Topps Heritage High Number Brief
Topps Heritage High Number is set to release on December 30th. Let's look back on the origin of the set and why it's called High Number:
Topps rolled out their Heritage set back in 2001, which featured current players in the design of the 1952 set. 1952 was the inception of Topps Baseball Picture Card Company and featured perhaps the most famous rookie card in Mickey Mantle. To keep in line with the '52 set, Topps produced a 407 base card set along with 97 short print cards.
Although the '52 set was riddled with errors, misprints, and differences, the '01 set featured only one difference. The first 80 cards of the set either had red or black boxes on the backs of the card. Each seemed to be equally printed, so they're both fairly as valuable.
From each year on, Topps recycled the design they featured 50 years prior. Zooming ahead to the 2018 set, which illustrated the 1969 set, could perhaps be the most popular set of the product. This set features rookies Ronald Acuña Jr. and Juan Soto. I believe that the success of these two players, coupled with the nostalgia of the set created more of a demand. For example, Juan Soto's black refractor /69 PSA 10 sold recently for $10,000.
What's up with "High Number"?
The 1952 Topps set also brought to light a new term to the hobby; High Number. A High Number card was defined by two features. The first being the number of the card on the back. In that same set, the cards numbered 1 to 310 were the base set, and the cards 311 to 407 were "High Number". Makes sense to me!
The second feature is that these cards were a later print run and more scarce. Topps would add on to the years set throughout the year, reaching Series 7 in some cases. They weren't printed nearly as much as the base set, making the High Number's more valuable. That's one of the allures of Mickey Mantle's rookie card. His rookie card was number 311, the first of the High Number cards for that set. Why was Mantle not included with the base cards in the set? High Number cards typically feature rookies added later in the season, or players that have been traded to new teams.
What to expect out of 2020 High Number
Looking at the checklist, Topps followed up with a plethora of rookies from this past season and traded players. Keeping with the quirkiness of the Heritage set, 2020 High Number features Action Image, Error, Missing Signature, Nickname, Silver Team Name, French Text, and Throwback Uniform variations. Although the set is limited to 225 cards, the multiple variations and parallels will have you checking the serial numbers on these cards. The inserts of memorabilia and autos are all top notch, featuring the games current and former best players like dual relics of Thurman Munson and Aaron Judge. They even have a shoutout to the 1971 championship Pittsburgh Pirates team (championship and Pirates in the same sentence is weird to me) with their 1971 World Series insert. For rookie cards, you'll see players like Brusdar Graterol, Jon Berti, and Luis Robert. I'm willing to bet Luis Robert's cards will singlehandedly bolster this product, as the rookie phenom is poised to be one of the games best players.