Thursday, June 15, 2017

Topps Likes and Dislikes Variety

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed the other day and saw a link to Cardboard Connection's page of 2017 Topps Series 2 variations. When I first saw the page there was only about a half-dozen listed, but as cases have been busted more have been found and the list has increased to forty cards.

Some cards have only one variation, like Jose Abreu's card, #593. Here's the base:

And now the variation:

I'm not against variations, especially when they involve a fun snapshot. Plus, it gives collectors something else to chase rather than your standard color changing parallel.

I kept scrolling through the gallery and noticed there are some "legend" variations, which is pretty neat.

Anthony Rizzo and Ernie Banks share a card, but let's switch things up a bit by showing you card #650.  Here's the base:
The standard player variation:

The legend variation:
Cutch is one of my current low-key favorites in all of baseball. Roberto Clemente is probably in my top ten favorite players of all time. (Perhaps I was a Pirate fan in a past life?)

Back to the point: all three of them share the same number, #650.  Now, that's variety!

So, you may be thinking, "Topps doesn't mind putting in a little extra effort to add some variety to its product. Good on them." 

Well, I'm here to tell you to hold on a second before patting Topps on the  back. They are up to their same old tricks again.  Take a gander.

 I was pretty stoked to learn my man, Dan Vogelbach, was included in Topps Inception. I've accumulated all of the auto parallels, except the 1/1, and they look fantastic grouped together.

When I learned Vogelbach would have a base card in Series 2 I jumped for joy! And when I discovered he had two inserts in Series 2, including two autos, I had to pinch myself. I mean, heck, the guy hasn't even logged 30 MLB at-bats yet.

Then pictures started to surface. Ugh. Topps has put out four different (non Topps NOW) Vogelbach cards this year and used the same photo on every one. Where's the variation now?  I went to Getty Images and found 54 different photos of Vogelbach in a Mariners uniform, including the one Topps used repeatedly. I even found a few other photos I thought would work nicely: #1, #2 and #3.

But I guess it wasn't meant to be. Sigh. 

It's frustrating to this collector. Actually, it has me reconsidering my entire "let's chase down every parallel of The Vogelmonster" train of thought. Do I really need two dozen cards with different borders and color tints if they all have the same exact batting pose? 

Maybe I should add some variety to my collection and start buying more Panini and Leaf products?

Or, perhaps, I should just sleep on it and give myself a little time to cool down.

What are your thoughts on Topps variations and their re-using of photos for some players?


  1. I'm fine with variations... They can be cool, and since a set can be completed without them, I don't have a problem. That being said, the only variations I own are ones I pulled and ones which were cheap. I can't bring myself to spend more than a couple of bucks on a current card.

    As for re-using photos... I understand that Topps might have their hands tied by the lack of photos of a guy with a relatively new team like Vogelbach... But perhaps they should take that into account when they decide who gets on which inserts.

  2. i am so over Topps. I've been picking up singles here and there and have no plans to purchase a box or two of Stadium Club. I understand your disappointment!

  3. Every card ever produced should be a one-and-done as far as the photo, in perpetuity throughout the universe forever. Unless you're reprinting that original card, can't use the same photo. I used to give Topps a break thinking it'd cost them more to use a different photo.. but nope, regardless of photo, they pay Getty the same amount, per Sooz. So yep, just total BS. Pure laziness.

    1. Wait, let me get this right. Topps pays a flat fee and has complete access to Getty's photo bank? Or does Topps pay the same dollar amount each time they use a different photo?

    2. I think what Sooz said (and what Gavin said too) was that Topps does not save any money by reusing the same photo -- they still have to pay for the photo getting used. And they have a contract with Getty for Getty to be the exclusive provider of photos. I think that they have access to the full photo bank and would pay the same amount per photo use no matter if they use the same photo on 7 different cards or if they switch photos on every card.

    3. Wow. Thanks for clarifying, Tony. If that's the case, then I'm really disappointed by Topps and their lack of effort.

  4. A. Variations are fine, since the short prints don't have to be part of the base set.

    B. Topps reusing photos kinda sucks. It's hard to believe that they can't have a bank of 5 to 10 photos to choose from. With that being said... I'd still choose 90% of Topps products over any Leaf or Panini logo-less product.

  5. Variations are OK, they'd be better if it was realistic to expect to see more than one every couple years.

    Reusing the same pic once in different products is excusable, but the same picture three times in the same product is just phoning it in. This is what we get for an exclusive license.

  6. I hate when Topps recycles photos (especially as much as FOUR times like we have with the Vogelmonster), but I'm a fan of variations. I just wish they were a bit more affordable since a lot of them have snazzy photos that would look great in my collection.

  7. That is just lazy work by the Topps designers. I know that companies used to use their own or freelance photographers and I know they still do when it comes to rookie events but now they go the cheap route of buying them from photo archives when possible. When you see cards like these you know they are just going the cookie cutter route.

  8. The Mitch Haniger card in series two is the same as his Topps Now Road to Opening Day card. I'm livid. The Topps Now cards are supposed to be special. I guess not anymore.

  9. Yeah, I saw they repeated Haniger's photo selection from the Topps NOW Spring Training cards. There was a pretty low (like 47 or something) print run on those sets, so I'm sure Topps thought, "No one will notice."