SCU Go Live Report: 2015 Topps Heritage High Numbers

Last week’s and this week’s releases definitely present a very large gap in the two types of products that hit shelves. Triple Threads is a hyper-modernization of today’s built around sticker autos and under-designed cards that only exist to deliver relic content in the most annoying possible way. Heritage High Number (second of the Heritage sets released this year), is completely on the other side of the spectrum. It is aimed at delivering tribute content to a set from the Topps catalog that is meant to trigger nostalgic feelings for the people that open it.

Here are some of the cards from the new set:

2015 Heritage High Numbers Kris Bryant Chrome Gold Refractor /5

2015 Heritage High Numbers Noah Syndergaard Real One Red Auto

2015 Heritage High Numbers Clayton Kershaw Red Ink Real One Auto

2015 Heritage High Numbers Carlos Correa Auto Real One

2015 Heritage High Numbers Byron Buxton Red Ink Real One Auto

Last year, High Number was not a wide release, and as a result, didnt even come close to the budget that this year’s set obviously had. Just in looking at the autograph content alone, the boxes are much more attractive to open. All that being said, the non-Real One autograph and Relic content is still horrendously ugly, and for someone like me, the set itself really isnt a reason to buy.

There are some SPs and photo variations that provide a lot of reason to dive deep into cases of this product, and that isnt even talking about the Chrome and Chrome parallels that can sell just as high. If you are lucky enough to pull a Black or Gold, you are pretty much set to gain back the cost of your box. This is one of those times where non-autograph content is almost more attractive than autograph content, and that is always a treat for people who love sets like Heritage. The SSP photo variations can fetch a SHIT TON of money, and its going to be a race for the master collectors to chase them all down.

On top of that, the on card Real One autographs are some of the most widely collected autographs in Topps baseball. Up until this point, they are usually consisting of subjects from the year that the set was commemorating, and rarely have the big name checklist we are seeing here. Not only do Buxton and Bryant have cards in the set, but newly signed Topps exclusive Carlos Correa has autographs in there too. HOFers and stars are in there too, including ones that were part of the original set.

Im not usually someone that goes nuts over sets like this, but its hard to stay away when you see all the cool content that is delivered. Even though I fucking hate the look of the punch cards and clubhouse collection, the rest of the set is calling my name.

On the Radar: More 2015 Contenders Previews

When we first got a look at the Contenders design for 2015 a week or two ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it looked. It resembled a ticket (unlike last year's garbage), it was simple (unlike most other years), and should be hard signed (unlike most of Panini's calendar this year). That only left the rest of the preview, which I knew had some potential for being typical Panini. We were not disappointed.

Funny enough, this is actually the second Contenders product released this year, which as I said prior was a HORRIBLE idea. The previous version was a stickered college product that rehashed a terrible 2014 design, and once you see what is going down in 2015 Contenders, it will only bring about more questions.

Here is what I mean:

2015 Contenders Draft Picks Marcus Mariota Bowl Ticket Auto /99

2015 Contenders Draft Picks Jameis Winston Cracked Ice Auto /23

2015 Contenders Draft Picks Andrew Luck Old School Colors Auto

2015 Contenders Draft Picks Tom Brady Alumni Ink Auto

I have mentioned many, many times before that Panini has horribly overpaid for pretty much every single exclusive license they own. Nothing more glaring than their recent exclusive with the NFLPA, but a close second is their college exclusive. This license is one that most people in the industry seem to think is a way to burn a ton of extra cash with no discernible advantage to the bottom line. There are even claims that the license was not profitable the whole time UD had it. Panini, knowing this is the case, has tried to inject college content into products that are pro-branded. 2015 Contenders will be no different, despite the fact that they already blew their college wad earlier this year on a dud set with trashy stickers and an old design.

I will say that the on card autographs and decidedly better look to this version is much more of a great thing, but it doesnt say much about the previous releases. Even more than that, someone on a forum made a good point of blending products like this without considering the audience. Im not sure that you gain anything by adding college content to a product that already has a loyal fan base as it is. If anything it dilutes the concept of the set, much like it used to do when college cards were inserted prior to 2010.

As for the rest of the preview, its stocked full of designs with laughably huge text, more stickers, and the typical stuff Contenders usually contains. In the long run, these things will matter not, as they rarely get any attention outside of the people who must have every card.

In considering the product as a whole, the design is great for the main hits, which means that the product should do pretty well. The wild card is always the rookie class, which has already been on a yo-yo through the first two weeks. I guess we will have to wait and see.

2014 Rookie Class Shines to Start 2015 NFL Season

Going into 2014, things looked really, REALLY bright. Not only did the rookie class feature four QBs with promising futures, but a slew of other contributing skill players that were going to likely be impact players from day one. The class was riding high for the first products of the year, but when the season started and people got a look at the class in action, the market softened considerably. That trend never really righted itself either.

On a few occasions in talking with people at my local shop, we all kind of agreed that the Manziel hangover was palpable in the way the market responded. He was on the bench for a number of games, and that left collectors feeling anxious about their enormous investments made in him prior to the start of the year. Additionally, Derek Carr was the only rookie to start from day one, and his team wasnt winning. Bortles started shortly after, and we all know what eventually happened. Bridgewater got going after Matt Cassel broke a bone in his foot, but like the others, struggled to find a groove until the last few weeks of the season.

Around that same time, Odell Beckham started to climb back into the lineup with New York, and the rest is history. The issue is that even with Beckham (and his cards) going off the charts, the market on 2014 products never really rebounded the way it should have. When February rolled around, Beckham, Bridgewater, Carr, Evans, Benjamin, and others all had really solid rookie seasons. Solid enough that it should have floated the softened value points to a level of sustainability. In reality, the market continued to sink before bouncing back just before the start of the 2015 pre-season. It might have had to do with the fact that none of them made or did anything in the playoffs other than Benjamin.

Now that the class is getting some field time in the new year, many of the players who were a focus of 2014 are now playing quite well – especially last week.

Johnny Manziel

The most “famous” of any rookie since Tebow, he has finally showcased some of the creativity and production that got him drafted in the first round to begin with. His cards have come back considerably since McCown went down last week, leaving collectors to finally question if its time to start buying again.

Here is where he is sitting now:

2014 National Treasures Johnny Manziel Notable Nickname Auto

2014 Topps Chrome Johnny Manziel Camo Auto /99

2014 Topps Five Star Johnny Manziel Golden Graphs Auto /15

Odell Beckham Jr

After a slow start in week one, Beckham showed that the previous game was just him getting warmed up, putting up a TD and a bunch of receiving yards. Eli Manning continues to be the wild card with Beckham, and considering he just got a big extension, that isnt going to change anytime soon. Beckham as a WR shouldnt be able to get to the top echelon of hobby value, but he has already proven that theory wrong.

Still at the top of the class for now:

2014 Topps Five Star Odell Beckham Jr Auto Jumbo Patch

2014 Topps Platinum Odell Beckham Auto RC BGS 9.5

2015 Topps Odell Beckham Jr Auto Relic SSP

Teddy Bridgewater

After a ROUGH week on national TV to open the year, Bridgewater played very well on Sunday notching two TDs and a nice game in a convincing win over a division rival. Its arguable that the initial game was more a result of terrible line play, and that was evident. As long as Peterson continues to play well, Bridgewater will too. His cards have been hot as the Vikings have been expected to make a playoff run, and this could be the beginning of a good stretch for Teddy.

Collectors are still high on his potential:

2014 Immaculate Teddy Bridgewater Auto Patch /10

2015 Topps Chrome Mini Teddy Bridgewater Auto Red Refractor /5

2014 Topps Strata Teddy Bridgewater Rivet Patch Auto /5

Derek Carr

After injuring his hand in Week 1, Carr returned with vigor in a close win against a tough Ravens team. He passed for 3 TDs and over 350 yards, including a great looking long TD pass to Amari Cooper. To throw the ball 46 times is a tough task for a second year QB to execute without mistakes, and I think that it showed he really has the goods. Collectors have a tough time buying into a guy with a terrible signature, but this might end up being the exception.

His stuff seems to fluctuate up and down lately:

2014 National Treasures Derek Carr Auto Rookie Patch /25

2014 Inception Derek Carr Gold Inscription Auto /10

2014 Contenders Derek Carr Rookie Ticket Auto

Blake Bortles

As the third pick in the 2014 draft, Bortles might end up being the third or even fourth best QB of the class. Jacksonville has a terrible team, but Bortles found a way. He put up 2 scores and 250+ yards without a pick. As a guy who plays for one of the least collected teams in the league, his cards have always struggled to keep up. This could be a shot in the arm.

Lets hope he can turn the Jacksonville collecting stigma around:

2014 Topps Platinum Blake Bortles NFL Shield Logo Auto 1/1

2014 Black Gold Blake Bortles NFL Shield Sizeable Signatures Logo 1/1

2014 National Treasures Blake Bortles Logo Patch Auto Rookie /99

Although Kelvin Benjamin is out for the year, and Mike Evans is still hurt, the rest of the class remains looking strong as 2015 gets off to the races. Nothing would make me happier than seeing all these guys kill it, as its been a long time since we have had a class where so many people have the chance to be awesome collecting targets.

2015 Triple Threads Relic Die Cuts – Best of the Worst

Every year, the Topps team is tasked with coming up with relic die cuts to use for the triple threads set. Back when the set was first done, they used some pretty obvious ones like team names and prominent stats. After 10 years, however, its clear that there are only so many things that you can carve into the front of a trading card. Of course, rather than ditch the idea, like it should have been years ago, they borderline troll people with how stupid the lame plays on words can be.

Every year, one of my favorite posts to write is the one that gets to gawk at the stupidity they come up with. Here are the best of the worst for 2015.

2015 Topps Triple Threads Bryce Harper Triple Relic Auto 1/1 – Easily the worst of this year. I am guessing that it is because he is young and hits a lot of home runs, but I have no fucking clue.

2015 Triple Threads Prince Fielder Triple Relic – What the hell is this about? Is he always complaining about being a victim or something? Good god.

2015 Topps Triple Threads Cliff Floyd Auto Triple Relic – I get that Floyd was a big dude, but still, not the thing I would use to commemorate this player’s career.

2015 Triple Threads Daniel Nava Triple Relic Auto – Oh no I dont what? Buy this card? Buy this product? Hit more than .230 in any major league season? All of the above.

2015 Triple Threads Buster Posey Triple Relic Auto – These lame puns are beyond terrible. Each year they seem to get worse.

2015 Topps Triple Threads Wily Peralta Triple Relic Auto – Why are they making a card of this guy if the only adjective to describe him is “Quality.” Its almost an insult.

2015 Topps Triple Threads Luis Gonzalez Triple Relic Auto – Isnt it Louie, Louie? Either way its a terrible play on his name.

2015 Topps Triple Threads Robin Yount Triple Relic – Of all the things one can say about Yount, this is one that I would probably not use.

2015 Topps Triple Threads Craig Kimbrel Triple Relic – Oh good god this is bad. Why is he the new K-Rod? Francisco Rodriguez has nothing to do with Kimbrel from what I can see. Maybe they both were save leaders?

2015 Topps Triple Threads Chris Sale Auto Triple Relic – Terrible play on his name, only outdone by…

2015 Topps Triple Threads Matt Holiday Triple Relic – Of all the awful puns, this is the most obvious. Yup they went there.

2015 Topps Triple Threads Clay Buccholz Triple Relic – WTF? I dont even have an inkling of what this means.

Guys, even if you can figure some of these out by googling them, or just by looking up “dad joke” on Urban Dictionary, it has been years since the last time these were even creative, and even longer since they were cool. I have never bought a box of Triple Threads, and stupid shit like this is one of the main reasons.

On the Radar: 2015 Immaculate Football

Over the last few years, I dont think Panini Football has done even close to a mediocre job of producing good looking products. It seems like at every turn, they release garbage sets that incite more laughs than oohs and ahhs. Immaculate has turned out to be one of the only products that really had no typical Panini design fails. The majority of the product looked amazing, even though it inexplicably had some sticker content.

Check out these beauties:

2014 Immaculate Odell Beckham Jr Auto Jumbo Patch

2014 Immaculate Dan Marino Auto Jumbo Logo

2014 Immaculate Emmitt Smith Immaculate Moments

2014 Immaculate Andrew Luck Auto Patch /25

2014 Immaculate Jamaal Charles Auto NFL Logo 1/1

Moving into 2015, Panini has had a DISASTROUS year of disgusting visual diarrhea products, coupled with extreme over saturation of sticker autographs from players that would normally be on card. Immaculate is the first product that looks to be far removed, likely because the football team had little to do with is concept, design or themes.

This preview showcases exactly what the product has to offer, after we got a look at some of the cards during the last few weeks. I love the design, I love the themes, and I love that it doesnt look to have stickers. The MVP, Draft and Signature Moves all look awesome, and I think there is a big reason to expect that they will be highly coveted by collectors. This is a super premium hit or miss product, as we have come to know, especially if points will continue to replace hits. We can only hope points are excluded.

I also dont see any of those horrible signed scraps of black construction paper in this preview, which have been an immaculate staple since their demon birth a few years ago.

Either way, Im excited for Immaculate, and I am excited to see if it turns out as well as it looks. Panini finds a way to fuck everything up some how some way, so we will have to see what goes down when boxes finally hit shelves. Also worth mentioning that Panini should be ASHAMED that it took them this fucking long to preview a set without rookie stickers.