Short prints, Variations, Box Toppers, On-card autographs, Baseball fans baseball card product, Great card design (1962 Topps), Deep checklist, Mystery, Perfect price point, Insanely deep 2011 rookie checklist, Requires thought, Manager Cards, Players that changed teams are in new uniforms (for the most part)
Allen & Ginter may be the most popular vintage redux product in the card industry, but Heritage is hands down the most popular vintage product among hardcore baseball fans. One of the best parts about Heritage is that the entertainment value extends well beyond the box break. Very few products create the amount of mystery and intrigue as Heritage does, which comes courtesy of short prints, variations and other oddities that require more than one glance to catch.
The latest installment of Heritage features the wood bordered design of 1962 Topps Baseball, which suits the set perfectly. If you fancy yourself a hardcore baseball junky and have an appreciation for the history of both baseball and baseball cards, this product is right in your wheel house, as you will no doubt appreciate the authentic baseball card experience it offers.
Heritage is all about old school authenticity. Each year Topps reaches into their vault and brings one of their vintage sets back to life. One of the best parts about Heritage is that it mimics actual occurrences from the product it's modeled after such as errors and other distinguishable traits. This year, Topps chose 1962 Topps as the template for Heritage and it works perfectly. The wood borders are spot on and look fantastic.
"Chromies" fear not, as Heritage delivers the occasional chrome parallel, which come in the refractor variety. Another subtle added bonus to Heritage is that it uses artistically altered pictures to create an old timey effect, which means that nearly every player who changed teams in the off season is wearing their new uniform. Although it did strike me as odd that seemingly every player but Adrian Beltre was with their new team. Not only was Beltre in a Red Sox uniform, the card also lists him as Red Sock. Knowing Heritage, there could be a reason for this based on the 1962 set.
On a yearly basis Heritage delivers what is arguably the most buildable set in the baseball card world. Per usual, this year's checklist is smart, well thought out and cohesive. The base set goes 500 cards deep and includes 75 short prints. The chrome and chrome refractor versions do an excellent job of creating various difficulty levels for set builders.
The rookie checklist is extremely strong and felt a touch deeper than base Topps (2011 Topps Series 1 Baseball). Freddie Freeman, Aroldis Chapman, Yonder Alonso, Hank Conger, Chris Sale, Jeremy Hellickson, Kyle Drabek and a slew of additional September call-ups from last year are present. Another thing I'm a big fan of is Heritage's manager cards, they should be in every product if you ask me!
*Sort of off topic comment: I will trade Topps 5 unredeemed redemptions if they agree to put coach/manager autographs in future baseball and football products. (This was part of my "Coach Auto Campaign" and not the review)
Anytime a product has a hardcore following as Heritage does, the value of the product as a whole is extremely strong. Big time hits are hard to come by and you only get one hit per box, but the short prints, chrome parallels, chrome refractor parallels, box toppers and variations more than make up for that. The hit is nothing more than the gravy on this hot vintage sandwich. Heritage is about depth and card diversity. At $80-$90, Heritage also carries a box price that seems spot on. Below are a few cards of value to keep an eye out for:
- Base Set Short Prints - #426-500
- Green Tint Variations - These feature a green tint background and can easily be confused with cards that have a naturally green background. There were green tints in the original 1962 Topps.
- Jackie Robinson Variations - basically, any non-insert Jackie Robinson card that is part of the base set (#1-#500) is a variation.
On the surface, Heritage may seem like a boring product each year, it's only when you rip a box and look deep into the checklist that you realize it's an extremely intriguing, mysterious and well thought out product. A vintage product should offer an authentic sports card experience with a dash of mystery, which is exactly what Heritage does. The only people I could see not enjoying Heritage are collectors whose sole focus is prospecting.