Arpsmith: Topps goes crazy

How many words is that so far. 5000? 6000? Anyway, picking up from the previous post and soldiering on. This post covers not only the Giants World Series years but also shows the huge jump in products and inserts that Topps was releasing after it got a monopoly.


Upper Deck’s trying to fight against the new monopoly. It’s not a great set but I like it better than many people do. Biography is also a neat-looking set in that it has a card for each day of the season. I’d like to see this tried again.

The real story though is Topps with a bunch of different sets. 19 different Topps piles here is just insane. I also don’t have much to say about any of them. The 206s continue to look goofy. So do the Turkey Reds. I do really love that 3D Sandoval card and need to search for more of the Opening Day 3D inserts. Seeing Mel Ott on the 1989 design is completely wrong. And those Topps Attax cards look more like promotional inserts that should be thrown away than an actual collectible card game.


This year. 32 different Topps piles including an increased number of cards which have the same basic design and photos as Flagship. The black ones are kind of cool. The crazy sparkly ones…I don’t know these just aren’t my thing.

I like the Glossy Rookies homage. I’m completely confused at reprinting Buster Posey’s rookie card the year after it released. I love the Lincecum action card from Heritage. I’m not feeling it from Ginter this year since whatever they did for the vintage looks makes Madison Bumgarner look like he has Chicken Pox.

More 2011s. Topps Attax is a huge improvement over 2010. Bowman is getting even more confusiong than it usually is with a couple different paper and chrome designs but no obvious way for me to determine what sets are what. I also have no idea what there are four different Platinum backgrounds and what those are supposed to mean.

Yes that’s a Donruss card. The brand refuses to die. And that last Matt Cain is a sports Illustrated for Kids card. I only ever kept the baseball cards from those when I was a kid and looking at this new version I’m simultaneously happy that the magazine still came with cards 20 years later and sad that it’s not still that horrid blue/teal blotches early-90s design.


Nice stack of Minis here. I should probably figure out how those were released. They’re fun though. Lots of cards featuring the same design again. Seeing everything laid out and I both understand why people want to complete rainbows and am completely discouraged at the concept of trying to get all the different colors. There’s really no reason for it.

This year does have a much-improved Ginter design. It’s amazing what switching to a spot ink for the scrollwork does in terms of cleaning up the entire card front. There are a few diecuts sprinkled in here. I find myself extremely intrigued by these since they all have to conform to the standard card size at some level so it’s an interesting design challenge to create a diecut shape that is interesting in its own right while following those constraints. The Bowman one works better for me here.

Also, we’re up to four Panini/Donruss sets now including the infamous Triple Play that everyone wants to try and avoid. None of these sets are licensed now. The Coperstown cards are adept at hiding logos through creative cropping. The other two cards start to look like food issues the longer you stare at them.


Once the sea turtle got pointed out to me I can’t unsee it. Which is a shame since I actually liked this design a bit beforehand. Relatively simple. Foil isn’t unreadable. Teams all feature their own colors. I like Archives this year and that 4-sticker card is a lot of fun. Ginter continues to use the spot color well too.

Panini has two sets in this batch. Hometown Heroes is surprisingly good. Works well in the unlicensed format and has a good old-school feel without being a straight-up copy of a classic design. This is a line they could’ve released more than one year. Triple play on the other hand should’ve been sent to the cornfield in 2012 and the 2013 version is even more ghastly.


Things are calming down now. Not because Topps is calming down but because I suspect that Adam hasn’t had the time to accumulate a ton of duplicates yet. Still there’s a decent chuck of flagship and minis to file. This is also my favorite Ginter design of all time The spot metallic ink is perfect and the effects that Topps did on the photos are really well done.

The Panini Classics card is perfect. I’ve pulled a few from repacks but it‘s nice to have a Giant. I’ve commented before on this Donruss design though and while I like the homage to earlier sets I’ll never be able to remember what year this one is from.


Nice stacks of Flagship, minis, and Heritage wrap up the World Series years. It’s fun to accumulate cards from the years the Giants won and the years after the series since many of the photos and highlights show up in those sets.

The 2015 design is one which I had an initial bad reaction to but now, having seen what comes both before and after it, I really like. Colorful team-color borders are a lot of fun. I’m glad the Giants have a decent number of playoff ones with the red border to change things up.


Two firsts for me here. One is my first sparkle snowflake card. The other is my first ToppsNOW card. I love the idea of ToppsNOW, I just hate the distribution. If it were the kind of thing you could subscribe to and get a card from every game? Color me interested (although the price would have to be much lower too). But at $10 a pop with the over-emphasis on big-market teams to the detriment of others? Hard pass.

Also that Cepeda Stadium Club is awfully pretty and I like the throwback 1982-style Donruss card. Looks a bit off with the huge logo but it’s a wonderfully quaint design that has a lot of nostalgia appeal.


And a few 2017 cards round out the box. My kids will like the Bunts. I enjoy the stack of Archives. I really don’t know what to say about this shipment besides “holy crap thanks” and “looks like I need more binders.” When I get my GiantsNOW set manufactured* I’ll totally put one together for Adam as well.

*It’s mostly complete I’m just waiting on awards to be released since there’s a decent chance Crawford will win a Gold Glove.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

One thought on “Arpsmith: Topps goes crazy”

  1. That 2016 Topps Wacky Packages sticker featuring the Golden Gate is pretty awesome. Always wanted to grab a complete set of these. Off to eBay to see if the prices have settled.

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