Topps Tier One (Or How Tanman Ruined Collecting for Me … for Good)

No, I’m not here to bash the hobby or Tanman’s amazing work with custom cards. Simply put, Tanman’s custom Canseco cards have shown me that one man can make better cards than Panini, Topps, and Leaf’s efforts and it’s changed me as a collector. Long gone are the days when I chased every single Jose Canseco card. The parallel madness that took over a decade and a half ago made that impossible for those with mortgages, car payments, kids, what have you. Today I collect mostly what appeals to me, well, I did … until I saw the amazing cards Tanman was producing. New innovations, styles, and creativity from one man was putting the big manufacturers to shame. Now, I only want the best of the best (or about 20% of what’s being released) all because Tanman opened my eyes. The days of inferior custom cards have come and gone and if one man has done this alone, just imagine what possibilities are just around the corner. The days of “Broder” cards and other customs are finished and with guys like Tanman around, card companies should beware and be very scared.

That brings us to 2015 Topps Tier and the only Canseco card that’s surfaced so far. It’s a beautiful, on-card autograph and the brand itself is classy and fun (review and giveaway coming soon) but do I need this card? Not really. I’ve seen way too many Topps horizontal cards this year and this one is not much different than the rest. It’s way better than the 2015 Prizm Jose card but nothing special in my eyes. Also, unless Jose dies suddenly, the value of his autograph will continue to decrease due to the massive amount of autographs being produced. I wouldn’t even mind a few relic and base cards at this point. Anything to switch up the pace for goodness sake.

Not that he needs my help but if you haven’t visited Tanman’s site to see his customs or read his fascinating posts, do yourself a favor and spend the rest of your day there. It’s forever changed my view of our hobby and my 25-year chase for the perfect Jose Canseco collection. Something tells me this man is going to make a huge splash in this hobby in the coming months and years to come. I for one can’t wait to see what he has in store.

Categories: The Hobby, The Topps Company | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Topps Tier One (Or How Tanman Ruined Collecting for Me … for Good)


    Does the aforementioned genius designer really have a desire to go toe to toe with MLB regarding the use of marks without permission?
    Never mind the use of Topps designs without permission?
    I would love to see an interview with him where he publicly denounces the need for either of these permissions.

    THEN, I would be equally impressed.

    • Who knows and maybe soon someone will send a cease and desist but his designs have opened my eyes to what’s possible that so many brands (NOT ALL) can’t touch.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me to see one of the big three bring him into their company or at least attempt to. He has his own business.

      • BRIAN GRAY

        yes, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see MLB smack down on him. If they donyt and they are aware, it weakens their claim if a slightly bigger fish tried the same thing! 😉

    • Hi Brian,
      Tanman here – I have wanted to reach out and introduce myself to you for a while now. I’ve enjoyed collecting Jose Canseco cards put out by Leaf from the past few years – keep up the good work! (I have particularly loved the PURE cards – those are awesome.)

      I want to be clear in stating that the Jose Canseco cards I post online are NOT for sale – they are merely cards I’ve created for my own personal enjoyment in my own collection. Anyone who creates cards using other company’s design work and / or anything else that MLB does not allow for the intent of distributing for profit is, simply put, a knucklehead.

      Unfortunately, there are TONS of people out there selling cards on Ebay violating all kinds of copyright laws. I’m sure at some point, they will be struck down and told to go away. I do have some ideas of selling some of my Canseco pieces, but due to copyright laws and such, the pieces I make will have to be my design, without any usage of team or pre-existing photography, etc.

      As a blogger myself, I love writing, showing off my work and above all else, I love baseball & the card collecting hobby. If I were not active in blogging and on forums, no one but my family and I would know these exist.

      I would not want to do anything at all to tarnish this great past time and hobby. I hope it only enhances it to get more involved. You won’t find me bad mouthing Topps, Panini or Leaf because frankly, I am in love with many of the cards being put out.


    • I don’t see Brian’s point here. If Tanman were selling the cards with Topps’ design, MLB logos, etc. – yes, he could certainly be held liable for a number of things. But he’s not.

  2. I am with you on Tanman’s cards. While I’m not a Canseco collector, he does such an excellent job on those cards he makes that it shows that a guy with a good printer and the right card stock can do about anything.

    As for trademark use without permission, I haven’t seen MLB cracking down on Bob Lemke yet and he sells his cards openly on his website. Maybe MLB’s lawyers just are not aware of these uses. That said, I’m no IP lawyer to comment too much on that.

  3. Mario, Jeesh! Can you see me blushing over here? That was quite possibly the coolest blog posting I’ve read. I sure do appreciate it. I keep an eye on your blog, and was bummed you hadn’t written anything for a while. Now to see that not only are you writing again, but you made a posting about me – pure awesome sauce! Thanks again man, I sure do appreciate it.

  4. Paul Browning

    If you like “homemade” cards, check out this blog.
    Another blogger who could give the “biggies” a run for their money.


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