Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about the 2022 Topps Pro Debut baseball set, which comes out Friday:
I am not a fan of shiny cards, but for those who love the beautiful game, the 2021-22 Topps Merlin Chrome UEFA League Soccer set will be a gem.
This is the second year for the Merlin set, which highlights three UEFA competitions — the Champions League, the Europa League and the Europa Conference League.
Of note to set builders, this year’s base set has expanded from 100 cards to 150.
A blaster box contains eight packs, with four cards to a pack. Blasters also contain three Aqua Prism Refractors.
I am not going to complain, since my blaster actually yielded 35 cards.
By the way, because the cards are chrome, my scanner makes the card fronts look black. They are silver-framed, and the backgrounds are silver. Just another reason not to like shiny cards, I guess.
There were 18 cards depicting Champions League, five Europa League player cards and three Europa Conference cards.
The designs for the card front are horizontal, which I prefer. The Merlin logo is at the top right-hand corner of the card, while the top left-hand corner has a soccer ball and the name of the league. The photos are action shots and tightly cropped, which really highlights the player well.
The card back design is also horizontal, and features the team logo for the player, along with a “Do You Know” fast fact.
As promised, there were three Aqua Prism Refractors, featuring Sergio Ramos, Youssoufa Moukoko and Gerard Pique.
There was also a Yellow Wave Refractor parallel of Sevilla FC forward Ivan Romero, numbered to 225.
I also pulled two Refractor parallels of FC Salzburg midfielder Luka Sucic and FC Barcelona defender Pierre Kalulu.
I found two types of inserts in the blaster box I bought.
The U23 Stars is a 20-card insert that falls once every six packs on average. I pulled a card of Sucic.
There were also two Prophecy Fulfilled insert cards of Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbaffe.
This is a 15-card set that falls once every nine packs, so finding two of these inserts in an eight-pack blaster is interesting and welcomed.
For digital fans, there is a brochure inside the blaster that advertises the mobile game, Topps Total Football.
The app features more than 500 players from the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. It allows fans to print their favorite cards. Collectors can download from the QR label on the brochure and receive a free pack of cards, which then can be printed.
Cute idea, but I still love the feeling of ripping open a pack of cards.
Overall, the cards in the blasters represent a nice-looking set. Shiny cards are put to good use in this set, and it’s a set that European soccer fans can enjoy.
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about a Michigan man who will be sentenced next month for selling counterfeit baseball cards:
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about original artwork used for the 1953 Topps card of Willie Mays that is being sold by Lelands Auctions:
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about the 1962 Salada football coins set:
I love to blog about sports books and give my opinion. Baseball books are my favorites, but I read and review all kinds of books.