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Review: 2012 Topps Series 1

Updated on March 13, 2012

Flagship 2012 Baseball Card Set

Review: 2012 Topps Series 1

Base Set

2012 Topps Series 1 was released about a month ago. I have picked up a hobby box, several retail blaster boxes and retail rack packs. This set features a 330-card base set that includes 265 Veterans, 30 Rookies, 10 League Leaders, 6 year-end awards cards, 5 2011 Record Breakers cards, 4 World Series Highlights cards, and 10 cards recognizing the Active Leaders in 10 categories. So this breakdown is a little different from years past. The active leader cards replace the previous season league leader cards which I actually like. I have to say that while the set is solid, it’s also rather boring. I, for one, am tired of white bordered basic cards. There is no baseball-related element to the design at all and this follows in the wake of several years of this type of design. It’s fundamentally very boring.

Golden Moments Parallel

Parallel Cards

This year there is a new wrinkle. There are only two basic parallels. The basic Black-bordered cards are sequentially numbered to 61. These are Hobby only parallels which have been available for many years in the basic Topps product. The Golden Moments parallel is printed on shimmering gold foil and are inserted at 1:4 but they are NOT serial numbered. Gone from the mix are the Gold-bordered, serial numbered parallels that have been available since 2001. I’m not sure I’m happy about that. While the Golden Moments parallels look great, we had parallels like this last year in addition to the gold bordered serial numbered cards. Why were they removed this year? The Black parallels have become a hobby standard.

Insert Cards

There are quite a few Insert Cards and Parallel Insert Cards included in this release, most are Hobby only. That being said, let me outline the basic insert cards first. My thoughts are in Italics.

1987 TOPPS MINIS: Mini featuring the biggest stars on the 1987 Topps design. I love minis, I always have, but why use the 1987 design which is fairly ugly to begin with. The official release calls it the “classic” 1987 design. There are a number of designs that would have fared better as a mini.

Golden Moments

Featuring active and retired players and a Golden Moment from their career. I like this as it uses baseball history as its main focus. It also features players you don’t see on insert cards like Paul O’Neil.

Golden Greats

Featuring 15 of the greatest players of all time, each with 5 Golden Moments highlighted on 5 cards. This I can do without. I do like the baseball history theme but if we already have one, we don’t need another. They also don’t look very different from each other

Gold Standard

Recognizing players who have gained entry into some of the most exclusive clubs in baseball, like the 3,000-Hit Club, 500-Home Run Club, and 3,000-K Club. Again featuring the “baseball history theme” and they look a great deal like the other “Gold” themed inserts. If they had limited this to one milestone this would be a popular insert set. As it is it’s too confused to be a strong set.

The Rest of the Inserts

EPIC WALK-OFFS: Celebrating the greatest walk-offs of all time. Again, I like the overall “baseball history” theme and these look different from the other insert cards.

GOLD FUTURES: Featuring young stars who are on their way to creating Golden Moments of their own. This features young stars so it’s a bit different from the others. This is fine to include in any set.

GENERATIONS: Two players who have achieved similar Golden Moments appear together on cards. As in years past, if the card features two players from the same team, I’m all for it. If the card features players from two different teams, they didn’t really need to waste the paper and ink to print the card. It’s a simple matter of understanding your consumer base, not just for the secondary market, but just basic common sense. Do Gary Carter and Johnny Bench on a card make more sense than Gary Carter and Mike Piazza who are from the same team? Tying players together should be a thought-out process. Maybe show famous teams together in an insert set – The Big Red Machine, Murderer’s Row, The Boys of Summer, that sort of thing.

All in all, this is not really awe-inspiring stuff. Most share the same theme and look and nothing really stands out from the rest. They aren’t awful and there aren’t any duds like “Before There was Topps” or “Boyhood Photos” but it’s just plain boring.

The Insane Pulls that You’ll Never Find

I will readily admit that the following section is taken from Topps own marketing materials.

GOLDEN MOMENTS DIE-CUT CHROME CARD: Striking die-cut chrome cards featuring 100 players and their greatest Golden Moment.

ONE OF ONE TRULY GOLDEN MOMENTS BASE SET PARALLEL: A parallel of the base set with a piece of real gold embedded in the card! ONE OF ONE!

GOLD TEAM COINS: Every MLB team will be represented with a Gold in five different denominations. As Gold Coins are unlocked, the points will go into the collector's Bank, and can be used to bid for exciting prizes!

AUTOGRAPHED GOLD COIN CARD: 10 Gold Coins will be physically reproduced and embedded in a card, along with an autograph of a star from that team! Signed on card and sequentially numbered to 5!

GOLDEN MOMENTS DIE-CUT CHROME CARD TRULY GOLDEN PARALLEL: A parallel of the die-cut chrome cards with a piece of real gold embedded in the card. ONE OF ONE!


GOLDEN GREATS COIN CARDS (15): Golden Greats on cards with an embedded gold coin featuring their likeness. Numbered to each Great's jersey number.

RETIRED RINGS (25): Celebrating players with retired numbers, each card will have a specially designed gold ring embedded in it.

GOLD WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS PIN CARDS (20): Cards featuring a World Series Champion player with a specially created pin embedded.

SOLID GOLDEN GREATS (15): Golden Greats on cards made of a solid piece of gold. ONE OF ONE!

GOLDEN MOMENTS 24k GOLD LEAF CARD (20): Select Golden Moments cards will also have a version where all foil is real 24k gold! Limited to 5.

GOLDEN MOMENTS CUT SIGNATURES: 20 of the greatest of all time are featured with an authentic signature. ONE OF ONE!

GOLDEN MOMENTS AUTOGRAPHS: 40 Golden Moments are immortalized with an autograph of the player who made it happen.

GOLDEN GREATS AUTOGRAPHS: 25 of the insert cards with an autograph and numbered to 10.

EPIC WALK-OFFS AUTOGRAPHS: 5 of the insert cards with an autograph and numbered to 15.

GOLD STANDARD AUTOGRAPHS: 10 of the insert cards with an autograph and numbered to 15.

GOLD FUTURES AUTOGRAPHS: 15 of the insert cards with an autograph and numbered to 15.

GENERATIONS DUAL AUTOGRAPHS: 5 of the insert cards with 2 autographs and numbered to 10

WORLD CHAMPION AUTOGRAPHS: Featuring 5 members of the 2011 World Series Champions with an autograph. Numbered to 50.

Other Stuff to be Found

GOLDEN GIVEAWAY: Find special code cards inserted 1:6 packs! As much as I love the interactive nature of this promotion, they didn’t handle the Million Card Giveaway all that well, and I’ve only heard about more issues since then.

SKETCH CARDS: 100 original sketch cards. ONE OF ONE! I’ve seen these and I love them but they are obviously very difficult to find in packs.

Short Prints: There are a number of short prints in the base set. Generally any card you see of a player with something funny going on in the picture is probably a short print. Pictures of players laughing in the dugout, pie-in-the-face shots, the squirrel, all are short prints. Depending on the player, the values vary greatly.

Product Conclusion

It’s a solid set, but to me, it’s incredibly boring. The basic card design is nothing special, the insert card design was taken too far with the “Gold” motif and the same theme really diluted the uniqueness of any of the cards. The Golden Moments parallel is the only thing that stands out from the crowd here but it isn’t serial numbered. The impossible pulls are just that, impossible.

The only chance you have of pulling any value out of this product (besides entertainment value) is to buy the Hobby Jumbo boxes where the odds on pulling all of the special cards are much better. Unfortunately that will cost you upwards of $100.

To be perfectly honest, for less than $100, it would make more sense to buy last year’s Topps Lineage product. It has 4 hits, the same bland basic card design but the inserts are fantastic – the way inserts should be. No short prints and the inclusion of retired stars make it a better product.


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    • dblyn profile image

      dblyn 5 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      Micah - I'm not sure how many people would agree with you on that but as long as you liked it, I'm happy for you. I myself don't like ANY of the wood border cards but I will admit that it works better as a mini.

    • profile image

      Micah 5 years ago

      The 87 set was great. A far better look than the lazy attempt in 86.

    • dblyn profile image

      dblyn 5 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      Actually the 1987 set was a throwback to 1968 and 1962. All three wood designs are generally pretty ugly, as is last years Topps Heritage. The 1981, 82 or 83 sets would have looked far better...

    • catfish33 profile image

      Jeffrey Yelton 5 years ago from Maryland

      Actually, the 1987 Topps design was a throwback to the 1962 Topps design. Didn't like either one,...