What’s In A Case of 2012 Topps Archives Baseball? Group Break Recap & Review

You’ve waited long enough, but before we start with the scans and everything, I want to let you all know about some technical difficulties we had streaming the break.

Evidently, ustream has recently instituted a cap on live broadcast recording time.  So, the video you see below is only about half of the full break.  The people who joined us for the full streaming event got to see the rest.  Unfortunately, everyone else will have to settle for scans of the hits.

I apologize for that.  Transparency is our goal, so I guess we’ll be looking for a better streaming service before the next group break.

Video streaming by UstreamThe worst part: you don’t even get to see the best hits in the video.  Those waited until the very very end.

On to the breakdown and review.

Main Set

4 fan favorite designs

The set consists of 200 cards and 40 SPs (41 if you include Bryce Harper, but apparently he falls in roughly 1:15 cases or so.  Needless to say, he was not found).  The first 200 cards are split up between the 4 styles seen above which are based on the 1954, 1971, 1980 and 1984 Topps sets.  The last 40 are a mix of various styles.


Just a sampling of the SPs found.

Think of it as Topps Heritage fast forward.  Or think of it as the same thing that Topps has been doing for the past how many years?  New players on old designs is old hat at this point.  Old players on newer “classic” designs has been seen in virtually every product from the past 3 or 4 years, conservatively speaking.

The reprint parade is circling the block at this point.  It’ll keep doing so as long as people keep getting excited about reprint sets.  To me, it’s not much more than a vastly expanded insert set.

Andy and I were talking after the group break about cardboard confusion.  Sure, these cards have a certain appeal, especially while the new car smell is going strong, but let’s think about 3 years down the line.  Assuming blogs haven’t given way to mind-to-mind telepathic criticism and cynicism by then, I can imagine plenty of posts that want help figuring out where card X came from.  Especially from the random designs of the SPs and the autos.  Reprints are just too damn prevalent for their own good, and I’m already confused.

Inserts and Parallels

Inserts galore

If you want more confusion, and I’m pretty Topps thinks you do, the reprints continue in the insert arena.  See those three bottom cards?  Those are full on reprints.  The set consists of new pictures on familiar designs.  The inserts look identical to the original card, except for the gold foil stamp that’s not all that easy to see.

Oh, and they’re not numbered.  Well, they have the original card’s number, but nothing to tell you how many of these reprints are in the full set.  HUGE pet peeve.  And why are there two George Bretts?

Then there are the other inserts.  First we have 1968 3D cards.  Remember those from just last year’s lineage release?  Topps is hoping you don’t, or don’t care.  These also aren’t numbered.  Could be true to original form, but not conducive to the modern collector’s needs.

How about the 1969 Deckle Edge?  Those I like.  Not all edges are deckled the same and the cards look nice.  I approve of this, but reserve my right to rescind my approval if I see it in another set within the next 5 years.

The 1967 Stickers are fun and all, but something about them bothers me.  I haven’t seen a ’67 in real life before, so I don’t know how they compare, but I would like to see a “peel here” arrow on a corner, or a perforation or something.  It looks weird and not enough like a sticker.  I could be nitpicking.  Feel free to call me on that if I am.

Oh, but there are more stickers. 1977 Cloth Stickers are cooler.  We’re back to batting .500 on the inserts.  I’m a sucker for real stickers and cloth stickers turns me into a big ol’ sucker.

The last one isn’t so much an insert as it is a parallel.  Those are the two gold foil parallels seen in the middle row.  Personally, I think the 1971s look badass in gold foil.  The others I could take or leave, but leaning towards take, even though they are sort of Panini-like.  At only 2 per box, there ain’t a whole lot to be taken.

The one thing that’s really missing from the trip down memory lane is a box bottom insert set.  Whether we’re talking about a panel inserted under the packs, or something printed on the physical box itself, I would like to see 4 cards together ready to be cut out.  Is that so much to ask?


Reds, Red Sox and Braves

Sure the group break participants had some interest in the set and inserts, but this is what most people were hoping to find.  Each box contains 2 on-card fan favorite autographs.  These may not be the biggest names, but they are players that team collectors should love to find in their packs.

As you can see, relics also exist in the product.  We found a whole 2 in our 10 box case.  From the limited time reading blogs lately, it’s pretty plain to see that relics are a much easier find in retail than they are in hobby.  I’m quite okay with that, how about you?  Even better is that they are bonus hits.

Cardinals, Phillies, and Tigers

I believe that all 40 players with SPs also have an autograph variation, but there are also several others that only appear as an autograph.

We had a surprising amount of teams that walked away with multiple autographs.  Great for those who claimed them, but not so hot for those left in the dark.  Cecil up there is one of the bigger names and possibly our best autograph until the last 2 boxes.

Mets, Pirates, and Astros

The Mets were the big winners, numbers-wise as they got a whopping 4 of the 20 total autographs.  Oddly, the Yankees were shut out of the case.  The Dick Groat is for sale as we were left with the Pirates as the only unclaimed team.

Going through these scans, I think it’s easy to see that the appeal of the set lies mostly in the autographs.  The players occasionally got creative with their placement and they obviously have taken advantage of the full signing area (aka, the entire card).  It’s really cool to see what each signer decided to do.

Blue Jays and Cubs

These two aren’t bigger because of the player’s stature, but rather those were the last two we’re showing as a single scan.  The stature happens to be a coincidence.  George Foster up there is nothing to sneeze at either, and of course he would beat you senseless if you tried to sneeze at him.  Still, this is closer to my era.  Olerud is a personal fan favorite, and Buckner as a Cub is a solid, and underutilized choice.  Well done.

Box Topper 5X7 Auto

Before we show the last two pack pulled mega-hits, let’s show this sucker.  I have no idea what it’s doing in the product.  Topps (on twitter at least) was touting this entire product as a throwback to the 80s.  I don’t know why.  Only half the set is based on 1980 designs and none of the inserts are.  How does a non-sport autograph fit in exactly?  Why is it black bordered with yellow text?  Very very confused (there’s that word again).

Well, whatever the case, we found one in the top of a box with absolutely no protection.  No wrapper or anything.  That resulted in some chipping as seen on the bottom and right sides.  Still, it’s another bonus, and Topps didn’t have to include them.  Why look a gift horse in the mouth right?  By the way, if you missed it, here’s the post that announces the winner of this random-ed off piece of ink.  Congratulations to Project1962.

Okay, on to the 2 biggies.  Are you sitting down?  You should be.

Nolan Ryan 1983 Mini #/25 for the Astros

Before this arrived in the last few packs, we were starting to feel like our case wasn’t all that exciting.  We were feeling bad that it wasn’t turning out better for our participants.  I wish we had video working for the second half, because I made quite a reaction.

I’m sure The Daily Dimwit will have the same reaction once he sees this in person.  There’s supposed to be one of these in roughly every case.  I don’t think you could do much better.

You know what? Group Break cancelled. Everyone gets their money back. Thanks for playing!

Literally less than a minute after I squealed about the Ryan auto, Andy squealed about his last autograph find.  We couldn’t have planned it much better than that.  You see the Koufax SP in the scan up top.  Imagine it autographed and that’s what Stealing Home will be stealing, er, taking home!

I can’t decide which of these two is the better find.  What do you think?  Either way, the case is officially murdered.  How can we possibly give this product an objective score after this?  Settle down. Let’s think about this rationally….


Ahem…. Let me rephrase.


Before we conclude, let me just thank everyone again for their participation in our group break.  It’s always fun being able to host them and hopefully you have just as much fun being part of it and will join us for the next one.

I don’t mind nostalgia.  I wholeheartedly encourage it.  I even will go as far to say that I don’t have a problem with a set like this existing.  My problem really lies in the fact that we’ve seen it way too many times before this point.  It’s not nostalgia, it’s your annoying co-worker that tells the same mundane story to everyone that visits their desk, while you sit in the next cubicle forced to listen to it over and over.

Topps, we get it.  You have a rich and storied history.  Can you try to keep it confined to sets like this and create new history and classic designs everywhere else.  Oh, and only do sets like this every 5 to 10 years, max.  Keep it special.  But really, really good job on keeping it all on-card!  That you should do all the time.  That will never get old.

Design – **
Set Collecting – ****
Inserts – **
Parallels – ***
Hits – *****
Overall – *** out of 5

9 comments to What’s In A Case of 2012 Topps Archives Baseball? Group Break Recap & Review

  • Congrats to Sam and Stealing for the insane hits!

  • Philip D

    I agree with you guys…why do we need more reprint inserts!? They have lost their charm for me. Though, I loved the gold foil parallels, though wished they could have been serial numbered.

  • Stealing Home

    WOW ! that’s the reason i joined the break. i was hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with that one.
    YAAAAHHHHHHOOOOOO !! thanks for the break and bringing the good luck, boys.

    congrats to sam too ! WOOOOOO – HOOOOOO !!

  • Play at the Plate

    That Nolan Ryan…is making me drool. Don’t even get me started on the Koufax. Nice hits gentlemen.

  • wowza. i am happy for stealing home, but also wishing i had been able to claim that spot! also, is it wrong of a dodger fan to like the george foster and greg luzinski auto cards so much?

  • Stealing Home

    thanks Greg, PATP and GCRL for the congrats. I’m definitely still high from catching that hit.

    gcrl – nah, not wrong. heck, i like the willie stargell and that one’s not even an auto.

  • Pete

    Just opened six 2012 Topps Archive jumbo packs. One of the packs included a white card with what appears to be a computer chip on it. Sure it’s nothing special, but I’m still trying to figure out what the heck it is. Anybody???


    • Jon

      It sounds like what you have is a security tag. Some retail packs have them to deter theft. If you try to walk out without the checker deactivating it at the counter, you’ll set off the store’s sensors. Hope that helps!

  • Nice write up make sure you fire off a copy to Topps Development section let them know what they’re doing right or wrong.

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