In baseball, the Bowman name carries unmeasurable weight in rookie cards and prospect autographs. As a result, Topps has used it to sell as many rookie heavy products as they possibly can, and rightfully so. So far this year, we have seen quite a bit of interest in rookie cards thanks to guys like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Yu Darvish and the like. With the release of Bowman Platinum, Topps is hoping to cash in again, but they may have just created another forgettable but solid product in a long line of Chrome style sets.
Here is what has popped up so far:
Personally, a casual baseball collector like me, really should have no interest in a product like Bowman Platinum is showing to be. However, I love cards on the Chromium stock, and the on card autos for this set do look a lot better with the updated design. Topps used the horizontal orientation and huge space to sign to put a focus on the signature, all while maintaining a prominent player picture. This is a composition that I definitely identify with, and if I collected any of these guys, I would be buying quite a few singles.
We are also getting swatch autos of Trout, Harper, Lawrie and other recent successful rookies, and I know there are a lot of fans out there who will want these cards even though the autos are on stickers.
Topps also previewed on their Twitter account that Yu Darvish will be featured on his fourth of many products, this time signing some of his cards in Japanese. Now that his autographs have started to become more common, I have to believe its going to take something that much more special to get premium value out of a hit.
I am a huge fan of the way Topps does jumbo swatch autographed cards, sticker or no sticker, as they never seem to disappoint. Im sincerely hoping that the design they use here will transfer over into football, and not go back to some of the jumbo style relics from other products like Tier One. I think the rectangular style window fits incredibly well on a horizontal card, while still leaving room for all the other elements that a card needs to have. We also see that there are some jumbo relics that dont have autographs, and even those do look to be above the normal expectations in terms of look.
Although the whole precious metals theme that Topps uses as branding for their products is getting stale, the products themselves do continue to look really good to me. They manage to keep the look of the products within a certain design pallet, while still making the cards look new each time. The redemptions look to be the biggest issue with what has popped up so far, but I dont think there are any huge ones. Its followed closely by player checklist, which will always be a problem in a non-chrome branded set.
Lastly, I really do like that non-hit cards from Chrome products tend to hold value really well for top rookies, and the addition of cool looking die cut cards is a way to boost that. On the other hand, the content has already been duplicated in so many other products, that this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Topps has improved greatly over 2011, but is still running on cruise control for some of the situations present in their releases. Even though Panini’s products have been below lackluster in the way they are constructed, I was hoping to see a bit more of a fire lit under the team over in New York. This is a start, but definitely not all the way there.
Im sure the difference makers like Draft and Five Star should help to mitigate a lot of that sentiment, though.