look: 2012 Topps Archives baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A day after it teased the return of Fan Favorites as an insert card set, the home of those Favorites has been unveiled.

And they’ll be found in the archives — 2012 Topps Archives to be exact.

Last produced in 2002 but with a history linking back to the early 1990s, Topps Archives will revive the looks of old Topps designs with brand new images of present-day players, reprints and more from the past when it arrives on May 23.

Every 24-pack hobby box will include two Fan Favorites autographs inside, while rarer finds will include redemptions for larger memorabilia pieces directly from the Topps Vault.

The 200-card base set will showcase current stars and rookies along with notable names from the past using four designs — 1954, 1971, 1980 and 1984. There will be 40 short-printed (unsigned) Fan Favorites cards capping the set found one in every four packs. Meanwhile, there will be Gold parallels found two per box and 1/1 printing plates for each card, too.

Relics will include 1956 Topps-inspired cards showcasing more than 50 players, while the insert card lineup takes the approach of 2011 Topps Lineage with nods to past designs. Archives will include insert sets honoring the 1967 Topps Stickers, 1968 Topps 3D, 1969 Topps Deckle Edge and the 1977 Topps Cloth sets. There also will be reprint cards of notable issues from the past found in this one, too.

The Fan Favorites autograph checklist will include 75 players using designs from their careers, while there will be Framed Autograph Minis — a reproduction of a 1983 Topps card inside a Ginter-esque frame — and autographed Originals cards to be found as well.

Rounding out the lineup for the line will be Topps Originals cards — buybacks that are specially stamped — Topps Original redemptions (good for a pack, set or single card from the past) and the Topps Vault redemptions (20 items).

Some of the players presently lined up to sign Fan Favorites cards are Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly, Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron, Bill Buckner, Ron Kittle, Andy Van Slyke, Will Clark, Boog Powell, Frank Howard, Brett Butler, Steve Balboni, Mitch Williams and Tommy Herr.

Meanwhile, autographed Originals cards on the preliminary checklist include Willie Mays, Aaron, Koufax, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Gibson, Griffey Jr., Carl Yastrzemski, Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, Stan Musial and Frank Robinson among others.

And the signers for the 1983 Minis? Ryne Sandberg, Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw to name a few.

Cool Topps Vault items that will be up for grabs include card contracts signed by Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Mays, Ryan, Schmidt and Tommy Lasorda. Other items include a 1968 Topps proof sheet with a Ryan Rookie Card, a check signed by Lasorda and several other sheets and proofs from the 1970s.

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

Love it or hate it: 2012 Topps Archives

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23 comments

  1. steve-o 16 December, 2011 at 16:49

    yep……Topps is maybe having to “try” a little harder, because Panini has half a liscense-imagine if they’d gotten the whole thing ?!!?!?!

    Just think…….in maybe 20 or 25 years from now, collectors will be looking at archives from the last decade of the 20th century & going…….WOW !!!!! LOL……..LOL

  2. XstreamINsanity 16 December, 2011 at 21:37

    How are the articles generated? I looked at the source, and they’re showing like square thumbnails because the img url is suffixed with -150×150. If you remove that part from the img src attribute, they’ll show as normal. Just thought I’d let you know.

  3. Matthew 16 December, 2011 at 21:54

    This is what last year’s Lineage set should have been. Glad to see that Topps learned from their mistakes — let’s hope that they continue to actually improve their product.

  4. cptnemo66 17 December, 2011 at 08:29

    Dont we already have Topps Heritage? WooHoo another retro set! YAWN…….glad I dont waste my money on wax anymore.

  5. Chris H 17 December, 2011 at 11:36

    I know Topps has done the retro thing to death but I loved Archives when I was a kid. The auto & relic lineup looks very good. Can’t complain if I pull one of those!

  6. Jerome J Wood SR 17 December, 2011 at 18:42

    It really look’s like a much improved Lineage set. Glad to see that the design is much better, and over-all looks to be ok. I will have to wait and see on this one!

  7. Nick Tegeler 17 December, 2011 at 20:38

    I really like the look of this product as well. However, I agree that Topps regurgitates WAY too much of the old style of card designs. The new designs they come up with even from one year to the next gets done over and over throughout the year. I would like to see them do some original and different designs more often and just get the occasional cards of the old designs. Again, good looking product overall with this one!

  8. steve-o 17 December, 2011 at 21:28

    Why is it..we pat Topps on the back-when they do stuff that couldve been done in the past ??

    can someone tell me…..what was the problems with the Lineage set ?

  9. Matthew 19 December, 2011 at 09:50

    I have to admit who amused I am at some of the comments here. It strikes me that outside of its flagship brand, no set Topps makes will make everyone happy. They either do too many retro sets, too many high-end sets centered around memorabilia cards no one can afford, too many sets that focus too much on parallels or (in the case of Bowman) too many cards of players who will only see a Major League stadium as a paying customer.

    Admittedly, I’m incredibly guilty of a lot of this harping myself. I still think that MLB did everyone a major disservice by letting Topps become a monopoly again, but the problem is that there’s still too much product making too many people unhappy. I don’t know if Topps (by itself or in combination with other manufacturers) would ever find a proper balance in trying to address the collective desires of the hobby.

  10. Chip 7 January, 2012 at 17:44

    This looks interesting but I think it will fall short of the classic archives sets, particularly the 2001 archives autograph set.

  11. Cindy Bigelow 15 February, 2012 at 13:17

    I have 2 signed Topps baseball cards. An NL Active Career Strike Out Leaders 1983 or 84 (#706 or #707 I think). It is signed by Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, and Tom Seaver.

    The 2nd card is RBI Leaders 1983 (#703 I think) signed by Dale Murphy, Cecil Cooper, and Jim Rice.

    I cann’t find a value for these two cards. Do you know what they might be worth? Any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  12. Jim Phillips 10 April, 2012 at 12:45

    Nice looking set from Topps again. Loved the 2012 Heritage and i think this will be just as good.

  13. David A. Hodson 25 May, 2012 at 12:10

    I’ve ;been collecting cards for over 20 years and I find the 2012 Topps Archives to be very “custtomer friendly.” By that statement, there are cards for every collector, they are razor sharp, good centering and just down right good looking cards. This year I have managed to pull 4 Bryce Harper autographs, not to be outdone, I just pulled a redemption card for my 5th Harper autograph, always glad/happy to pull good autograps and cards. Keep up the work as everyone enjoys your cards.

  14. g2 7 June, 2012 at 20:30

    This is a really fun set and glad to see Topps bringing back the Archives concept. Wish they would make a collection for kids that includes gum at a value price. That way you could put them back into convenience stores like 7-11. Wishful thinking. It is true, greed has wrecked what was so awesome about collecting baseball cards. It’s an old man’s game now.

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