On Shelves Now: 2018 Topps Baseball Series 1

I still find it crazy that every year this is still an event. Not only does it signify the beginning of the card year for Baseball, but it is still the most widely purchased product in all of cards, at least from my understanding of the matter. Topps puts a lot of effort behind making this a huge deal, especially on the marketing side, and for the most part, they have been quite successful. They continue to add content, and the legacy of this set continues to grow. With Aaron Judge’s RC season behind us, and no clear replacement in sight, its going to be interesting to see how this year plays out.

Here are some of the top hits posted so far from Series 1:

2018 Topps Series 1 Aaron Judge Image Variation 2 SSP

2018 Topps Series 1 Mike Trout 1983 Silver Pack Red Refractor Auto /5

2018 Topps Series 1 Corey Seager Auto Relic

2018 Topps Series 1 Masahiro Tanaka 1/1 Sketch

2018 Topps Series 1 Bryce Harper In the Name Letter Patch

After a look last year that definitely was a bit off the beaten trail, 2018 looks great. About as good as it has looked in previous years. They are sticking with a borderless approach, and it seems to be working well for them despite breaking from the history of the set in a very distinct fashion. Its a big risk when you consider the overly anal tendencies of the collecting public, but I think its one that is worth taking.

For me, Topps’ yearly base set was never really a focus, as most of my collection centers around autographs and higher end examples of my PC players. I also realize that in Baseball, that type of collecting focus is still overshadowed in some senses, mainly because of the history involved with collecting sets and the importance of base cards.

Topps has added in a lot more high end content with each passing year, and I do chase some of the specific examples of that strategy. Outside of that, the baseball collecting public still breaks out their needs and wants each year, and though the overall group may shrink each year, the added high end content seems to bring back a lot of other people when the set first hits.

Like most products across all sports this set doesnt have a great shelf life, especially considering that there are still 2-3 more versions of base sets still to come. Series 2 hits later, with update to follow, and Topps Chrome mixed in between. The dilution has helped to sustain momentum across the entire calendar year, but it doesnt help when old products sit.

Missing from this year is any involvement with Topps Bunt, which was a cool addition to the sets in years prior. Now that Bunt has its own product, I can see where they dont want the trouble of digital involvement for two sets, but the redemptions were always a huge hit in prior examples of the crossover.

My only real design complaint over the last few years has been the inserts, which have always felt like an afterthought. This year, I have been quite satisfied with the look of many of the sets, and the 1983 Topps inserts that have replaced the 1987 ones from 2017.

Overall, another year another set, and Im curious if there is sustainability here that wasnt something that looked possible before. Somehow, some way, Topps has found ways to keep this set relevant, and each year I am more and more shocked that they increase production to meet demand. I guess this is a true representation that the hobby does still have a place for Series 1 in their hearts.

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