Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Results are in: We Want More Retro Sets (Just Not so Many in One Year).

The announcement of Topps' newest retro line, the Gypsy Queen, led to some really good debate as to whether or not the Topps Company has worn down the novelty of these tributes to the Hobby's past. Not counting their own Heritage line, Topps has paid homage to the following 1800's to early 1900's brands:

  • T206 (2002-2003, 2009, 2010)
  • T205 (2003-2004)
  • Cracker Jack (2004, 2005)
  • Turkey Red (2005-2006, 2007)
  • Allen & Ginter (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • National Chicle (2010)
Heck, even that other card company got into the act with their own line of tributes, including:
  • Play Ball (2003, 2004)
  • Goudey (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Goodwin Champions (2009)
  • Others I may or may not be missing
And within their own insert sets, they've featured the T202 Triple Folders (from Topps 205), DeLong set (2006) Turkey Red (2009-2010) and in 2011 will honor the N184 Kimball's Champions set from 1888 (which could have been a set in it's own right for 2011, but that's another topic for another day).

But after almost 10 years, the retro craze is starting to wear thin, and now collectors (or at least those who go online on message boards and fire at all cylinders) have been clamoring for the company to slow down if not end the concept. And, it looks like the Topps Company is listening.

In 2011, a video was posted on the Topps Blog (and on Facebook, and on Twitter) talking about the newest retro product, the Gypsy Queen. And according to Clay Luraschi, of Topps baseball product lines this year, there will only be two...that's right...2...retro lines this year. The aformentioned Gypsy Queen, and the ever popular Allen & Ginter. That's it. Just the two.

Which for me, sounds about right. Allen & Ginter has become such a successful product line that it now ranks among the most anticipated products of the year. Everyone looks forward to what craziness the Topps company has in store. And they deliver in huge ways. Although I can't imagine how many more champions they have yet to find (I thought the beard champion and the rock/paper/scissors champion were a bit of a stretch), there are competitions out there every year, and somebody has to win them.

I think one retro product outside of A & G makes sense. We've seen where having too many of these special products brought forth for the masses in one year can kill the interest of set collectors. But the question still remains. Should Topps continue to create more vintage/retro trading cards? A poll put up on this humble, little blog, aimed to find out.

So after 14 days and 59 votes, here are the results:
  • 34 votes (57%) said Yes. There are more designs they can utilize from the Hobby's rich history.
  • 25 votes (42%) said No, the appeal of these kinds of cards is gone and Topps should stop producing them.
The voting was kind of close for a while, but it seems that the yes votes started to out run the no's. You have to admit, even though the Yes votes won by 15%, it still seems pretty even in terms of people's opinions of the topic.

I do like the retro products. There is so much out there that the Topps Company can still use. And if you were collecting their 2007 WalMart cards or the Trading Card History set from 2008, you can see that they were able to recreate many classic sets. Who knows, maybe in 2012, they can recreate the T204 Ramly's (Topps 204), the 1904 Fan Craze set, use the Mayo Cut Plug (all black borders...) that they did for football a couple of years ago, the V61 Neilson's Chocolates from 1921, or maybe stun the world with a set honoring Japan's baseball card heritage.

Who knows what the future will hold. But for now, it's A & G and the Queen in 2011. And Topps Series 1 comes out in just over a month. Can't we get them sooner??!


JayBee Anama


night owl said...

I consider Heritage a retro product. That would be 3.

dayf said...

Upper Deck Vintage and Upper Deck Origins had subsets of Old Judge cards. They came out sometime between 2004-2006.

Eff everybody else, I like Gypsy Queen and I'm glad they're putting it out.

ShaneK said...

I agree, I see Heritage as a retro product as well. This retro sets are a good history lesson for the hobby. I think these sets create interest in the originals, and thus, helps the hobby out as a whole.

World o Sports said...

Good post. Anything to curb the ongoing glut on the market is a good thing. The less confusion the better for the overall good of the industry.

lifetimetopps said...

Good post; what your title says is kind of what I'd like to see. I love the idea of retro sets. Now, I haven't been collecting them because I just got back into collecting a couple years ago, and am only collecting old Topps base sets until I get further along in that project. But the idea is great. Just like anything - if they overkill it, then it's not as good.

By the way, I think Upper Deck was the first to pioneer this concept. They did a retro set for the T202 triple folders in 1993. It's called All-Time Heroes, it was a 165 set and had older players included on retro triple card folders. It's an awesome set. Upper Deck used to be really great for the hobby until somewhere around the mid-late 90's they just got greedy.