Now that Topps Five Star has been out for a few days, we have a better picture of the way the set shakes out. As I mentioned before, this is the best Five Star has ever been, with Topps taking the criticism of last year’s products and improving dramatically on their failures from 2011. As a result we are getting more cards worthy of the Five Star brand, and though collectors shockingly havent caught on, I have a feeling that these will stand the test of time.
I have a few different cards that I am going ape over, and it has to do with the way Topps has figured out how to adjust card content to embrace collector desires, while not disturbing the overall presentation of the card.
Rookie Jumbo Patch Autos
One of the main complaints of Five Star over the last few years has been the fact that only 1 inch swatches were available on the rookie patch autos. Although the circular swatches are back, Topps took this feedback and also created jumbos to mirror the cards we are seeing in other products. These cards are stunning to say the least, only further highlighted by the BIG and bold autograph space available for the rookies. I wish the Vikings had a rookie this year worth collecting, because I would spend my rent money on these.
Veteran Patch Autos
For 2011 and 2010, Topps used an adjusted version of the rookie patch auto to design the veteran ones. For the first time, Topps has gone off and given the vets their own design, which is completely awesome. When you see the card in the pack, it sticks out as a high end masterpiece, providing a HUGE player picture, and a big place for the guy to sign. With all on card autos and no stickers, the cards become the best available veteran autograph cards of the year.
These cards are the crown jewel of Five Star and this year is no exception. My favorite thing is that they never have the same inscription year over year for the players that have multiple cards in this set. As a result, player collectors are presented with fresh meat to chase every season, and the price these cards achieve is representative of this fact.
Let me preface this with the fact that I hate cards printed on rainbow foil. As a stock, the cards look cheap and ugly, but as an embellishment to a regular design, it looks like you have pulled a truly special card each time. Five Star uses this to its advantage, as its obvious that the rainbow parallels are more important.
I have said in previous posts that this is the year that each company needs to break out the biggest guns they have, and so far both Topps and Panini have delivered. Although the value of a Five Star card may not eclipse NT yet, they clearly are more worthy of a higher end tag. That being said, National Treasures will remain the benchmark for licensed products, and I think both companies can walk away from 2012 feeling like they have done it right.