The 2021 Topps Archives Signature Series Baseball: Retired Player set is to become available this week for card collectors across the country.

While the name of the set is long and sounds rather complicated, it’s actually a very basic set of cards. Similar to the Active Player Edition, the Retired Player set features autographs of each card, but only from retired players.

What makes this set of cards really intriguing for some fans is that none of the cards have been reprinted, instead, they are buybacks — the original Topps card from the past.

The cards come with the player’s autograph in the direction of the card and there is a special foil that has been added, to signify the year the card was released. The foil uses the Archives Signature logo with the year 2021 at the bottom, not the year the card was made. There are also a select number of cards that feature dual autographs, like a “tools of success” card that pictures Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers and Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds.

Each of these cards is truly a one on one type of card because each card has a specific series number that is matched to it. It’s common for Archives Signature Series to have plates sign several different cards, Topps has said that this makes it easier to keep print runs down, including the large amount of one on a kind cards. However, this comes with a catch. There is no master checklist for the set. Instead, Topps releases a list of signers available in the set, but not a checklist of each and every card.

A Breakdown of the Set

The Archives Signature set comes in a few different ways to purchase.

Card collectors can purchase a hobby pack, which features one card per pack, but they can also purchase a hobby box and a case, which will net collectors with up to 20 Archive Signature cards.

Who to Look for

Topps Archives Signature Series Baseball Robin YountWhile there isn’t a complete checklist of players and cards that have been signed there is at least a list of players that fans should be on the lookout for when purchasing a card.

In all, there are over 90 different player signers. The list includes the likes of Hank Aaaron, Jeff Bagwell, Adrian Beltre, Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Roger Clemens, Dennis Eckersley, Carlton Fisk, Bob Gibson, Tom Glavine, Ken Griffey Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Sr., Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinex, Pedro Martinez, Paul Molitor, David Ortiz, Andy Pettite, Cal Ripken JrMariano Rivera, Nolan Ryan, Ozzie Smith, John Smoltz, Ichiro Suzuki, Larry Walker, Carl Yastrzemski and Robin Yount.

That’s just over a dozen of the Hall of Famers that are available in this Archives Signature Retired Player set of cards. There is also a long list of fan favorites that did not make it to the Hall of Fame. That list includes the likes of Scott Rolen, CC Sabathia and Jason Varitek, among many other players that are considered to be in the “Hall of Very Good.”

Purchase information

The Archives Signature Retired Player set is scheduled to be released on July 14, and card collectors should be able to get them at their local collectors’ shop or at various online retailers.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t a complete checklist of player signed cards, so they could get a card that they aren’t expecting to find in their set.

Collectors can also purchase a current player version of this set that features many of the same details.

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Alec Busse is a journalism student at the University of Illinois with a minor in public relations entering his senior year. Alec covers Illinois football and men's basketball for Orange and Blue News, is a game picker for Tallysight and co-hosts the Inside the Arc Podcast. Alec is from O'Fallon, IL, a suburb of St. Louis and grew up cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues, Chicago Bears and Illinois Fighting Illini.

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