The single coolest Topps baseball card from each year: the 2010s
In honor of National Baseball Card Day on Aug. 11, we're selecting the coolest baseball card from every year since Topps' first set in 1951. Rather than simply focus on the most famous or valuable cards, we asked some of the best minds in baseball to provide us with their favorite. It could be because of a great photo, a hilarious story, or just a personal memory they have with the card.
If you want to know about the current state of baseball cards, you couldn't do much better than to call up Brian Fleischer. After all, he's the senior market analyst for baseball cards (along with basketball and soccer) at Beckett, which is the authoritative voice of baseball card values.
A card collector since his first set in 1987, he's seen the boom of the industry, the bust and its current return.
"Card companies started doing certified autographs in the late '90s, where they would have the athlete sign the card and insert the card. They started cutting memorabilia and you could open a pack of cards and get a game-used bat card from Albert Pujols or a game-used jersey card from Mickey Mantle," Fleischer told MLB.com in a phone call. "They were some historic pieces. They did a good job of getting collectors back. It's a strong industry now."
That includes the vintage market. He was recently in attendance at The National Sports Collectors Convention -- known among collectors as "The National" -- where an unopened pack of 1955 Bowman cards contained a mint condition Mickey Mantle card. Its new owner was quickly offered $50,000 for it.
There's one sale coming up that will likely overshadow that.
"We have an autographed Ohtani card that is 1-of-1," Fleischer said. "It's the only one in the world, It's a 2018 Bowman Chrome Rookie Autographs Superfractors that we'll be auctioning and we're expecting it to go for upwards of $100,000."
While Fleischer and Beckett -- who make over one million price changes to cards in their guides every year -- oversee a very expensive high-end market, that's not Fleischer's favorite kind of card. If he was in charge his very own set, he'd create a much simpler set.
"I'm not big on shiny parallels and crazy inserts and things like that. I just like the basic set that has a basic design from a long time ago."
So, which ones are his favorite from the last decade? Read on: