The answer to how well I did on my predictions from last August is… ummmm… Not well.
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Nah, I’m not getting out of it that easily. I thought I had a decent handle on how Topps picks designs, and in 2017 I got two out of three right for the 2018 Archives. This time around, I… uhhh… Well, let’s go through it one by one.
The first design (1950’s / early 1960’s)
What I predicted: The 1961 design. Back in August, I said “It’s never been used in Archives before, plus duplicating a design doesn’t get much easier than this.” By the way, this custom is from August, which is why Sergio Romo is shown with the Rays instead of the Marlins.
What Topps is going with: 1958 Topps. This is a design that’s never been used in Archives. In August I had suspected that divorcing the player from the photo background was more effort than Topps would want to put into a set like Archives.
One thing that was noticed by a number of people before I caught on: Jeets’ head is in front of the text, something that didn’t happen in 1958 Topps.
Moving on to the “middle” set…
I predicted the 1985 design. I figured it was popular, simple to re-create and hadn’t been used in Archives since 2013.
What Topps is going with: 1975. This choice made me raise my one eyebrow and say “Fascinating” in my best Mr. Spock voice.
Why is it fascinating? Because I didn’t think that 1975 was even in play; This same design will be used for 2024 Topps Heritage, a mere five years away. This short of a timeframe between Archives and a similar Heritage set is unprecedented. On the other hand, 1975 is a popular design and has not been replicated for Archives before.
Fun little touch with the Ohtani: In 1975, there was only one Angel with the purple/magenta border and that was Nolan Ryan (although on the original the player’s name was in white, not black).
Just for funsies I made an image with the top of an original and an Archives Angels card (and cranked up the brightness/contrast on the Archives so we could see the drop shadow better). The original is on top.
The font’s not quite the same, but I suppose it’s close enough for Archives. It’s also somewhat satisfying that the Archives card isn’t really any better than what I did last year for my Olympic Curling customs (pauses to pat himself on the back).
OK, I don’t mean to distract from the fact that I’m Oh-for-Two at this stage. Let’s get on to…
The Third, “later” design:
In August I did a ‘Hail Mary’ and predicted a set that had never been done for Archives before, the 1988 design.
Instead, Topps surprised me again by going with the 1993 design which – repeat after me – had never been used in Archives before.
1992 was the last year that Topps used “real” cardboard for their set, so I thought/guessed that it might be the upper limit of Archives. It appears that I was wrong. I’ll be interested to how the card stock for the 1993 design differs from the other two “subsets”.
I did another side-by-side comparison of the 1993 Topps design and the 2019 Archives replication. The font for the player name is different, which looks like it might be less legible than the original (but which I’m less concerned about because I’m not a huge fan of 1993).
OK, so I got completely shut out on my predictions this time around. As they say in the corporate world, “What are the Lessons Learned?”
- Topps is not averse to tightening up that “No-Fly zone” around their Heritage sets. Before now, there had appeared to be a 15-year “No-Fly Zone” around the current Heritage set, but it looks like this gets changed to 9 years – the current year plus four years before and four years after. (1970 design for Heritage means a “No-Fly Zone” from 1966 to 1974).
- Topps is also not averse to a little heavy lifting for designs like 1958 (and, hopefully, for 1988 in the future).
- While the “Nothing from the past 25 years” rule holds fast, the “Nothing outside of the true cardboard era” rule is apparently shot to hell with the use of the 1993 design.
So that’s the rundown of my epic fail. With that out of the way, what do you think of the designs chosen for 2019 Archives? Are you more or less likely to collect the set?
I’m not sure myself… 1993 is OK but not a favorite, I like 1958 and I went nuts for 1975 as a kid. I don’t think I’ll know how hard I’ll chase these until I get the cards in hand and see what kind of emotional triggers are… um… triggered.