CSG-certified Topps Project70 Cards Showcase Athletes and Artists

Posted on 3/24/2022

The eye-catching cards feature baseball icons cast in fresh designs.

The year 1951 was historic for Major League Baseball. The National League pennant was won by the New York Giants thanks to the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” walk-off homer by Bobby Thomson. MLB superstar Willie Mays entered the league and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Topps Chewing Gum Company printed its first set of baseball cards.

In 2021, Topps celebrated the 70th anniversary of their first set of cards by releasing Project70, which it describes as a project that “pushed boundaries while paying homage to our heritage.” Project70 assembled a group of 51 artists from around the world to contribute to a set of cards that would feature iconic players while revisiting and reimagining iconic card designs.

Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®) has graded many Project70 cards (these are CSG 9.5 and higher) and looks forward to certifying more.

Two by Ermsy

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Several of the Project70 cards graded by CSG so far feature the work of the Paris-based artist Ermsy, whose #2 Fernando Tatis, Jr., card was the fourth most popular in the set, selling 12,688 copies. Another is this #483 Shohei Ohtani card graded CSG 9.5, with sub-grades of 10 for Corners and Edges, 9.5 for Centering, and 9 for Surface. The card’s design placed an illustrated portrait of the Los Angeles Angels pitcher that mimics the style of Mario Bros era video game illustration in a minimalist frame that drew upon the design from the Topps 1957 card series.

CSG also certified a #ASG5 All-Star Game Guerrero Jr./Freeman by Ermsy that was a limited edition chase card. The limited edition cards were identified by a congratulatory note on the back and by a gold border around the design on the front. This card was graded CSG 9.5.

Representing both vintage and modern

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A #624 Mickey Mantle card by artist Chuck Styles was graded CSG 9.5, with sub-grades of 10 for Corners and Edges and 9.5 for Centering and Surface. Chuck Styles is a Philadelphia-based artist who is known for designs celebrating black culture. His design for the Mantle card shows the iconic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card, still partially in a Topps “baseball picture cards” wrapper, atop a stack of other 1952 cards.

World-renown contemporary artist Raheem “King” Saladeen drew upon the 1977 Topps set with his design for the #135 Fernando Tatis, Jr., card. The Tatis card shows the San Diego Padre’s shortstop celebrating what was most likely one of his impressive home runs while the sun sets behind palm trees in the background. It received a CSG 9.5 grade.

For the #600 Mike Trout card, artist Keith Shore chose to illustrate the Los Angeles Angels center fielder receiving his well-known haircut, including the arc and icon featured on the 2011 Topps set at the bottom of the card. Shore is an illustrator best known for his work on labels for the Mikkeller beer brand. The card was graded CSG 10, with sub-grades of 10 for Centering, Corners, and Edges and 9.5 for Surface.

The first Project70 card was released on February 17, 2021, via the Topps website, where the cards remained available for purchase at a cost of $19.99 each for 70 hours after being posted. New cards appeared each day, with the total print run of each card reported on the site after its sales window ended. The cards included a holographic logo security feature on the back of the card and came encased in a protective clear-plastic case. The last Project70 card was released in February 2022. Time will tell how desirable they become now that the final inning has been played.


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