Topps has launched its successor to the popular (though controversial) Project70 and Project 2020. The core concept of hiring top-of-the-line artists to render their baseball card concepts has remained. However, there are some notable differences and, dare we say, improvements. In order to evaluate this new release, we present the Project100 review and checklist.
Topps is launching its newest series of artistic baseball cards sold directly from the company to the consumer. The cards can be ordered directly until the allotted print run has been sold out.
The cards in the project are of high quality. They arrive on impressively thick stock at 130 pt and are encased in one-touch holders.
You can buy three types of Project100 cards from the manufacturer. Here are the details on each:
There will be five weeks of releases coming in four seasons. Each card will be available on the Topps website until it sells out. You can see the currently available designs and purchase them by following this link.
Here are the prices for Project100 cards:
What is an art collection without a catalog? Topps has fully embraced the artsy image by releasing a full-scale art catalog for each season of releases. They also include interviews with the artists and a wealth of valuable information.
Try to spring for the 1st edition variety if you want to get a catalog. There are only 100 copies made, so it may be valuable if the release is a hit.
It certainly isn’t in adding a much-needed space between words and numbers! So, no, but seriously the concept has some essential differences that adjust to the current marketplace.
The hobby has moved from focusing on base and quantity to premium products and scarcity. Topps has moved in the same direction for Project100. The most notable change in that direction is the quantity. While Project70 had several hundred cards, the latest iteration has a mere 100. That presumably means there is more scrutiny on the level of the cards involved than there was in past projects.
Therefore, the new cards will be released slower and more deliberate pace. While Project100 had several releases a day, now we will see no more than one. In addition, the cards will be released in four distinct seasons, with 25 in each. That will allow Topps to give each card room to breathe. Indeed, I found the schedule of Project100 overwhelming.
The previous projects were made-to-order. Therefore, you had a specific window to buy each card. Within that window, many people could order, and Topps was obligated to ship the amount purchased.
In project100, the company is printing a limited number of cards. It is making exactly 3,999 copies of each base card.
In Project70, there was an appealing element of chance. Topps made foil versions of cards and shipped them to customers at random.
The new Project100 adds to its exclusivity by making every card a foil variant. However, there are different types of foil cards included. Cracked ice and rainbow foil appear to be the most common types.
The cards available in Project70 and Project 2020 mainly were interpretations of beloved baseball cards. However, Project100 sees the artists conceptualize their own designs from scratch.
The packages that the sleeves come in are artsy cardboard sleeves. Last time they were white, and now they are black. However, there is a more critical difference (imagine that!). While in the past, the packages were not labeled: they now very clearly delineate the contents. I’m happy about that because I have a bunch of Project70 sitting around and need to remove or open the sleeves to tell which card is which.
Every season will have a different lineup of artists, unlike previous projects with one long list of contributors. Here are the individuals slated to contribute to the first season of Project100 releases.
I was somewhat surprised to see the list was made up entirely of men. But I assume there will be worthy female artists in this project because there were many excellent ones featured on Project70.
A legendary graffiti artist, Demsky has been prominent on the scene for over two decades. Starting as a pop art specialist immersed in an anime aesthetic, J. has wholly reshaped his art over the last few years. He now employs bold shapes and color schemes in a fascinating take on conceptual art.
Geiger is a legend in the sneaker biz and has been named among “the 25 Most Influential People in Sneakers Right Now” by Complex. So you owe it to yourself to check out his incredible sneaker line. Due to his focus on footwear, John’s inclusion on the shortlist of artists raised some eyebrows. But his cards look lovely.
The NoPattern studio was established almost twenty years ago by artist Chuck Anderson. According to the studio website, “since founding NoPattern in 2004 at the age of 18, Chuck has collaborated with companies such as Nike, Microsoft, Target, Vans, & Reebok, agencies such as BBDO, Landor, McCann-Erickson, & Crispin Porter+Bogusky, and publications like ESPN Magazine, WSJ, GQ, & Bloomberg Businessweek.”
Anderson’s designs are showy and visually spectacular. Perfect for the sports world.
Andre is a massive mover and shaker on the Los Angeles art scene. He is best known for co-founding the Soulection collection. That organization “began as an independent radio show and has since blossomed into a global community of artists and audiences, united in a borderless, genre-bending, musical movement.” They continue to run a radio show, recording label, and a clothing line.
Andre is mainly known as a DJ. However, he is also a remarkable artist well worth checking out.
Malik is an incredible artist. Period. His website describes the style Robert uses as one that “often works with images and conventions recognizable from the media, reframing his appropriated source material to reveal the absurdity of every day life.”
He combines elements of Picasso style-Cubism, with contemporary pop art motifs. His work has some of the most sophisticated visual commentary on race relations I have ever seen.
Topps has not released a complete checklist of this series. Therefore, we will keep up with the newest releases and update the site. Here is what has come out so far:
1 Wander Franco by Malik Roberts
2 Derek Jeter by NoPattern
3 Shohei Ohtani by J. Demsky
4 Mookie Betts by Andre Power
5 Roberto Clemente by Josh Geiger
6 Ronald Acuna Jr. by Malik Roberts
7 Julio Rodriguez by NoPattern
8 Ichiro by J. Demsky
9 Mike Trout by Andre Power
10 Fernando Tatis Jr. by Josh Geiger
Project 2020 and Project70 included some stunning cards. I purchased a few, and they are among my absolute favorites. However, the releases were let down by overprinting and release fatigue. There were too many cards and too many copies. Therefore, many cards sold for half their value not long after release. That experience has soured many users on the Topps artist projects. As a result, you can see a reasonably endless Blowout Forums thread of users (mostly) ripping the releases apart.
However, this year’s release has some advantages over the previous ones. There are fewer cards, artists, and a limited print run. In addition, the inclusion of signed artist proofs and limited edition cards will increase the scarcity of specific versions. Finally, the rookie class is awesome, and we can expect Topps to capitalize by issuing Adley Rutschman, Spencer Torkelson, and Bobby Witt Jr. cards. Project100 has already gotten the ball rolling with a Julio Rodrguez rookie by NoPattern.
With all that in mind, I see some possible value in buying low print run versions of some rookie cards and the most popular designs.