Topps Archives Review: Better Than Expected

When I returned to the hobby in 2012, Topps Archives immediately became my favorite baseball product. I’m a history buff, and love the old Topps designs.

My friend and co-worker, Kyle, was a collector as well. He was more into the memorabilia side (and still is today – if you have any game used Minnesota Vikings jersey, I’ll connect you).

We worked in the sports information office at Western Illinois University and during the summer things are a bit slow in a college athletics department. Meanwhile, baseball cards are not. So began my slow roll into a baseball card obsession.

Fast forward seven years. Seven YEARS?!? Wow, time does go by fast. Topps Archives has soured with me. Topps Heritage has reached the 1970’s, and Topps flagship continues to use other older designs for inserts. Archives is now a bit tired.

Ben from the About the Cards podcast gave a fantastic idea on the show last week. Instead of using the same baseball designs, Archives should take a page from the online-only Throwback Thursday product (pictured below: Kris Bryant on 1971 Topps football design). Designs on other sports and non-sports. If Topps were to do this with Archives, I’m an immediate fan and it would become my favorite product.

Since my mood is “blah” on Topps Archives, I wasn’t jumping from retail outlet to retail outlet attempting to find blasters. This week was my fantasy football draft at Buffalo Wild Wings, and there is a Target right next to it. It’s a bit out of the way from my day-to-day travels, so I paid the store a visit after my draft.

Archives was in stock! There was one lonely blaster, but several value packs. I grabbed about eight packs and the blaster.

Before I get to the hits, let’s take a look at the Cubs. The three designs used were from 1958, 1975, and 1993. No Cubs from the ‘58 design. Francisco Arcia gets the Rookie love on the 1975 design. Arcia is this year’s Drew Smyly. Last year, Smyly showed up in a bunch of products without appearing in a single Cubs game. Arcia is now with the Yankees organization. He played 51 games for the Iowa Cubs earlier this year, but did not make it to Wrigley Field.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Arcia is Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. Some people dislike when players are featured on designs that were released before or after their playing days. That’s what I enjoy most about Archives. It’s seeing Sandberg on a card design from nearly a decade before his big league debut.

Love this Javier Baez on the 1975 design. The designs are straight forward, so this year’s Archives is better than expected because of the card stock. It may just be in my head, but it seems as though Archives has thicker card stock this year. The cards seem firmer, not as flimsy. Anyone else feel this way?

The last 1975 design is a highlights card of Kris Bryant. I am confused why they are using 2016 highlights…three years later. Why not 2018 highlights? I’ll have to go back and look at the 1975 set and see if they did this.

My duplicates in my break both came from the 1993 design. A double dose of Ernie Banks. Let’s play two!

Two cards of Kris Bryant.

On to the hits. Very happy with the results in my eight packs and one blaster. For far less than the price of a hobby box, I pulled about equal value in what you might pull in hobby. In my opinion, Archives is the number one product I prefer retail over hobby and it’s not even close. A couple of serial numbered color parallels here of Chance Adams /99 and Edwin Diaz /175.

Look at this Bo Jackson beauty. Such an awesome looking card and this is a purple numbered /175.

The Montreal Expos get some hobby love with an insert set in this product and a big autograph checklist. I was lucky to pull an Expos autograph of Steve Rogers.

Overall, I like Topps Archives this year. I’ll likely buy some more. However, it is a tired product and needs a change. Please, Topps…start using other sports and non-sports designs going forward on Topps Archives.

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