I am quite the big fan of Topps Strata, mainly because the set brings something to the table that isnt offered in other sets. The use of acetate and well conceived box hits make this product one of my favorite of the year. One of the main reasons I love Strata as much as I do, is the Strata Signature relics, which continue to be some of the coolest looking rookies of the whole card year. If you havent seen one of these in person, you are missing out.
We get five parallel levels this year, which I like a lot. Here are the base, which do not count as the case hits, and were added as extra box hits:
Here are the relic autos:
Here are the patch autos:
Here are the rivet patch autos:
For the first time, here is one of the logo 1/1s. Too bad this wasnt constructed better:
Here is the thing. Strata only costs 70 bucks a box and delivers cards that are very much more high end than the price tag. We have seen set after set from Panini that fails to deliver content that is unique, and most cost as much as 110. Strata may have issues outside of the main hits, but when it delivers, it puts everything else to shame. These Shadowbox cards are prime examples, even more so with the rivet shadowboxes, that come apart to show the individual layers. Not only has that never been available before, but it showcases what card companies CAN do if they put their mind to it.
Too often, we see that each newly conceived product is just the same lame ass stuff over and over again, maybe with a different gimmicky name. Strata offers something outside of that with the clear cuts and the shadowboxes. There are even clear cut booklet 1/1s that have two of the regular cards connected with logo patches. Pretty impressive to say the least.
This is what I dont get – collectors tend to reward brand continuity more than true innovation. Rarely will a set like Strata really hit its stride until the collecting base sees that it will be a permanent addition to the calendar. I can only hope that we get to see it get to that point. I am really interested to see how the set will evolve once there is some commitment to its future.