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Fanatics to acquire core of Topps trading cards business – Ballpark Digest
We speculated about this after the Major League Baseball and the Players Association broke their long-standing relationship with Topps: Fanatics, which acquired the baseball-card rights, is now acquiring the Topps trading card and collectibles company. Despite the fact that Topps, which has grown as a key participant in the collections market in recent years, does not include all of its operations, the acquisition does include the historical core of the company: trading cards and collectibles.
Indeed, for a whole generation of baseball card collectors, the names Topps and baseball cards are almost synonymous.
When we wrote that article, we pointed out that Fanatics, which has no prior expertise with or infrastructure for trading cards, might rapidly learn the ropes by acquiring the Topps card company.
This represents a reasonable return on the $385 million paid by Madison Dearborn Partners and Tornante in 2006, but it is less than the windfall expected when Topps was set to go public in a blank-check merger valued at more than a billion dollars.
It’s an impressive rise for a firm that’s only a few years old: Despite the fact that Fanatics is an e-commerce company that also administers several team stores, the company lacks experience and manpower when it comes to creating original products, and the minimal originals it does provide are mediocre at best.
The company Topps, on the other hand, has demonstrated a great deal of imagination in recent years when it comes to baseball cards and collectibles, whether it is through Project70 or a new licensing agreement with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for cards and collectibles, and has embraced NFTs as a next-generation technology.
MLB is now deeply intertwined with corporate partners on a level that goes beyond a purely contractual basis. STORIES CONNECTED TO THIS ONE: 70 years of tradition have come to an end: MLB players and teams ditch Topps in favor of Fanatics.
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Topps baseball card products – Wikipedia
During the course of its history, the Topps Company has developed a variety of various baseball card products. Although they began as a chewing gum firm, employing the baseball cards to increase the popularity of the gum, they have evolved into a baseball card company in its own right.
Topps is the only baseball card manufacturer that still offers factory sets of its basic brand, and they have done so since the 1970s. Topps released its first factory set in 1974, which was only available in the J.C. Penney catalog. However, the company would not release another factory set until 1982. Because J.C. Penney was unable to sell them, the 1982 Topps Factory Set is extremely difficult to come by. J.C. Penney factory sets were offered in a color box in 1982, a brown box in 1983 (SKU 672-1203), a brown box in 1984 (SKU 672-1641), and a brown box in 1985 (SKU 672-2029).
Retail factory sets were packaged in brightly colored boxes and were often introduced around the time of the holiday season (and for that reason are sometimes called Christmas sets).
Despite the passage of time, Topps continues to provide not just retail and hobby sets, as well as Christmas sets, but also team-themed factory sets (which began in 2004) featuring bonus cards that are unique to each set.
In the years 1984-1991, Topps created “Tiffany” sets, which were limited edition versions of both their regular and trading sets that were only available in limited quantities. These sets were only available in factory set format through hobby dealers, and they are identical to the ordinary cards except that they were produced in Ireland on white cardboard (instead of the then-standard gray cardboard) with a glossy finish on the front, as opposed to the regular cards. Following is a description of the color of the Tiffany sets’ inner boxes, as well as the expected quantity of Tiffany sets manufactured (as stated in the yearly Beckett pricing guide):
- 1984: Red (0000)
- 1985: Blue (5,000)
- 1986: Maroon (5,000)
- 1987: Violet (30,000)
- 1988: Green (25,000)
- 1989: Blue (15,000)
- 1990: Red (15,000)
- 1991: Navy (unknown, but believed to be the lowest print run of all, so5,000)
- 1992: Blue (5,000)
- 1993: Purple (5,000)
- 1994: Purple (5,000)
- 1995: Purple (5,000)
- 1996: Purple (5,000)
- 1997: Purple (5,000)
- 1998: Purple (5,000)
- 1999: Purple (5,000)
Stubby Overmire, as seen on a Bowmancard, was born in 1951. Bowman was bought by Topps five years later, and the brand was added to the company’s portfolio. The Bowman Company was Topps’ primary rival from 1951 until Topps acquired the company after the 1955 season. The Bowman brand was revived by Topps in 1989, about 35 years after it had been discontinued, and the company designed a new yearly baseball card set that was unusual in two aspects. The 1989 Bowman set differed from the standard 2.5″ x 3.5″ size in two ways: first, the cards were 2.5″ x 3.75″ rather than the standard 2.5″ x 3.5″ size; second, the set’s primary focus was on upcoming minor league players who Topps believed had a good chance of making it to the majors someday; and third, the set’s primary focus was on upcoming minor league players who Topps believed had a good chance of making it to Although the Bowman sets were not very popular during their first three years on the market, that changed in 1992 when Bowman was upgraded to a premium-quality set (with UV coating on both sides and a special subset with bronze foil borders) and produced in extremely restricted quantities.
Since then, Bowman has shifted his focus more and more toward prospects and first-round draft picks.
Bowman cards have included the great majority of Major League Baseball’s elite players since the mid-1990s, long before they appeared in any other set.
This is due to the fact that Bowman and Bowman Chrome rookie cards are often the most valued and sought after of all rookie cards, which is a major factor in the brand’s popularity.
Stadium Club, Topps’ first “premium” collection, was issued in 1991 and was a hit with collectors. In addition to gold foil stamping on the front and a borderless (or “full-bleed” ) Kodak photo on the front, this was the first major baseball card set to have glossy UV coating on both sides of the card as well as gold foil stamping on both sides of the card. Additionally, a picture of the player’s debut Topps card was shown on the reverse of the card. At the time, this set was a huge popularity, with packs costing $5 or more each piece.
Topps published three separate sets of Stadium Club cards in 1992, each with a different design. Additionally, a factory set from 1992 had cards packaged within a replica dome stadium constructed of plastic; nevertheless, this was not the same set as the standard 1992 Stadium Club set.
With the debut of Stadium Club, Topps introduced the concept of a “premium” set for the first time. In addition to gold foil stamping on the front and a borderless (or “full-bleed” ) Kodak photograph on the front, this was the first major baseball card set to have glossy UV coating on both sides of the card. Additionally, a picture of the player’s initial Topps card appeared on the back of the card. At the time, this set was a huge popularity, with packs fetching upwards of $5 each. The Topps Stadium Club card series debuted in 1992 with three different designs.
Topps Heritage / Bowman Heritage / AllenGinter
In 2001, Topps produced two new vintage themed brands, Topps Heritage and Bowman Heritage, as part of its baseball, football, and hockey card product lines to commemorate the company’s fiftieth anniversary. The uniqueness was that the companies featured current players with styles from previous years, which was a first for the industry. The design for the baseball cards was taken from 1952 for the Heritage baseball cards released in 2001, the design from 1953 for the Heritage baseball cards released in 2002, the design from 1954 for the Heritage baseball cards released in 2003, etc.
- During its fiftieth anniversary year in 2001, Topps introduced two new vintage themed brands, Topps Heritage and Bowman Heritage, as part of their product lines for baseball, football, and hockey cards. This year’s innovation came in the form of current players with looks that harked back to previous years. In 2001, Heritage Baseball Cards included a design from 1952, a design from 1953 for 2002, a design from 1954 for 2003, and so on. In the following years, the designs changed. Also founded in 2001, Bowman Heritage incorporated the following vintage designs:
After the 2007 release, the Bowman Heritage brand was phased out and replaced by the considerably more popular and rapidly growing AllenGinterbrand, which captured the attention of collectors with its 2006 debut. Bowman Heritage made a triumphant return in 2019 as an online-only exclusive product based on the 1953 Bowman design. After becoming a baseball-exclusive brand in 2007, Topps Heritage has remained a popular choice among collectors and is still in use today. It is widely regarded as one of the most popular annual preseason baseball card releases, with sales exceeding $1 million each year.
The T206name (originally released in 1909-11 by the American Tobacco Company) has been revived by Topps (under the “Topps 206” brand) a total of three times, the first time in 2002 and the second time in 2010. The T206name was initially issued in 1909-11 by the American Tobacco Company. In 2020, the firm will issue a new collection separated into five different series, the first of which will be launched in May 2020 and will consist of 50 cards. The players in the collection, titled “Topps 206,” represent both the Major and Minor Leagues.
Topps reintroduced the iconicHonus Wagner card in 2002, this time with a different backdrop color than the original.
There were three colors printed on the card: the first was the original orange hue from 1909 (179), followed by blue (307) and red (308). ( 456). In 2020, the firm published a new Honus Wagner card (number 45) as part of the second wave (of 5) of cards that were released that year.
Topps Project 2020
Topps published Project 2020 in 2020, a 400-card internet-exclusive set that comprised 20 artists’ interpretations of 20 famous Topps Cards. The collection was available only online.
Topps baseball cards outside the United States
From 1965 through 1992, the confectionery brand O-Pee-Chee created a licensed version of the Topps set that was available in Canada. To ensure compliance with Canadian language legislation, the cards were made bilingual starting in 1970 and continuing to the present. There were additional licensed Topps sets released in Venezuela from 1959 to 1977, with certain revisions and the addition of winter league players. These were known as “licensed versions.” Topps created two sets of baseball cards for the United Kingdom market depicting American baseball players in the late 1980s, each of which had explanations of essential baseball phrases printed on the cards.
Products by year
Topps was confronted with the difficulty of creating new cards each year in order to differentiate them from the previous year’s cards. Despite the fact that the 1952 to 1956 sets were presented differently, they were all the same size: 2 5/8″ x 3 3/4″. The sets from 1952, 1953, and 1954 were vertical, whereas the sets from 1955 and 1956 were horizontal. The standard card size of 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches was established in 1957. In addition, the design was drastically altered, and the player was now represented by a photograph rather than a painting (particularly 1953).
- It is practically borderless in the 1957 set, and the player’s name, team name, and position are all printed in small characters so that the player’s portrait is the most prominent part of the set.
- Until 1964, the colors of the borders, print, letters, and other elements were chosen at random.
- In the 1964 collection, every Dodger card had the team name “Dodgers” printed in red over the top of the card, with the player’s name and position written in a powder blue field at the bottom of the card, as shown below.
- This resulted in the same color scheme being used by one team in each league and one team in the other.
- Among the schemes were the following:
- Creating new cards to differentiate them from the previous year was a difficult task for Topps to do on a yearly basis. The presentation of the 1952 – 1956 sets varied, but they were always the same size, 2 5/8″ x 3 3/4.” Each of the sets from 1952 to 1954 was vertical, whereas the ones from 1955 to 1956 were horizontal. Until 1957, the typical size for business cards was 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches (25 cm x 35 cm). In addition, the design was drastically altered, and the player was now shown by a picture rather than a painted portrait (particularly 1953). The picture quality and straightforward card design of the 1957 collection make it one of the most sought-after among collectors. It is practically borderless in the 1957 set, and the player’s name, team name, and position are all printed in small characters so that the player’s portrait is the most prominent aspect of the collection. After that, more colorful patterns and broader borders were used until the immensely popular 1961 set, which featured thinner borders and less intrusive team and player names, as well as positions. From 1964 until 1964, the colors of the borders, print, letters, and other elements were determined by chance. Topps launched a pattern with the 1964 set, in which each club had its unique color scheme, which continued to the present day. In the 1964 collection, every Dodger card had the team name “Dodgers” printed in red across the top of the card, with the player’s name and position written in a powder blue field at the bottom of the card, as shown above. A typical Topps year had ten distinct color scheme layouts, one for each club in their respective league (National and American). As a result, one club from each league had the same color scheme as one team from the other league. In 1966, Topps assigned a color scheme to each club, and this scheme would be repeated in the 1968 and 1969 sets, respectively. The following were the plans:
Both color schemes were used in the 1969 set to suit the expansion clubs that began play in that year: blue and red.
- ExposRoyals are printed in black on a pink backdrop, whereas PadresPilots are printed in yellow on a brown background.
Topps used to receive many postures from players, and he would choose which one to use on a certain card. There were also head photographs of the player without a cap, in case he was traded or the team relocated, among other things. Due to the Braves’ relocation from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966, every card of a Braves player in the early series of cards is either a head photo without a cap or a head shot with the cap logo obscured or covered in some manner (profile or cap tilted up). Cards with Braves players sporting the new cap with the letter “A” are only found in the later series of the game.
Eventually on, Topps created an airbrush process in which the cap emblem would be manually adjusted or blacked out, which was later adopted by the company.
Topps cards with numbers ending in x00 or x50 typically have the highest stars on them.
Willie Mays is card250 for the 1965 season.
Other notable players were assigned to card numbers that ended in zero (10, 20, 140, 270, and so on), and minor stars were assigned to card numbers that ended in “5”. Topps continues to use this numbering scheme (at least to some extent) in their products today.
- On the Topps official website, you’ll find the Topps Project 2020 Archive (also on the Topps official website), Topps Sports Cards on CardboardConnection, Topps Baseball Cards on DiamondCards, and Topps Baseball Cards on CardboardConnection.
Topps® BUNT® MLB Baseball Card Trader – Apps on Google Play
TOPPS® BUNT® MLB Card Trader is a digital collectibles app developed in partnership with Major League Baseball and MLB Players, Inc. by Topps®, the legendary sports card and memorabilia brand. Join a global community of baseball card collectors and traders that appreciate the nostalgia of collecting and trading baseball cards on a daily basis, and bring your collection to life with interactive elements in the app! Learn about a whole new world of collecting! Every day, there are new baseball cards available!
Take advantage of FREE money to improve your pack-opening powers!
Connect with and follow other collectors on social media!
Complete missions to gain access to exclusive material!
Make a wish list of cards for yourself.
Combine or assemble cards to create more valuable collections!
Spin the Wheel for a chance to win prizes such as cards, money, and more!
Display your favorite Topps baseball cards in this gallery!
*We suggest that devices be upgraded to Android 8.0 (Oreo) or later in order to get the best experience.
– Go to: https://play.toppsapps.com/app/bunt/