Some of the most interesting cards in 2012 Topps Series 1 Baseball are the Retired Rings inserts. Each of the 26 cards in the set feature a bronze-colored embedded ring etched with their jersey number.
Numbered to 736, the cards are not terribly rare, although once the product dries up, they will likely become somewhat tricky to find. Combined with pin and coin cards, Retired Rings fall one per hobby case or one per jumbo box.
The checklist for the ultra-thick cards consists entirely of retired legends, almost all of whom are Hall of Famers. Not surprisingly, the New York Yankees are well represented in the Retired Rings set. The team has six players on the 26-card checklist, including Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth and Don Mattingly. Other checklist highlights include Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson and Frank Thomas. A pair of players have two cards in the set. Nolan Ryan is pictured with both the Angels and the Astros, while Frank Robinson has cards of him in an Reds uniform and with the Orioles.
Based on early sales, these cards are moving well, definitely higher than basic game-used relics. A complete set sold on eBay for about $375. As far as singles go, Ruth and Mantle have consistently sold for $40 or more, with several other players like Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays falling in the $30 range. The lowest any Retired Rings cards have sold for on eBay is around $5-7.
Although none are going to bring massive sums of money, they do prove that collectors appreciate a little creativity. With the promise of strong checklists, inserts like these can provide consistent value for both dealers and collectors.
Here is the entire 2012 Topps Series 1 Baseball Retired Rings set: