Monday, August 08, 2011

Top 10 National Pick-Ups: #9. The case of the mysterious rookie reprints.

#9: Three 2001 Topps Archives Future Rookie Reprints.

Given to me, for free, by Chris Thomas.

2001 Topps Archives is a set that I'm trying to piece together for about 10 years now. For the uninitiated, Archives was a 450-card set the featured the rookie (Series One) and final (Series Two) cards of over 200 retired players with a smattering of All-Star and League Leader cards thrown-in for good measure. The set is, unfortunately, best remembered for the unbelievably small text used to designate each cards sequential number. I guess Topps wanted to keep the backs of each card as authentic as possible, and didn't want to renumber the entire set.

But trying to figure out what the card number required high-powered magnification. For example, the Archives card of Carl Yastrzemski's 1983 Topps card is #175 in the set. However, if you flip to the back the card number is listed as 550 -- which was Yaz's card number in the '83 Topps set. Only when you look at the bottom, in incredibly small type do you see this: "TOPPS REPRINT 175 of 450." In other words, it can be a real pain-in-the-ass to try and collect this set, and this rather confusing numbering system makes trades next to impossible.

I bought a box of each series when it first came out, but haven't seen any boxes for sale since. Dave & Adams has a box of Series Two for $103.50 -- but that probably has more to do with the fact that you get one on-card autograph of a retired player in each box. (Did I mention that each 20-pack Hobby box yielded an on-card autograph?) So, much like my 1992 Bowman and 1993 Finest sets, I'm piecing this one card-by-card.

So imagine my surprise when, thumbing through a box of cards at Chris Thomas's house, I found these three cards.

Hmmm... I didn't know Topps included active players in the '01 Archives set. I flipped the back to check the card number and found this on the back of the Johnson: "TOPPS REPRINT 13 OF 20."

13 of 20? WTF?

So obviously, these aren't from the 2001 Topps Archives set. But they all have the 2001 Topps Archives logo on them. So what the fuck are they?

It turns out these three cards are part of a 20-card set known as the "2001 Topps Archives Future Rookie Reprints;" and you got a pack of five in each Topps Limited Factory Set. The checklist features all the usual suspects such as an '87 Barry Bonds, '93 Jeter, '92 ManRam, '91 Chipper Jones, and an '82 Ripken with those other two guys cropped out. The checklist also has rookie reprints of some players that didn't exactly pan out such as a '96 Geoff Jenkins, '95 Jay Payton, and a '92 of Calvin "Pokey" Reese. They all can't be winners, but all-in-all, a pretty decent representation of the top 20 Topps rookies of players who were active in 2001.

Now I mentioned that these cards were randomly inserted into each Topps Limited factory set, as opposed to the regular factory set. For their 50th Anniversary Topps brought back the concept of the Tiffany set with Topps Limited. Distributed exclusively to HTA dealers, Topps Limited was a "high-end" version of the 790-card 2001 Topps set. Since premium cardstock and glossy coating had become industry-standard, each base card was printed on a thicker-than-normal 20-point cardstock. In addition, each card was stamped with an HTA logo and the entire set was packaged in a shrink-wrapped wooden box.

Topps originally announced that only 5000 Limited sets would be produced, but wound-up only printing 3805 sets. Assuming that all 20 cards in the Archives Future Rookie Reprint set was distributed in equal quantities, only about 950 copies of each card were produced. And since these cards were only available in an obscure factory set, good luck trying to find singles of these.

#10: It's for "Members Only"
#9: The case of the mysterious rookie reprints
#8: 75 for 25
#7: A point is a point
#6: OH NOEZ!!!!!
#5: What do they know about partying? Or anything else?
#4: Epix Mo-Jo!!!
#3: Satisfyin' the ladies, one printin' plate at a time
#2: The Mother of all junk waxboxes
#1: Ironic ain't just the name of an Alanis Morrisette song

1 comment:

James B. Anama said...

The Future Archive cards found in Topps Limited Factory Sets were the "Reserve" Future Rookie Reprints (the ones with the Topps Chrome like finish), not the ones you have above.

The cards you have here were randomly inserted in EVERY hobby and retail factory set. I bought a set at Target for my brother in law many years ago, and remember giving him an extra $20 to have him open it and give me the bonus cards from his set.

Trust me on this...I have all 20.


JayBee Anama

P.S. Missed meeting you at the National. Maybe when it comes back to Chicago in 2013. Hope you had fun around the city. jba