Thursday 19 March 2015

Thoughts on Topps changes for 2015

Topps recently announced some changes to the baseball line-up for the 2015 season, nothing really huge to most people, but the fact they discontinued one of the few brand I really liked in Bowman Platinum was pretty disappointing, so I am just going to over what changed and what I think as a collector.

Say good-bye to Bowman Platinum - Debuting in 2010, for me Bowman Platinum has consistently been the best Bowman brand as far as design goes (other than maybe Inception), and I personally thought that 2014 was the best of the bunch. While I never broke a tone of Platinum, I always picked up singles and participated in a few breaks. Where Platinum suffered is the fact that few people care about prospect auto's other than Bowman Chrome and Draft making the box never worth the price-point.

So Long Bowman Sterling - This one makes the most sense, Sterling always one of the ugliest of Topps offering, and the last two years were basically hot garbage. Take into account the sticker auto's and the fact that people are usually still breaking Bowman Draft when Sterling comes out make it a pretty pointless brand. Along with Platinum and Inception, people always focus on Bowman Draft auto's making Sterling pretty much pointless.

Bringing Back Bowman's Best - This one really makes me wonder, Best was around while I was away from the hobby, but there is nothing about the brand that excites me. Really there is nothing that Best can do that would excite people, Bowman Chrome/Draft will remain king as far as prospect autos go and Best will just take Platinums place as another forgettable Bowman brand, maybe Topps will go high-end with it, but would anyone really care about another high-end set to go with Tribute, 5-Star, Museum Collection, and whatever else they release at $100+ a pack.

Bowman Series 2 - This one is the most interesting, although to me Bowman and Bowman Chrome might as well be the same set, adding Series 2 in to the mix might be a little overload. The only thing that would make me care about this set is if it took the place of the Bowman Draft rookie cards that were scrapped last year as it became a prospect only product.

Topps Heritage High Number - Topps also announced that Heritage High Number would be put into packs instead of the factory style of the past few years. The box sets were pretty boring the past few years, and as far as Heritage goes, wake me when we get to 1971.

In Summary - Topps did some really cool things last year bringing back Stadium Club and Topps Tek (I was very skeptical of Tek, but Topps did well with that one), but the 2015 changes do nothing for me, losing Platinum is a big minus and Bowman Series 2 will just be more of the same as we already had Bowman, Bowman Chrome and Bowman Draft which will now kind of mirror Topps Flagship, Topps Chrome, Series 2 and Topps Update. Sterling and Best basically cancel each other out, although Best would have to be a dumpster fire to be worse than Sterling, and Heritage High Number is pretty meh. To me the 2015 line-up looks worse that what 2014 was, but there is a lot of time for me to be proven wrong.


  1. I'll be honest with you. I have never cared for Platinum and I gave up buying Bowman (and related) years ago, though I do buy a few packs of Bowman Draft, if nothing else is going on. About the only thing Topps does that I go ga-ga for is Heritage. And, if putting the Heritage High Number set in packs means we'll see more than 100 cards in it, I'm in. If it's 300-400 cards big, put me down for half a case. The '66 was a great design and '67 one of Topps best ever. So, yeah, I want more of that. The proviso would be that Heritage High Numbers USED to come in packs and they never ever sold (to anyone but me) and I don't suspect it will be any different this go around. It's something they could have sold with the '65 design, but that's about it. The '71s were OK, but nobody seems to recall that that design wasn't very popular when originally released. The "action" photos were NOT all that popular at the time (not in my neighborhood anyway) and most kids at the time were ballistic that full career stats weren't on the backs. Not really an issue, I don't think, since the '68 design (possibly Topps worst before the 90s) will probably kill off Heritage completely.

  2. You have to wonder what kind of market research led Topps to these conclusions, other than looking at sales figures and saying to themselves, "well, these are the four worst sellers, so let's drop these. Then, let's move this set to earlier in the year so that we can continue our over-priced priced point on it because the baseball season is still ongoing."

    I'm sure that the sales figures back up what they are doing, but, like you, I don't see the point of Bowman Series 2, and I rather liked the Bowman Platinum set.

    1. My guess it isn't so much raw sales as it is profit margin. Adding in a second series of Bowman lets Topps stretch out the bigger names, and probably include more filler autos that only cost them $1 or $2. Sterling, Platinum, and Inception are usually almost identical cl's, and are expected to include all the top prospects. Seems like they can get by with a weaker auto cl in Bowman because it has stronger brand identity and people still go nuts for the colored parallels, all 85 of them.

  3. That's the tricky thing - I think people liked Bowman Platinum a lot, but not so much that they were buying the packs/boxes/cases from Topps. While the design is great and lots of people were buying the singles online and from local card shops, I don't think it was making Topps enough money to match the mid to high end expectations they placed on it.

    The other stuff is maybe more likely to sell for Topps directly. I think Bowman Best will be well liked - it should have some fun things in it. It's essentially taking the place of Platinum, so I wouldn't be surprised if the new design is some combo of new Platinum and old Best.

  4. I think bringing back Bowman's Best could actually be a good move. The set was consistently one of the nicer looking products for the better part of a decade. The last couple BB releases were Bowman's Best in name alone. If they do a higher end chrome card, similar to Platinum, with some nice autos I think the set could be a big winner.

    Packing out Heritage High seems like a real head scratcher, unless it becomes like Update with a ton of All-Star cards and such. I remember the product absolutely bombing last time it was in pack form.

    I would really like to see Topps introducing some new brands, rather than recycling the same concepts from the past 15+ years.