1. Card Design:
Tier one has always been a favorite of mine. Nice, thick card stock with a dense background that allows for the player profile to pop off of the card. Featuring a more elegant design, bordering on an ornate feel, it definitely has a more “mature” feel to it, when compared to other high(er) end products. With golden and silver borders, inlays and/or highlights (depending on the card) it offers a much more sophisticated look than some of the other Topps counterparts (ie Triple Threads, Five Star, Museum Collection).
2. Checklist Review:
If you are a base/insert collector, then this release is not for you. This set is made up of autos and relics and nothing else. The “Tier One Autos” are comprised of 37 veteran, HoF’ers and rookies. 91 more players are featured in the “Break Out Auto” checklist. Tier One’s CL continues with Mystery Books, Clear One Autos, Dual Autos and much more. If buying a box (or case), there is a plethora of players represented from up-and-coming rookies, to current and rising stars, to the likes of Sandy Koufax and Al Kaline. For box/case breakers and those that are in the hobby to rip’n’flip, Tier One should be a fan favorite. On the other side of the coin, it’s a throw away, or “pass”, release for those hobbyists that collect base and sets.
As a hit (only) driven product, it’s most collectible to those that team, or player collect. It’s a great product to add autos and relics of your favorite player(s) and team(s). Most can be had on the secondary market at a reasonable acquisition price. As I previously mentioned, it’s not for everyone, so a release like this will alienate a portion of the hobby. Which, in a vacuum, isn’t a bad thing. Not every release should be targeted at a mass consumer base. For what this is, and for those that chose to collect team/players and/or hits, this is a great product.
4. Favorite Parallel/Insert Set:
Tier One utilizes one of my favorite inclusions in any release, which is the use of bronze, silver and gold ink on auto parallels. These parallels are black background with the respective ink color, depending on serial number (ie bronze /25, silver /10, gold 1/1). These auto’d cards are phenomenal, whether collecting “autos” are your thing or not. It’s hard not to enjoy the look of them, even if they fall outside of your personal collecting preferences. Having said that the best parallel set, in my opinion is the “Autographed Prodigious Patches” collection. There are 46 players on the CL, all #’d less to 10, or less. Featuring current stars of the game, fan favorites of today and yesteryear, along with HoF’ers, These cards feature an oversized, or jumbo, relic patch and the player’s auto.
Considering that this release is nothing but, you have to score this section on your own preference of card design and player selection based on its own merits. I love these cards and always anticipate this release. If just comparing other releases auto/relics to Tier One, this one should always fall towards the top of the “best of the year”.
Tier One is a solid product once again in 2019. Despite all of the great things I’ve said about it in this review, the reason it doesn’t garner a higher overall score, is that it just isn’t unique enough when compared to itself from prior years. A lot of the image selection seems repetitive and the parallel, or alternative images of the same player, just seem unnecessary. It you’re looking to buy a box and break it, please curb your expectations. If you’re grabbing your favorite players on the secondary market, you should be pleasantly surprised with the cost vs return. This is a great product to grab some of your favorite players at affordable prices.
Overall Score 4.1/5.0