High Tek is making its football debut in 2015, a year after Topps brought back the product for baseball in 2014. The original Tek, a baseball product that ran from 1998 to 2000, was a real challenge to collectors.
Variations? Tons of them. The original Tek product in 1998 was a 90-card base set with 90 different background patterns, presented on acetate stock. If you wanted a master set, that meant collecting 8,100 different cards. Plus, there were 90 parallels with diffraction foil.
Whew. That's a lot of bombardment to the senses.
Variations are the theme again in High Tek football, but there are not as many. The mix of acetate and foil brings out some crazy designs, though. One drawback: the cards are rather thin and could conceivably bend or curl easily. Be careful when handling them.
A hobby box will contain one pack, with eight cards to a pack. Topps is promising one on-card autograph card per pack. The price range will be $55 to $70 for a hobby box.
The set is broken down into patterns, with a Group A and B example of each. Pattern 1 is grass and waves; pattern 2 is spiral and dots, and pattern 3 is circuit board and pipes. Pattern 4 consists of cubes and chain links, and pattern 5 showcases pyramids and diamonds. Pattern 6 includes stripes and grids, while pattern 7 is a blade. The blade is the rarest design, falling one in every 24 packs.
There are even retro variations, featuring 10 players in their teams’ throwback uniforms. Parallels will include Red Orbit Diffractors, numbered to 5; and a 1/1 Black Galactic Diffractor.
In the base set, expect to see multiple cards of players with different patterns.
That was apparent in the hobby box of High Tek football that I opened. I found two cards of Lions running back Ameer Abdullah, featured with dots and pipes backgrounds.
The autograph card was a Gold Diffractor grass pattern card of Browns defensive tackle Danny Shelton, numbered to 50. The signature was clear and distinctive, and he even included his number on the card. Nice touch.
By the way, other diffractors collectors can find include Tidal, Clouds, Red Orbit (numbered to 5) and 1/1 Black Galactic and printing proof cards.
The final card was of Giants linebacker great Lawrence Taylor featured on a grid pattern.
Topps Tek football is geared to autograph collectors (because they are on-card and look very nice), and those you enjoy a more avant garde, contemporary look. It’s not for everyone — traditionalists might cringe — but it’s definitely an artistic-looking set.