2001 Topps Gold Label Baseball Review
Before it was turned into an ugly mess of a product in 2002, Topps Gold Label had been one of my favorite releases. The product was known for thick, glossy, colorful, refractor-like cards and levels upon levels of parallels (though that might not have been a good thing necessarily). 2001 was the first year Gold Label had introduced game-used relics, all of which were just as brilliant as the base cards that made the product what it was. The following year, Gold Label was given a makeover in base design/technology and plenty of relics were added. Unfortunately, it was no longer the Gold Label that I loved and was discontinued thereafter. Let’s take a look at a box of 2001 Topps Gold Label, issued a year before its death.
Box Details: 24 packs per box, 5 cards per pack, $45
From: Baseball Card Exchange
Base set (Class 1): The base set is comprised of 115 cards altogether: 100 short set cards plus 15 serially numbered rookies skip-numbered throughout. If anyone out there is trying to hand collate the short set and notices some numbers missing, here are the card numbers of the skip-numbered rookies: 2, 19, 41, 61, 62, 92, 93, 97, 106, 108, 111-115. Like they were in 1998 and 1999, the set was fractured into three classes with Classes 2 and 3 being tougher pulls. In this box, I pulled 97 of the 100 short set cards (97%) with 8 duplicates.
Class 2 (1:4 packs): Class 2 cards are seeded at a rate of six per box and in 2001’s set, are harder to differentiate from their Class 1 counterparts, compared to previous years. Honestly, I can’t even do it without looking at the card back (it states the class in the lower left corner). The six I pulled in my box were Albert Belle, Pedro Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Adrian Beltre, and Christian Guzman.
Class 3 (1:12 packs): Class 3 cards are seeded at a rate of just two per box and feature not only a white background but two separate images of the player (the only class to do so). My pulls were of John Olerud and Barry Bonds.
Shortprinted Rookies (1:52 packs, /999): I also pulled one of the shortprinted (aka “Gimmicked” as per Chris Harris) rookies in this box, failed Blue Jays prospect Rick Brosseau (011/999). These SP rookies are also available in Class 2 (/699) and Class 3 (/299) varieties. The only one worth mentioning is Brian Roberts.
Gold Parallels (varied numbering by class): Every card in every class is mirrored by a 1/1 parallel, but I wasn’t lucky enough to find one in my box. Instead, I found a handful of gold parallels, which I’m just fine with. The print runs for these varies by class and are as follows:
Class 1 (1:8 packs, numbered to 999)
Class 2 (1:11 packs, numbered to 699)
Class 3 (1:26 packs, numbered to 299)
The above scan shows examples of golds from Classes 1,2, and 3, in that order. My Class 1 gold parallels were Jorge Posada (474/999), Moises Alou (015/999), and Rick Ankiel (732/999). My Class 2 gold cards were of Tom Glavine (642/699) and Phil Nevin (687/699). My lone Class 3 gold card was of Scott Rolen (168/299).
For those wondering, gold parallels of the SP rookies are limited to 99, 69, and 29. I think you can figure out which print run goes which class.
Overall, the collation in this box wasn’t horrible. I nearly completed the short base set and received a tolerable amount of duplicates. The gold parallels delivered as promised and I even beat the odds on pulling one of the “gimmicked” rookies. With that said, what could bring this grade so low? Remember this Old School Hits post? MLB Award Ceremony relics fall at a rate of 1 in every 24 packs but this box didn’t yield one. That was a bit of a downer.
These super glossy cards came out of the packs virtually unscathed. I’m VERY happy about that!
Relic or no relic, this box was just pretty average overall. It’s not a good sign when the best card (arguably) was a Class 3 parallel of Barry Bonds. All in all, a little more star power would’ve been nice, but at least I didn’t pull numbered cards of Terrence Long or Quilvio Veras. That would suck.
One can expect a relic, tons of parallels, and a very big chunk of starter set (if not a complete set) in each box for $45. In my opinion, that’s not bad at all, especially for a set as brilliant as this one. My box certainly wasn’t the best but I’d still highly recommend this product, as I would any Gold Label set (that didn’t come from 2002).
Overall Grade: B