I don't know enough about English Premier League Soccer to discuss the league in any way but I do have some knowledge of soccer as a sport to understand the interest among collectors. In 2013, the Topps MLS box and set was a surprise hit as the box prices exploded after being released. I realize now soccer has become a minor/major sport in America the way horse racing and track and field used to be. After nearly 50 years of being "the next sport", those kids who played soccer a generation ago have grown up and their children are now avid players or fans.
In addition, many people in their 30's are big soccer fans and that number seems to be growing every day. In my work area, I'm actually surrounded by big soccer fans and I know Beckett's Brian Fleischer loves what Europeans call ‘the beautiful game’. There are plenty of other people in the "money demo" age group who are big soccer fans and I'd wager many collectors under 40 appreciate soccer a lot more than they do other sports. The Premier League is where it's at and games are now treated like the big league event they are by ESPN with game broadcasts, highlights and space in the on screen ticker.
After the big success of the 2013 MLS issue, Topps announced their 2013 Premier Gold release and said there would be many famous players then and now who would be featured in this set. When I saw the autograph list, I did see some big names and from a design perspective, they’re solid. The full-bordered base cards have the player photo with the team logo in the upper right, the player's name, team and position at the bottom. The backs have biographical information, recent season statistics as well as an informational blurb.
We recently received our review box of 2013-14 Topps English Premier Gold Box and were happy to see the box contains 10 "mini-boxes" with five autographs and five relic cards in the "master-box". Each mini-box has five cards of which one is a hit.
My local card store didn’t order any because of a customer base that skews a bit younger. Leading on-line retailers are currently between $200-210 per box. That translates to a very reasonable $20 or so level for a pack with a guaranteed hit.
Base Set: 28 of 200 or 14 percent. You need with perfect distribution eight of these boxes to complete a set.
Green Parallels (#d to 99): Ryan Giggs, Matt Jarvis, Lukas Podolski, Willian
Future Stars: Danny Rose, Raheem Sterling
Hot Shots Green Parallel (#d to 99): Dimitar Berbatov
Midfield Maestros: Kevin Nolan, Anthony Pilkington
Midfield Maestros Orange Parallel (#d to 11); Michael Carrick
Relic Cards: Phil Jagielka, Tim Krul, Paul McShane, Andreas Weimann
Jumbo Relic Card (#d to 99): Christian Benteke
Autograph Cards: James Collins, Brad Guzan, Jordan Henderson, Scott Sinclair, Kyle Walker
For the cost of the box that is a lot of hits and my suspicion is collectors will end up creating a sell out on these cards as they realize the risk is pretty minimal compared to the possible rewards which can be pulled from this box…but it definitely helps to be in tune with Premier League Soccer.
You can check the eBay market--and pick up some cheap autographs here.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]