2012 Topps Archives 1977 Cloth Stickers

Set Type: Insert
Card dimensions: 2½” x 3½”
Parallels: Black, Cyan, Magenta & Yellow Printing Plates — each serial numbered “1/1”
Additional Information/14,000 Phillies Commentary: Inserted in packs of 2012 Topps Archives. As the name suggests, the set replicates the 1977 Topps Cloth Sticker test issue.

Because it’s the first set of cards I remember buying in packs at the store, the 1977 Topps set remains one of my all-time favorites. Seeing these cards only reminds me that I have to wait until 2026 before I finally see Topps replicate the design in its Heritage offering. Until then, these will do quite nicely. In fact, there’s something rather special about the way that Topps chose the Phillies for this set; they are all: pitchers; wearing their home uniforms; pictured in a similar type of action shot; and the photography is similar to what you would see for action shots that made their way into mid-1970s Topps sets. I know the year is not even half over yet, but in the eyes of this Phillies collector, Topps is going to do have to do something really special to make a better insert set than this one.

Cliff Lee
Roy Halladay
Steve Carlton

6 responses to “2012 Topps Archives 1977 Cloth Stickers

  1. Topps Archives 2012 is like Topps Lineage 2011 but with a base set that is actually worth collecting. As Topps Archives (and its even better-looking stepchild, Topps Fan Favorites) was for me from, IIRC,1991-1994 and 2001-2005, this will be a set that I try to collect by buying packs. It looks like it will be a fun one to put together, even if it does have all those SPs. On eBay, they seem to be selling for a good amount less than Heritage SPs, so that’s good.

    • Without saying too much, your comment about Topps Lineage 2011 is very similar to what I intend to write when I finally post the checklist for the base set. Aside from that, I love the fact that the SPs seem to be relatively affordable as well — I don’t terribly mind SPs in theory, but they shouldn’t be so scarce that set collectors (whether it’s team or the whole, complete set) have major issues in completing them.

  2. Oh yeah, and as to these Topps cloth stickers, they look awesome! The image is a lot crisper, at least per the scan, than the original Topps cloth stickers were.

    1977 was also my first year really buying packs (although I think my parents or grandparents must have bought me a bunch of 1976’s, as I always have had a memory of having those in my collection too), so this design is important to me, and I too can’t wait until the Heritage set comes out in this design.

    Recently I bought a large lot of 1977 OPC cards and for all the ones that are different photos than the 1977 Topps cards, I mixed them into my 1977 binder, creating a mega-set (albeit a bit of a bastardized one…). It will be all I can do not to make room for the various Archives-type cards in there as well.

    • You touched on something that I still occasionally waffle back-and-forth about. I love the idea of mixing together cards that use the same design (such as the Topps 52 Rookies sets from a few years ago), but at the same time I want to keep my sets organized by year, which precludes mixing the cards. The only time I create bastardized mega-sets (at least in my binders — most of my cards just end up in penny sleeves and are stored in 3200-count boxes) are when the sets are actually from the same year. I’ve done this for ’77 Topps/OPC, ’79 & ’80 Topps/Burger King, and most recently the various Topps/Chrome/Opening Day/Phillies Team Sets. Yet, I still cannot bring myself to say, for instance, mix my 2010 Bowman Throwbacks with the ’92 Bowmans or any Heritage set (Topps or Bowman) with the set it is based on.

      However, I did mix in previous Fan Favorites releases with the sets they were designed to look like. My only defense on that is that the players on those cards were being pictured in sets that they did appear in previously.

  3. I have my original, 8-year-old-self 1977 Topps set, in what might charitably be described as G-VG condition (_maybe_ that good) in an 800-count box. (My brother always points out that it is half his, as are my 1978-80 sets as well, after which we started collecting separately.) In the early days of eBay I got a good deal on a full, much nicer 1977 Topps set, so I put that one in a binder, and that’s where I have worked in the OPC cards (and I have slots open for the few cards with different photos that I still need to track down–on some message board someone helpfully listed all the photo variations). I have also worked in the 1977 BK Yankees cards that have different images–but I cherry-picked my 1977 BK set to do that, so now I have to replace those. I may do the same for 1978 at some point, adding in the Yankees and Tigers BK sets, plus there is a bilingual card of, I believe, Willy Montanez issued by Zest that pictures him as a Met instead of whatever he was in the Topps set.

    Did OPC ever have lots of variations from the Topps set like they did in 1977, or was that a one-off deal? I would like to do that for other years, as I enjoy flipping through the 1977 binder and seeing all the extra cards. I haven’t yet worked in the Topps Fan Favorites, but that would be a natural fit as well–although they would be much crisper looking than most of the older cards. In the front of the 1977 binder, I have the cloth sticker set. Interestingly, a few of those images (IIRC) are different from the Topps set, although I think they match the OPC pictures. Considering OPC is, or was, an entirely separate company from Topps, that implies to me that Topps provided OPC with the card designs and a bunch of pictures to choose from, and in some cases OPC picked an alternate and then Topps used the same alternate for the cloth stickers. And then 30 years later, Topps used other alternates for the Fan Favorites set!

    I agree with you on not mixing players of different eras like that just because Topps later re-used the design. But I too am on the fence about mixing in the Fan Favorites/Archives type items where the player in the new retro set was also in the original. (Case nearly, but not quite, on point–the 1971 style Mike Schmidt card in the 2012 Archives set; completely on point are the many cards from the Fan Favorites sets.)

    Final note: I have a soft spot for the Brooklyn Dodgers, as my dad knew Carl Furillo and I got to meet him a couple times. I have a binder of the 1993 Brooklyn Dodgers Archives set, put in order by year, in which I add any other Brooklyn Dodgers cards in the same 1952-57 style. Most of the additions came from various 1990s and 2000s Topps Archives sets, plus there were several issued by Topps, maybe in 1955 for the 50th anniversary of Brooklyn’s only championship. The binder continues to grow….

    • I think that ’77 was something of a one-off deal (outside of Expos and Blue Jays cards). If I had more resources at my disposal, I’d attempt to procure more OPC Phillies sets. However seeing as the only noticeable difference most years is just the text on the back, they don’t seem like the type of thing that I’m missing out on by not having.

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