Topps revives Bowman’s Best and plans changes to Heritage High Number, release schedule

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps will be shaking up its prospecting lines later this year and bringing a non-prospecting brand back into packs, the company announced Tuesday at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas.

First, this year will mark the return of Bowman’s Best, a brand that has been on the shelf since 2007. It was introduced in 1994 and was a hobby mainstay for years before taking a break in 2006 and then returning for a one-and-done campaign as an autograph-driven product eight years ago. The brand was also one that Topps used in football, basketball and hockey through the years.

Also returning to the Bowman fold will be a Series 2  of the standard Bowman line, which will allow the product a wider array of players and a checklist with more continuity, particularly if there are two series of Bowman along with Bowman Draft. It was 1999 when Bowman was last split into two in-pack series. That had been a common practice during the late-1990s, though it was not done on a yearly basis.

BowmansBest

Each of these returning brands will replace a Bowman-branded line, so expect two products to come off the calendar from last year. The two brands eliminated for 2015 are Bowman Platinum and Bowman Sterling.

Not under the Bowman umbrella for prospects is Topps Heritage High Number, and it will return in pack form this year for the first time since 2009. Topps released the Heritage update in packs in 2008 and 2009 along with a few basic Topps Update cards in every pack before placing the season-capper into boxed set form in 2012, which has been the routine since then.

Could more returns be possible or “lost” lines return elsewhere? In recent years, Topps has explored online-only releases such as Turkey Red and Topps Mini. It’s not a reach to expect that the company will be readying more lines that way as well for the upcoming baseball year.

In other baseball news, the company announced that Strata will become a standalone line and it has pushed up products so there are fewer released after the season ends. Five Star will have a price-point and configuration change to make it more affordable.

For other sports, WWE Undisputed will be a first attempt at a high-end wrestling line. It also will try High Tek in football and release a football set called Diamond as part of its 60th anniversary celebration.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisolds2009.

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15 comments

  1. Richard 17 March, 2015 at 18:56

    Too bad about Bowman Platinum.
    That was my one set that I always tried to make and bought a box every year it came out.
    The update sets were popular until Topps over produced them and screwed up on production.
    A friend of mine’s boss bought cases of the most recent run and after opening 3 of them still
    did not get the promised red autographs which, after not getting satisfaction, has made him
    eliminate much of his buying.

    Still, I expect that the prospect autos of Kris Bryant will be quite popular in pack form.

  2. Shaun Baus 17 March, 2015 at 22:38

    2010 Bowman Platinum was an amazing product, then they never quite lived up to it afterwards. Last years set looked absolutely terrible and obviously ruined it. Quit ruining sets and you wont have to make em disappear and then bring em back…

  3. DrMitchJ 18 March, 2015 at 05:59

    Never bought Sterling, but Platinum was becoming a favorite. Oh well. I’m sure replacing it with a different/unused older product line will have an initial nostalgic buying power, sorta like the Donruss product line in 2014. The older collectors, like me, get sucked right in :)
    I liked getting the Heritage HN in a set. I didn’t like the price once the production line wasn’t limited, so maybe packs will be better, maybe worse? Time will tell. Did they say if Heritage HN packs will be sold as an online exclusive?

  4. Doc 18 March, 2015 at 09:43

    I’ll echo everyone else in saying that I was a fan of Bowman Platinum. I preferred it to the insane mess that is the rest of the Bowman line.

    Bowman, which has chrome in it, Bowman Chrome, and Bowman Draft with chrome in it, it was all too much. Now they’re going to split them into Series 1 and 2???

    If they want to do a S1 and S2, that’s fine, just do it for standard Bowman. Eliminate the separate Chrome line altogether and just have one unified Bowman product plus Draft, which can be treated like Topps Update at the end of the year.

    They’re making it needlessly complicated when they should be clarifying what Bowman is as a brand.

  5. J.P. 18 March, 2015 at 10:37

    This means that, for the first time ever, Topps is going to release FOUR products containing Bowman Chrome within one year – Bowman I and II, Bowman Chrome and Bowman Draft. Not a proponent of this idea.

  6. Paul Angilly 18 March, 2015 at 11:24

    I’m not normally a big fan of higher-end brands, but Bowman Platinum was an exception. I just loved the way the base cards looked and went after all the Red Sox players every year. I was never a fan of Bowman’s Best. I also think three series (including draft/update) of regular Bowman is too much – especially when paralleled with a Chrome release.

  7. phillies_joe 18 March, 2015 at 12:14

    No more Platinum…..BOOOOOOOO! I’ve always loved the product. So many pretty colors, plus the retail hit ratio was great. Sterling on the other hand has had designs that do not appeal to me and is probably the very last line/product I consider for PC stuff. I suggest that the Bowman brand be prospect or RC only, Series 1 & 2 plus update, and include a product like Platinum as a subset.

    Bowman’s Best was ulgy to me then and it will be now. I myself have never heard anybody clamoring for it’s return so I have to ask why?

    I agree with DrM….a limited run set on Heritage Update (especially when the main product is filled with gimmicks such as gum stained or blue colored backs). I buy cards for the pictures, not the backs.

    Does Topps ever wonder why there has been such a large swing around to case/box breaking? Maybe in thier round table discussions, somebody needs to ask.

  8. David Hollingsworth 18 March, 2015 at 17:39

    Never was a huge fan of the Paltinum line so will see what the best’s looks like .

  9. Jason 19 March, 2015 at 10:13

    Platinum was my favorite Bowman release. Have only bought 2004 Bowman’s best, and I’m still finding thee glitter from those cards all over the place.

  10. Michael Gardner 19 March, 2015 at 19:22

    I was just commenting to my LCS owner that Bowman needed to decrease the number of products they produce. So I am glad they are stopping Platinum and Sterling, but why the need to overproduce Bowman now? Also, they better make sure that Bowman’s Best has on card autos, because the sticker autos killed Sterling this year.

  11. Rob Wilkinson 22 March, 2015 at 01:23

    In 2014, Bowman Platinum was a mess. I don’t know how many colors or each player they had, but it was just confusing mess. Then when I tried to find my #’d series cards, they blend in with all of the other ones because they’re the same color.

    2013 Jorge Soler Bowman Platinum was the last good card! :-)

    The “Best” sample shown above looks better than the Sterling and the Platinums of 2014, so I’ll hope for the best.

  12. Mel Geloneck 23 March, 2015 at 10:39

    I never thought Bowman Platinum lived up to its name. The name Platinum implies that it would be rare and valuable. The set was basically plain and mediocre, not “platinum” as the name implied. It was sort of like Upper Deck with its “Collector’s Choice” line: The name implied that the set would be highly desirable for collectors and the product wasn’t desirable to collectors.

  13. steeve-O 23 March, 2015 at 16:50

    Hey Mel, I agree with your review of the Platinum product…….I never saw a design I cared for. Now the Sterling line was different, I had ‘worked’ on a set in both BB & FB since 2004 & 2006, but lost some interest around the ‘turn of the decade’…..but still bought a few singles from each year till new. So at least for baseball-I will be taking a brake (and a break from my wallet) and I’m sure it will be that much more of a challenge on ‘Chrome Building’, with 2 series (but it was already like that anyways, with the inclusion of so much Chrome in the base Bowman boxes)

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