The 2021 Topps Heritage baseball card set was released on March 24, 2021 and contained 66 base cards plus additional inserts. As with other Heritage sets, Topps paid homage to design elements from old school baseball cards from the late 1960s. Some notable rookie cards and parallels made certain 2021 Topps Heritage cards very valuable shortly after release.
One of the most highly sought after rookie cards from the 2021 Heritage set was Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Shane Baz. As the 22nd overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, Baz had a breakout season in 2021 splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, finishing with a combined 2.99 ERA over 19 starts. His prospect status continued rising and rookie cards /100 parallels quickly sold for $150-300 soon after Heritage release. Other top rookie cards that gained value include Seattle Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic ($75-150), Boston Red Sox catcher Connor Wong ($50-100), and New York Mets pitcher Pete Crow-Armstrong ($50-75).
All of the above mentioned rookies had playing time in the majors toward the end of 2021, further fueling collector interest and driving up card prices. Baz in particular established himself as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and his flagship rookie card jumped up to $400-600 by the end of the season. Refractors, parallels, and autographs of Baz saw even more significant price increases proportionate to the growing hype around his potential impact for the Rays pitching staff.
Veteran star cards from the 2021 Heritage set also gained value based on player performance throughout the year. For example, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a breakout season with 48 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays, winning the AL MVP award. His base flagship Heritage card rose from a $10-15 release price tag to $40-60 by season’s end as collectors sought out cards chronicling his stellar campaign. Fellow young stars like Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres saw their Heritage cards rise to $30-50 due to All-Star caliber seasons and growing star power.
Some key veteran parallels also gained significant multiples in value. Heritage had introduced “Rainbow Foil” parallels for the first time in 2021, often /99 or fewer printed. Rainbow Foil parallels of modern stars like Mike Trout and Christian Yelich rose to $400-600 after being concentrated collector chased inserts right after release. Vintage star parallels also found new demand – A /25 Rainbow Foil parallel of Hank Aaron sold for over $1,000 due to the rarity factor and historic renown of the Hall of Famer featured.
Topps also incorporated exciting “Moments” inserts into the 2021 Heritage set commemorating iconic MLB achievements. A /25 parallel of Nolan Arenado’s 60th home run from 2021 sold for well over $2,000 due to the scarcity and the significance of the feat being one of the few players to reach 60 homers in a season. Other popular “Moments” inserts for achievements by Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. all crossed the $500-1000 threshold by year’s end as interest in modern stars grew exponentially.
While base rookie cards and parallels of top prospects drove early 2021 Heritage prices sky high initially, sustained performer cards and rare serial numbered inserts gained the most value as the season played out. The retro design style combined with modern rookie classes and chase parallels made the 2021 Topps Heritage baseball set one of the hottest of that year. Cards of players who broke out or had notable seasons went on to become very valuable collectibles chronicling their rising careers. Those able to purchase boxes or packs of Heritage early on saw considerable returns as certain components evolved greatly beyond initial release values. The mixture of celebration of baseball history with modern star power proved key to creating high demand and collectability from the product overall.