Well folks, the season begins with the release of Topps Series 1, and for the most part people live this day like its a national holiday. With baseball collectors continuing to be a set focused community more than Basketball or Football, this is really one of the only major flagship programs still in existance, something that is more a sign of the times than anything these days.
The first singles are just starting to get listed after an early hobby release and retail availability in some areas. I dont like the design as much as I did last year, but some of the cards look really, really good.
Most of what makes up the Topps flaghsip series sets illicit a response from me that is actually quite negative. I cant seem to wrap my head around why a set like this remains as popular as it is, despite most boxes being focused on delivering copious amounts of base cards. With how much the hobby has shrunk and how few people still collect sets versus collecting autographs and more premium content, this set still has a place in the hobby I dont identify with. That doesnt mean it isnt a necessary release and one that always moves the needle, but Im curious what the long term prospect of releasing a true flagship product remains in place.
This hobby has moved in a markedly different direction during the last 10-15 years as the previous 20 before that, and it mostly has to do with premium content taking center stage. So much so that Topps Series 1 has a lot of that content within the product, including some great on card sets and low numbered cards that always bring a pretty penny. Yet, as we see, the buzz generated by this product is rarely built around that type of card, and more about the base set and the way quirky collectors have to have just this type of way.
Honestly, it might just be the presence of collectors on twitter who’s hobby presence is built on their history combing through bins and binders full of cards filling holes in want lists. With the way things have changed, Im not as sure the lack of that type of experience is something they are okay with losing. As long as the flagship collectors continue to be dominant in baseball, this is the set that everyone will always gravitate towards.
As for the content, the designs this year range from the normal insert type designs to a really cool tribute to the wood grain 1987 set. As a young kid, I had a ton of those cards, especially because the Twins won the world series. Its awesome to see them with updated players and some cool chrome autographs as well.
Other than that, this still isnt my thing. Baseball and low end really were never my bag, and this is the prime time for those products. Hopefully this marks the start of a great year, and not just more of the same. I think we saw some crazy things happen in 2016, and Topps really needs to build. Going to be interesting to see if they can pull it off.