Thursday, May 15, 2014

Joy of a Completed Set: 2004 Topps Retired base

The set is only 110 cards, so it barely counts, but I'm happy to announce I've completed the base set of 2004 Topps Retired Signature Edition. I'm pretty proud of myself since I honestly can't recall completing a set ever. Any complete set I've owned (that I can think of) was bought as a set, not put together "by hand."

Let's look at how I did it: I (stupidly) bought a few crazy-priced packs of this product (each pack contains 4 base cards + an auto) last year; and more recently: a lot of 20 or so cards on eBay, a "you pick 15" lot on eBay, a few singles off Sportlots, a single on eBay (Schmidt).. And then with only 1 card left to go (Ripken), I ended up winning another "you pick 15" lot on eBay to get the Ripken since it was a better deal than buying it individually elsewhere, and ended up using my extra picks on doubles for my Player Collections or for future trades.

If you've been with the blog for a while, you know I went a little nuts for this set. Talking about it was the first substantial post back when Baseball Card Breakdown started up last year. I suppose the set was at least partially the inspiration for the titular breakdown.

My main collecting goal is completing the set of 76 autos from this set (with my "lifetime goal" to obtain all 76 as their refractor parallels [/25]), but completing the base set is pretty cool too. I'll post an update on my auto goal soon, but for this post I'm just trumpeting the base set completion.

I'm debating if I want to scan/photograph all 110 cards. I suppose the ultimate "I COMPLETED A SET!" reaction is to show the entire set, all nice and together as it should be. Well, here's a cop-out compromise of the set in small stacks with some favorites showing:

Probably my favorite aspect of this set is the full career stats on the back of each card. I won't bother scanning all the backs, though, since the text would be too small to read unless I made the images large and that would just be crazy for 110 cards in one post. It doesn't make sense to start a separate "set blog" for a set with only 110 cards (and a set that's-- let's be honest-- doesn't have much universal appeal).. Maybe someday when I complete the auto set, I'll start a "2004 Topps Retired Card of the Day (Week?)" feature where I'll just run through the set a card at a time. Yeah, I'll probably do that.. but that's still a ways off.

But yeah, hooray for completing a set!

As you can see, I've got all the cards in penny sleeves. I've never been much of a binder guy, but between this set, my fledgeling '73 Topps set build, and my Marquis Mania project (a theoretical binder of nothing but '90 UD Grissom RCs), I've been thinking about getting some classic 9-pocket sheets. I have a few spare 3-ring binders lying around, but I need pages for them and am not very knowledgeable on the subject.

So  I'm calling on all you binder guys out there for advice. 

  • Are all pages created equal? What are the best? What should be avoided?
  • Where's the best place to buy pages? What's a good price?

Thanks for any help you can give!


  1. I think you should do a set blog! For what it is worth I use Ultra sheets and got them from Amazon before I knew any better. I'd check buying direct from the manufacturer.

  2. Awesome! Congrats. I LOVE these sets, too. Hate that I wasn't collecting at the time... though I probably couldn't have afforded to buy packs of the things, anyway. Might be the best cards produced since the turn of the century. I can see why you went after 'em.

  3. UltraPro has the best sheets. You can find them pretty much anywhere cards are sold. I wouldn't know the best place to get them (I'm assuming online) because other people always end up buying me pages and I never need any.