Nostalgia is a strong emotion to play with in this hobby, and I almost wonder why sets like Topps Archives are not done more often. Brian Gray and Leaf decided it was time to capitalize on the set that made a name for Leaf back in the early 1990s, a set that was beloved by collectors everywhere.
Because Leaf is currently without an MLBP license, they are operating under circumstances that should be classified as a loophole. As a result, they have found amazing ways to make this set about as cool as it could be.
Here are some of the bigger hits so far:
2012 Leaf Memories Fernando Valenzuela Buyback Auto /34 – Fernando is a NOTORIOUS rare signer, and this is huge.
I am literally recalling my early collecting days going to card shows and picking up singles with my dad to build this set. Believe it or not, we came a few cards short before giving up. Now that I see many of the cards coming back around with hard signed autographs to boot, I dont think it could get any better than cards like this.
The 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas was the first chase card I ever was able to possess. It was my pride and joy back in the day, so much so that I still have it in a screwdown somewhere at my parents’ house. I also remember the Greg Maddux, Tony Gwynn, and Nolan Ryan cards from the set, as those were similarly desirable. All of them have buyback autos in this set, something I gravitate towards if you have followed my previous posts.
Going a bit further, the people at Leaf even did a good job airbrushing cards of current players that are in the set as well. Although the new player autos are stickers, the cards are definitely a proper throwback to the 1990 set. On twitter, Brian Gray hinted that Leaf might try this again with the 1991 set, and I think they should have a lot of people waiting patiently for this to happen.
With Topps dominating the baseball collecting mind due to their MLB exclusive, its always interesting to see how Leaf and Panini will come around to cut back into line. So far, Panini has been less than successful in my opinion, and products like this are definitely a win – albeit a small one. I hate exclusive licenses, regardless of player, sport or company, and I would love to see as many people get a license as possible. Leaf Memories is the first step in the right direction, and its only a matter of time before others catch on.