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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ways to Spend Money! Release Calendar

Here's a quick look at release dates for most baseball products (and a few others) hitting in the next three months.

Topps Chrome: September 7. View the sell sheet and checklist. What's worth collecting? If you're into shiny versions of the Topps flagship set, this is right up your alley. There's a '96 Chrome reprint set, and an extension to the 2011 Heritage Chrome set. I'm interested in a redemption for the Team USA set.

In The Game Canadiana: September 8. View the details (checklists are near the top, each has several preview images). What's worth collecting? This set covers sports and entertainment, so there's probably a little something for everyone. I'll probably pick up a base set and a couple choice memorabilia cards along the way. Shania Twain gets her first relic; Emmanuelle Chriqui will have her first relic (autographs only in Americana). Where's Avril Lavigne?

Topps Marquee: September 14. See my write-up here. What's worth collecting? Like Triple Threads and Tribute, this is a big-money product with some attractive possibilities. You'll "hit" this one for the hits on your favorite players. I'm in on the break through Colbey's Cardboard Collections. With the Dodgers as my number one team, I'm hoping to pull at least one hit. Maybe I'll finally get my Koufax auto (yeah right!).

Just Minors Mystery Balls: September 19. View the sell sheet. What's worth collecting? Not much, unless you're into base minor league issues and random autographed balls. At a good price, this could be a fun way to blow a steak dinner, since there are some decent names on the baseball list.

Topps Heritage Minor League Edition: September 21. See my write-up here. What's worth collecting? Apparently, Bryce Harper. The autographs will mostly be stickers (other than Harper, it seems), which is just wrong on a Heritage product. Other than the autographs and relics, there will be blue, red, and green tints, black parallels, and short prints. Leave this to the prospectors.

Topps Triple Threads: September 28. See the sell sheet and checklist. Originally planned for a July release, this must have been moved to be more in tune with postseason baseball fever. What's worth collecting? Cards of your favorite player in super-limited super-expensive autograph and relic versions. Unless you're spending $3200 on a full 18-box case (36 hits) for a real chance at some major mojo to make back some of your investment, wait for eBay.

Onyx Authenticated Preferred Player Collection Second Edition: September 29. See the sell sheet. The second of three autographed-baseball products on the list, and by far the release with the longest name. What's worth collecting? Again, not much of a set here. You're most likely to pull a prospect, but one in 20 balls will be a major leaguer and about one in 30 will be a legend or superstar hit.

Upper Deck World of Sports: October 11. There are some preview images, but no solid details yet. The date comes from Dave & Adams Card World. What's worth collecting? If you missed out on some of the autographs and relics from the 2010 release, chances are they'll return in this series. Most of the preview images show the same players as before, so expect about the same checklist. I'll probably be interested in a base set and a couple hits. I'm still seeking a Sasha Cohen autographed card.

Topps Finest: October 12. View the sell sheet and checklist and my write-up here. What's worth collecting? This set is designed for premium set builders. It's also the set designed for rainbow-obsessed player collectors. I'll be honest, I'm going to do my best to put together a Finest rainbow of one player this year. If you're crazy enough to tackle this project, there are two true 1/1s, /5, /10, /25, /50, /99, /199, /299, and one more numbered parallel (10 total), plus plates and the base card. Slightly easier would be the rookie on-card autographs, with only one 1/1, eight other parallels including the base, and plates. The inserts are uninspired, though the relics are attractive. This product is about the set, parallels, and hits.

Bowman Chrome: October 19. View the sell sheet and checklist. What's worth collecting? The only inserts I collected in the regular Bowman release were the Bowman's Best sets. A green prospects version will be included in Chrome (one per box) and I will probably pursue the set via singles on secondary sites.

Topps Update and Highlights: October 22. See my write-up here. What's worth collecting? The base set is a must-have for those who want a truly complete flagship Topps set. (I won't argue with you if you want just the regular set. Your opinion is just as right as mine.) The highly popular Kimball Champions minis will complete their run here, and there will be two new parallels covering the entire flagship run to "enjoy" - cognac and blue hope (the blue diamond previews look nice).

Topps Tier One: November 9. See my write-up here. What's worth collecting? Touted as the definitive on-card autograph release, each pack will have three hits (two autographs). A 12-box case is under $1000 right now, which makes for a pretty good value per hit provided the checklist isn't watered down. Based on the sell sheet, all the autographed cards will be numbered to 25 or less, and relics 99 or less. This could turn out to be a great product. As with Triple Threads, this set is for big-money card hunters - pick up your player's cards on the secondary market.

Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects: November 25. See my write-up here. What's worth collecting? Minor league prospects and the first MLB-authorized cards of this year's draft picks, if you're into that. Topps Chrome has the Team USA Collegiate team, and Draft Picks and Prospects has the 16U team, so I'll put that together. This is not an insert-filled release - purely fresh prospects with plenty of parallels, relics and autographs.

Historic Autographs Ball of Fame: See the sell sheet. What's worth collecting? Autographed baseballs! There's a chance at Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, and Babe Ruth autographs, and the set contains only HOFers. Not really a card release, but this would be a fun, expensive, quick break.

Bowman Sterling: To Be Announced. See my write-up here. What's worth collecting? Even more prospect cards. If you like Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Platinum, Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects, Topps Pro Debut, and Topps Heritage Minor League Edition, you'll like Bowman Sterling. Granted, these are probably the best-looking prospect cards of the year.

Topps 2012: Early February. See my write-up here. What's worth collecting? It's too early to tell, but for now, the base set may be the only good thing about next year's flagship issue. A pin series holds promise, and the wood grain 1/1 parallel looks fantastic. Plus, the gold parallel will look like this year's canary diamond inserts, a big improvement from the previous releases. There will be coin cards, which have some potential.


  1. Thanks for the informative post! I defiantly like the blue diamond cards. So many directions my money can go!

  2. Yeah, those blues are beautiful. I think they're going to be limited to 60 if I remember right.