Gosh, it’s been a while since Triple Threads first launched as one of the high-end Topps products. The idea was to mix today’s players with yesterday’s superstars, go all out in the design process and keep the print run for most of the relics and autographs to a very low level. And over the past decade or so, Topps has succeeded in that in terms of putting cards into each mini-box to match this credo. 2013 Topps Triple Threads baseball hit hobby shops in late October hoping to lure collectors back for another year.
- An Autographed Triple Relic Card sequentially numbered to 99 or less
- A Triple Relic Card sequentially numbered to 36 or less
- A Triple Threads Unity Autographed Jumbo Single Relic Card sequentially numbered to 99 or less
- A Triple Threads Unity Jumbo Single Relic Card sequentially numbered to 36 or less
Each mini-box has seven cards with one autographed relic card and one relic card of which one of the relic cards is a triple relic card.
The base set, as per the usual on this is beautifully designed with the picture set against a solid silver background and the player’s name and team at the bottom. The backs have biographical information, a brief informational blurb and seasonal and career statistics.
When I stopped in my local card store (Triple Cards, Plano, TX) he mentioned he had sold less than a case at $208 per master box. Meanwhile leading on-line hobby retailers are currently at the $165-185 level per box. Even at the very lowest level, with 14 cards in a master box, that comes out to nearly $12 per card. The owner of Triple Cards mentioned one of his customers gave up in disgust when his relic card was Craig Biggio (who is a future Hall of Famer) and the autograph card was Scott Diamond. He figured with his base and insert cards he might have $10-15 total value for his $100+ pack.
To be fair, the owner complained that Panini is following the same pattern. The owner showed me his four box order of Playoff Absolute football sitting on his counter and told me he always orders cases but this time he was starting with the four and withholding judgment on ordering more until collectors had a chance to decide whether it was worthwhile.
Then the owner continued with his soliloquy about how his clients are not getting any value out of their boxes. Unfortunately, that’s been a common refrain from collectors lately. I do want to point out a couple of issues though. As you see from my box reviews, the owner is usually consistently higher than major on-line retailers on his box prices and does not always adjust them properly when the market really softens. He also mentioned he was given an opportunity to be on a conference call with Panini about this very issue this week but because he had customers in the store he did not join the discussion. I pointed out to him, that if this issue was so important to him, he should have had one of his regulars come by and help out for the hour or two he needed to be on the phone.
I know when I was between jobs, I would have been happy to help out and strangely enough I was actually off last Thursday and would have helped out because this is an important hobby issue. When you have a chance to do something like that, you take advantage of the opportunity. So, although as you have seen from my breaks over the years, there are times this occurs to me, if anyone gave me a chance to participate with hobby leaders, I’d make sure I was available.
So how did we do from our box?
Emerald Parallel (#d to 250): Willie Stargell
Gold Parallel (d to 99): Mariano Rivera
Unity Relic (#d to 36): Hoyt Wilhelm
Relics Emerald (#d to 18): David Freese
Autographed Rookies and Future Phenoms Base Set (Card numbers over 100, serial #d to 99): Starlin Castro
Doubront, at 26, isn’t a great pull as one of our two autographs. He does pitch for the World Series champion Red Sox and this particular card is selling for $20-25 just because of that.
Did we get what we were supposed to? Yes we did, each box contained a card serial numbered under 20 and that does qualify as a low-numbered card in my opinion. The owner of Triple Cards did mention that every one of his clients received exactly what they were supposed to from the box so outside of not receiving cards of players they could flip for a profit, everyone has received what they were supposed to get from the box.
We all must remember with just about any box no one is guaranteed high dollar value or even equal value for that matter. However, if we as hobbyists focused on the fun aspect instead, opening boxes like Triple Threads, which is admittedly a gamble, would become more enjoyable.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]