Ok, Topps206 is out in hobby shops at least. I'm sure you can find a whole crapload of lots on eBay too. I picked up two packs today and was fortunate enough to pull a Chipper in the second pack, so he's card of the week. I'm still peeved at Topps for their black border bait & switch, so normally I wouldn't be giving them free advertising, but for this set I'll make an exception. Topps206 is Topps' tribute to the T206 set which came out 100 years ago. They also did a tribute in 2002-2003, but that was a warm-up. A warm up that looks a little better than this set, but I digress. The set constuction appears to copy the A&G formula with 350 cards, 50 of which are short printed. Nobody knows which cards are short printed because Topps is a real pain in the ass when it comes to releasing that sort of information. Far as I can tell from a five minute search on eBay, the base set is 1-300 and the short prints are no numbered variations with the player name on back and nothing else. Please let me know if this is not the case.
The design is basically a rip-off (the classy dames call it an 'homage') of the 1909 T206 set from the American Tobacco Company. A photo of the player is retroized and surrounded by a bronze line with the player name and team in the same color at the bottom. Very elegant and very classy, except when the retrofication went horribly awry which it did on several cards I've seen. The Chipper looks great, which is all I care about. The patch on his uniform shows the photo was from 2006, but I'll let that slide. A nice close up with magic hour sunset colors in the background makes up for it. I'm too lazy to go check my 2002 Topps206 cards, but the back design is extremely similar if not exactly the same. The card stock is a sturdier white stock instead of the clay stock used in the 2002-3 set. The stock matches more closely the original T206 cards and is pretty robust so I approve. Note the little smudgy bit in the middle on the card right on top of the "of the" in the text on the back. That little smudge is printed onto every single card back in the set from what I can tell. After sorting a couple of boxes, that smudgy bit can drive a sensible person stark raving MAD.
This is my favorite thing of the whole day other than pulling a Chippah.
I scanned that at 300 dpi, click on it and enjoy the back variation goodness. Look at it closely. Savor it. That's the only Carolina Brights back you're ever going to see from this set so take it in while you can. I absolutely adore that they made the backs a design element on the wrapper. TOTAL CLASS. This also made me happy:
Ya see that? That says Hobby EDITION. Not Hobby Exclusive. That leads me to believe that there shall be a RETAIL Edition. And my broke ass needs a retail edition of this stuff like you wouldn't believe.
This was another pleasant surprise. After reading everywhere that there would be 7 cards per pack here we have 9 cards per pack. That makes me very happy. Especially since one of the cards is wasted by a thick bronze border parallel. And a mini, I suppose, but minis are never a waste. So there are 7 base cards per pack after all!
Here are the odds. Everything spelled right out in black and white. Piedmont is confirmed as the common ad back, Polar Bear is now found 1:10 packs, Old Mills are 1:20, Cycles are disturbingly not much harder to find at 1:22 and the 1:1 Carolina Brights are one in every 56 boxes or so. That seems a rather low number to me, I hope Topps didn't short print this stuff, causing me untold anguish as I try to complete a set after packs get jacked up to 10 bucks a throw. This disturbs me more though:
Blugh. so much for completing the 350 card set. I'll shoot for the 300 base cards, thankyouverymuch.
IN REVIEW: Best set ever, no discussion. If you don't agree, buy a few boxes and send 'em to me, I'll take good care of them.