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Old School Hits: 2001 Topps Gallery Heritage Game Jersey

In 2001, for the very first time, Topps Gallery featured an all-painted set. Every card, from the base set and autographed and game-used sets, was painted. Among these sets is the Heritage Game Jersey set, which you may recognize as being patterned after the 1965 Topps set. In total, there are five players on this set’s checklist: Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, and Vladimir Guerrero (who was available only via redemption). In addition, Cepeda and McCovey had autographed variations limited to just 25 copies (Cepeda was a redemption). Heritage Game Jersey cards were inserted at a rate of 1 in 133 packs. That’s only 1 per every 5.5 boxes of Heritage!

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2000 Topps Gallery Baseball Review

Topps Gallery has always been known for being an art-themed product, but before it went to being a strictly-painted set, Gallery had a very attractive base set with unique and vibrant photographs, to go along with some of the most unique (and coolest!) inserts the hobby has ever seen. Containing 24 packs of 6 cards each, a box of 2000 Topps Gallery can be had for very cheap, and it sure gives some bang for the buck! I recently picked up a box for $25 and was very pleased with the results. And here they are…

Base cards: In a similar fashion to 1999 Finest, this set is comprised of 100 base cards, with a subsequent 50-card subset. The cards in the subset are found 1 per pack and feature a veteran or rookie/young star. The veterans (cards 101-120) are noted as Masters of the Game while the rookies/young stars (cards 121-150) are noted as Students of the Game. In this box, I completed the base set 1-100 with 14 duplicates. From the subset, I received 24 different cards, with no duplicates (YES!!). By the way, check out that base card of Miguel “33 is the new 31” Tejada. Hilarious.

Player’s Private Issue: Seeded 1 in every 20 packs, this is the more-easily attainable parallel of the base set. What’s the less attainable parallel you may ask? How about 1/1 printing plates, seeded 1:1199 packs (yes, there were plates back then!). Anyway, the Private Player’s Issue features a silver font on the card’s front (as opposed to the normal gold) and are limited to just 250. I pulled a Tony Clark, serially numbered 159/250.

Gallery Exhibits: This is a very attractive insert set that I hadn’t even seen until I busted this box. Found 1 in 18 packs, this Chipper Jones card has got this kind of “Greek Gods exhibit” theme to it that really makes it stand out. This is a prime example of the cool, unique inserts found throughout the Gallery series.

Gallery of Heroes: These cards are GORGEOUS, and I challenge anyone to disagree. These cards feature the design of a stained-glass window you’d see at church. I pulled the Sammy Sosa in this set. These are found 1 in 24 packs. I’ll let the scan speak for itself.

Proof Positive: Each card in this set features a combination of a veteran player and a rising star at the same position. The concept is pretty much the same as the Mirror Image insert sets once found in Bowman’s Best. I beat the odds on this one, as these cards are only found in every other box on average. My card featured Mike Piazza and Eric Munson.

Heritage: Does this name sound familiar? Much like Topps Co-Signers, Fleer Sweet Sigs (and probably more that I’m not thinking of), Topps Heritage was an insert set before it became a set. In this particular set, the design was taken from that of 1954 Topps. They were seeded 1 in 12 packs and also feature a “proof” parallel which can be found 1 in 27 packs. I did not receive a proof parallel, but did receive regular Heritage inserts of Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa. These Topps Gallery Heritage inserts are classic, IMO.

This box was definitely a blast to open. While it was a little strange seeing the same guys in my inserts (Piazza and Sosa), the combination of a cheap price and some superb inserts make this product a winner. You’ll also be able to put together a base set (minus SP’s) from a box, in all likelihood, and that’s a bonus I’d take any day. If you get the itch to bust some wax, I would definitely recommend 2000 Topps Gallery for the reasons mentioned above. The best part is, it’ll only cost you the same as a pack of UD Trilogy!

As always, thanks for the read and good luck with your own box breaks!
-John