Here are my 2012 Baseball Product Rankings for the year;
Best Product / Best Set / Best Design / Best Value: 2012 Topps Archives
Not sure about anyone else, but once I saw the sell sheet of this product I fell in love. Forget that you were getting two Fan Favorite On-Card Autographs in each box, forget about the chance of maybe pulling a relic card as well. The concept of this set was great. Bringing back the older versions of Archives but on a present level with today's stars was brilliant. 1954, 71, 80 and 84 designs represented in this set was a great way to start Archives back up again. The inserts of the Decals, Cloth Stickers and 3D cards were a very nice touch to the already anticipated set. The Cost per box was very reasonable hitting the $75-$90 range. As if it didn't need anymore added value, Topps introduced Redemption's for Buybacks, Uncut sheets and Topps Contracts. Just a great overall product for any Baseball collector and looking forward to 2013 Archives.
Best Autographs: 2012 Topps Five Star
The most expensive product in Baseball provided us the most variety of Baseball signatures we have seen in years. Every autograph was on-card which included dual, triple, quads and even six and eight autographs. The logistics alone to obtain each of these autographs is insane. If you were lucky enough to pull one of those multiple autographs, you know first hand how great these cards are. In addition to these, cut signatures were included into the mix and had a decent list of players to possibly pull. One of the most interesting autographs seen in this product was Sandy Koufax autographed book with jersey. Now the reason why these were interesting was that Sandy signed the booklet and the piece of jersey! Dual Koufax auto's? Unheard of, and great for collectors looking for unique ultimate autographs.
Best Relic & Game Used: 2012 Topps Museum Collection
Do you remember this product? Seems like it went off the radar a few months after the release. Then Prices skyrocketed and become very hard to find. Even still to this day the price for a box of Museum is a solid high-end. This product started the On-card Autograph coming out party for Topps in 2012, but the most sought after cards were the relic cards. These ranged from single players, duals, triple and quads. Swatches seemed to be minor in this product and provided more of the prime patch or prime stitching type of relics not regularly seen. Some of the nicest sleeve patches came out of this product and were numbered around the /10 mark which made collectors jump on them once they hit the secondary market. Also included in the product were jumbo jersey's and jumbo bat relics. The jumbo bat relics really took off and were very nice in hand, another one of those must see items to really appreciate them. The ones I love in this product were the quad patches of four different players. These were segregated by position, teammates and also rival teams within the sport. Since this product is hard to find in sealed hobby boxes your best bet on locating some of these will be on the secondary market as singles.
Best Rookies: 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects
When hasn't a Bowman product provided the best rookies? This years Draft picks and Prospects not only delivered the widest assortment of up and comers, but provided you with autographs of them. The Jumbo boxes hit the roof once the product hit the streets as these included three autographs for the first time within the product. Now as everyone knows most of these players nobody has heard of or seen play baseball, but the unknown value of these players in the future is what continues to make a strong following of collectors year in and year out. Even if you don't open a box and store it for three to four years the value of it can increase based on the players being called into MLB camps or getting their debuts. No other product will touch this in the rookie category nor will any in the future.