by Rich Klein
Last year about this time we wrote about the Topps U.S. Olympic Set and the tough and limited time frame that existed to sell those cards. The recently released Topps Tribute World Baseball Classic set commemorates an event which took place several months earlier and an event frankly forgotten when the major league season begins. Those two options make any decision Topps makes on WBC tough ones to properly execute.
For example, as in this year with the relic cards do you insert WBC cards as part of another brand or do you want to make it a stand-alone product? Then, what type of issue do you want to make WBC: a lower end issue, in the "middle" or a higher-end issue? For the 2013 season Topps decided to use their popular "Tribute' name and create a high-end stand-alone WBC release. They hit store shelves earlier this month.
Similar to other tribute releases, these cards come in five card packs which are six cards to a box and each pack features either an autograph or a relic card which is to be numbered to 99 or less. The base cards are extremely attractive with a player photo set against a regional world view. The bottom of the card has the Topps Tribute Logo, the player's name and the country they represented along with their position. The back has career highlights when possible focusing on previous WBC appearances.
When I stopped in my local card store (Triple Cards, Plano TX) he was using the same pricing he always does for tribute which is $50 per pack and $285 per master box. Leading on-line retailers are currently between $150-200 on these boxes. So how did we do from our box?
Base Cards: 19 different and 2 duplicates
Red Parallel (#d to 5): Kenta Maeda. This could be a very nice hit as we hear that many of the tougher Japanese cards are very popular in the far east and checking his biography he does appear to have a nice future and might be posted while still a young player.
Autographs Blue (#d to 50): Jameson Taillon
Prime Patches (#d to 100): Alex Rios. I know my father was a math teacher and had some bizarre way of showing 99 equaled 100; however for the rest of us 100 is one more than 99.
Prime Patches Blue (#d to 50): Jose Reyes
As mentioned earlier, I thought these card were amongst the most attractive cards has issued in a long time but the delivery of having four of our hits either not being serial numbered or even numbered over what was advertised on the actual box is part of the reason these cards are currently selling at such a low level. I do like the looks of 2013 Topps WBC Tribute and understand the issues involved in the distribution and release dates. Someone has been buying them. There are currently over 3000 cases, boxes, singles and sets listed on eBay.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]