Project 2020 by Topps Company has sold in excess of 200,000 cards with Mike Trout and Deter Jeter leading the on-demand trading cards available for a limited time. Topps has been in the card business for 70 years and decided to showcase “Project 2020” by commissioning 20 select artists with the task of re-imagining 20 different cards (400 total in the set), issued two per weekday starting with opening day in March. The Sports Techie community blog is excited to share the news that three Mike Trout and three Derek Jeter cards lead the “Project 2020” cards sold to date. More than 232,000 total cards have been sold among the first 66 issued, and the top nine selling units are from different artists. Earlier this year, Topps announced a multi-year partnership with Jeter across new and existing product lines. MLB is trying to salvage this season with an 82-game schedule yet to be ratified by the players with the threat of COVID-19 still a major issue as to whether spring training will even be a go, no less a baseball season played with no-fans in the ballparks. However that works out, fans are certainly hungry for America’s pastime to begin play and continue to love baseball’s nostalgia as the number of sold Project 2020 cards indicates.
Project 2020 Masterworks
Project 2020 metrics are in and three Trout and three Jeter cards sit atop the seven best Topps sellers, a tip of the hat to the respective artists. Fans like a true variety of these re-imagined cards as nine different artists are responsible for rendering the nine top selling cards. A total of 20 commissioned artists from all over the globe designed 20 different iconic Topps cards as the company wished to show cultural diversity and unique styles in choosing the wide-ranging artists, cartoonists and influencers of pop culture represented in their finished products.
A breakdown and analysis of the project’s cards sold shows three of Trout’s lead the overall tally. Mike Trout 2011, by Ben Baller @benballer is clearly the fan favorite with 34,950 copies of his 2011 rookie card sold which more than doubles the next best effort of the set of 66 issued thus far. One-name only Fucci @FucciArt has the next most popular Trout card posting sales of 16,430 cards. Andrew Thiele’s interpretation of Trout came in third with 13,199 purchased. King Saladeen @Kingsaladeenart broke the hold by Trout with his version of the 1992 Derek Jeter card by selling 9,873 units. My favorite player of all-time, Ken Griffey Jr. had his 1989 card tweaked by Jacob Rocheter @jacob-rochester resulting in sales of 9,356 collector items to round out the top five.
Baller is given credit for designing the fan-pleasing Trout card because of the use of a charcoal background and layering of subtle angel wings lifting him up from his shoulder blades to Hall of Fame infamy, as well as his use of a metallic Angels classic interlocking C-A logo and the bejeweled “trout” name in lowercase located on the bottom. This card is one of four cards of the three-time MVP issued to date. The four have accounted for a total of 67,510 sales to date.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the reaction by collectors, artists, players and baseball fans in general to the first cards that these world-class creators have produced,” said Jeff Heckman, Global Director of Ecommerce. “What is most exciting is that, of our top 16 sellers, 14 are from different artists. And every single card has had at least 1,000 cards sold, a tribute to their great work across the board.”
The “TOPPS NOW” program features two Topps “Project 2020” cards that are released on a daily basis during the weekday at Topps.com. Each of these special cards can be had for a 48-hour period beginning when each is launched exclusively on the website. The program has proven to be popular and interest is peaking each week considering the majority of the top 20 purchased have been made available over the past three weeks.
The cards in the Project 2020 offering include: 1952 Willie Mays; 1952 Jackie Robinson; 1955 Sandy Koufax; 1959 Bob Gibson; 1980 Rickey Henderson; 1989 Ken Griffey Jr; 1969 Nolan Ryan; 1984 Don Mattingly; 2001 Ichiro; 1992 Derek Jeter; 1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera; 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken; 1983 Tony Gwynn; 1975 George Brett; 2011 Updates Mike Trout; 1987 Mark McGwire; 1990 Frank Thomas; 1985 Dwight Gooden; 1955 Roberto Clemente and 1954 Ted Williams.
Each artist participating in the set include:
Ben Baller- jewelry designer with a huge celebrity following that includes Kanye West, Drake, Snoop Dogg and others
Tyson Beck– Australia based, recently redesigned the NBA logo to look like Kobe Bryant, with a petition to change the logo with over 3 million signatures.
Sophia Chang– Queens native whose lifestyle illustrations and basketball cards have landed her collaborations with Nike, Adidas and Puma.
Efdot- NYC based, paints murals with the ubiquitous “Blob” character as the star of his pieces
Ermsy- Cartoon style UK artist living in Paris, whose popular works include reimagined classics like Garfield and Betty Boop.
Fucci- Toronto-based artist who paints vibrant post-pop art and ligne-claire style illustrations with a minimalist approach.
Groteskito- Creative director for Nike basketball
Blake Jamieson- N.Y. based painter who has done portraits for over 350 professional athletes including numerous prominent NFL players.
JK5- based in Brooklyn, native of North White Plains, N.Y., who weaves layers of poetry, spirituality, symbolism, color and line across various media.
Just Don- Chicago based, worked with Kanye West on a number of collaborations, including projects for Nike and Mitchell and Ness, as well as other NBA apparel.
King Saladeen- Philadelphia based NBA artist who has done murals at the Philadelphia Airport and various NYC locations.
Mister Cartoon– L.A. based :West Coast style” tattoo artist who has done illustrative work for Kobe Bryant and Snoop Dogg, and tattoo work on CC Sabathia’s back. Currently working on a mural at L.A. landmark Casa Vega.
Naturel– Creative Director for many apparel projects from Crooks , painted one of the most famous Kobe Bryant murals in Los Angeles.
Old Man Alan- Sacramento-based, tastemaker who advised a number of brands
Jacob Rochester- L.A. based native of Connecticut whose Allen Iverson hair progression art has garnered some attention
Keith Shore- Philadelphia based; the lead creative for Mikkelar Beer
Gregory Siff – lives in L.A., worked with MLB on a number of projects including Stance
Matt Taylor- Brighton, U.K., artist who specializes in movie poster designs and has collaborated on projects with Marvel, Amazon Studios, LucasFilm and more, as well as ESPN for the US Open tennis tournament.
Andrew Thiele- based in NYC, drew “Whole Squad Ready” art for 2018 World Series; has worked for ESPN on MLB and NBA graphics.
Joshua Vides- Black and White style, based in LA, famous collaborator with Converse in 2019, also produced “locker room art” for MLB at the 2018 All-Star Game.
The images on the cards can be seen at https://www.topps.com/project2020
Sports Techie, my educated guess is MLB will not play this year because of coronavirus. Problem with my guess is the league’s powers that be are not so interested in what science and the medical experts are saying about reopening too soon. Instead, as usual, the decision to play ball is driven by money and not by the love of the game.
Topps has truly captured the spirit of the game with Project 2020.
I suggest you look over the art enhanced, weekly digital card releases in case it’s the only baseball you get until 2021.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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