Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whatever happened to hologram cards?

Apple has been seen as a company of innovation. All the college kids want a MacBook. The iPod brought music in digital, portable form to the masses. Smart phones were just the wave of the future, until the iPhone came out and flooded the world, and the vision of a tablet PC never materialized until the great iPad was brought to the world. Even things we think are simple computer tasks now were big deals before Apple made them seem easy - video and music editing, digital photos, and even just plain computer care (anyone remember the Mac vs. PC commercials?).

(as an aside, I enjoy this spoof:)

Apple didn't really bring us anything new. Face it. Laptops existed in some form or another long before the first MacIntosh computer came out. I had a 20GB mp3 player before the iPod was even announced. I had a PDA with a color touch screen back in the 1990s, well before the iTouch was released. Ever hear of a Blackberry? Yeah, that beat the iPhone to the punch. And as for tablets, well, I've seen them for quite some time.

But Apple did something great with each one of those products. They didn't just make another mp3 player, they made it "legal" with the iTunes store. They didn't produce just another smart phone, they created a "safe" world with apps that wouldn't crash your entire device should something go wrong. MacBooks are so easy, even my grandma can understand them. In other words, Apple made these technologies "safe" and "user-friendly" - that is their image. Just watch the commercial above, again. That's their whole point. (Granted, users have very little flexibility with their system as a result. But this isn't a discussion on the merits.)

Just like Apple, over the years, Topps has taken other ideas and made them their own. They crushed Bowman in the 1950s, stealing the bubble gum card market in a matter of years. They've duplicated 3D cards, shiny foil cards, parallels, relics, autographs, card materials; if you can name it, Topps has probably done it.

But there's one technology I haven't seen Topps use, and that's holography.

Maybe I'm missing something. Upper Deck started it all, really, with some hologram inserts and sets in the early 1990s, including this Ivan Calderon above. A company issued a set called SuperStar Holograms around the same time. Denny's hologram cards were a huge hit. BBM, Lime Rock, Front Row, even Pinnacle (by way of Denny's) got their logo on a hologram card. But Topps has yet to copy the technology.

It's not like the cards are ugly. Sure, the scan above isn't great, but in person, these holograms look much better than many foil issues. Flat Ivan looks regal and important, up close, while 3D hologram Ivan in the back is probably on his way to second with a double.

I wonder what Joe Mauer's 2011 Topps card would look like in a 3D hologram. Or some of those play-at-the-plate shots. I want to see a hologram card with a player sliding into third, clumps of dirt appearing to fly off the card. Give me a pitcher's card with the ball headed right for me.

The card above is yet another prize I grabbed in the Jaybarkerfan's Junk blog party!

And if you're wondering, I wrote this entire post on a Windows laptop.


  1. I loved (and still do love) holograms. Would love to see them back as an insert set.

  2. Agree 10,000%!! Holograms are always gold.

    As an aside, if you are a comic book fan you should look up the "I'm a Marvel/I'm a DC" videos online. Very funny :)