Mint Musings: Topps Baseball Still Packs Intrigue After 60 Years – Topps Series One Baseball hits shelves next Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016. One of the most enduring and consistent products in the hobby, it helps serve as the unofficial start to another collecting year and a nice reminder that baseball is thankfully, right around the corner. I had the chance to catch up with Topps’ Marketing Communications Manager, Susan Lulgjuraj to discuss this year’s product.
KS: What are some of the highlights that collectors can expect with 2016 Topps?
SL: 2016 Topps Baseball Series 1 is filled with great cards that baseball fans have come to expect, but with some changes. For the first time, Topps is going without a full border on its cards. It’s definitely a change from the norm, but one that has been received well. Since it’s Topps’ 65th year of making baseball cards, we also celebrate the milestone with a special card set looking back on iconic cards in Berger’s Best (a nod to Sy Berger), as well as including buybacks of older cards. Other highlights in 2016 Topps Baseball Series 1 include a 350-card base set, a celebration of 100 years at Wrigley Field, code cards for those who love to play Topps Bunt, and the return of the popular First Pitch insert cards.
KS: One thing that will be tough to beat in 2016 is the quality of the 2015 rookie baseball class. With that being said, who are some rookies collectors should be looking forward to in 2016?
SL: While the 2015 rookie class was impressive, there are huge (players) with rookie cards that are appearing in 2016 Topps cards including Miguel Sano, Kyle Schwarber, Luis Severino, Corey Seager, Michael Conforto, Hector Olivera, Henry Owens and more.
KS: While Topps Baseball is centered primarily around the base set and its inserts, you offer one autograph or memorabilia card per box, with three per jumbo box. What is Topps offering this year with its “hit”cards that’s a little different from previous years?
SL: One of the most exciting inserts, which includes autographs and relics, is the Topps Laser subset. It’s a set we created in 1996 and this includes an updated version of the card. This time around it’s a book card with a dynamic image on the inside. Also, the manufactured relic cards will be ones baseball fans are going to want to watch for. They include Team Logo Pins (of which many player signing their cards commented on how much they liked them), No-Hitter Pin cards, and World Champion Coin and Stamp cards.
KS: You announced special buyback cards in honor of this being the 65th year that Topps has been producing baseball cards. What more can you tell us about that?
SL: Along with buybacks of base cards from over the 65 years (that are inserted at different levels of rarity), there are also buyback autograph cards that have received a special stamp. The buyback autographs were not previously announced so collectors will be pleasantly surprised to find these.
KS: Are there any other special promotions, similar to 2015’s Babe Ruth Call Your Shot, that collectors should be on the lookout for this year?
SL: There are a number of special promo cards for Topps Bunt, our digital card app. These promo cards are great for those who love BUNT and also those who are looking to try out the app for the first time.
KS: For collectors who don’t have an LCS nearby and may not have access to hobby boxes, what other options are there for them to get Series 1 Baseball if they want it?
SL: Baseball fans can always look in the card aisle at Target, WalMart, and Toys ‘R Us. They can also check out online retailers who will ship to them, or visit Topps.com.
KS: Topps has been releasing its baseball set for over 60 years now. Why do you think it still remains a popular product among collectors?
SL: Baseball cards have a way of reminding us of our childhood. Many people collected cards when they were younger, so it’s become a way to tap into those feelings of pulling a card of your player from a pack. The flagship product is also the unofficial start to baseball because once it’s on the shelves you know Spring Training is right around the corner. Combine all that with feeling like you are closer to the game with every pack of cards you open, Topps Baseball is always great fun.
KS: While there have been some tweaks and changes, the product has remained virtually the same. Do you ever foresee a scenario where the product could undergo a major change?
SL: We made a huge change this year with the design. The base cards do not have a full border for the first time. We are always willing to try something different.
Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan as the producer of ESPN’s Mint Condition has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on the hobby in Mint Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
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