Grand Cards: Tigers Gallery & Review: 2010 Topps Chrome

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tigers Gallery & Review: 2010 Topps Chrome

Did you know that all of the 2010 sets can be found here?

I've always liked Topps Chrome and the design this year lent itself very well to chrominization. One problem: the cards are so hilariously warped that they look like archways. Bad news. Pictures first, comments after the jump.

Base Set mmm...shiny. Refractors shown.

#13 Rick Porcello

#68 Magglio Ordonez

#70 Max Scherzer

#134 Justin Verlander

#156 Miguel Cabrera

#175 Scott Sizemore

#177 Austin Jackson

#177b Austin Jackson REDEMPTION

#182 Brennan Boesch

#218 Andy Oliver

#225b Ty Cobb REDEMPTION

Autographs Great autograph checklist for the Tigers--I'm showing a regular refractor, a blue (#/199) and a gold (#/50). Also, Austin Jackson has a terrible signature.

#175 Scott Sizemore

#177 Austin Jackson

#182 Brennan Boesch

Inserts Chrome versions of Topps Heritage, National Chicle and T-206. A sampling of regular and refractor varieties is provided.

#C110 Miguel Cabrera

#C138 Magglio Ordonez

#CC16 Johnny Damon

#CC25 Justin Verlander

#TC10 Justin Verlander

#TC31 Austin Jackson

#TC41 Rick Porcello

So there you have it. Lots of good, some not so good. More comments after the jump.

First things first: the quality control on this set is an absolute disaster. The cards--especially the refractors--look beautiful, as they are wont to do, but they are prone to warping to such an extreme degree, that they barely maintain their shape even when in a rigid plastic toploader. As we speak, the refractors I have are in a team bag sitting under three full 1600 ct. boxes of cards, and I can tell you that I honestly don't know if that will be enough to flatten them out.

That teeny tiny gripe aside, Topps Chrome did a bunch of good things. For one, some of the cards have different pictures than are on their regular Topps cards. I'm always annoyed when pictures are recycled across sets, as if I buy cards for some other reason than what they look like and that I just won't notice when all the pictures are the same. I'd prefer if all of the pictures were different from their non-chrome counterparts, but it's a start at least. For two, the autograph checklist for the Tigers is solid with Jackson, Boesch and Sizemore. The addition of Andy Oliver to the checklist was a nice move too. Oh, and did I mention--the autographs are on-card and not on stickers? They look great.

Because of the quality control issues and to assuage collector concerns about overproduction, Topps instituted a "wrapper redemption" program that includes two Tigers: Austin Jackson and Ty Cobb. I like this too. The Jackson card uses a different picture and looks great and the Cobb card, while just a chrome-version of his Short Print from 2010 Topps Series 2 appears to look quite nice in the pictures that I've seen.

As for the less good: I think that these parallels have gotten out of hand. Are you ready for this? Refractor, Xfractor, Orange Refractor (Retail), Purple Refractor (#/599, Retail), Blue Refractor (#/199), Gold Refractor (#/50), Red Refractor (#/25), Green Refractor (Redemptions Only), Superfractor (1/1).

That's silly. Right? That's not way too many? It is.

One other thing: I like the Heritage Chrome cards--I think that there is something about Topps Heritage that translates particularly well to Chrome. I also think that the T-206 cards, especially the ones that don't have ridiculous pictures, look good in Chrome (Austin Jackson). The Chicle does not. The Johnny Damon card was a disaster when it was originally released, and the dynamics of "chroming" a card makes the subject jump out--in what world is that a good thing for a set where poorly executed paintings were the biggest problem? I really dislike both of the chicle Tigers.

Other than that, I do like Topps Chrome, they way that I always have. Unfortunately, the warping on these cards makes it borderline uncollectible. I've chosen to chase a refractor team set and am hoping that heavy heavy boxes can flatten them out, but I'd probably think twice before going after the full set. Autographs are probably a good pickup here--especially if you can get the refractors, as the base autos look kind of dull--but that's really it for value. That said, with boxes as cheap as they are, I can think of a thousand worse ways to spend your money on cards than to go after Topps Chrome.