1. Card Design:
This is the first year of Leather & Lumber as a stand-alone product. It has been featured as insert sets in past year’s products, so it’s not fair to compare it to anything we’ve seen in the recent past. Aesthetically, this has a very similar feel to Diamond Kings, which came out earlier this year (approx a month apart from L&L). Much like, Diamond Kings, it features a raised, or embossed surface, with a ridge-like feel to the fingertips. Leather & Lumber is a marginal upgrade over Diamond Kings, more so just a higher end version. Think of the difference between Museum Collection (by Topps) to Five Star (also a Topps product). To me, this product, although higher end, feels too much like Diamond Kings for me to give it a much higher grade (ATC scored DK at 2.0/5.0 in this category). They do look nicer, however, just not a multiplier of 2.5x, which is the difference in retail pricing.
2. Checklist Review:
There is no “official” base on the CL. There is, however, a bat/glove insert set, which sort of doubles as a “base” set. This insert set is #’d 1-100, 50 gloves, 50 bats. So, if you’d like you can call it a “base” set, but it is technically classified as an insert, and looks more like one as well. There are 21 auto sets to choose from, including all of the parallel sets. Vladimir Guerreo Jr. has autographed cards on the CL, for those prospectors out there. 16 relic sets and 14 insert sets (not including the bat/glove set) round out the CL.
Depending on your definition of “collectability” determines how this review will go. This is a hit-driven, high(er) end product. It’s designed for people to rip-n-flip. It’s for player collectors. It’s not really a “collectible” product, by the true definition of the word. I am sure plenty of collectors will purchase some of this product for their PC, but I don’t see anyone saying, “I collect Leather & Lumber”.
4. Favorite Parallel/Insert Set:
With a CL devoid of traditional parallels, we can move on to look at a fun insert set or two. The best one on the CL, in my opinion, is called Lumberjacks. It’s a die-cut set, featuring 15 subjects, all power hitters, with the likes of Aaron Judge and Khris Davis along with historical stars such as David Ortiz and Roy Campanella! The die-cut background features the player(s) in front of a forest of trees. It’s a great looking insert card! The Knothole Gang is another unique insert collection, with 15 subjects that have the player surrounded by a wooden fence, with a circle cut out in the middle containing the player’s image.
There are a few really collectible and aesthetically pleasing relic sets, such as the 500 HR Club and Big Bats, both of which have oversized bat relics, encompassing the majority of the card. The Legendary Lumber set is serial numbered much lower but includes a CL of players that aren’t often seen on cardboard. Rivals are dual relics featuring some timeless player rivalries, and are sure to be expensive chase cards, with dual subjects such as Babe Ruth/Jimmie Foxx, Roy Campanella/Yogi Berra and everyone’s favorite duo Mike Piazza/Roger Clemens! Some of the auto sets have player autos on bat or leather pieces, which offer different looks for hit collectors, elevating their desirability.
This release is much better than Diamond Kings. ATC gave DK a 2.8/5.0 (overall), yet this one got just a 2.9, by comparison. First off, as I mentioned, this product just isn’t different enough. Second, it came on the heels of DK, releasing just one month later. Had it been released, in say September, I believe it would have done much better, giving the collectors a chance to digest DK for awhile. And last, it’s just not that much better than DK, yet you will pay a 2.5x multiplier, by comparison at retail. It’s not worth $188.99 (MSRP), when you can get a slightly lesser product in Diamond Kings for a fraction of that cost ($65.99 MSRP). This has all the feeling of a secondary market based release.
Overall Score 2.9/5.0