The basics: 2012 Topps Heritage baseball variations

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The official hobby arrival of 2012 Topps Heritage is just a day away, so here are some of the things to look for when you’re ripping into those packs of the 1963-inspired cards.

Look for these for starters:

Error short-prints. There are 10 cards with variations based on mistakes found on cards in the original 1963 set. They include Darwin Barney, Kerry Wood, Dan Haren, Ryan Madson (twice?), Carlos Pena, Julio Teheran and Mike Stanton along with two of the Rookie Stars cards, Nos. 29 and 54. What are the mistakes? We’ll let you discover them for yourself for now …

Image-swap variations. There are 25 cards where the images’ positions have been switched from the normal card. The smaller black-and-white image from the circle is the main card photo and the standard card’s photo is now in the circle. Mostly stars in this one — some of them include Justin Verlander, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum and Prince Fielder.

Color-swap variations. These 25 cards simply have the color scheme altered from the standard card. Stars here include Derek Jeter, Buster Posey, Robinson Cano and Albert Pujols to name a few.

Image-swap variation Relics. There are 25 Relics that get the same image-changing treatment.

— Red-border variations. Only found in Target packs, there are 25 players who have a completely red border — as if the stripe on the bottom took over the entire card. Notables here include Verlander, David Price, Joe Mauer and Clayton Kershaw to name a few.

— Blue-border variations. Only found in Walmart packs, these 25 have an entirely blue border. Notables here include Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, Pujols and Brian Wilson.

— JFK Story short-prints. This seven-card set is similar to the Jackie Robinson Story cards that were short-printed variations in last year’s set, replacing the Babe Ruth Story cards. This set, according to the latest checklist issued by Topps, is not numbered as part of the base set.

A full checklist of these cards will be found on — search for 2012 Topps Heritage — later this week.

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. steve-o
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I have to say…….these cards sure look better than the 1962 ‘wood’ cards do.

  2. steve-o
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    are the 25 cards of the ‘image swap’ different than the 25 of the ‘color swap’ cards ?

  3. chrisolds
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    The variations are on different cards — not the same 25.

  4. Tyler Uccellini
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Giancarlo Stanton or “The Stud formerly known as Mike Stanton” but seriously what do the backs of the autos look like? Full stats or just an authentication blurb?

  5. Jeff Joyce
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink


    I watched your video of the 12 retail packs, plus the blaster box ripping of the 2012 Topps Heritage Baseball. You didn’t seem too happy with the results? How do you think this offering from Topps will stand up to other similiar priced baseball cards this year? Personally, I love the look and I normally never buy Heritage. I have purchase two hobby boxes, yet to arrive, as they were technically just released, but, I expect good things. However, I am interested in your opinion?


  6. chrisolds
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    My run of packs was pretty barren. Heritage is always a favorite of many — but it’s also a brand that doesn’t deliver a ton of “hits.” If hobby box prices get out of hand, it’s not worth buying too much if you’re chasing something hits-wise. Retail is a good option if that happens. Hobby boxes will deliver a wider array of inserts and more stars, so it would be a better indicator than my run. Overall, it should be a popular set this year — it always is.

  7. don davis
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    very dissapointed, This was the weakest product of the series. Very few nice hits, Maybe Im justed getting burned out on this product. No surprises

  8. tommy h
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Also the Martin Luther “the” King Jr. inserts are of note. I think the product looks great, and agree with the first poster that it is better than the ’62 reprints, due to the colors (like the ’59 etc.) It’s a very ‘fun’ product to collect IMHO.

  9. Posted March 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I have collected Topps cards since 1958. I have all the Tigers cards from the 1963 topps set. When topps created the 2012 Heritage cards they technically blundered on the position of the photos on the Leader Cards.

    Card #2 Miguel Cabrera Should be in the Middle Position as he WON the Batting Tittle.
    Card #6 Justin Verlander should be in the middle position as he WON the ERA Tittle
    Card #8 Justin Verlander should be in the middle position as he WON the Strikeout Tittle
    Card #10 Justin Verlander should be in the middle position as he WON the Most Wins Tittle

    I have antisipated the new Heritage depicting the winners of the pitching and batting tittles with these
    Detroit Tigers players, who did lead the league in the respective catagories, by being placed in the MIDDLE Position
    as was done in the original 1963 Topps.

    If Topps needs technical experience on how to put the set together the call me Tigerjim13.

    See all the Topps Tiger Cards from 1952 to 1990 on my web sight

    I will take these leader cards and digitally reposition the leaders to their correct positions for myself.

    I am very disappointed at this mental error in the Topps company. Second Printing? Seriously.

  10. Rick
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    cards look fine, the collation on Chrome after 64 boxes is poor. The Chrome is a tough set as they switched the odds from 1:5 to 1:11. Got 146 in 64 boxes, got 4 of several, including 4 B. Phillips in one case. Cannot find odds for 2011. but for ’10, ’09, ’08, all were n1:5. Was reflected in the set price on Ebay – last 2 both sold for $225 + or – $3. Got one dual auto in 64 boxes, one Sticker buyback encased in a full size card – Ken Boyer, numbered 3/4. The dual auto was Red S. + John Jay, numbered to 25. Blacks are one per case, so odds have been stretched out slightly, but nothing like the regular Chrome, going to 2x as hard. Will report back when last 56 are open, doing 10 cases.

  11. steve-o
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    on checklist, there are error (ERR) variations-cs (CS) color swap variations & image (IMAGE) variations………..but what are WM and TAR variations (what are the acronyms)))


  12. w.
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink


    follow up to your question on the WM and TAR (acronyms)walmart and target

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