Archives was one of the baseball card products produced by Topps from 2001 until 2005. The retro-themed sets were primarily reproductions of previous Topps releases or retired stars on classic card designs. In 2012 brought back Archives with a renewed focus on current players.
The 2001 set was a very successful. It had one of the most extensive autograph insert sets ever put into a baseball card product, one that is still highly collected today. The nostaglia of the Topps Baseball card sets over the years powered the product that used the rookie cards and final Topps cards of Hall of Fame players as its foundation.
While not as successful as the previous year, 2002 was still a well received product. The autograph checklist declined while more game used inserts were included. In this set, a player's best year determined which card would be used for reprinting.
Topps shifted from a reprint based set to a different model in 2003. Instead they used previously unused photography of retired major league stars on classic card designs rather than reprinting a particular year from a player's career. Unique to this set are Don Zimmer buyback autographs and embossed cards that were also buybacks.
Unlike the rest of the Topps Archives set, the 96-card Shoebox set was released only as factory sets in hobby shops. This was the last of the reprint Archives sets.
The 2004 Topps ATFF set was very similar to the 2003 offering. The insert sets were almost the same, as was the size, distribution, and structure of the set. The only major change was the lack of an embossed autograph set and no buybacks like the Zimmer set from 2003.
The 2005 set expanded on the number of insert sets from 2004. Dual and Triple autograph sets were added, as well as an innovative Original Relics set that used two buyback cards formed together with a game used jersey swatch. This would be the last release of Archives/Fan Favorites for seven years as Topps streamlined their product lines in the late 00's.
After a seven year hiatus, Topps reintroduced the Archives set into its normal release schedule. This time the focus was much different, primarily focusing on current players on classic card designs. The set felt more like a Topps Heritage greatest hits rather than the Archives sets of the 2000's. A couple of the more unique inserts in this set are autographs from the movie Karate Kid and 25 buybacks of the 1994 Topps Archives Hank Aaron cards that were autographed.
The 2013 set continued in the same vein as the 2012 set with a focus on current players on classic card designs. The 1972, 1982, 1985, and 1990 sets were used for the base set. Replacing the Karate Kid insert set is a rock band autograph set and a re-imagining of the Triumvirate insert sets from Stadium Club.
The base set for the 2014 Archives set used the 1973, 1980, 1986, and 1989 set designs. The set expanded the number of insert sets and had an insert set focus on the movie Major League that was released 25 years before in 1989.
The 2015 Archives set was trimmed back compared to the 2014 release. Again the base set re-used old card designs (1957, 1976, and 1983). The pop culture insert set this year was focused on Will Ferrell and his tour around MLB spring training for charity.
The 2016 Archives set was very similar to the 2015 release. This year used 1953, 1979, and 1991 for the base set design. The pop culture focus was the film Bull Durham which starred Kevin Costner as a minor league catcher.
The 2017 release of Topps Archives was scaled down even further than the 2016 set. There were no game used relic cards and the pop culture themed inserts were all but removed except for some buyback autographed cards. The three card designed used for the base set were 1960, 1982, and 1992.
Topps Archives Baseball
|2001 – 2002 – 2003 Shoebox - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017|
|2001 Archives Reserve – 2002 Archives Reserve|
|Topps All Time Fan Favorites Sets|
|2003 Fan Favorites – 2004 Fan Favorites - 2005 Fan Favorites|