Typically, Topps Archives features three designs from the past to complement its annual set. But with Topps celebrating its 70th year, the 2021 Topps Archives set will draw from every decade it has manufactured baseball cards, starting with the 1950s.
So, the 300-card base set will be broken into designs from the 1957, 1962, 1973, 1983, 2001 and 2011 sets. To put a new spin on things, Topps skips ahead 70 years and offers a possible “preview” of what cards might look like in 2091.
2021 Topps Archives Configuration and Base Set
A hobby box will contain 24 packs, with eight cards to a pack. Topps is promising two autographs per hobby box, and they will be on-card signatures.
Base set parallels will be plentiful, starting with Rainbow Foil (numbered to 150). Others are Green (125), Silver (99), Red (75), Red Hot Foil (50), Blue Foil (25 and a hobby box exclusive), Orange Hot Foil (15, also a hobby box exclusive) and a Foil Fractor (1/1).
Inserts will offer some blasts from the past. The 1963 Topps Peel-Offs card variations will fall every six packs. The original 1963 version was not numbered but contained 46 players. The 2021 version will follow the same “big head” design, with the player’s face inside an oval with large block letters at the bottom naming him, his team and playing position.
The 1989 Big Minis shrinks the cumbersome original design to a more palatable card from nine-pocket binders. The 1991 Bazooka Shining Stars inserts also fall once every four packs, going back three decades to update a set that game in boxes of gum.
Never Forgotten inserts fall once every eight packs and feature players who paid their respects 20 years ago to the New York Police Department and the New York Fire Department in the days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011.
Movie Posters can be found once in every six packs. These inserts take on a look that is reminiscent of the old movie cards that could be found hanging in frames at theaters, hyping upcoming movies. The Topps version hypes those players who contributed to the success of their teams, from the starters to those playing bit parts. Mini Posters will be box toppers, issued one per box.
The final insert is 1994 Topps Draft Picks. There will be one of these cards per hobby box. Naturally, rookies will be the main focus of this insert.
Fan Favorites Autographs in the Archives set are the most common signature cards in the set. Collectors can chase parallels in Purple (numbered to 150), Silver (99), Blue (25, a hobby exclusive) and Gold (1/1). Fan Favorites Premium Autographs are numbered to 50 or less, with a Gold parallel (1/1). These cards highlight the biggest names in the game.
Never Forgotten Autographs and 1991 Topps Bazooka Shining Star Autographs each feature Purple parallels, numbered to 150, along with Silver (99), hobby exclusive Blue (25) and a 1/1 Gold parallel.
The 1963 Topps Peel-Off Autograph cards are limited to hobby packs. The base autographs have serial numbers, while the parallels are Silver (numbered to 99), Blue (25) and Gold (1/1).
And the 1994 Topps Draft Picks Autographs have base versions, Blue (numbered to 25), Red (10) and Gold (1/1).
Scarcer autographs can be found in the 1989 Topps Big Minis, which are numbered to 20. Topps Originals Buyback Autographs, meanwhile, are numbered to 10.
2021 Topps Archives is scheduled to be released the week of Oct. 29.
About Bob D’Angelo
Bob has been a sportswriter and copy editor for more than 35 years and a blogger for a decade. He is celebrating his 50th year of card collecting, and still counts his 1965 Topps Mickey Mantle as his favorite. You can reach him at [email protected].