2010 Topps National Chicle BaseballBox Price:$80 - $88
Good: Set Builder's Dream, Intriguing Parallels Within Base Set, Amazing Card Art, Throwback Parrallels In Base Set, Captures Great Players From Every Era in MLB History, Cabinet Cards Are Worthy of Being Framed
Bad Disappointing Auto Checklist, Too Many Artist Auto's, No Mini Cards, Chicle and Bazooka Back Parallels are too similar
Bottom Line: This product is completely awesome, if you are a set builder, this is one of the best conceived base sets of the past decade. The card art is inspired and awesome. If you enjoy vintage products, this is one of the best. I really wish I could give this product a 5/5, but the Autograph set is downright awful. There are only 27 autograph subjects, many of which are low level players.
Bottom line, this is a set-builder centric product. If you live and die on hits, I don't think you will get much enjoyment out of this product. Either way, with a box price below $100, it's worth a shot if you are looking to open something truly interesting.
Vintage doesn't get much better looking than this! I absolutely love the idea of using separate artists from different walks of life. If the Hall of Fame had an art gallery, these cards would be hanging on the wall. Even the relic cards are awesome, I got a Thurman Munson relic that actually had dirt on it! In a time of event worn "sherzee" cards, it's refreshing to be able to tell that the relic in your card actually took the field!
The "Rookie Renditions" parallels look great and I love the fact that they are part of the base set. Each Rookie Rendition takes a classic Topps RC and puts a 2010 Rookie in it's place. For instance, A's rookie Matt Carson appears on a 1982 Topps card, which pays homage to former A's great Rickey Henderson's Rookie Card.
The Base Set checklist is a 4 or 5, the Auto checklist on the other hand is a 1 or 2. Although many felt that last years 250-card Topps Magic Football Auto set was a sticker drop, it didn't matter to me. Since Magic, my expectations have risen drastically when it comes to a vintage products Auto subset. Had this set had a Joe Mauer, Jason Heyward, or Cal Ripken Auto, National Chicle would have been the product that dreams are made of.
I would have also liked to see them go a different direction with the 10 card dual-auto set. Instead of putting Evan Longoria with Gordon Beckham, I would have loved to see a "Now and Then" theme, with Longoria and Mike Schmidt. How cool would it have been if they included a Griffey/Heyward or Mauer/Bench dual auto!
The good, this is the rare product in which you can sell base set Short Prints for a pretty penny on eBay. The hallmark of a great base set is the ability to sell short prints, very few non-auto base set products are able to pull this off. The bad, there aren't enough valuable auto's and the artist's proofs (artist autographed cards) just make you wish the player had signed it instead.
The only thing that holds back the enjoyment are the hits. At the same time, it speaks volumes about a product that is actually fun to rip in spite of weak hits. If you are a set builder, you will have the time of your life opening this product. If you are a "hit man", I don't think you will get much out of the product.