When Topps Archives MLB hit on Wednesday, it already had generated quite a significant amount of buzz before it arrived in card shops across the country. Just like Bowman before it, my store was receiving loads of calls from collectors who wanted to get in on the busting action.
I am already regretting ordering just one case, but as with other products that were available to be ordered in the fourth quarter of last year, going deep was a gamble that few hobby shops were seemingly willing to take.
At the time of the writing of this piece, dealers are offering to pay about $20.00 over cost for a brand new release that offers two on-card autographs in each box. Our shelf price is $99.00 which is going to last for just my 10 direct boxes, since for me to restock boxes today; it will cost me $101.
Archives has a decent enough history selling well out of the gate the past two years, but boxes from both years are available significantly under cost. One of these years, I will learn to zig while everyone else is zagging when I order.
2014 Archives enjoys the benefit of coming out late enough to have rookie cards of both Jose Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka. There are gold parallels /199, silvers /99 and 1/1 printing plates for these players and everyone else in the base set.
A mere $1775.00 will get you this 1/1 Abreu Printing Plate.
Where it gets really interesting are the autographs. Being a throwback design release, it is no surprise that there is an impressive selection of retired player signatures. A partial list includes Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Rickey Henderson (how’s that for an A’s reunion), Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Carter, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Don Mattingly, Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt and more.
What stands out beyond the players who are here, are the players who are not included. Although they appear in many other 2014 releases, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and others are nowhere to be found. I am sure there will be many autographs that will more than cover box cost, but it is disappointing that these superstars got held out of this product.
The current player selection is impressive with stars like the above mentioned Abreu and players like Troy Tulowitzki, Freddie Freeman, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera and others making box buying worth it. Sadly, as with the retired player autograph list, many bankable younger players like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are MIA.
As Sports Collectors Daily has noted in a couple of different stories leading up to this past week’s release, Topps is using the Way Back Machine to offer autographs from five actors from the movie Major League. Charlie Sheen leads the way and Corbin Bersen, Tom Berenger, Chelcie Ross and Margaret Whitton join the “Wild Thing” with signatures of their own.
Ricky Vaughn’s on card autograph will run you the price of about 100 movie tickets right now.
In addition to Major League autos, there are Cut Signatures from well-known celebrities like Tom Clancy, Martin Sheen, Don Rickles, Alex Trebek, Larry King, Dick Van Dyke and Regis Philbin. There is even a cut signature of President Jimmy Carter that will well reward the lucky shredder who stumbles across it.
If you are a long-time Topps collector, you should appreciate seeing newer players on the 1969 Topps Deckle Edge minis design, the 1968 Topps base set style is used for the relic set, for some reason the 71/72 Topps hockey look also makes an appearance, the 1997 Stadium Club Firebrand makes gets its first sighting in more than a decade. Perhaps to balance things out, the 1987 Topps All-Star style brings its buzz killing likeness back to cardboard.
Personally, I’m not sure where to expect Archives to go. I am encouraged by the initial response and where the secondary market is currently residing, but there are enough flaws to make me wonder how long it will hold up unless the print run was beyond astonishingly low. Then again, with Tier One, Bowman Inception and Topps Series 2 flagship all due in June, there will be plenty to offer once our boxes leave our shelves. Then again, none of those products will give box buyers a chance to snag a signature of the immortal Roger Dorn so I might be reading things wrong.
A list of the ‘most watched’ 2014 Topps Archives cards on eBay is below. Click inside the listings to learn more.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colo. You can read his column here each week (or close to it), focusing on what products are selling best in hobby shops. See his eBay listings here. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him [email protected]