Guide to the 2012 Topps 661 Bryce Harper Cards
Not unlike what they did in 2010 with Stephen Strasburg, Topps added a 661st card of Bryce Harper to their 2012 flagship. And just like in 2010, Topps produced multiple versions of Bryce Harper's first Topps cards. However due to the bizarre methods Topps has employed in the distribution of Harper's cards, they have yet to issue a "True" Bryce Harper rookie card for their flagship brand. This guide is to assist collectors in identifying each of the several Harper "661" cards.
Versions "A" & "B": The Series Two Gimmicks
Almost as soon as Harper was called-up to the Nationals, Topps issued a press release announced that a card of Harper would be included as an additional card in the Series Two base set. However the card would be short-printed -- this first time ever that the Topps base set would include an intentionally SPed rookie card. For purposes of this checklist, we consider this to be card "A".
Even though Beckett has given card "A" it's "RC" label, because of the "gimmick" nature of the card, BCP does not.
In addition, a limited number of "A" cards with a sticker autograph of Harper were also randomly seeded into Series Two packs. We consider the autographed version to be card "B".
Versions "C" & "D": Factory sets
Just like with Strasburg in 2010, each 2012 Topps Factory Set will contain a Bryce Harper 661 card that is completely different than the once inserted into packs. However, unlike with the 2010 Strasburg 661, Topps produced completely different Harper 661's for the Hobby and retail factory sets. These are versions "C" and "D."
If Topps had included the same Harper card in both factory set editions, we would have no problem giving it the "true" rookie card label. However, since a player can have one and only one rookie card per set, we do not consider either to be an RC.
Versions "E," "F," "G," & "H": Topps Updates
For 2012 Topps Update, Topps produced two different Harper base cards and two short-printed variations. The two base cards (which we will call "E" and "F") are from the "Rookie Debut" and "All-Star Game" subsets, while the two variations ("G" and "H") are different versions of card "F."
Over the last couple of years, Topps Update has included a "Rookie Debut" subset -- essentially, an excuse for Topps to make yet another card of the current rookie card class. Because the player's "true" rookie card was already issues (either in Series One, Series Two, or, in some cases, the Update Series itself), Rookie Debut's were not considered RCs. Card #US183 is Bryce Harper's Rookie Debut card and is card "E."
Card #US299 is from the All-Star Game subset and commemorates Harper's selection to the 2012 National League All-Star Team. This is card "F." The two variations -- one a horizontal card, the other with Harper in street clothes -- are cards "G" and "H."
Because card "E" is the closet thing Topps has printed to anything resembling a traditional "rookie card," BCP considers this card to be Bryce Harper's one, and only, Topps RC.
Other Topps Bryce Harper Cards
One-of-one Platinum and Wood parallels, as well as a set of four Printing Plates, of cards "A," "E," and "F" were also randomly inserted into Series Two and Update Series packs.
In addition, both cards "E" and "F" are available in the following parallels:
- Golden Memories
- Blue (exclusive to packs sold at Wal-Mart)
- Red (exclusive to packs sold at Target)
- Gold (serial-numbered to 2012 copies)
- Black (serial-numbered to 61 copies)
Finally, a framed Silk card, serial-numbered to 50 copies, of card "E" was randomly inserted into Update Series packs.
The 2012 Topps Mini set contains a Bryce Harper card that is a miniature reproduction of his "A" card. Unlike the "A" card, is was produced in exactly the same quantities as any other Mini base card and therefore is a "true" rookie card. Gold (serial-numbered to 61 copies), Platinum (serial-numbered to five copies), and Printing Plate (set of four) parallels were also made available.
Topps also produced a mini-sized Promo card of Harper that was distributed exclusively at the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore.