First look: 2013 Topps Archives baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps is opening up its archives once again.

The company offered the first looks and basic information about its 2013 Topps Archives baseball card set on Friday, and the second consecutive release for the retro-styled product will arrive on May 29.

The brand is one that includes today’s players on past designs from Topps’ 60-plus year history in the baseball card market along with autographs of fan favorites from the recent past — also featuring photography and designs from past decades.

And for 2013? Some of the designs will be from past Topps releases in other sports, too.

Each 24-pack hobby box will include two autographs inside along with a selection of inserts and base cards all featuring nods to the past. The Fan Favorites autographs will be reproductions of past base card designs, while a triple autograph design will modify the 1987 Topps look, and the Relic set will feature the 1960 design.

The base set appears to be comprised of designs from 1972, 1982, 1990 and 1985 (50 cards per design), while short-printed cards will use designs from all years and be found one in every four packs. Each standard card will also have printing plates only found in hobby packs, while Archives Gold cards will be back but serial-numbered to 199.

Also to be found, just like 2012, will be Topps Originals autographs — buybacks signed and serial-numbered to 10 copies — while framed autographs will turn back the clock to 1973 and a small selection of cut autographs also will be found.

New for 2013 will be 1965 Topps mini tallboy autographs — a nod to the football design from that year — while there will be unsigned versions of those cards as well. The autographs will be limited to 25 or fewer copies.

Also set to be utilized is the 1972-73 basketball design for one insert as well as a 1969 Topps design adjusted to be on 4-in-1 stickers. The 1983 Topps set’s All-Star subset design will be used for standard cards as well as autographs.

Also to be included in this one will be Originals — buyback cards — Originals redemptions for larger items that can’t be placed into packs, Topps Vault redemptions for even better items.

Box-topper and case-topper bonuses will be back for 2013 as well with Topps Vault player contracts topping some cases as a bonus, a 1971 Topps Greatest Moments box-topper — which will have autographed versions — and Touched by Greatness handprint cards as well.

According to the preliminary checklist, some of the signers for this one will include Dave Parker, Mookie Wilson, Ellis Burks, Eric Davis, Denny McLain, Howard Johnson, Kent Hrbek and Matt Williams to name a few. The 1973 autographs will showcase some bigger names with David Wright, R.A. Dickey, Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt, Bob Gibson and Will Middlebrooks among them.

Players slated to appear on 1983 All-Stars autographs will include Cal Ripken Jr., Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, George Brett and Gary Carter, while the Tall Boys set will tentatively include Davis, Williams, Wright, David Freese and Mike Schmidt among others.

Among the players slated to appear on Relics will be Bryce Harper, Bench, Ken Griffey Sr., Gary Sheffield, Justin Verlander, Evan Longoria and Prince Fielder.

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


  1. Don S.
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Personal opinion here: I really wish that Topps would not use designs from other sports in this release. IMO historical football and basketball designs do not have a place in a baseball product. Also, not a fan of minis corresponding to a set that did not have minis.

  2. deeez
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink


  3. Randall
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I like the wide range of autos available. I guess I better hurry up finishing 2012 since this is coming out.

  4. Jeff B
    Posted December 15, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I agree with Don S. No non-baseball designs in a baseball set.

    Also, Topps should stay faithful to the original theme/contents of their sets. There are plenty of years where Topps had B&W photos, or colorized B&W photos, but also many years where they did not do this. I don’t like the Babe Ruth 1972 since the 1972 set is known for its Peter Max-like colors. Put the Babe in a 1968, 1969 or or a deckle edge etc.

  5. Posted December 15, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Don’t care for the airbrushing of the photos to accommodate the signatures. Looks cheesy. Still plenty of ’12 Archives autograph cards out there to hunt.

    And Don S. above is spot on.

  6. Ted Lee
    Posted December 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Tall boys look good,but keep the 1990’s out

  7. Posted December 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    There is something strange going on here. I’m not much a fan of 1990 Topps design, however I’m really looking forward to seeing the new players on the 1990 design. Some kind of altered nostalgia going on in my mind, if that makes any sense.

    This will be a fun set in my opinon and am very glad Topps continue’s to put out Archives. It’s good for Topps and it’s good for the few of us who actually still enjoy collecting cards and not hate on every new product that comes out.

  8. Phil
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Love the Bench memorabilia card

  9. marc
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I actually love the 1990 design, probably as that was the 1st set I really collected growing up. That Trout is cool! Also a fan of the Rice auto card. Agreed that only baseball related should be in an archives that showcases baseball. If they were to do a multi-sport package, then I could see that idea pan out and possibly succeed, but I would be picky about design. Also, NO MORE STICKER AUTOS! I’d rather autos be more scarce, on card, and pack prices come down than these cheap things run a muck to keep pack/box price up.

  10. Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    When did Topps get the rights to use Ted Williams? That’s a pretty big deal if you ask me!

  11. James Knudson
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I wish the 3-D inserts had returned for another year. I had hoped it would be an ongoing set with new players each year.

  12. Bobby Craig
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a nice set. I liked the 1990 set. It was ugly and loud but that made it fun. Great to see Ted Williams back in a card set. I wish his autograph could be put into topps products.

  13. chris woods
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    the set will rock now that they add’ed the staind glass insert’s and the NEW list of auto’s

  14. Roger Pankow
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I agree with Don S…in addition- why doesn’t TOPPS do an update with other obviously missed items (simply check out cards that should have been made) for example 1972-73 basketball is missing many ABA stars (Doug Moe, Larry Brown) any Namath card AFTER 1973…Bill Russell 1968-69. Plus the years the Star Company only had NBA cards. They could have contests from long time fans to design card templates for the missing years that would artistically match the missing years.

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