The hobby has been in love with the Heritage brand since its inception back in 2001. The very thought of an entire modern day set patterned after the design of a vintage classic had collectors foaming at the mouth. Throw in a whole bunch of short-prints, game-used relics and a list of impressive certified autographs and you've got yourself a winner. Well, Topps has enjoyed tremendous success with this line and has brought it back for the third year in a row.
The 2003 Topps Heritage product is patterned after the 1954 release, right down to the short-prints, which mirror the original checklists from that magical year. In addition, Topps went out and had all the living baseball players who had a card in the 1954 set sign autographs for random insertion in the 2003 Heritage product. That concept has won over collectors as many have scurried to pick up certified autographs of players that have never signed cards for any card manufacturer and may never again. In addition to the autographs, be on the lookout for game-used relics and the popular Grandstand Glory relics that contain a piece of a stadium seat from some famous ballparks including Ebbets Field and The Polo Grounds.
Simply put, the 2003 Topps Heritage baseball release has been a breath of fresh air into a card hobby overflowing with serial-numbered rookie parallel cards and game-used jerseys.
2002-03 Topps Chrome Basketball
Back for the 7th year is Topps Chrome Basketball. What initially began as a Wal-Mart only product has evolved into one of Topps benchmark basketball issues. Fueling this years set has been the release of 2 different Yao Ming rookie cards, one in English and one in Chinese. In addition to the Ming cards, there are 3 different levels of refractors, with 2 being serial numbered. The white bordered refractors are limited to 249 serial numbered copies while the black bordered refractors are limited to just 99 serial numbered copies. As you can probably surmise, the black bordered rookie refractors have been scorching hot with Amare Stoudemires selling for anywhere from $200-400 on eBay auctions early on.
This product is very affordable at $2.99 per pack and has made its way onto the retail market rather quickly. Please keep in mind, however, that the Black Bordered Refractors are only available in hobby boxes, which should give an edge in price to the hobby boxes in the secondary market.
I have always been a huge fan of Chrome Basketball as has much of the hobby. It has always been a good source for rookie cards and provides a ton of bang for your buck as it brings to the table a tremendous amount of parallels and inserts. If you are looking for a quality mid-range basketball product, look no further than 2002-03 Topps Chrome Basketball.
Topps Jersey-Edition Basketball
Topps Jersey Edition Basketball is a very unique product - every card in the set contains a game-used jersey swatch! With packs containing 2 cards and retailing for $20 each, Jersey Edition appears to be a slam-dunk with collectors.
We pulled a "who's who" in the basketball trading card market in our box including 2 different Shaquille O'Neals, Amare Stoduemire, Caron Butler, Dirk Nowitzki, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming. Talk about value for your dollar!
There are 2 different parallels with one serial-numbered to 299 and the other to 99. The cards are very attractive and have created quite a stir with collectors as this product has afforded the opportunity to may collectors to own a game-jersey card of their favorite hoopster without shelling out a lot of money. The affordability is the key to this product's success and it appears as if the hobby has really embraced it.
Every box is guaranteed to contain at least 20 game-used jersey cards. Topps also included redemption cards for game-jerseys of those players whom they could not secure threads for prior to printing. As a matter of fact, Topps made the redemption cards good for 2 individual game jerseys of 2 different players on each card. For example, we pulled a Paul Pierce/Ray Allen redemption card. That's a pretty good back -court if you ask me.
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Images Supplied by M. Eisner