2021 Topps Through the Years Cards Fooling Collectors

Inserts Mistaken for Real Autographs
  • February 28, 2021


Imagine the feeling of opening a new pack of 2021 Topps and pulling a Mike Trout  1 of 1 autographed card with a jersey patch...then realizing the card isn't real.  From jumping for joy to throwing the wrapper on the floor, Topps is fooling collectors with the Through the Years insert cards. 

Last week I opened a 2021 Topps baseball Series 1 blaster box and though I pulled a Hank Aaron signed card!  The late, great Hammerin' Hank out of a $20 blaster?!  Once I look more closely at the card, I realized I fell for an old trick we've seen before: the insert wasn't a real gem.

This blog is sponsored by JUST COLLECT where we specialize in buying vintage cards, autographs, and collections.  THESE cards are on our BUY LIST if you're interested in selling!

PS  - don't forget about our Golden Edition EVENT that is happening TONIGHT where we're giving away over $3,000 in break credit, a REAL autograph like a Mickey Mangle signed ball, and plenty of packs and boxes! Check out our event HERE. 

2021 Topps Through the Years Insert

There are 25 cards in the "Through the Years" set; an insert set to promote the 70th anniversary of Topps.  Think of taking a picture of an old card and placing it on a new card - that's what you've got here. 

25 cards that were cool and influential for Topps were copied and put onto the front of a 2021 Topps card.  

Here is what the Hank Aaron card I pulled looks like:


At first glance I had myself a Hank Aaron autographed card numbered 5/5!  However, when you flip the back of the card over you read the fine print:


"The front of this card is a reproduction of a historic Topps baseball card.  It does not contain an original autograph and/or relic. Any autograph and/or relic depicted is a reprinted copy of the original signature and/or relic material."

This particular Hank Aaron insert is a copy of the 2017 Topps Luminaires product that Hank signed 😐

To further confuse us, these Through the Years cards even have low-numbered parallels!  According to the blaster box I bought, the odds are:

  • 1 in 25 for the base
  • 1 in 979 for the blue variation
  • 1 in 1,963 for the black variation
  • 1 in 8,421 for the Platinum Anniversary variation
  • 1 in 59,384 for the red variation
  • 1 in 875,091 for the gold variation 

For example, the RED parallel for the Mike Trout rookie autograph Through the Years card is limited to 10.  THIS copy on eBay is numbered 2/10.  Using my Hank Aaron card above, there could be a RED variation /10 of a card that was /5.


It's important to do your research when buying cards like Through the Years.  I'm seeing eBay auctions for non-parallels bring in big dollars.  This Trout card hauled in $208.50 with 14 bids for the base card.  A Tatis insert collected 20 bids and $72.  Sellers didn't post the back of the cards and simply mentioned the cards were a 2021 Topps Series 1 Through The Years Insert. 

Check the wrapper or box for insert sets.  You can always ask us here at Just Collect for information, too!  We'd be glad to answer any questions on cards; we'll post our contact info below for you!

Make sure to research the cards and products before over paying for a card in this set!


Somewhat, anyway.  Remember the Turn Back the Clock cards in 1987 Topps baseball?  


I thought I actually pulled a 1977 Reggie Jackson out of a 1987 Topps pack ('cause that made sense, right?).  Turn Back the Clock inserts were nowhere near as misleading as the Through the Years inserts, but I still fell for it!

Despite the confusion, I am still a big Topps guy; the flagship product is my go-to every year.  Nothing beats buying packs and trying to build a complete set in 2021 the same way I did chasing down all 792 cards in the 1987 set - even if I ended up without a real Hammerin' Hank auto along the way.


I can't be the only collector that got duped for a sec, am I?  Let us know if YOU thought you had a huge hit that turned out to be the base insert.

Plenty of ways to reach out to us:


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