2017 Topps Gallery Baseball Collector’s Box Break & Review

Twelve years.  That’s how long it has been since the Topps Gallery brand had a new set.  For as good looking as these cards have always been, that is way too long for it to have been gone.  The last Topps Gallery product was released in 2005.  I distinctly remember opening a mini-box and pulling a Don Mattingly bat relic with a picture of his ’84 Topps rookie on it.

Topps Gallery made it’s return this year, but with a twist.  This time its exclusively sold at Walmart.  Topps has seen tremendous success with their retail-exclusive line of products.  Collectors have been snatching them up.  Due to their popularity, its not uncommon for them to be sold out.  We’ve seen this with 2017 Topps Gallery.  Walmart’s website even has it listed as “Out of stock”.  If your local Walmart has any ’17 Topps Gallery, grab all of it ASAP.

You can experience 2017 Topps Gallery in three different ways – Collector’s Boxes, Value Boxes, and Fat Packs.  A Collector’s Box is the only format where you’re guaranteed (2) autographs.  This seems to be the most popular format, and costs $70.  Value Boxes and Fat Packs are more affordable options, but no autographs are guaranteed.

Artist Mayumi Seto and Dan Bergren are to thank for bringing this 200-card set to life.  No high-tech fancy Photoshop artistic filters here.  These cards are all based on original paintings which you can randomly find in boxes.  Card #151-#200 are short prints.  Parallels include: Artist Proof (Value Box), Private Issue #’ed/250 (Collector’s Box), Canvas (Fat Pack), Green #’ed/99, Blue #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/1, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.

Like I mentioned before, your best shot at pulling an autograph would come from a Collector’s Box.  All autographs are on stickers.  There are (20) short print autographs which are quite difficult to pull.  The short print autographs include: Gary Carter, Willson Contreras, Andrew Miller, Albert Pujols, Frank Thomas, Joey Votto, Tom Glavine, Bo Jackson, Chipper Jones, Jose Canseco, Fernando Valenzuela, Dee Gordon, Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken, Jr., Mark McGwire, John Smoltz, Don Mattingly, Ken Griffey, Jr., Ryne Sandberg, and David Ortiz.

Gary Carter passed away in 2012, but Topps still has some of the stickers he signed.  They’re foil stickers compared to the clear ones used for everyone else, so they stick out a little more.  Unless you consult the Base Autograph SP list, there is no indication on the card whether or not its a short print.  Be sure to check!

Outside of the main base set and autographs there are some inserts.  The ExpressionistsHall of Fame GalleryHeritage, and Masterpiece all make up this group.  All have autographs and parallels except The Expressionists.  Those just have autographs, no parallels.  Heritage looks the best as it resembles 1951 Bowman.

’17 Gallery is one of the most artistic sets Topps has recently produced.  I might even say that it could be the nicest looking set of the year.  In addition to acetate autographs, I’m also a big fan of artistic products such as this.  I wonder if they’ve given any thought to combining the two?

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Magneuris Sierra RC
  • Tyler Austin RC

Short Print

  • John Smoltz Masters #188

Parallels

  • Nolan Arenado Heritage Green #’ed/250
  • Aaron Judge RC Private Issue #’ed/250
  • Mark Trumbo Private Issue #’ed/250
  • Greg Bird Private Issue #’ed/250

Inserts

  • Featured Artist Mayumi Seto
  • Randy Johnson Hall of Fame Gallery #20
  • Tim Raines Hall of Fame Gallery #9
  • Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame Gallery #1
  • Reggie Jackson Hall of Fame Gallery #22
  • (2) Wil Myers Masterpiece #15
  • Nolan Ryan Masterpiece #21
  • Felix Hernandez Masterpiece #17

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2017 Topps High Tek Baseball Box Break & Review

If prospecting isn’t your thing, Topps High Tek Baseball will probably satisfy that Tek busting itch.  Unlike Bowman High TekTopps High Tek contains cards of rookies, current stars, and veterans.  In classic Tek fashion, there are numerous background patterns, parallels, and inserts to pull.  All printed on clear acetate.

When it comes to the main set, there are (112) cards.  There are (8) divisions of patterned backgrounds.  Each one of those divisions has a part “A” and part “B” pattern.  The checklist is split right down the middle.  (56) players will only be found with part “A” patterns while the remaining (56) can only have part “B” patterns.  It seems like first, second, third base, shortstop, and designated hitters are part of the “A” group.  Pitchers, catchers, and outfielders are all part of group “B”.  A good example would be to say that Jim Thome’s cards can only be found with group “A” patterns, while Ichiro’s would only have group “B” patterns.  Are you still following me?

As far as parallels go, most seem to be isolated to part “A” and “B” of the first and most common background pattern.  That looks the same for autographs too.  Parallels and autographs for every pattern would have been overwhelming.

If your head hasn’t exploded yet, a handful of photo variations were also thrown in.  These are easy to spot as the photographs picture players in warm up gear and are serial numbered to (50).  Photo variation autographs are also available.  Inserts include JubilationRookie TekTwiliTEK, and Buybacks.

I enjoy opening Tek.  Topps High Tek appeals more to me because the checklist of players is more well known.  With (1) 40-card pack per box containing (2) autographs, both set collectors and thrill seekers should have fun busting a box.  I’m a sucker for on-card acetate autographs.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Raimel Tapia RC Auto
  • Aledmys Diaz Green Rainbow Auto #’ed/75

Parallels

  • David Price Red Orbit Diffractor #’ed/10
  • Tom Glavine Blue Rainbow #’ed/75
  • Orlando Arcia RC Tidal Diffractor #’ed/250
  • David Price Tidal Diffractor #’ed/250
  • Derek Jeter Blackout
  • Stephen Strasburg Blackout
  • Yoan Moncada RC Blackout
  • Noah Syndergaard Blackout

Other Notable Cards

  • Kelvin Herrera – pattern 5B
  • Freddie Freeman – pattern 6A
  • Josh Donaldson – pattern 2A
  • Wil Myers – pattern 5A
  • Ken Griffey Jr. – pattern 4B
  • Eric Thames – pattern 4A
  • Sandy Koufax – pattern 4B
  • Cody Bellinger RC – pattern 4A
  • Aaron Boone – pattern 3A
  • Hank Aaron – pattern 3B
  • Alex Bregman RC – pattern 3A
  • Noah Syndergaard – pattern 3B
  • Derrek Lee – pattern 3A
  • Michael Fulmer – pattern 3B
  • Nolan Arenado – pattern 2A
  • Max Scherzer – pattern 2B
  • Todd Frazier – pattern 2A
  • Jose DeLeon RC – pattern 2B
  • Trevor Story – pattern 2A
  • Henry Owens – pattern 2B
  • Dan Vogelbach RC – pattern 2A
  • Lucas Giolito – pattern 2B

2017 Topps Luminaries Baseball Box Break & Review

Ladies and gentlemen we have a new high-end baseball product that comes in the form of 2017 Topps Luminaries.  Its got style, class, and a whole lot of fun stuff to look for.  WARNING!  This product is for the gamblers and risk takers.  These are my favorite boxes to open.  They get straight to business.

At around $250 per box, 2017 Topps Luminaries is quite the roll of the dice.  Boxes contain (1) encased autograph or autographed/relic numbered to (15) or less.  The checklist is mighty extensive and includes current stars, retired legends, and Hall of Famers.  No prospects here folks.  Just the goods.

Everything is signed on-card as it should be when your spending that kind of cash for one card.  Now, not every box will have that life altering “hit”.  Nowadays all products are a gamble.  But I can guarantee that what you do find will be of a great player and serial numbered to no more than (15) copies.  If you don’t find the price of the box appealing, you can always pickup some nice looking singles on the secondary market.  That’s how I see it.  You’re never going to get a product like this for $50 per box.

Interesting note.  ’17 Luminaries has the first FULL autographed cards of Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.  In the past, his autograph consisted of him signing just his last name.  Not all, but a few Luminaries cards have his first name.

Because my “hit” is a redemption, I have yet to see any of these cards in person.  From what I’ve seen online, they look well designed.  Despite it being a redemption, I’m very happy with my pull.  I’ve never had an issue or had to wait long to get my redemption cards fulfilled from Topps.  This is the first time I’ve broken the seal on an encased card.  It had to be done in order to get the code.

What this product has going for it are the on-card autographs, superb checklist, and low numbering.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto/Relic

  • Frank Thomas Autographed Letter Book Card Redemption #’ed 1/1

Already redeemed.  I will show it off as soon as it arrives.

2017 Bowman High Tek Baseball Box Break & Review

Acetate, on-card autographs, with a fast-thrill format.  Sign me up!  High Tek makes it’s Bowman debut this year that comes with a major prospecting element.  It also marks the first Topps-issued autographed cards of Phillies phenom Rhys Hoskins.

At a glance, the set doesn’t look that big.  You’d be correct.  There are only (56) cards to the base set.  But with High Tek each card has about eleven different patterned backgrounds.  Each background varies in rarity.  From what it looks like, the parallels only apply to the base pattern background cards and autographs.  I believe all autographs have the base pattern as well.  Are you still with me?  If not, that’s ok.

Waiting inside every box is (1) 10-card pack housing (4) on-card autographs.  There are a few veterans in here, but its mainly geared towards young prospects.  Guys like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and Kris Bryant have a little presence specifically when it comes to the inserts.  Speaking of inserts, 2017 Bowman High Tek has four of them – 2017 Bowman Rookies1992 Bowman VariationsBashers, and Foundations of the Franchise Die-Cuts.  Other than Foundations of the Franchise, a lot of the other inserts have autographed counterparts.  My favorite insert are the 2017 Bowman Rookies.  These print a player’s rookie found in 2017 Bowman on acetate.  Very cool!  The autographs look even better.

I like this product because it caters to a bunch of different people.  Prospectors get their talented young players.  Set/player collectors have all of those patterns to find.  Those collectors who enjoy a quick-thrill product to open can get their fix here too.

Bowman High Tek or Topps High Tek, it doesn’t matter.  They both carry a concentrated punch.  I’d like to see some mascots in Tek.  Acetate Phanatic!

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Justus Sheffield Rush Diffractor Auto
  • Junior Fernandez Auto
  • Ian Anderson Auto
  • Roniel Raudes Auto

Parallels

  • Austin Meadows Tidal Diffractor #’ed/199
  • Rafael Devers Orange Magma Diffractor #’ed/25

Base Cards

  • Willie Calhoun – base pattern #1
  • J.P. Crawford – pattern #2 (spirals)
  • Rafael Devers – pattern #3 (stripes & arrows)
  • Junior Fernandez – pattern #4 (circuitry)

2017 Topps Baseball Update Series Box Break & Review

Here we go folks.  The final flagship set of the year comes in the form of 2017 Topps Update Series.  2017 was a great year for baseball.  I don’t think we could’ve asked for a better rookie class.  It will be fun to watch and see if they can all keep it going.  With the Astros winning their first World Series, baseball is officially over for the year.  My Phillies ended the season on a strong note.  I’m excited to see what their young talent can do combined with their new manager Gabe Kapler.  Soon enough pitchers and catchers will report to spring training, while 2018 Topps Series 1 hits the streets.

Update Series wraps up the 2017 flagship design along with other inserts such as Salute1987, and MLB Network.  As a Phillies fan, I’m always excited to see what new cards they have in a product.  Postseason Celebrations includes two Phillies cards each celebrating their World Series wins from 1980 and 2008.  These are cool!  I even have parallels to look for that include Blue #’ed/500, Red #’ed/250, Silver #’ed/50, Gold #’ed/10, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.

The overall base set consists of (300) cards.  Boxes are packed with rookies and variations.  Base card CMP codes end in #5517 whereas SPs are #5557 and SSPs are #5904.  Both Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger have a lot of rookies in this set.  The Update Series is known for sneaking in rookies who got called-up later in the season.  Major League Baseball has a lot to do with who gets to be called a rookie now and who has to wait until next year to get the rookie title.  I’m sure there are lots of collectors wondering why certain players didn’t get the rookie card treatment in here.

I deeply appreciate the high-end relics and autographs that come out of the flagship brands.  Unless you get very lucky, it will be hard to get your money back.  That can be said about almost every product today.  The rookies and variations might seem like overkill, but it does add collecting value to the set.  Outside of the (1) guaranteed “hit”, you’ve got tons to look for.

Hobby boxes sell for $50-$60.  Jumbo ones go for a bit more mainly because they contain three times the “hits”.  This year’s rookie class has kept box prices fairly high.  You can’t blame Topps for including even more rookies of Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger in here.  Technically this is Bellinger’s first flagship rookie.  Those two are huge draws.  Update Series might be the perfect product to open if you found yourself priced out of other baseball products this season.

Bring on 2018!  I’m ready for that awesome pixelated design.  There is a lot of potential for some interesting looking cards using pixel graphics.

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Charlie Blackmon 2017 All-Star Game Event-Worn Jersey

Short Prints

  • Aaron Judge
  • Ryne Sandberg
  • Joey Votto
  • Manny Machado
  • Ernie Banks
  • Anthony Rizzo
  • Mitch Haniger
  • George Springer
  • Ted Williams

Parallels

  • Sammy Solis Negative
  • Daniel Hudson Gold #’ed/2017
  • Trey Mancini Gold #’ed/2017
  • J.P. Howell Gold #’ed/2017
  • Franklin Barreto Gold #’ed/2017
  • Luis Torrens Foil
  • Boone Logan Foil
  • Run And Hit Foil
  • James Pazos Foil

Inserts

  • Paul Severino MLB Network
  • Derek Jeter Topps All-Rookie Cup Reprint
  • Mike Piazza Topps All-Rookie Cup Reprint
  • Albert Pujols Topps All-Rookie Cup Reprint
  • Chipper Jones Topps All-Rookie Cup Reprint
  • Nomar Garciaparra Topps All-Rookie Cup Reprint
  • Dylan Bundy 1987
  • Magneuris Sierra 1987
  • Jesse Winker 1987
  • Mitch Haniger 1987
  • Tim Anderson Salute
  • Lewis Brinson Salute
  • Jose Altuve Salute
  • Kyle Freeland Salute
  • Amir Garrett Salute
  • Roger Clemens Untouchables
  • Jake Arrieta Untouchables
  • Rick Porcello Untouchables
  • Clayton Kershaw Untouchables
  • Stewart Cliburn 1989 Rediscover Topps Silver Foil
  • Mariano Duncan 1987 Rediscover Topps Gold Foil
  • Chuck Crim 1988 Rediscover Topps Gold Foil
  • Pat Kelly 1991 Rediscover Topps Traded Bronze Foil
  • Mike Leake 2014 Rediscover Topps Bronze Foil
  • Mickey Brantley 1988 Rediscover Topps Bronze Foil

Other Notable Cards

  • Aaron Judge #99
  • Aaron Judge #166
  • (2) Aaron Judge #1
  • Cody Bellinger #300
  • Cody Bellinger #50
  • Cody Bellinger #38
  • Cody Bellinger #214

2017 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball Box Break & Review

Minor league stars and burlap.  Plus Tim Tebow.  Its a party now!  Products based on minor league baseball are fun to rip.  During the summer I attend almost one minor league game per month.  Almost always shooting for a bobblehead night.  Topps produces two MiLB sets per year, Pro Debut being the other.  Where Pro Debut resembles more of a flagship set, including lots of wacky inserts that celebrate minor league baseball, Heritage takes a more traditional approach.  My box of this stuff last year contained a neat patch.

Just like Heritage and Heritage High Number for MLB, the MiLB set utilizes the classic 1968 Topps Baseball design.  This year’s set consists of (220) cards.  #1-#200 are base, and the last twenty cards are short prints.  Parallels include First Name Omission, Blue #’ed/99, Green #’ed/50, Gray #’ed/25, and Orange #’ed/1.  The missing first name seems more like a variation than a parallel, but not this time around.

You can’t have a Heritage set without a few variations.  This minor league counterpart doesn’t have as many when compared to the MLB sets, but you do need to keep an eye open for a couple.  Viewing the CMP code on the card backs can easily assist in identifying them:

  • Base cards end in #3408 or #3413
  • Short Prints end in #3418
  • Base Errors end in #3420 – six of these have autographed versions.
  • Base Facsimile Signatures end in #3419

Where this product shines the brightest are the on-card autographs.  Everything looks to be signed on-card, except for the ones containing nickels minted in 1968.  Those have stickers.  You’re most likely going to pull a Real One autograph.  Other autographs include Fantastic Feats, 1968 Mint, and Looming Legacy.  Although there are only four cards, the Looming Legacy autographs is the only veteran content in this product.  These are incredibly difficult to pull, but feature Manny Machado, David Ortiz, Chris Sale, and Derek Jeter in their minor league uniforms.

Game-used relics come in the form of Clubhouse Collection.  Even though I’ve only seen them online, the text on the black parallels housing patches and numbered 1/1 can be difficult to read.  Maybe that’s just me, and in person they look different.  Non-autographed 1968 Mint cards are counted as relics too.

As pop culture goes, Tim Tebow is a name that stands out on the checklist.  His card is a short print, but is much easier to pull than the one found in Pro Debut.  Bat relics of him are also in here.

If you’re a fan of minor league baseball like myself, I highly suggest giving a box a shot.  They’re quite affordable at $50 while guaranteeing at least (1) autograph and (1) relic.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Jorge Mateo
  • Jacob Heyward

Relic

  • Willie Calhoun Clubhouse Collection Blue Parallel Relic #’ed/50

Parallels

  • Jack Flaherty Blue #’ed/99
  • Francisco Rios Gray #’ed/25

Short Prints

  • Dawel Lugo #206
  • Ian Anderson #214
  • Justus Sheffield #209

Inserts

  • Scott Kingery 1968 Topps Discs #18
  • Bo Bichette 1968 Topps Discs #21
  • Sandy Alcantara 1968 Topps Discs #4
  • Ariel Jurado 1968 Topps Discs #13
  • Striker 1968 Topps Game Mascots #3
  • Sluggo 1968 Topps Game Mascots #10
  • Triston McKenzie Baseball America All-Star
  • Tyler O’Neill Baseball America All-Star
  • Kevin Newman Baseball America All-Star

Notable Base

  • Rhys Hoskins #164
  • Gleyber Torres #100
  • Clint Frazier #75

2017 Bowman Chrome Baseball Box Break & Review

For two decades the Bowman Chrome brand has been the #1 product when it comes to a player’s first year cards.  Collectors love Chrome!  This year is no different.  People are willing to do their homework and spend lots on minor league standouts hoping that one day they’ll hit it big.  Sometimes this can workout great.  Others not so much.  That’s the gamble you take.  Either way you look at it, Bowman Chrome is the product that amplified prospecting within this hobby.

Topps decided to keep the new format for Bowman Chrome that began last year.  Every master box comes with two mini-boxes containing (6) packs each.  Bowman Chrome is all about the parallels.  Whenever I open a pack of this stuff I look down into the top and hope to see a slightly thicker card.  I’ve noticed that Topps prints the parallels and autographs on thicker stock.  When pulling the cards out I always attempt to get a glimpse at the fatter card to see if it has any color to it.  I enjoy the suspense.  Seeing a little strip of gold, orange, red, or SuperFractor pattern can make for an entertaining pack rip.

Two major additions were made to Bowman Chrome in 2017.  The first are photo variations.  Bowman Chrome is not the traditional place you’d find these.  But we’ve got them.  (15) to be exact.  They’re easy to spot as long as you check the CMP code on the back.  Base cards end in #3927 compared to photo variations with #3953.

The other new addition are relics.  Just like the photo variations, Bowman Chrome isn’t known for having them.  Chrome Autograph Relics, 2016 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Relics, and 2016 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Autograph Relics can all be found.  Those AFL cards can come with some insane looking patches.

Refractors That Never Were gives us a dose of what popular Bowman cards from the past would look like in refractor form.  Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, and Ivan Rodriguez each have autographed versions.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Luis Arraez
  • Mitchell White

Parallels

  • Lucas Erceg Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 Updates Orange Refractor #’ed/25
  • Chris Archer Gold Refractor #’ed/50
  • Ryan O’Hearn Green Shimmer Refractor #’ed/99
  • James Kaprielian Refractor #’ed/499
  • Brent Honeywell Bowman 70th Logo Blue Refractor

Inserts

  • Eloy Jimenez 2016 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars
  • D.J. Stewart 2016 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars
  • Dustin Fowler Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 Updates
  • Alec Hansen Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 Updates
  • Ronald Acuna Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 Updates
  • Taylor Trammell Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 Updates

Notable Rookies

  • Andrew Benintendi
  • Yoan Moncada