One post I have in mind for later this year is a look at the increase in high-dollar issues and the "big hit" premium releases.
There have been more of these in Japan lately, or at least they've shifted a bit in format to become super-premium issues. One big example is Epoch's products. Their one-hit-per-box issues used to include a full base set, but now the base cards are just about as limited as the autographs. It was possible to get the full "Red Hell" anniversary set at a good price, but building one of the latest issues (MVP, Record Holders, etc) is cost-prohibitive. And those topical sets are exactly what I tend to collect.
American card manufacturers invented the premium box. Topps Tribute, Upper Deck's Ultimate Collection, Playoff's Absolute Memorabilia. And several sets now have no base set. Topps Strata is just one of several issues that is all hits. That, honestly, pisses me off. I am, first and foremost, a type collector. And with 36 sets including parallels in the Topps Strata release, all with autographs or relics, that's 36 cards that I know will cost me a fortune to get (assuming I ever do). And don't get me started on Panini with their infinite number of parallels: 2016 Prime Cuts has 81 sets, Flawless 108, and Pantheon 128. None of those sets have true base cards for average collectors.
While cut autographs aren't really my thing, unless I really like the subject, the 2013 Historic Autographs Originals 1933 (wow, what a long set name) cut-auto release includes base cards.
Without actually saying "Goudey" the release includes cut signatures encased with original 1933 Goudey cards in most cases. Some cuts include the regular base cards; lots of subjects in the checklist (which is about 250) don't have 1933 Goudey cards.
My scanner can't handle the darker borders on most of the cards, and the paintings aren't very realistic though they are interesting. I could do without the gigantic website address on the front (put the subject's name there or get rid of it completely) and the excessive use of a difficult to read script font, especially for the player's name on the back. And why did they only make 42 cards, but number them to 249?
Sets can be found on eBay pretty cheap, and I got mine here from YJA for about $2 shipped. But these low prices don't mean that companies shouldn't produce them. The average collector may not be willing or able to shell out $100 or more on a one-card gamble, but we do enjoy the subjects included in these sets.
This particular set includes lots of Hall of Fame baseball players, along with Negro League stars and executives, and even a president. While this set is just a collection of retired people with no real information on the cards, I always enjoy art sets. And the first baseball cards didn't have any real information on the cards, either.
Here are the rest of the card fronts. Again, my scanner doesn't like darker borders, so there is a good bit of auto-cropping going on.