Product Review: 2010 Topps Prime

Tax season is slowly moving along for me in my day job. That means long hours at the office and actually having a lot of things to fill those many hours (unlike some of the summer months where I knock off early after having spent several hours of “miscellanous nonchargeable time”). That also means significantly less time to spend with frivilous things like filling blog-o-land with meaningless, no-where-near-timely product reviews. But some how I still find time. Like now. Here’s a review of 2010 Topps Prime. Enjoy.

2010 Topps Prime box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 10 6-card mini-box packs for a total of 60 cards. Turns out though, that if you pull a fancy-pants booklet card, you’re not getting 6 cards in that pack. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $73, which translates into a moderate $1.22/card ratio. That is definitely branching into my uncomfortable zone, but certainly isn’t dizzyingly scary like products that run $10+ per card.

2010 Topps Prime Pack
“Pillow-Box Packs – Fun to Open, Hard to Scan”

The Breakdown:
Base Cards (#/499): 34 (0 duplicates)
   Rookies: ? (I forgot to separate them for some reason)
   Silver (#/999): 3
   Gold (#/699): 2
   Gold (#/199): 1
   Blue (#/199): 1
   Blue (#/50): 1
   Prime Rookies: 2
   2nd Quarter: 2
   3rd Quarter: 2
   4th Quarter: 4
   Prime Rookie Jersey (#/420): 1
   2nd Quarter Dual Jersey (#/355): 1
   Autographed Rookies (#/599): 1
   Prime Level 2 Autographed Relics (#/15): 1

2010 Topps Prime2010 Topps Prime
Click image for full-sized scan

1st Down, Design: In a word, these base cards are “great.” And I’m not using quotes in the sarcastic sense. I’m using them in the quote way. I was not recording the experience, but I’m pretty sure that as I opened the very first pack, I said, “Wow. These are sweet base cards!” The cards have a slick glossy sheen to them and are printed on premium thick stock. We’re not quite talking mid-90s Flair here, but it’s in that same ballpark. The photography is crisp and excellent. I love cards that show an entire photograph (vs. player cut-outs), without cluttering up the frame with other things. These cards have a very clear player emphasis. The design is simple and elegant. People like simple. Google figured that out. Apple figured it out. Now, at least for this product’s base card, Topps has also figured it out. My first thought when looking at these cards was that Topps Prime may finally be the replacement of the now defunct Stadium Club line. Perhaps an even better rendition. The only things I would complain about is that silver foil stamping is hard to scan and occasionally hard to read (although it seems most of these cards were brightly colored, so the stamping stood out more) and the use of the RC logo. I know why they use it and I can appreciate the effort. I’m just not wild about that logo.

2nd Down, Inserts: This was definitely the weak point for this box. The single Prime Rookies aren’t bad and even the 2nd Quarter cards are decent, if both players are from the same team. But a majority of the 3rd Quarter and 4th Quarter cards seemed to have no correlation to who was paired with whom and the overall design suffers for trying to get so many guys on one card. Add to that the fact that there is OBVIOUSLY jersey parallels of these cards, and you have a full-blown Panini-Patented backwards design issue…in a Topps product. I don’t get it either. The autographed card was decent. Not the greatest design, but it was a unique design, rather than just slapping a label on a base card or basic insert, so that is always appreciated. The booklet card…interesting. This is the first booklet style card I’ve ever pulled (well, other than 1993 Pacific Tri-Folds). I like the concept. It gives the collector a bunch of different swatches from different types of material and an autograph, without completely taking up the card front. I like that I can still see Brandon’s photo. My issues with these: 1) How the hell are you supposed to store these things? You can fold them up and put them in mass storage easily enough, but I am not aware of any toploaders thick enough for the folded card or nearly long enough for the unfolded card. I’ve already sold this card and wound up shipping it in a hard 25-count snap case because I didn’t have anything else that would work. 2) If this is supposed to be a super nice, high-end insert, why bother with B-list rookies? Granted, I know it’s impossible to tell who will turn out to be the next studs of the NFL early enough for production runs, but do they really need to include anyone not highly prized? Maybe a way around this would be to only include veterans in this type of insert. There you already know who is popular and who people care about. Just a thought.

3rd Down, Collation: I feel like a broken record in this category. Once again, with only 60 cards, it’s awfully hard to accurately guage the collation of the print run. I guess in reality, this 3rd down has become just a beacon of whether or not there is a glaring problem with the particular box I busted. In this one, I got was I was supposed to. I didn’t get what I wasn’t supposed to get (duplicates). So yay Topps Prime. You pass the test of blatant problems with collation.

4th Down, Overall Value: At just over $1 per card, this is probably a well priced product. The hits should pull in a decent pricetag and with such nice base cards, even the plain rookie cards may sell well. Granted, in the jaded, greed infested Hobby of today, no one seems to be willing to pay a premium for a well designed card that doesn’t have a swatch of fabric or sticker label auto attached to it. So I would say this is a decent product for those who are looking for a quality to collect, not flip. If you’re in it for the money, you’re barking up the wrong tree. But then again, if you’re in it for the money, you’re probably in the wrong hobby to begin with…

RED ZONE RESULTS: FIELD GOAL I admit that the secondary market value may not be quite in line with the primary market box price. I also admit that the inserts are nothing to brag about. But I will say that there have been very few base cards that have impressed me this year. There was also a heightened sense of fun when opening this box. The outer box was HUGE, especially considering there were only 60 cards enclosed, and the pillow-box packs offered a different flavor than the usual foil packs. I’m not sure how well it protected the cards and I wasn’t able to add one to my collection of wrappers, but it was still fun regardless. So in the end, I thought 2010 Topps Prime deserved to get on the board. I wasn’t “wowed” enough to warrant a touchdown, but the effort won’t go unnoticed on this blog. Topps, I loved your work with the base cards. Try a little harder to design nice inserts, and you’d have a winner on your hands with Prime. Next year?

NEXT UP: 2010 Panini Gridiron Gear


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