THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Review of new WWE Heritage Cards from Topps
Nov 30, 2012 - 1:21:03 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
In Brief: 2012 Topps WWE Heritage offers a deep checklist of WWE stars and legends.
If you didn’t get your fill of old-school wrestling stars from 2012 Leaf Originals Wrestling, Topps and WWE are offering another trading card product with a vintage theme.
Topps released WWE Heritage 2012 earlier this week. In the mid-2000s, Topps made four sets of WWE Heritage trading cards, but has not produced a Heritage product since 2008. This new product is designed to resemble Topps’ 1985 WWF trading cards; the front of each card features a color photo with a white border, with information about each wrestler on the back. The cards are printed on traditional cardboard stock to give them a vintage feel.
There are 110 base cards in the set, which includes current WWE superstars and stars from the past. The checklist of legends is pretty deep; everyone from Andre the Giant to Dr. Tom Prichard has a card in the base set. There are plenty of different parallel cards, including four 1/1 press plates for each card.
There are several insert sets as well. The 55 ringside action cards highlight a wrestler’s finishing move, such as Don Muraco’s reverse piledriver (incorrectly identified on the card as a spike piledriver) and Tensai’s claw. There are 20 Superstars Speak cards, which show a speech bubble coming from a wrestler, and 18 color stickers. There are also 30 Allen & Ginter cards, which are smaller sized cards that have been very popular with baseball card collectors over the years.
There are also ten Andre the Giant Tribute cards, which show highlights from his WWF career, and 10 Jerry Lawler Portraits, which show a wrestler’s image as drawn by “the King.” There is also a 10-card Fabled Tag Teams insert set, and 10 Family History cards that feature real life relatives (Joe “Animal” Laurinitis and John Laurinitis, Davey Boy Smith, and Natalya) and storyline kin (Paul Bearer and Kane).
The big draw to any wrestling card set is autographs and memorabilia cards. 2012 Topps WWE Heritage offers two “hits” per hobby box: either one autograph and one relic, or two relic cards. The relic cards include either a swatch of a T-shirt worn by a wrestler or a piece of mat from 2011’s WrestleMania 27. There are also 10 sketch cards drawn by Lawler; each one is a 1/1 masterpiece.
Hobby boxes contain 24 packs of nine cards each and are selling for around $60 per box. Retail packs are available at your local Wal-Mart or Target for about $2 (regular) and $5 (jumbo). There are also special $20 retail boxes of seven packs that guarantee on memorabilia card per box.
It’s rare to find a new box of wrestling cards for $60 or less. Topps has done a good job of keeping most of its WWE products affordable, and this is no exception. The design is simple yet effective, and will appeal to young collectors and older collectors who fondly remember buying packs of 1985 Topps WWF cards. The insert themes are cool, and the 110-card base set includes a lot of legends who are often left out of trading card sets.
There are some cool autographs in this product, including top stars like C.M. Punk and John Cena, along with legends who don’t sign often, such as Howard Finkle and Michael Hayes.
The WrestleMania 28 mat relics from 2012 Topps WWE were popular with collectors, especially cards that featured a big star like The Undertaker or a top Diva like Eve. Topps went back to the well with this product, offering cards that contain a piece of the mat from WrestleMania 27. There are a few duds in the set (Ezekiel Jackson), but there are also plenty of top stars (The Rock, John Cena, Trish Stratus).
Collectors have expressed disappointment that most of the big name autographs are retail exclusives and are very difficult to pull. The retail exclusive autographs are Akeem, Cameron, C.M. Punk, Howard Finkle, IRS, John Cena, Kamala, Naomi, and the One Man Gang.
The hobby exclusive autographs are Doink the Clown, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, Michael Hayes, Paul Bearer, and Vader, along with three different signatures from Charles Wright: Kama Mustafa, Papa Shango, and the Godfather.
Most of the relic cards feature plain t-shirt swatches, which has been done way too often in wrestling products. Most collectors would love to get something other than a swatch of black t-shirt. On the plus side, there are some pretty big names in this set, including Steve Austin, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, and Batista.
2012 Topps WWE Heritage features a cool design that will take collectors back. With cheap packs and affordable boxes, this product will appeal to a wide array of collectors. But the hobby boxes are a real gamble; the memorabilia cards are pretty weak, and the better autographs are only found in retail packs. On top of that, collectors aren’t even promised an autograph per hobby box.
If you’re hoping to pull an autograph of a big star, you might be better off buying a box of an older product, such as 2011 WWE Classic or 2012 WWE. But, if you’re looking for a low-priced box to break with some cool-looking cards, 2012 Topps WWE Heritage is a fun product.
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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