Featured Post

Box Review: 2023 Topps Archives (hobby)

Earlier this week, I ran a group break over on my Discord (join here) which included a pair of hobby boxes of 2023 Topps Archives.  One of the benefits of hosting group breaks is that sometimes I can "double dip" and use those boxes for content here at Nachos Grande!  Case in point, today I figured it'd be fun to review one of the boxes that we ripped for the group break.  

2023 Topps Archives comes in a variety of distribution models.  I happened to rip a pair of hobby boxes (there are also hobby tins and retail blasters that I'm aware of).  For me as the group break host, getting the two promised autographs per hobby box was the deciding factor since more hits usually means more happy people at the end of the break!  In addition, each hobby box produces a fair number of cards (24 packs, 8 cards per pack) meaning we should get something for pretty much every team!

Base cards:

This year's edition of Topps Archives sees the set have 300 total cards split across three different designs.  Cards #1-100 have the 1956 Topps design, cards #101 - 200 have the 1965 Topps design, and cards #201 - 300 have the 2003 Topps design.  Let's take a look at some of my favorite base cards from each subset!

Cards #1-100 (1956 design)

The cards both look and feel good.  I appreciate the slightly thicker card stock for the '56 design.  One downside to the box is that we did pull way too many duplicate base cards.  For example, we pulled a total of 56 cards in the 1956 design.  Of those, 34 were unique while the other 22 were duplicates.  With 100 cards in the set having the 1956 design, getting only 34 unique cards plus another 22 duplicates is terrible collation for modern card products!  Interestingly enough, we didn't get a single base card with a card number in the 80s.  

Cards #101 - 200 (1965 design)

Much like the first 100 cards in the set, cards #101 - 200 are also printed on thicker card stock which I appreciate.  Personally, I like the '65 design more than the '56 design so I definitely like the looks of this particular subset!  We ended up with a total of 59 cards from the 1965 design, but unlike with the 1956 design, all 59 cards were unique.  

Cards #201 - 300 (2003 design)

The final third of the base set consists of cards with the 2003 Topps design.  Unfortunately, these cards closely mimic their source material in that the card stock is noticably thinner than for the other two subsets.  I get why Topps did that (both in terms of the original design and, presumably, cost savings) but as someone who prefers a thicker card stock I'd prefer all three subsets to be printed on the same type of stock.  I also don't have as much love for the 2003 design.  2003 was part of my "dark ages" of card collecting where I wasn't really buying cards at all.  In fact, I don't know if I bought a single pack of 2003 Topps back when it was originally released.  The design is perfectly fine, don't get me wrong, I simply don't have any attachment to it is all.  We ended up with 58 cards from this subset (all unique).  

Parallels & Variations:

Amazingly, Topps didn't load the Topps Archives set with a ton of parallels.  In fact, according to Topps' website there are only 7 parallels (Rainbow Foil #/199, Green Foil #/99, Aqua Foil #/75, Red Hot Foil #/50, Blue Foil #/25, Orange Hot Foil #/15, and Foilfractor #/1). 

Our box only produced one parallel, that being a Rainbow Foil card of Babe Ruth (for the Red Sox)!  The Ruth is numbered 192/199.

In addition to the one parallel, we also pulled one variation card - a 1965 Inverted variation of Pirates rookie Liover Peguero.  The Inverted variations are seeded 1:61 hobby packs making this a nice score for Pittsburgh.  At least the Inverted variations are easy to spot at a glance!


As expected, the 2023 Archives box produced a number of different inserts.  The main gimmick insert of the set has to be the 1954 Topps Tarzan 3D cards.  Seeded 1:6 packs, we pulled the expected four cards from the set.  

In addition to the cards, each hobby box contains a pair of 3D glasses.  Both the glasses and the Topps Tarzan cards are unique to hobby boxes.  It's a fun gimmick set, I'll give Topps credit for trying something different!

Next up, a set of three different inserts that are seeded 1:8 packs each.  As expected, we pulled three of each type beginning with this trio of 1979 Topps Baseball Comics.

I think the Comic cards are kind of neat - and a perfect type of insert set for the Archives brand.  I like that there are a nice variety of inserts/gimmicks in the set.  I also have to give Topps credit for making each comic card look unique and yet overall the cards "fit" together into a cohesive design.  Tough to pick out my favorite of the three but if I had to choose I'd go with the Julio Rodriguez, mostly because of his laser eye vision!

Next, a trio of 1957 Topps Hit Stars:

Having no particular affinity towards the 1957 set, I have to say that these are the least interesting inserts to me personally.  They aren't bad cards, but they aren't nearly as interesting as the other insert options this year!  Honestly, if these are the worst inserts in a set then something is going well overall!

Finally, we get to the final insert seeded 1:8 (hobby) packs and it's probably my favorite insert set in all of 2023 Archives:  1989 Topps Double Headers.

I love, love, love these cards.  So much so that I also scanned the backs so that you could get the full view:

For me, the late 80s were the beginning of my card collecting journey so I do have a lot of emotional attachment to the 1989 Topps design.  That's probably the main reason why I love the Double Header cards so much while not loving the Hit Stars.

Finally, we end with a pair of box hit inserts (each of which are seeded 1:24 hobby packs):  Number Crunchers and Baby Bombers:

You can't tell all that easily from the scan but both of these cards are super shiny.  They certainly grab your attention when you rip a pack containing one of the cards.  To me, the Number Cruncher set looks like it is straight out of circa 2000 Topps while the Baby Bombers set looks like it was originally designed for Topps Big League.  Both sets are perfectly fine, kind of nice to have a true box hit type insert set that at least feels different from the other stuff inside the box.


Each hobby box promises two autographs.  For the most part, you can expect "fan favorite" autographs to rule the day in Topps Archives - and that's exactly what we got with our first autograph of Marlins great Dontrelle Willis.

Willis was undoubtedly a fan favorite when he played and I don't see a lot of Willis autographs in modern baseball card sets so I think this is a nice hit for us.  All that being said, this one pales in comparison to the final hit of the box!

That is a Chipper Jones autograph...but it's actually so much more.  Let's flip it over:

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about!  Officially, that is a 1989 Topps Double Header Dual Autograph Blue Foil parallel numbered out of only 50 copies.  The Blue Foil parallels are seeded 1:6,003 hobby packs (they are hobby exclusives)!  

I think that dual auto is an amazing card, especially for a Braves fan!  The fact that it is the super rare blue parallel version...and that blue looks great with the Braves colors is icing on the cake.  For sure an exciting end to our box rip!


Overall, I give the 2023 Topps Archives box the following rating:
Set Design:  A
Collation:  B-
Opening Thrill:  A-
Overall:  A-

Truth be told, 2023 Topps Archives is probably closer to a "B or B+" level set but when you pull a dual autograph #/50 that's going to tilt the scales a bit.  The only real complaint I have about this particular box was all the base card duplication in the first 100 cards of the set.  It seems that Topps' distribution got screwed up somehow since the other base subsets were all fine in terms of duplicate cards.  Honestly though, the dual auto makes up for that and I found the entire box break quite fun.  I enjoy the gimmick of the Archives brand both in terms of the base set design as well as the wide variety of inserts.  I think the best praise I can give the set is that after ripping the two boxes for the group break, there was enough interest in me going out and getting another box of 2023 Archives for a future group break!


  1. I really like the 2023 edition of Topps Archives. The mix of current players and legendary players is great! The blaster boxes include a 1969 foil insert, and I pulled a scarce autograph on one of them yesterday.

  2. Great hit

    Funny thing also, the original 2003 card stock is thicker than 1956 or 1965 Topps Cardstock

  3. As both a lifetime Marlin fan, (former) Braves fan, and the lucky stiff with both the Marlins & Braves during that group break, let me commend you once again on your impeccable box selection when it comes to finding great auto's. And yes, I think 1989 was also the peak of my prior collecting days, and it makes for a great choice for the doubleheader cards.

  4. Wow, some good autographs! Looks like a fun set this year. I have one of those lunch box Archives thingies here for my son that will be a gift under the tree for him.

  5. This was a fun break -- but your latest one was really something!! I hope you review that one for the blogsphere.

  6. Hadn't seen the Comic inserts before. The 79T Comics are one of my favorite oddball issues from that decade. It's a shame they couldn't print them on wax paper like the originals... but I'm sure most collectors would rather have them on cardboard anyways. I remember someone complaining about the backs of the 1956 cards, but I didn't know what the issue was until now. Very sad that they didn't include the giant comic. I'm still going to grab a completed set of this at some point though.

    P.S. Congratulations on pulling such an awesome hit!

  7. Awesome dual auto! Thanks for sharing the box!


Post a Comment