After an excessive delay, and losing all of my card/blog images, I am finally getting around to posting this box break and product review, almost two months after the product released. This is the flagship Topps set and probably doesn’t need much of an additional introduction.
Hobby boxes come with 36 10-card packs for a total of 360 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $50 (Oh, how the price has fallen!), which translates into a $0.14/card ratio. That is what you would expect from a flagship set that is more of an entry level set than anything.
Pack resembles the cards – pretty cool
Base Cards: 268 (0 duplicates) – 60.9%
Rookie Cards: 66 (included in base card total above)
Gold Parallels: 8
Peak Performance: 9
Attax/Tickets to Toppstown: 36 (1 per pack)
Topps 55th Anniversary Reprints: 4
75th Anniversary NFL Draft: 6
Gridiron Giveaway Code Cards: 6
Ring of Honor: 1
Gridiron Lineage: 9
1952 Bowman Football: 12
Peak Performance Autos: 1
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: As they have done in the past, Topps reused the baseball set design for the football set of the same year. I have a feeling it was particularly important this year as Topps had its NFL license renewed awfully late, and only after being told it had lost it. You won’t hear much complaints from me about this however as it’s actually a pretty solid design. I like that they incorporated the official team name logos, rather than just the simple logo with plain text name for those that don’t recognize the logo. I’m not sure the circular frame on the left side was ideal, but it’s not bad. I didn’t think to scan a base card back like I normally do, but it followed Topps tradition with its horizontal orientation and fairly comprehensive stat lines. Overall, it is definitely on par for a flagship Topps set without feeling tired or overdone.
2nd Down, Inserts: There are bunches! First, Topps did 4 parallel sets (7 if you include each printing plate as a separate set) although I only pulled examples of the least rare Golds. Pretty normal by parallel standards, although I’d personally like to see fewer parallels. The Peak Performance was a pretty solid insert set. It featured a statistical highlight for the featured player and generally had great photography with tight player images and shallow depth of field. The photos definitely had a different feel from the base cards. Topps once again included its Ring of Honor insert, this year focusing on Drew Brees as the winner of last year’s Super Bowl. The Gridiron lineage cards were alright, but the design seemed rather lackluster and I rarely enjoy cards with multiple players, especially if those players are not even from the same team. Topps is also feeling very nostalgic this year as there were several retrospective inserts. First was the 75th anniversary NFL draft cards. The design’s not awful, but I’m not stoked about the concept, although I do get that 75 years of the draft is a pretty big deal. It just seemed like an excuse to recycle old images of the top players who are always included in insert sets. I would have been more impressed with 75 cards showing the #1 draft choice from all 75 years. The rookie reprints were interesting. At first glance, besides being ultra new and glossy and in mint condition, you cannot tell the difference between these reprints and the originals. No where does it state you are holding a reprint. The only noted difference was the copyright date on the back was 2010, not 1983, 1998, etc. It should be interesting to see how many eBay baffoons try to pass these off as legit. Then you had the 1952 Bowman throwbacks. I’m usually not a fan of retro themed cards, but these actually look fantastic. I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t mind seeing an entire set of these, if done as well and simple as this insert. Also hailing from baseball, Topps gave football fans the Gridiron Giveaway, mimicking the Million Card Giveaway from the diamond. I haven’t claimed any of my codes. I might just put them on eBay to avoid having 6 early 90s cards sent to my house. And lastly, I did not see the point of including the Topps Attax cards. I get that Topps is trying to get the game to catch on, but 1 per pack, really? That’s WAY too many in a hobby box!
3rd Down, Collation: I suppose this was great. I didn’t pull a single duplicate out of 360 cards, which is always a huge plus to me. I feel like I got a fair mix of the various inserts (although I would prefer fewer worthless inserts and more base cards) and I got my “guaranteed” 1 hit. For a large set with so many cards in each box, collation could either make or break a box. It definitely helped to make this box. Hopefully the entire production run was as well collated as this one hobby box.
4th Down, Overall Value: Good. You know what you’re getting with Topps’ flagship set. The rookies, even the short printed variants, are not going to sell for tons and tons of money. The entire set can be picked up on eBay for about $25. The inserts are deccent, but you’re not going to buy a house by selling what you pull from one box or even an entire case. The hits do fairly well for themselves and an autograph of a top rookie can pull a pretty dime, but they are generally lower valued overall. But also consider that the price you pay for a box or pack is pretty low. It’s not like you are turning Benjamins into Lincolns here like you do with other products. Plus, Topps has staying power. Topps has been around for a very long time and people have come to know and trust the name. In 20 years, you might have trouble finding someone to care about Panini Classics or Donruss Elite, but I would be willing to bet you’ll find people looking for Topps cards.
RED ZONE RESULTS: TOUCHDOWN (MISSED PAT) This may not be the single greatest product on the market for any one particular area (Score has a lower price point, SAGE has better autograph insertion rates, Upper Deck products have better designed base and insert cards, etc.), but if you could average every aspect of any given set to get everything on a level playing field, Topps would definitely be near the top. The price is right (and has fallen in the past two months to make it even more enticing). The base set is good looking and large enough to appeal to set collectors. There are fancy-pants patch and autograph cards for prospectors and player collectors. There are code cards for gamblers. And above all, there is that constant logo on every card that has become synonymous with sports card and collecting: Topps. Some people may think that is too much bias for a product review, but simply put, the Topps name deserves recognition and like I said above, 20 years from now, I have no doubt people will still look at the Topps brand with respect. The Topps flagship definitely punches it into the endzone, but it’s inability to really wow me cost it the extra point. And including Topps Attax in every pack didn’t help.
NEXT UP: 2010 Upper Deck NCAA Sweet Spot