As a vintage collector, Topps Heritage is typically a release I am drawn to open some of every year. The recycled design from five decades ago is appealing, as is the product’s generally low price point. I am also always amazed at how the product adds new insert sets that track so closely with the design of the original set that they look like they were part of the vintage catalog to begin with.
This year was the first exception to my desire to open Heritage. In a world of expensive releases, Heritage has managed to remain an affordable box, primarily due to including just a single guaranteed hit per hobby box, which more often than not is a relic rather than an autograph. So price was certainly not the deciding factor in my decision to not pursue a box of Heritage; rather, it was the design. I’m simply not a fan of the original 1973 Topps — as a follow up to the gray borders and script player names of 1970, the beautiful black borders of my beloved 1971, and the funky deco design of 1972, the plain Jane layout of 1973 is utterly unappealing to me. Topps has used the design several times for other products, including, somewhat inexplicably, for its Archives release just last year.
But ever since I was a kid going to the store with my parents, I have had one rule of buying retail products: never leave the last box or pack on a shelf. So when I was at Target recently and I spotted a lone blaster box on the shelf, I did what had to be done and I came home with a box of Topps Heritage.
Disappointingly, although the prices of hobby boxes haven’t increased much, blaster boxes of Heritage were priced at $25 instead of the usual $20. Still, given what other products cost nowadays, and how many cards are included in a Heritage box, it felt like a relatively good deal.
Boxes come with 8 packs and 9 cards per pack. As usual, Topps is faithful to the original design, with a mixture of action shots and poses, as well as standalone rookie cards and triple rookies. I didn’t get any hits or variations, but I did get two high number shortprints of Johnny Cueto and Manny Machado. Unlike years past, these cards were flipped backwards in the pack, like a hit or variation normally would be.
My inserts included the ever-present New Age Performers and News Flashbacks. The former is always the one that impresses me most about Heritage, as it seamlessly fits in with the design. The latter always confuses me as I’ve always found it totally unnecessary in this product. This year’s star insert, however, is the Candy Lids set. Topps has produced these before in Archives sets, but this year’s comes with a little card surrounding it so you can punch the circular disk out. Much better than the previous iterations, which just had a round card floating around in a pack getting dinged up.
Even with a design I don’t like and a lack of hits, Heritage is still a pretty fun product to open. I’m now eagerly looking forward to one of my favorite products every year, Heritage Minor Leagues, which should come out this fall.