For the first time in a flagship Topps product, I feel as though there is a significant focus on building up rare rookie and autograph content alongside the rest of the set content. Each of the rookies has quite a few autos to choose from, and here is my primer for those of you looking to pick up some singles.
Rookie Premiere Autos (Single, Dual, Quad)
These cards have been in Topps products for over a decade, and yet they are still some of the most sought after cards in the set. That says something about staying power, although I think they are losing steam as players fail to show for their photo session the first night of the premiere. As a result, the pictures this year are about as far from the standard look, which almost cheapens the potency of these cards that we have seen in previous years. Blue inks are numbered out of 90, red out of 10.
1986 Throwback Autos
I had very high hopes for these cards, but I think they were extremely poor in the execution department. The lack of photo consistency is even more apparent in these cards, and the lack of a lightened area for autographs makes it more of a visual train wreck. Some of them turned out okay, but most did not. They are numbered out of 140.
1959 Throwback Autos
I wasnt very high on these cards when I heard they were being done, but they actually turned out nice. I think the 1959 design is so iconic, that the players really stand out in their updated presence on the front. These cards are unnumbered, but seem about as common as the 1986.
1965 Mini Throwback Autos
These tall boys made their debut last year, and are back for a second go. I think they are a bit confusing to me, as I thought that this idea had run its course with three versions last year, and another in archives this year. I understand that like the 1959 design, this is as iconic as it gets, but I would have liked to see a different direction.
Rookie Variation Autos
As I have mentioned in previous articles, each rookie at the shoot, plus a few others has a variation SSP and a variation auto SSP. These are some of my favorite cards in the product, and will be some of the main cards I chase. There is still no confirmation whether or not there are two variations on the autos, but there easily could be.
Rookie Patch Autos
I really like the white dominated design this year, and I think the autos highlight a really cool looking card. I can easily see where people might be turned off by the dot matrix style design, but I think it looks sleek. These are some of the most rare auto hits in the product, so they are not as available as some of the others.
Some of the rookies are part of the common insert auto subset that seems to be about one per box. These photos are not from the premiere, and look to be retouched college photos with pro jerseys, which really seems to be a let down. The design is nice and I like the way the cards look for the vets, but I wish we got premiere pics for the rookies.