Topps Heritage - Is it worth it?

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

I'm a third of the way through my 2010 Heritage box, and I must say, I'm fairly indifferent about the whole Heritage concept. There's been a lot of talk in the card-o-sphere about how the 2010 Heritage cards are boring. That's not my main concern. My main issue is, basically, that I don't really care for the set.

Look, a lot of the appeal of baseball cards, especially to adult collectors, is the nostalgia aspect. Whether it's re-building or completing sets we had as a kid, or just enjoying that thrill of opening up a pack in the hopes of that big hit or favorite player, we do this because it takes us back to fond memories. Why else would I have gnawed on four eight sticks of truly horrible bubble gum? (Officially, it's so the dog couldn't find it and chew it when he was rooting through the garbage.)

By its very definition, the Topps Heritage set is supposed to invoke loads and loads of nostalgia. With its sticks of gum (thankfully shrink-wrapped so they don't damage the cards), wax packaging, and plain cardboard stock, Heritage gives you the things you loved about the cards of your youth. Even if you don't have fond (or any) memories of the 1961 series, there's plenty to remember when you open a pack of Heritage.

Trouble is, I find that I don't really care about any of it.

It's been said many times before, but Upper Deck really did revolutionise the way trading cards were made, from their very first baseball set. High-quality cardboard, holograms (which showed you could put shiny things on a card), short prints, and, later on, relics and autographs revived a stagnant industry that have been doing things the same way for quite a while. I left the hobby around the time Upper Deck was getting in, but I loved getting UD cards. They seemed just that much more substantial. They were almost like little works of art, not pieces of crappy cardboard. And they didn't have gum stains, which was a plus.

Twenty years later, and I find that Upper Deck's formula is now the standard. Base sets are produced on quality card stock. The 2010 Topps base set has photos on the front and back. For the first time, I am trying to build sets instead of buying them complete, and I'm storing them in a binder instead of a box because I want to look at them again and again. They are, much like the '89 Upper Decks, little works of art.

Which is why 2010 Heritage is a disappointment for me. The very things that are its selling points (gum, wax, and cardboard stock) are characteristics that it turns out I don't want my cards to have any more. They seem like a step backward. The card stock is cheaper (and more prone to dings) than the base set. The colors aren't as vibrant. The cards just don't feel the same in your hands. I'm simply not getting the rush opening the packs as I did when I opened Series 1, or as I'm sure I'll get when I start on Series 2. I'm just not feeling it.

So, eight packs in, I'm pretty confident I'm not going to try to complete the Heritage set. At 500 cards (plus who knows how many inserts), it's going to take two or three hobby boxes to get me close to where I'm already at with my other two sets. And I just can't see myself spending that kind of money on a set I really don't want. I'll probably end up collecting teams and players I care about, and making the rest available for trade. We'll see what I end up with (I've got at least two cards from each team I collect so far) but I think I might be making some trades, or send out some unsolicited packages. I'll post the videos for the breaks, as promised, but I can't see myself too terribly excited about the series, either this year, or in the future.

What do you think? Am I right to bag on Heritage? Or am I giving up on it way too soon?

Comments (5)

    I like Heritage but prefer the chrome version. I think the photo selection of the cards that i've seen could be a lot better but I guess they're trying to re-create the same type photos as the older cards too. I don't mind the cardboard stock, they seem thicker than in the past which makes them a little sturdier. I won't collect the set because i'm not a fan of base SP cards. I refuse to pay $3.00 for a Bronson Arroyo single card from 2010 (let alone any year). I will probably collect the singles of the players I collect and that's it.

    Heritage isn't for everyone, that is for sure. I am a vintage collector who can't afford to complete sets from the 50s and 60s. I have a handful of cards and I like to compare the new ones side by side. The sets take years to finish. The SPs are THAT tough...

    Yeah, the whole idea of base short prints offends my completist sensibilities. If you're going to do short prints, have them be a "b-number" on the checklist. As it stands, I won't consider a Heritage set complete until I have all 500 cards.

    Maybe in 24 years when Topps has caught up to the 1985 set, I'd be really excited about Vintage (I so love the '85 set). As it stands, the artwork isn't doing it for me (although I understand why it looks like it does) and I'm just going through the motions. Hopefully I'll get a bunch of trading material for cards I really want.

    That said, I can see myself buying a box of the stuff each year, just so I can start collecting the teams I care about.

    You missed the whole point of Heritage.

    Well, enlighten us. Starting with your name.