I think that I like the concept of group breaks. It gives me a chance buy and review a hobby box of a new product and guarantees that at least a significant portion of the cards will be leaving my house shortly and part of the cost of that box will be covered by fans. This was one of those boxes. To see the entire results of the box by team, go here. Now, for the usual product review:
Hobby boxes come with 24 4-card packs for a total of 96 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $57, which translates into a $0.59/card ratio. That is right in line with what I would expect for a Chrome product — on the lower end of mid-shelf but certainly not broaching entry-level either.
similar design to box and easy to open
Base Cards: 76 (0 duplicates)
Rookie Cards: 36 (included in base card total above)
Refractor Parallels: 7
Rookie Refractors: 3 (included in Refractor total above)
Gridiron Lineage: 6
Rookie Reprints: 4
Bowman Chrome: 2
Red Zone Rookie Autographs (on-card!): 1
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: Like all Chrome products, the design of this set very closely if not exactly mimicks the design of the original product. It is essentially the same card but loaded with Chromium technology…sweet sweet Chromium technology. I have been around Chrome cards for well over a decade now and I still love them. From my perspective, it is impossible to hold one of these and NOT feel like you’re holding something special. They just have that great, super glossy feel and shininess to them that I still love to this day. Like all Chrome cards, these did not scan terribly well, but they are just as beautiful in person as releases of the past. Well done, Topps. Well done.
2nd Down, Inserts: Fortunately, Topps significantly reduced the number of inserts in the Chrome release from the original flagship. Unless there were some that I didn’t pull, the only inserts of note were the Refractor parallels, Gridiron Lineage, Rookie Reprints, Bowman Chrome, and the various relic and autograph “hits”. The Refractors are just as great this year as they have been in the past. VERY refractory and sweet. I didn’t pull any of the special colored refractors though. Such is my luck I suppose. The Gridiron Lineage were just like any other Chrome-ized card, and I still don’t know how I feel about the two-player cards. The Rookie Reprints were interesting, especially the older ones. The Mark Sanchez wasn’t too odd since he was a rookie just last year, but seeing Eric Dickerson’s rookie all Chromey was definitely intriguing. The Bowman Chrome cards had a very nice look to them. I’m still not a huge fan of the blatant RC shield logo, but overall if Topps doesn’t change much, Bowman Chrome looks to be a solid release of its own. Lastly, I can only comment on one of the hit designs, but I was very pleased with the Red Zone Rookie Autographs card I pulled (and consequently mail to Brian). I LOVE seeing on-card autos, especially since this required a fairly quick turnover given the pro unis. Again, well done.
3rd Down, Collation: Overall, I was pleased. I got all of the cards I was supposed to (per inseration rates) and didn’t get any cards I wasn’t supposed to get (duplicates). In a box of 96 cards, it’s a little difficult to truly judge collation, but considering the fact that it did not jump out at me as all kinds of messed up, I’ll take that as a good sign. The less I notice the collation of a box the better, and I didn’t notice the collation of this box until I tried to grade it just now.
4th Down, Overall Value: Good, borderline great. You know what you’re getting with Chrome. I hear that (at least from the baseball side of things) Chrome was overproduced this year hurting the holding value. Granted, Strasburghhysteria was greater than Tebowmania, so that may have helped on the Gridiron front. Sure, box and case prices are sure to fall over time, but generally Chrome products hold their value. I would say it’s a product of a trusted name (Topps), a loved concept (Chrome), and what usually amounts to a solid rookie camp (football rarely has an off year for draftees). You may not always get your money’s worth from a box or pack, but overall, I would say it’s no worse than any other non-experimental product out there.
RED ZONE RESULTS: TOUCHDOWN (MISSED PAT) I thought about giving Topps Chrome the extra point, I really did. But I guess I’m saving that for the product(s) that really wow me. Perhaps I’m jaded by products that offer more hits per box or the fact that I had already seen the basic design in the flagship Topps release, but this box just didn’t wow me. Overall, it’s a great product and one in which you will not be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a release that makes you say, “Damn. That is one amazing product” or even “I totally increased my net worth by buying this box!”, you will need to continue looking.
NEXT UP: 2010 Topps Finest