After a Japan-only release of the MLB product last year, 2014 Topps Supreme Baseball, set to arrive Wednesday.
The Supreme brand has been a pillar of the football card market since its introduction for the 2010 season. Last year, Supreme made its baseball debut but only as an Asian-exclusive. Now the holders of the MLB exclusive trading card license plan on bringing this high-end product to North America.
How is "high-end" defined in this case? There are just two cards per box and both carry autographs. In fact, Topps states that every card in the product will be sequentially numbered to 50 or less. Oh, and at 20 boxes per case this means a full case of baseball cards from Topps Supreme will be 40 cards (that is less than the number of cards in a regular Topps jumbo pack).
Most online box prices are currently between $80 and $90.
Among the fresh autographs in Supreme is Mets' pitcher Jacob deGrom. All autographs displayed in previews by the company have been on stickers.
Of course, it is the very fact that every card is a "hit" that Topps hopes will drive the product. And, just in case a little more chase appeal is needed to move sales of this hobby exclusive along, the company is also promising a "case guarantee" of one Supreme Scope Autographed Relic per case. It appears that these cards will combine a die-cut player image, a signature and a massive relic swatch. The checklist for these case hits will include veterans, retired players and rookies, and they will have parallels that will include Platinum Patch (#/10) and Supreme Patch (1/1) cards.
It seems that Topps has high hopes for this product offering. All of the pre-release material seeks to emphasize the fact that all cards will will be sequentially numbered to 50 or less, which means each player on the checklist (thus far unreleased) will have low-numbered autos. In addition, the company states that the Dual and Triple Autograph cards will be prominently featured and the players on those cards "thoughtfully paired." The company also promises a multitude of cards that are 1/1.
So far, the release of preview images for 2014 Supreme has been limited and that may not be doing the product any favors. Early collector reaction on the internet has been less than enthusiastic. This owes mostly to the fact that the cards shown so far consist of sticker autographs and well-used player photos. Of course, there have been fewer than half a dozen cards revealed, but the comments posted on varying sites and forums have repeatedly called attention to these issues. Others are beginning to sound off more and more on whether or not another "high end" product is really needed in a baseball card culture that already boasts the inclusion of Museum, Tier One, Five Star, Inception, Tribute, and Triple Threads…all from Topps.
Of course, that tune may change for some if they happen to hit on one of the aforementioned Supreme Scope Autograph Relics, but only time will reveal if that happens. What is certain is that 2014 Topps Supreme Baseball will feature any combination of the following in every two-card box:
• Single Autograph cards
• Multi Autograph cards
• Autographed Relic cards
The Autographed Cards, featuring both the single and multiple (dual and triple) autographed varieties, will be a mix of current veterans and retired stars. The various checklists will inlcude cards titled Simply Supreme and Supreme Styling. The more common (if anything in a set like this can be called common) cards are set to be featured on a vertical layout. The Simply Supreme Autographs will be on a horizontal layout, and the Supreme Styling cards are actually Die-Cut autographs.
Quoting directly from Topps' materials, the "parallels for these autograph components will include, but are not limited to":
• Green Parallel– sequentially #’d.
• Sepia Parallel– sequentially #’d.
• Purple Parallel– sequentially #’d.
• Blue Parallel– sequentially #’d.
• Orange Parallel– sequentially #’d to 15.
• Red Parallel– sequentially #’d to 10.
• Black Parallel– sequentially #’d to 5.
• Supreme Parallel- #’d 1/1.
• Printing Plates - #’d 1/1.
The case guarantee of at least 1 Supreme Scope Autograph Relic will not be the only autographed relic cards, of course. There will be Autograph Patch Relic cards which will house standard-sized patch relics and be sequentially numbered to 25. These cards will also be found in a Platinum Patch Parallel (#’d to 5) and a Supreme Patch Parallel (#’d 1/1).
Some rookie players will show up in 2014 Topps Supreme on the Dual Autograph Jumbo Patch relic book cards. These booklets will pair the rookes with one another or star veterans and retired greats (some booklets will have only vets or stars). These booklets will have surface applied autographed stickers and a jumbo patch relic for each player pictured, and they will be sequentially numbered to 10.
By the time this product is ready for collectors in October, the major league playoffs will be in full swing and it is likely the early summer Godzilla movie will be long gone from the theaters. Of course, Godzilla seems to have found a way to resurface time and again from the Japanese waters. Whether or not Topps Supreme Baseball has that kind of staying power with its stickers and price point will take some time to be made known.
You can see boxes, cases, box break spots and singles for sale on eBay here.