They are that nice.
The 2018 Topps Gallery set is a retail-exclusive product that can be bought at Walmart. The hobby-style Collector box sells for $79.99 and contains 20 packs. There are five cards in every pack, and Topps promises two autograph cards in every box.
his is the second straight year that Topps has sold Gallery through Walmart, and there is also an online buying option for those who don’t want to venture near big box stores during the holiday season.
Lately, I’ve been buying blaster boxes in most cases to review products, but this time I splurged and purchased a Collector box. There are 200 cards in the base set, with the final 50 cards designated as short prints. I pulled 84 base cards and four short prints; the SPs have designations on the card fronts like “Apprentices,” “Artisans” and “Masters.” For example, the box I bought contained a Masters (Greg Maddux), an Artisan (Masahiro Tanaka) and two Apprentices (Dustin Fowler and Franklin Barreto).
The artists working on the portraits for this set include Mayumi Seto, John Giancaspro, Kris Penix, Kevin Graham, Carlos Cabaleiro, Dan Bergren, Evan Shoman and Gerry Garcia. Each artist is credited on the card back, so a collector will know immediately who created the portrait on the front.
The card fronts are mostly vertical in design. The player’s last name is at the bottom of his portrait, stamped in gold foil. The first name is presented in small script, while the last name is in big block letters. The Topps Gallery logo is positioned in the top right-hand corner of the card.
The player’s team is stamped in small capital letters under his last name. Curiously, one has to flip the card to find out the player’s position.
The player portraits are stunning, with rich detail and soothing background colors. Emotions are captured vividly, too. Al Minter’s card (No. 6) shows the pitcher’s strong concentration as he goes into the stretch. Marcell Ozuna (No. 30) shows strength through the contours in his face, contrasted smartly with a cloud-filled, blue sky background. Portraits of Bo Jackson, Ozzie Albies, Brooks Robinson and Charlie Blackmon are favorites, too.
The card backs follow a vertical design, with a five-line paragraph called “Gallery Notes” giving a short summary of achievements and career highlights. Instead of a year-by-year line summary of a player’s career, Topps chooses a month-by-month breakdown from 2017, which is a nice change of pace.
Parallels have a Private Issue stamp and are numbered to 250. I pulled two of these cards. There are also parallels in wood, green (numbered to 99), blue (50), orange (25), and 1/1s in red. There are also parallels in wood, green (numbered to 99), blue (50), orange (25) and red (1/1). There are also 1/1 printing plates.
The two autograph cards I pulled were sticker signatures, which was slightly disappointing. The auto cards were of Braves pitcher Max Fried and Blue Jays shortstop Richard Urena.
Heritage Set is a 40-card insert that is designed like the iconic 1952 Topps cards. I pulled four of these cards, including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Manny Machado and Francisco Lindor. Parallels for this subset also come in green (numbered to 250), orange (25) and red (1/1).
Masterpiece is a 30-card insert set, which features a portrait-like black-and-white shot against a feathered action shot in the background. I pulled two of these cards —Derek Jeter and Andrew McCutchen.
Each Collector box comes with a Gallery Boxloader, which could include original paintings. I pulled an Oversized Base Topper — there are 50 different subjects— of Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
Topps’ slogan on its Collector Box is “The Art of Collecting.” There is an art to collecting, and Topps Gallery is an attractive set with cards that deserve to be framed.