Topps recently announced a new release for 2012, Topps Archives. Not new, actually, since there were Archives sets in 2001 and 2002; I guess resurrected is a better word. Included in the Archives set will be another resurrected product, All-Time Fan Favorites.
I just recently discovered the 2003-2005 All-Time Fan Favorites, and I really like them. Cards of my favorite players in original designs but with different pictures than on the original cards: great! I've got all the Cubs ordered and hope to have them within a week. When I heard that Topps was bringing back Fan Favorites, I was excited.
The excitement died the next day. Topps made another announcement: Fan Favorites won't be a stand alone set, but will be a SP insert in Topps' new Archives set. Archives didn't do anything for me like Fan Favorites did because the Archives cards were reprints of the originals. Since I have all of the Topps Cubs, there was no reason to get reprints.
But for 2012, Topps has changed the Archives concept. First, because of MLBPA rules, Archives can't be made up entirely retired players. Current ones have to be mixed in too. That alone destroys "Archives." How can you have "archives" of modern players? Topps should have kept the "Lineage" name they used in 2011.
To mess things up even further, the 2012 archives cards will have their design limited. The earlier version of Archives feature the player's rookie card design (2001) and best season design (2002). But in 2012, the designs are limited to four years: 1954, 1971, 1980, and 1984. When you limit the design to certain years, that's not called Archives. It's called HERITAGE! Did the people at Topps forget about Heritage?? Wouldn't a better name for Archives be Heritage II?
Why did Topps do all of this? Who knows! My guess is that Lineage, a nice set that I've grown to appreciate, didn't sell as well as hoped. So they dumped the name and brought back a name collectors would recognize.
Will I pick up the 2012 Archives Cubs? Probably. Will I buy a complete set? Nah.
Here is what the a 2012 Archives/2020 Heritage card may look like. I think I'll wait until 2020.
And if you're really patient, you can pick this up....
in Heritage 2029