Product Review: 2010 Topps Unrivaled

After taking the weekend off, let’s finish this barrage of product reviews with a look at 2010 Topps Unrivaled. The next product review won’t be for a little while as I have no more in stock and will need to decide what’s next, order it, bust it, and review it. So savor this one for a while.

2010 Topps Unrivaled box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 24 5-card packs for a total of 120 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $85, which translates into a relatively low $0.71/card ratio. Sets that may be deemed as introductory products tend to come out before the season starts, but this price point is right in that ballpark. At this point in the product release calendar, we usually see mid-to-top shelf sets, so I am intrigued how this product will stack up.

2010 Topps Unrivaled Pack
The increasingly rare different-photo-than-the-box pack

The Breakdown:
Base Cards: 108 (5 duplicates)
   Rookie Cards (#/999): 3 (included in base card total above)
   Gold Parallel (#/759): 2
   Gold Parellel (#/499): 3
   Black Parellel (#/99): 1
   Unrivaled (#/299): 1
   Unrivaled Veterans (#/999): 1
   Unrivaled Veterans Relic (#/349): 1
   Rookie Auto (#/780): 1
   Rookie Auto (#/480): 1
   Rookie Auto Patch (#/349): 1

2010 Topps Unrivaled2010 Topps Unrivaled
Click images for full-sized scans

1st Down, Design: The base design has its upsides and downsides. We’ll start with the good. I like the basic elements. The cards are not busy but not too simplistic and the use of the team colored border is a nice touch. The player photos really pop and the cards have an overall crisp feel to them. The silver foil is, in itself, a nice transition from the good to the bad elements of the card. It adds a touch of sophistication we would expect from a mid-year release, but the type of foil used is of the dreaded sometimes hard-to-see and often impossible-to-scan variety. This is especially evident with where the player name is imprinted over top of a dark team color (i.e. Brian Urlacher above). I am also not a fan of how much white space is left at the top of the card. On the colored parallels, it seems to work fine, but I feel like the base card would have been better with a full bleed color photo, even if the background was muted a bit. With at least 1/3 of the background being plain white, I get the feeling I’m looking at an updated version of the early 1990s Skybox basketball sets. And let’s just say that’s not the most flattering comparision.

2nd Down, Inserts: As I alluded to above, the parallels are pretty decent. I am not a fan of the gold foil parallel for its lack of obvious difference from the base card, although I will say the gold foil on the Ray Lewis card above is more pronounced in person than via a scan. The other gold and black parallels I pulled are nice though, particularly the black. I’m used to having super shiney and refractory parallels, so the matte finish of these was actually a nice change of pace. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Unrivaled or the Unrivaled Veterans sets. The Unrivaled set wasn’t bad, but Topps is bordering on a Panini backwards design issue here with the obvious jersey swatch window replacement. The Unrivaled Veterans set seemed like a stretch. I suppose people really like multiple swatch and multiple autographed cards, but I’m not a big fan of multi-player cards, especially when they are from different teams. The hits were decent, although far from stellar. The foilized autograph labels always leave a lot to be desired and there just isn’t anything appealing about a plain white swatch in an NFL product where rather vivid jersey colors are possible. The rookie auto patch is nice, but as I’ve said in the past, it would be nice to see an on-card auto for a change.

3rd Down, Collation: This left a lot to be desired. In 120 cards, 108 of which were base cards, I pulled 5 duplicates. That is nearly a 5% duplicate ratio. The collation’s one saving grace? I did pull all 100 base veterans. But that being said, I would much rather have another 5 rookie cards, even base rookie cards of third-round draft choices, than duplicates. This box didn’t have 300+ cards, so in my opinion, duplicates should be avoided whenever possible. Mid-shelf products seem to be very concerned with serial numbered rookie cards that only come 2-5 per box. I just don’t see the appeal of that, especially when you need to rely on dupes to fill out a hobby box.

4th Down, Overall Value: Once again, we have a product that would seem to fall short on the value to collectors. The best card in the box, the rookie auto patch, looks to be worth about $10-20 on the secondary market. That’s less than 1/4 of the box price, even if we assume the higher end of the value range. Given the type of product Unrivaled is and the general over indulgence of the Hobby in recent years, I just don’t see cards from this set doing well in holding their value. Granted, rookie auto patch parallels of the top prospects and maybe some dual or triple autographs of top-tier legends will pull a pretty penny, but that just swings this product firmly into the lottery ticket realm. You may get lucky and land some serious money, or you might just piss your money away.

RED ZONE RESULTS: MISSED FIELD GOAL The cards are by no means terrible, but they generally left me feeling uninspired. The lower price point certainly helps its case, especially during this part of the release calendar, but I just don’t see the value being returned on a regular basis. To try to accurately gauge my feelings on this box, we’ll say that after a solid drive, 2010 Topps Unrivaled missed the go-ahead field goal as time expired. Fortunately, the game was tied since the end of the third quarter, so it will get a chance to redeem itself in overtime. On the other hand, First and Goal’s Four Downs doesn’t have an overtime rule set, so we will just be left to wonder what could have been. Given another shot, this product could have a more favorable outcome, or it might fall flat on its face. I suppose the success of this product is comparable to the chances of pulling that sweet card that will almost guarantee to cover the cost of the box by itself: a gamble at best.



One Response to Product Review: 2010 Topps Unrivaled

  1. yeah, I don’t like the use of foil for player names… impossible to read. The shiny silver stickers for autos aren’t good either. At least the patch auto had a better sticker.

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