Thursday, February 19, 2015

Honey, I Shrunk the Cards

Throwback sets have been all the rage for Topps this millennium.  So much so, that some of the throwback sets are almost old enough to have throwback sets.  It's all a bit tedious if you ask me.

Not the concept.  Just the execution.  After Archives and Heritage his shelves in 2001, Topps went a step farther.  The Topps 206 set(s) in 2002 were absolute gold in my eyes.  They stayed true to the spirit of the set, and were the first introduction of the now wildly popular minis.   And that formula worked for the majority of the other tobacco card sets - Turkey Red, Allen & Ginter, T-205, and even the obnoxious Gypsy Queen.  Take an amazing, classic design that many collectors may not know about.  Put modern players on it.  Sell baseball cards.

I loved that.  What I don't love is taking said set, and turning it into its own monster.  Ginter's original design is clean, gorgeous, and classic.  The set was a nod to the original series that features all kinds of off the wall stuff.  But nearly a decade looks nothing like the classic set.  It's just a repeated trope, with a design that becomes less and less clean or classic every single year.  But when you can basically print money ever year...why not.
But I digress.  Of all the "throwback" sets, my favorite and least favorite was the Topps 205 release in 2003.  The set is probably my favorite of its era, featuring a colorful and vibrant design that was lightyears ahead of its time, but the product was an absolute dud.  But sitting down today I realized just how "off" Topps' take on the set was, tweaking some of the things that I enjoy most about the original cards. to Photoshop I went.  This custom definitely took longer than a normal custom.  And I'm not totally pleased with the "painted" effect on the photo.  It still more or less looks like a photo to me.  But otherwise, I'm happy with how this came together.  Better yet, it's my first mini custom.


  1. Nice custom. It's a shame that Topps has run so many cool "throwback" sets into the ground. I understand their need to produce Heritage each year. And of course collectors need their A&G fix. However I just wished they'd rotate Gypsy Queen, Chicle, Turkey Red, and T206... so that each of these products popped up once every four years (or something like that). They could do the same for their 90's retro products too. Do collectors really need Finest, Tek, and Stadium Club all at the same time? I'd be more inclined to buy these if they were from three different years. As for Archives... maybe they could rotate that with something like Topps Retired. Okay... just realized that I went on a tangent and it's your post... not mine. Once again... great custom!

    1. No worries, we're totally on the same page! I really, really want to write a "why does Topps keep releasing products I don't care about" post every single day, but I figured it would get instead I just sneak my ranting in between pretty pictures of the cards I wished they produced.

      I would be thrilled if they just cut it down to Heritage and one other "old timey" themed set. How many years can you drag out redesigning an early 20th-century. Last year's A&G looked more like the Great Gatsby movie poster than a tobacco card. I know it sells well, but the concept just seems so exhausted to me. I'd argue that the one perk to products like Finest or Stadium Club is that the design can be fresh each year, and truly be a contemporary design. Not a "well, this is a spinoff of a design somebody whipped up in 1912."

      I just wish more card designs seemed like truly modern cards, rather than nostalgic rehashes of designs and concepts from the 1910's, or 1960's, or even my beloved 1990's.