Upper Deck vs. Topps

With the rise in high-end baseball cards in the last few years it’s easy to forget the two flagship brands that got many of us collectors started in the first place. While these releases may lack the hype and punch of a product like Triple Threads or Bowman Chrome, Topps and Upper Deck is still a set-collector’s dream come true. So which one has the upper hand? Below I have included large scans of the last 5 years worth of Topps and Upper Deck, with a scan of their 2008 releases as well. Which company has come through for you? Which design is the best & worst? Which year had the best player selection? Finally, if you could only afford one single Hobby box in 2008 and your choice was series 1 Upper Deck or series 1 Topps, which one would you choose, if any?

Topps 2003-2008

Upper Deck 2003-2008


  1. I have some 2003 and 2004 Topps I think; I really like their designs. I like the look of that 2007 Topps also, but I’m not impressed with the others. And Upper Deck needs to return to white borders – or some kind of borders at least. I’m a fan of borders, they are like picture frames in my mind.

    BTW, got the cards you sent today. They are AWESOME man. I’m going to scan them and post them on my blog either tomorrow or Wednesday, and I will continue to keep an eye out for Cansecos for you.

  2. There’s something about ’06 UD that reminds me of the early Stadium Club sets. (And I mean that in a good way.)

    ’08 UD is a dead-ringer for the ’95s.

    ’04 Topps was great. ’07T? Not so much.

    If you put a gun to my head are forced me to buy either a box of ’08T or ’08UD, I’d have to go with the UD.

  3. I’ll always pick Topps base over UD base. It’s like Coke and Pepsi. I have more emotional attachment to the brand so I’ll open my pack of Topps while drinking a Coke any day.

    I must admit that looking at the ’08 UD card along side the rest of the junk they’ve put out recently that this year’s model looks nice. The design (or lack thereof) is really good. If they pull off some high quality photography it could be a classic set. That being said, I’ll have the Topps set ripped, sorted, completed and the want list posted before I even touch a pack of ’08 UD.

    2005 Topps was a great looking set. ’03 Topps was real close behind. I must admit that I also liked ’03 UD at the time. I’ll withhold my judgments on the ’08 products until I actually get some in my grubby little paws.

  4. From a graphic design point of view i have to say that the Topps will always be looked back on a framing the genre of the era looking back at the ’52 (Mantle specifically), ’65, ’75, ’87, ’91 (Chipper Jones), and of the ones pictures ’07 (Derek Jeter/George Bush/Mic) topps. Topps cards always ruled each decade. The only decade it is close is the ’89 UD that Griffey was sweet but for that matter the Greg Maddux Donruss rookie was another prime card from the ’80’s. So i’ll gladly take the ’08 Topps anyday.

  5. You’re comparing apples to oranges here. Topps is a true, traditional base product, while UD is much more of a premium product. Just look at the price points for each. Upper Deck “base” is essentially what the original Stadium Club wanted to be: a premium product, featuring full-bleed, high-quality photography. Topps base on the other hand is the true evolution of the traditional base set.

    Ultimately, UD’s equivalent to Topps is Fleer, not UD “base”, while Topps basically has ceded the premium full-bleed photo card to UD, which has both UD “base” and Fleer Ultra.

  6. bailorg, great point! The reason I used Upper Deck instead of Fleer is because I was pointing to each of the company’s main releases and I think if I am not mistaken, Fleer now belongs to Upper Deck.

  7. Topps has always looked more appealing to me than upper deck. It is simple yet pretty to look at. I have always been a Topps fan

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