After seeing some of the mysteries surrounding Topps Finest be revealed, and getting more acquainted with the set, I am starting to see some very big wins here, along with some bigger losses. I want to take a look and break down my thoughts on one of the bigger in season releases of the year.
Autograph Base Rookie Variations
These were some of my favorite cards in the previous versions of Finest since 2011, and I think that they took a major hit this year with the sticker autos. Hard signed autos on Chrome stock are a very easy way to cultivate value in any set, and using stickers this year took that away. We will have to see how Platinum turns out to see if Topps gets it right. Scary thing is, the Johnny Manziel Superfractor has already been pulled and listed, which is likely the biggest cards in the set. Either way this one doesnt sit well with me.
Rookie Auto Patch
I think this year’s design is nice, although the need to include a jumbo patch parallel adds a lot of negative space on the card that could have been shrunk down with the use of additional printing plates. Regardless, I think these look better than last year, and better than 2012 as well. Its a cool tech style look, and I have gotten more attached as I have seen more cards.
Rookie Auto Jumbo Patch
These are my favorite cards of the entire set, and wish that they were more common. With the negative space from the previous design replaced with a bigger swatch, the card looks more complete. I am really liking that they didnt compromise the size of the player picture to include a larger swatch, which I think many releases struggle with. Compared to 2013, its night and day.
Fantasy’s Finest Autos
This year, finest moment cards were replaced with a set that commemorates the biggest fantasy performances in the last few years. I like the idea of celebrating big games, but I am not a fan of using fantasy as the way to do it. The design is nice, but again, its a lot of negative space for design elements to make up for the patches that are present on some of the cards. Being that I wasnt a fan of the finest moments to begin with, Im not to concerned with Topps going a different direction and not executing fully.
Jumbo Relic Autos
Since 2011, these have been my favorite part of the set, and for the first time, I think they fumbled this version. There is too much focus on the borders surrounding the different elements of the cards, and not enough on the general aesthetics of the final composition. By shrinking the corner designs, and the side borders, the card would be much more focused on the right things. I dont know, maybe it just looks weird to me.
Overall, Finest will still be around for its final year next year, and I welcome it back. This is still a fun set, and its rare that you can find a box under 100 bucks and get TWO relic autos. That just doesnt happen, and its why this product has rocked as much as it has. I will be sad to see it go come 2016 when the Panini exclusive kicks in.