MINT 2023
DRIP – 600×100
2011 Topps Tier One Baseball

2011 Topps Tier One Baseball

Product Review

2011 Topps Tier One Baseball Product Review

Reviewed by Paul Lesko

Good: Nice card stock, great chance at pulling a variety of rookies, stars and legends, low-numbered cards, overall intriguing product.

Bad: Fast break at one pack per box, but, you know that going in.

The Bottom Line: There are not many products that allow you to get multiple big hits from such a variety of players. 2011 Topps Tier One is definitely a fun product to break. Almost any collector should find something that impresses them.

Staff Rating:
4.8 / 5.0

Card Design: 4.8/5.0

2011 Topps Tier One has a great design. The card stock has nice feel coming out of the box and straight into a sleeve. The use of white space on the autos allows for big signatures. Also, the relic cards are well designed, although the ambiguous disclaimers that the cards are not from any specific game or season diminishes their value. While I'm normally not that into base cards, the simplicity of the design and numbering on these cards makes them more enjoyable. In essence, even the base cards are refractors.

Checklist: 4.5/5.0

I'm normally a prospector, but the chance of pulling current stars or legends in addition to rookies on the rise was more fun than I initially expected. Sure, there are duds in there (I pulled an Eric Sogard autograph), but there are also some great pulls (which was quickly balanced out by a Koufax dual relic). Also, the low-numbered cards really add value to a product that covers a lot of ground. I'm only slightly kidding when I say the absence of Bryce Harper from this product was a welcome relief.

Value: 5.0/5.0

For the price, this set offers an experience that should cover multiple bases for collectors. Normally, I'm a prospector, but the most fun pulls here were the stars and legends. Also, consider that these boxes go for just a little more than 2011 Bowman Chrome hobby boxes, but Tier One has two autographs and one relic (without all of those base cards you'll never look at again). With the Tier One checklist it's fairly certain there'll be a decent, if not big, hit in each box to make the money you spent worth it. It pains me to say it, but this product might have better value than Bowman, especially if you're one “hit" for Bowman is a Low-A pitcher with a WHIP approaching 2.

The Fun Factor: 5.0/5.0

The variety is the appeal. A chance of pulling a Pujols, Koufax or Hosmer, all in one box? With low numbered cards too? How can you not love to break a box? You're almost guaranteed to get one big hit too, if not more. Plus, the benefit of one pack means you'll know your hits a lot quicker without wading through multiple packs of cards you'll never look at again. If you can afford it, you'll definitely want multiple boxes. I know I'll be breaking more.

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Product Details

User Rating:

One of the trends of 2011 that few will complain about is a movement back to on-card autographs. It's a major selling point for the mid-end 2011 Topps Tier One Baseball. Single-pack boxes promise two on-card signatures and one relic card. Although the checklist shows lots of big-end signers, the key to this set are the lesser stars. A good chunk of the autograph subjects, particular in the On the Rise cards, come from players who are good but not necessarily great. It's reminiscent of 2008 Stadium Club Baseball, which offered one autograph per hobby pack. The set flopped largely because the huge majority of available autographs were from unproven rookies. Early checklist info for Tier One suggests a similar pattern for at least one of the two promised inserts, making the potential for a repeat of the Stadium Club failure possible (though by no means is a sure thing). Although there's a lot of excellent-looking design elements and compelling cards, there's also a lot that could leave some feeling a little empty afterward given the high price and expectations that come along with it.

Estimated Release Date: 11/9/11
Product Configuration: One pack per box, seven cards per pack
Price Point: High-End Baseball Card
Target Audience: Hit Seekers, Autographs Collectors, On-Card Autograph Collectors

Box Break

  • Two On-Card Autographs
  • One Relic Card
  • One Parallel Card
  • Three Base Cards
  • Seven total cards

Product Highlights:

  • 100-card base set with each card being serial numbered /799.
  • Base set parallels: Tier Four (/199), Tier Three (/50), Tier Two (/25), Tier One (/1).
  • All autographs except for Triple Autograph cards and Cut Signatures have on-card signatures.
  • All 20 Top Tier Autographs feature many A-list signers past and present. The checklist includes Hank Aaron, Rickey Henderson and Nolan Ryan. Top Tier Autographs fall one per 12-box case. Parallel: Gold (/10).
  • On the Rise Autographs highlight 55 young and rookie stars. Parallel: Gold (/25).
  • Fan favorites are the focus of the 55-card Crowd-Pleaser Autographs set. Recent stars such as Albert Belle, Edgar Martinez and Paul O'Neill are mixed with current stars like Brian McCann, Cliff Lee and Brian Wilson. Parallel: Gold (/25).
  • Dual Autographs look for pairings such as teammates and franchise stars from different generations (15 cards, /25). Triple Autographs follow a similar pattern, except with three signatures instead of two (five cards, /10).
  • Cut Signatures includes 25 one-of-ones from all-time legends including Joe DiMaggio.
  • Top Shelf Relics provide a huge chunk of the memorabilia card checklist (50 cards). Parallels: Dual Swatch (/99) and Triple Swatch (/25).
  • Prodigious Patches offers jumbo patch swatches for 25 players from today and yesterday (/10).

Card Gallery:

Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Reviews

Mike M
Mike M

Design irritates me. I’m more of a design guy, as opposed to the checklist. So I weight design pretty heavily. Photos are too small, and the fade into the borders is obnoxious. Checklist is also fairly lackluster, but not completely atrocious.

jimmy dawgsonawk
jimmy dawgsonawk

great base set
awesome autos
and great relic set

Obviously late on this review, but I thought I’d throw in my two cents.

I like the design, its clean and simple. The thick stock gives it the feeling of quality. On card autos are not just a plus, but a must in my book. So good job there.

My box/pack was so disappointing that I almost couldn’t get past it. Adam Lind and Brad Hand were my autos. These names shouldn’t appear in a high-end product. Roberto Alomar was my relic. A little better, an HOFer, but still doesn’t justify one pack for $80.

Tier 1 is not worth the risk of getting a pack like mine at the $80 price point. No matter how nice they are, the risk is too high.


Check the secondary market, the majority of autos are by and large selling for nothing. I also take issue with the review giving props to Tier 1 for not including “all those base cards you’ll never look at again.” In Bowman, those base cards, and their refractor and colored parallels, can provide back up value if your autos suck. For instance, in my Bowman Draft case, I make as much money lotting together multiple base and chrome cards as I did on my autos. Even if you pull a low numbered Hank Aaron Tier 1 auto out of your case, you can’t even pay for half of your case with it. After watching multiple breaks and checking the market for this stuff, I can say I will never purchase a box.

I like the majority of Topps releases, but this was a disappointment for me. The design was awful, and they watered down the auto checklist along the lines of what Panini does with a lot of their football products.

Still, it isn’t horrible and there are some really cool hits to be found. At $75 per box there is some potential there.


Sterling in past years was geared more towards Hall of Fame type players. This looks like Rookie and modern day player driven product at least from the images provided.


The design is lackluster at best and why is Pacquiao in here?

Not impressed


Overall looks like a cool product. A mix of Tribute and Triple Threads. Will definetly pick up a few key singles vs busting a ton of boxes.

Jon Belk
Jon Belk

What about Sterling? Where does it fit in now?

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1 Star - Avoid this product like the plague
2 Stars - Below Average Product
3 Stars - Average Product
4 Stars - Excellent Product
5 Stars - Incredible Product