Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who Doesn't Like A Good Surprise? There is no illusion -- Topps Magic is Magnificent

With so many products to choose from, it is always a great rush when a product that wasn't on your radar proves to be not only a great value, but also strikes a chord with the reasons you love to collect trading cards. 2013 Topps Magic really took me by surprise and I'll give you some insight on the set and why it made an impact on me.

This year's edition of Magic can be found for just under $70. It is very similar to the 2012 edition which was presented as a traditional hobby product after a year of being an online exclusive.

What sets Magic apart from recent NFL releases is that you get today's players on a vintage style card design. Vintage is such a multifaceted term though. These don't look like cards from the 1800s or event the early 1900s, they are very reminiscent of the late 70s and early 80s Topps baseball sets. This one reminds me of one of my favorite Topps designs -- 1980 baseball.

I think its refreshing once and awhile to lose all the glitz, the shimmer and the shine. Of course, if you lose those popular elements, you've got to have a very strong design to make up for it. Sometimes it is a level of simplicity that makes a great design and that's exactly what Topps nailed here. Subtle, clean layouts, combined with outstanding photos stood out among many other 2013 products for me.

Magic has a 330-card base set that includes a mix of veterans, rookies and all-time greats. It also contains a whopping 110 short prints. This box contained 148 of the 330-card set for 44%.

While Magic leaves the glitz and glam behind, it has some striking features that accompany the base set. There are 5 levels of mini parallels. Border colors are white, black, blue, green and red. You should find a mini in every pack for a total of 24.

On top of the autographs there are several insert sets to collect. But before I get into that,you should know that there are over 100 different autographs to chase. There are also dual and six-up signature cards!

Ground and Pound (25 cards) and Aerial Attack (25 cards) are more cards printed in traditional stock with the look of a set from 2 or 3 decades back. Ground and Pound are seeded 1:6 packs, and Aerial Attack are found 1:4 packs.

I think it's safe to say that when you look at the 1948 Topps Magic set, that qualifies as vintage. Topps included, like last year, mini '48 inserts seeded 1:12 packs.

Rookie Enchantment (1:6) are framed inserts featuring the 2013 rookie class.

The autos in the box are stickers, it would be great to have them on card, but, cost could rise if they were all on-card. Perhaps it is something the could look at doing earlier on the calendar and they could be on-card...

Our autographs were: #76 Josh Boyce, #203 Jamar Taylor, & #205 Robert Lester.

This box had one additional insert, a Magic Rookie Relic of the Green Bay Packers Johnathan Franklin #'d to 99.

No doubt the 2012 edition had the better checklist, but at least for me, 2013 struck a chord. Perhaps its simply because this has been the year of shiny, shiny, and more shiny. Maybe it is just a great value, and I like the underdog. The underdog in this case meaning that there are some great players in this draft that are not touted like the ones from last year... I guess we'll see in a couple of years.

Thanks to Topps for providing the product, and be sure to tune in to Cardboard Connection Radio for a little discussion about Magic and a chance to win the autographs from the box.

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