2009 Topps Heritage is almost here, so let's take a look at the set it is ripping off, I mean paying homage to. This is a great looking (and rather quirky) set that has a bunch of different unique designs for each of the subsets. It's the last horizontal set for Topps as well. The original set consists of 572 cards, with the high series (507-572) being significantly tougher to find than the lower numbers. Here's a base card:
Wes was the first Brave I ever had from this set, and it's been one of my favorites ever since. As you can see there's a small black and white action photo on a solid color background on the left, a full color portrait on the right, a team logo in the bottom left corner and the player's name in alternating colors and the team name and position on the bottom with a different solid background color. Depending on the color combination, the card can look really good or cause headaches. There are three different back variations:
White colored stock,
gray stock with the player's name in white letters,
and gray stock with black letters for the player name. If there is not some sort of parallel in the 2009 Heritage set with either different stock color, black lettering or both, I'll be shocked. The white and gray stock seem to alternate series with cards 375-440 being found in either color stock.
There are two rookie subsets:
Sport Magazine picks a group of promising rookie stars that are featured on cards 117 to 148. Carl Yastrzemski is the key rookie in the subset, with Jim Kaat and Frank Howard being the other two rookies of note. In place of Season's Highlights on the back (since they're rookies, duh) The editors of Sport Magazine wrote up a paragraph on the player. According to the presell checklist, (which I'm a still a little dubious of after the Mayo debacle) cards 117 to 148 are all RCs in the '09 set, so expect to see this design in Heritage.
The other Rookie subset is the Topps All-Star Rookie team at cards 316-325. This design got a lot of attention from Topps for their 50th anniversary insert set. The old style Rookie trophy is displayed on the card for the first time. The only actual rookie card in the subset is a doozie, Willie McCovey. Again the checklist indicates that cards 316-325 in '09 Heritage have all won that cup, so I'm looking forward to a Evan Longoria card with this design.
There are several combo cards sprinkled throughout the set. They have a four pointed star design with the subjects' names in a black triangle on the bottom and the card title on top in bold red type. The backs have a paragraph on the players with some cartoons on the bottom. Tim Lincecum and Bruce Bochy are featured on this combo card in Heritage.
The Team cards have the same design as the combos. They also double as checklist cards, showing the checklist for a series on the back.
Managers are found on cards 212-227. These cards and the cards featuring the coaches are all vertically oriented. There is a team pennant on top with the logo and the manager's name on the bottom with alternating colors for each letter. The back has several cartoons illustrating different facts about the manager. The checklist shows managers in the same cards 212-227. Where the other 14 managers are, I have no idea.
Coarches are found on cards 455-470. There is a card for each team with three or four coaches apiece. Floating disembodied heads on a colored background make this subset one of the stranger looking ones. The back has a line or two about each of the coaches. It looks like Topps included these as well, and there's even a Braves card so I'm happy.
Cars 385 to 391 feature the 1959 World Series between the Dodgers and the White Sox. The front shows a key play while the back desribes the play and has the game box score. The '09 preliminary checklist shows these players in the same spot: Chase Utley, Eric Bruntlett, Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Jason Werth, BJ Upton, Brad Lidge. I think it's a good bet that you'll see these if that checklist is to be trusted.
The last cards in the set (553-572) are all Sport Magazine 1960 All-Star selections. The player is shown with a shadow in front of a huge two-color 60. I'm hoping for the 2009 set they just flip the 60:
Topps included All Stars to finish up the set last year and it looks like they will again this year. Expect them to be short printed though.
There are no errors or variations in the 1960 set, however there are three proof cards that differ from the regular cards of the player. The proofs show the team logo of the player before their late 1959 trades, and Topps updated the regular cards to reflect the new teams. The three rare variations are:
56 Gino Cimoli (Cardinals logo)
102 Kent Hadley (A's logo)
436 Marv Throneberry (Yankees logo)
These cards are rare as hell. The Hadley sold for $13,500 in 1999 and the Marvelous Marv card wasn't even confirmed to exist when my price guide was printed. Now, we all know Topps will gimmick this set up somehow so don't be surprised if you see a card or two of a high profile player that changed teams over the offseason with a super short printed logo variation. Maybe a Teixeira card with an Angels logo or Captain Cheezburger with a Brewers logo (I'm hoping not, Thorzul). That would be the most authentic gimmick Topps could create for this set.
I've got the 2009 Topps Heritage auction ticker going on my home page, as soon as the American Heritage and wrestling cards start getting bumped by the casebusters' baseball hits I'll let you guys know. In the meantime, enjoy the originals.