I really don’t “get” the modern incarnation of Topps Archives. The concept started off well.
Topps introduced the “Archives” brand in 1991 when it reprinted its 1953 baseball card set at standard size on modern cardstock with a glossy finish. They followed it up with a reprint of the 1954 set in 1994, and a 1995 reprint set of some classic cards of Brooklyn Dodgers from the team’s final years in New York.
I actually collected and completed the 1991 set and bought a number of packs from the Dodgers set on closeout from Toys ‘R’ Us in the mid-1990s.
Topps brought the brand into the 21st Century in 2001 with a 450-card set featuring reprints of classic rookie and final year cards from various sets. They repeated the concept in 2002 with a smaller, 200-card set focused on players’ “best” years.
That’s where things started to get a bit bizarre – Topps re-created cards from the 1980s overproduction era that were more valuable than the originals because the new ones were more scarce.
Ten years later, Topps re-launched the brand again with a set including a mix of current and retired players on classic card designs. For 2012, they chose 1954, 1971, 1980 and 1984. For 2013, they picked 1972, 1982, 1985 and 1990.
There seems to be little rhyme or reason behind the player selection for each year, so in last year’s set we got this bizarre Tom Seaver card, using a relatively early photo of the Hall of Famer as a Met on a 1982 card design even though Seaver actually appeared in the 1982 set as a Cincinnati Reds’ player.
Maybe we can pretend its from an alternate universe where Seaver remained with the Mets for his whole career.
Topps is bringing back the Archives set again in 2014, this time featuring designs from 1973, 1980 (again), 1986 and 1989. I’m sure it will produce at least a few baseball cards that will leave me scratching my head.
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