by Rich Klein
The concept of which products "work" in today's card world and which ones do not "work can sometimes surprise even the most experienced hobby veteran. While at this point, the first series of Topps Baseball is almost always going to be a hit for several reasons, one can never be sure of just about any other product. This year's version of Topps Chrome football is an example of a product which works on just about every level.
The 2011 Topps chrome football box was released in 24 pack boxes with four cards per pack. The box says you will get one chrome rookie autograph card per box. There are 45 different rookies who signed for this product, some on card and some on sticker. They all come in refractor parallel versions.
The current online price for these boxes are $100-110. My local card store, Triple Cards in Plano blew through his 60 boxes at $74.25 per box and was able to restock at a level where his next cases should be in the low-mid 90's.
Each box contains 24 packs with four cards per pack.
I suspect the still listed price on those Topps Chrome boxes space is why when I was in there today I heard two collectors asking about if he had any more Topps Chrome in stock. Some collectors may disagree with the number of rookies not appearing in their official uniforms but here’s an unbiased view. My wife, in opening Chrome football, actually enjoyed all the photos of the rookies taken during their draft workouts, before thy ever put on an official NFL uniform. Back in my early days at Beckett, we had a young lady whose topical subset card collection was based on "men out of uniform". We'll discuss more of that in a future rambling.
The local store owner did mention that his first collector to open those boxes did not receive any Cam Newton cards out of his four boxes and everyone wondered if that made sense. Actually, based on what we pulled and a tad of hobby history, there is nothing surprising if one does not receive any specific card out of four boxes opened.
Back in what some people called the "glory days" of the hobby, collectors opened boxes in search of finishing 792 count card sets. Many people did statistical analyses at that time and the estimation was that a collector would have to open five boxes with a total of 2700 cards to finish the 800 card set. This year's Chrome set is 220 cards and a collector receives approximately 75 base cards out of a box. Based on that, my guesstimation, for all that it is worth, is that a collector should have to open 8-10 boxes of this product to guarantee a complete base set. So, if you have opened five boxes and not received a Cam Newton, or Andy Dalton or any other rookie of interest, it is not a conspiracy to keep you away from the best cards.
How did we do out of our box:
Base Cards: 74 out of 220,. No duplicates. No Rookie Short Print Variations. That amounts to about 33 percent of the set. No, we did not get a Cam Newton.
Refractors: James Carpenter, Jamaal Charles,Ras-I Dowling, Chris Johnson,. Jeremy Maclin, Ryan Whalen, Aaron Williams,Kellen Winslow.
Black Refractor (#d to 299): Tim Tebow
Crystal Atomic Refractor (#d to 139): Julius Peppers
Sepia Refractor (#d to 99): Kealona Pilares
Red Refractor (#d to 25): Kenny Britt
Rookie Recognition Andy Dalton, Titus Young
Superlative Rookies: Bilal Powell
Finest Freshman: Vincent Brown, Andy Dalton, Jordan Todman, Ryan Williams
Rookie Autograph: Austin Pettis
Chrome continues to be a popular brand for Topps. Austin Pettis has some promise and with a strong rookie class this year, your chances of landing a decent rookie autograph are pretty good. You can understand why collectors snapped up these boxes at the lower prince range and are willing to pay more going forward. Even if you’re not that into parallels and insert sets, a good crop of rookies can trump all. Will 2011 Topps Chrome football be as big as Adele's "Rolling in the Deep"? Probably not but if this was a single, this would definitely qualify as a top 10 hit.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]