Topps

My Topps Collection (Updated December 26th, 2021)

1974 Topps: “Paul Krause” #82

1976 Topps: “Chuck Foreman” #400

1978 Topps “Jim Marshall" #343

I won't show a card of every year from Topps or this page would be a mile long, but I will show the years that I really did a majority of my collecting. I also thought I'd devote the Topps page to the Vikings since that is the team I grew to love when I started collecting.

 

Unfortunately, Topps is not one of my favorite brands, and I can't really give you a good reason other than to say, I find it a little boring. That's probably sacrilegious in some circles, but I can't pin-point any other reason.  The older Topps cards had a large majority of their photography taken from the practice field, (See the 1974 Topps: "Paul Krause" #82 left). I always enjoy going back to these older sets and seeing these older photographs. What's funny is, even when I look back at these cards, (and I was 4 when the '74 set came out), these players were younger at that time, than I am right now, and yet, I still look at them in these photos as if they are older than me.

In 1975, Topps, being the only card manufacturer at the time, kept on doing what it had been doing for several years, making a great and solid product for its fans and customers. The set size stayed at 528 again for the 3rd straight year, as a matter of fact, the 528-cards was a staple for a Topps set for 10 straight years from 1973 to 1982, (In 1990, Topps came back to the 528-size set for nostalgic purposes, I suppose), with everything else being pretty much the same, (See the 1975 Topps: "Alan Page" #520 right).

The '76 set was once again, basically the same set with a different design. This is why competition is a good thing. Can you imagine if Pro-Line or Upper Deck or Pro-Set never produced sets? The collecting world would've never been introduced to Autograph or memorabilia or error chase cards, respectively. We'd still have the same cards as we did in the 70s, (See the 1976 Topps: "Chuck Foreman" #400 left).

The 1977 Topps set was the first set I ever put together. Back in those days, I bought packs, or my Grandmother bought packs for me. My Grandmother owned a little corner candy store in South St. Louis back in the 70s and I got a pack or two every time I went down there. And it just so happens that the Neil Clabo card was my favorite card too, (See the 1977 Topps "Neil Clabo" #477 right). See even back in those days, I liked "In-Action" cards. And the Neil Clabo card pictured is the actual card I 've had since I was 7.  Man, those are some rounded corners. My 2nd favorite card from that set was the Greg Pruitt card. I can still picture Greg running through the mud. 

 

In 1978 my Grandmother still owned that corner candy store and by this time I was a full-fledged football card collector. My Grandmother recognized this and bought me box after box after box of the 1978 release. I had so many cards from this year that I probably could've put together 3 to 4 sets. They wouldn't have been mint sets due to the fact that I carried those cards everywhere I went. The 1978 set is also one of my least favorite football sets due to the fact that I had so many of them, (See the 1978 Topps "Jim Marshall" #343 above left). The thing I remember most about these early sets was the air-brushed helmets. God, I hated that at the time, but now it is kind of nostalgic. 

 

1975 Topps: “Alan Page” #520

1977 Topps: “Neil Clabo” #477

1979 Topps: “Ahmad Rashad” #30

1980 Topps: “Sammie White” #42

1982 Topps: “Matt Blair” #390

After the '78 set, I had the 2nd-most number of cards from the '79 release. My Grandmother continued buying me packs and boxes even after I had a complete set. When I was that age, complete sets didn't matter, it was how many cards I had in total, (See the 1979 Topps: "Ahmad Rashad" #30 above right).  As you can tell from the card to the right, the "air-brushing" was alive and well.

The 1980 set marked the last set where all my cards were given to me by my Grandmother. My Grandmother sold her store after the season and there weren't any more boxes showing up at my house anymore. The thing I did like about the '80 set was that the picture was bigger than some of the previous sets due to a smaller border, (See the 1980 Topps: "Sammie White" #42 left), but I didn't like the "Big Football" title block though. 

 

By 1981 I was putting sets together by myself. Its a lot tougher to do when you have to buy the cards. The 1981 set also marked the last year for the "air-brush" cards, (See the 1981 Topps: "Rickey Young" #114 right). I will say that I would take the "Big Football" title block from the '80 set any day over this new "Half-Goal Post" or "First Down 

1981 Topps: “Ricky Young” #114

 Marker" or "Microphone" title block that showed up in '81. I still have no idea what that was. 

 

The 1982 set marked Topps' new licensing agreement with the NFL which allowed them to show NFL teams' logos. The '82 set was one of my favorites from this decade too; the 1st logo set and still 528 cards, (See the 1982 Topps: "Matt Blair" #390 left). I loved the title block for this year; the helmet with the pennant are two of the reasons why this set is still one of my favorites. The addition of the team logos is probably the biggest reason though.

 

1984 Topps: “John Swain” RC #297

The 1983 set marked the first time Topps had dipped below the 528-card mark since 1972. That is an incredible stretch to maintain. I guess the licensing with the NFL cost more than Topps projected it would. The '83 set had 396-cards, (still a respectable number), but I always thought the title block for that '83 set was the simplest it had ever been, (See the 1983 Topps: "Ted Brown" #99 right). Take a look for yourself and you tell me. However, with that being said, I like the way the team's name was displayed in that set.

 

The 1984 set was a landmark set for Topps. With the Marino and Elway rookies this set was "The Set" for a very long period of time. Even with the crooked picture, this set wasn't bad at all, (See the 1984 Topps: "John Swain" #297 left). I actually liked it a lot. I also remember buying this set back in 1985 for $13.98 complete. I still have the original white box the store owner sold it in to prove it too. 

 

1983 Topps: “Ted Brown” #99

1986 Topps: “Joey Browner” RC #300

1988 Topps: “Scott Studwell” #158

1990 Topps: “Chris Doleman” #108

Ugh, the 1985 set was NOT one of my favs. I just don't like side-ways cards. Especially if the set bounces from upright to sideways to upright again. If the set stays sideways the whole time, ok, I can deal with that, but just don't bounce, (See the 1985 Topps: "Tommy Hannon" #93 right). I also didn't like the "BIG" last name plastered across the edge. This set was my 2nd least favorite Topps set from the 80s, (I just couldn't shake that half-goal-post thing from the '81 set).

The 1986 set had a vastly different look to it. The Green border with the White stripes was different, to say the least, (See the 1986 Topps: "Joey Browner" RC #300 left). The '86 set was another 396-card set that really delivered. In this set were many of the USFL stars that started for their NFL teams. The '86 set also marked Topps' first release that included the 1,000 Yard Club insert set. An insert set that would last for 7 years.

1985 Topps: “Tommy Hannon” #93

I loved this set!! The 1987 set had a really cool front card design. I really liked the back-to-back pennants that were in team colors, (See the 1987 Topps: "Rufus Bess" #212 right). Again, one thing that I really loved about these old sets was the chance to get cards from players that you would never get nowadays. Never would you be able to get a Rufus Bess card today. Instead, you'd probably get your 20th Marino card.

The 1988 Topps set was my favorite of all the Topps sets. I just loved the front card design, (See the 1988 Topps: "Scott Studwell" #158 Below Left). The '88 set had a great assortment of players. These sets were still in the years prior to the "Rookie Rush", (ie, when Rookies made up a huge # of the cards in the set.), therefore, many of the cards you got were from players that you would normally not get cards of. These are the sets are awesome to go back and look at.

I actually bought the 1989 set as a boxed set, my first for Topps. Maybe it was just me, but the card stock from these cards, seemed thicker and coarser than other years, (See the 1989 Topps Traded: "Al Noga" #55 right). The '89 card design wasn't bad it just wasn't good. The border or card front didn't have any color that indicated which team the player played for. Maybe this was a new design trend for Topps. If so, it wasn't a good one.

The 1990 set made my "Least Favorite" sets of the all-time list at one point. The border around the card face was HUGE!! It's probably the largest border I've seen on any card face, (along with the 1991 Pinnacle set), (See the 1990 Topps: "Chris Doleman" #108 left). There was one good thing about the '90 release; it jumped back up to 528 cards. A little competition will do that. By 1990 there were 5 different base sets being produced, (Fleer, Action-Packed, Pinnacle, and Score), which was a lot compared to just 3 years prior).

 

1987 Topps: “Rufus Bess” #212

1989 Topps Traded: “Al Noga” #55

In 1991 Topps shrank the border for its newest set. Also, the '91 set brought back the "Team Colors" into the border. Something that was missing the past 2 years, (See the 1991 Topps: "Todd Kalis" #376 right). For the first time ever Topps jumped it's set size above the 528-card threshold. Again, the competition will do that. The 1991 Topps set was a monster at 660-cards. I guess when a card set gets to 660 cards, players like Todd Kalis can have a card. Never would a guard have a card in today's card sets.

 

1991 Topps Todd Kalis.jpg

1991 Topps: “Todd Kalis” #376

1992 Topps Carl Lee.jpg

1992 Topps: “Carl Lee” #423

The 1992 set was also a first for Topps. The '92 set marked a new high for Topps, it jumped, once again, to 759 cards, (See the 1992 Topps: "Carl Lee" #423 left). This jump in set size was a direct result of new card manufacturers coming into the fray. In 1991, Pro-Set had an 880-card set; Still, a hobby record from my calculations. The 1992 set was also the first year that Topps included a parallel set with its base set release (a Topps Gold Parallel), And also the '92 set was the first to include, not just one, but two insert sets. The '91 and '92 releases had two, but the 2nd set was a traded set, not an insert set. So Topps really mixed it up in '92.

 

In closing, the "Topps" flagship title has been around just as long as any other title. Topps is quality, longevity, and enduring. It has more fans, followers, and admirers than any other. With that being said, I often found Topps a little boring.  I know that sounds a little sacrilegious to some, but it's true. There was just something missing and I couldn't put my finger on it.  But being boring wasn't enough to tell everyone to avoid it.  Topps would be an exceptional addition to any collection; it would be a solid choice well worth the investment.

I have complete sets:
 

Topps:

1) 1970 Topps Set

2) 1971 Topps Set

3) 1973 Topps Set

4) 1974 Topps Set

5) 1975 Topps Set

6) 1976 Topps Set

7) 1977 Topps Set

8) 1978 Topps Set

9) 1979 Topps Set

10) 1980 Topps Set

11) 1981 Topps Set

12) 1982 Topps Set

13) 1983 Topps Set

    A)  Topps Stickers Insert

14) 1984 Topps Set

15) 1985 Topps Set

    A) Topps Glossy Insert 

16) 1986 Topps Set

    A) 1,000 Yard Club Insert

17) 1987 Topps Set

    A) 1,000 Yard Club Insert

18) 1988 Topps Set

    A) 1,000 Yard Club Insert

19) 1989 Topps Set

    A) 1,000 Yard Club Insert

    B) Traded Update

20) 1990 Topps Set

    A) 1,000 Yard Club Insert

    B) Traded Update

21) 1991 Topps Set

    A) 1,000 Yard Club Insert

22) 1992 Topps Set

   A) #1 Draft Pick Set

   B) 1,000 Yard Club Insert

23) 1993 Topps Set

   A) Black Gold Insert

24) 1994 Topps Set

   A) All-Pro Insert

   B) 1,000 / 3,000 Insert

25) 1995 Topps Set

    A) 1,000 / 3,000 Booster Insert

    B) Air Raid Insert

    C) Finest Mystery Insert

    D) Florida Hot Bed Insert

    E) Profiles Insert

    F) Hit List Insert

    G) Sensational Sophomores Insert

    H) Yesteryear Insert

26) 1996 Topps Set

    A) 40th Anniversary Retros Insert

    B) Broadway's Reviews Insert

    C) Namath Reprint Insert

27) 1997 Topps Set

    A) Autographs Insert

    B) Career Best Insert

    C) Hall Bound Insert

    D) Hall of Fame Autographs - Incomplete ( 3 / 4 )

    E) High Octane Insert

    F) Mystery Finest Bronze Insert

    G) Season's Best Insert

    H) Underclassmen Insert

28) 1998 Topps Set

    A) Autographs - Incomplete ( 9 / 16 )

    B) Generation 2000 Insert

    C) Gridiron gods Insert

    D) Hidden Gems Insert

    E) Measure of Greatness Insert

    F) Mystery Finest Insert

    G) Season's Best Insert

29) 1999 Topps Set

    A) All-Matrix Insert

    B) Autographs - Incomplete ( 1 / 10 )

    C) Jumbos Insert

    D) Mystery Chrome Insert

    E) Picture Perfect Insert

    F) Record Numbers Silver Insert

    G) Season's Best Insert

30) 2000 Topps Set

    A) Chrome Previews Insert

    B) Combos Insert

    C) Hobby Masters Insert

    D) Jumbos Insert

    E) Own the Game Insert

    F) Pro Bowl Jerseys Insert

    G) Unitas Reprints Insert

31) 2001 Topps Set

    A) Combos Insert

    B) Hobby Masters Insert

    C) Pro Bowl Jerseys Insert

    D) Rookie Premiere Autographs - Incomplete ( 24 / 37 )

    E) Topps Team Legends Autographs - Incomplete ( 1 / 33 )

32) 2002 Topps Set

    A) Hobby Masters Insert

    B) Pro Bowl Jerseys Insert

    C) SB Goal Posts Insert - Incomplete ( 9 / 10 )

33) 2003 Topps Set

    B) Hobby Masters Insert

34) 2004 Topps Set - Do Not Have

35) 2005 Topps Set

    A) Turn Back the Clock Insert

36) 2006 Topps Set

    A) Hall of Fame Tribute Insert

    B) Hobby Masters Insert

    C) Turn Back the Clock Insert

37) 2007 Topps Set

     A) Rookie Fantasy Challenge Insert 

38) 2008 Topps Set - Do Not Have

39) 2009 Topps Set - Do Not Have

40) 2010 Topps Set - Do Not Have

41) 2011 Topps Set

    A) Face of the Franchise Insert

    B) Rookie Patch Insert

    C) Topps Town Insert

42) 2012 Topps Set

    A) NFL Captian's Patches Insert

    B) Paramount Pairs Insert

    C) Prolific Playmakers Insert

    D) Prolific Playmakers Autographs Insert - Incomplete ( 29 / 38 )

    E) QB Immortals Insert

    F) Rookie Patch Insert

    G) Rookie Relic Jumbos Insert

    H) Rookie Reprint Insert