by Rich Klein
“You are what you are” is a great expression which was used by Bill Parcells. His corollary statement always went to the effect that “You are what your record says you are”. In other words, whatever the final score of the game is determines your record even if you throw for 600 yards in a losing effort. For whatever reason, that thought kept coming back to me when opening 2012 Topps football.
Please do not get me wrong, I really enjoy opening products such as Topps Football which provides the collector with well over 350 cards at a price point of just slightly over 15 cents per card. There are always plenty of cards of active players as well as insert sets which give a nod to past greats. This year the theme was great quarterbacks past and present. One can get lost in a reverie while opening the base 2012 Topps football product. The cards themselves are very attractive with white borders surrounding the player photo. The team logo is near the bottom of the card along with the player’s name. The backs have biographical information, an informational blurb as well as seasons and career stats.
Topps brought back minis in the design of the 1965 Topps tall boys with this brand as well as reprinted rookie cards of some all-time great quarterbacks. The Quarterback Immortals subset is especially well done.
You’ll also find randomly inserted cards you can exchange for a free Kickoff pack that’s exclusive to hobby shops and the annual online redemption game, this time called “Gametime Giveaway”.
Now that it’s been on the market for a little over three weeks, how is this traditional product doing in shops and on the secondary market? My local card store (Triple Cards in Plano TX.) reported decent but not overwhelming sales at $64.95 per box. His comment was in line with the history of this product…that his customers will buy this product all year but at a slower pace than higher end issues. As of this writing, leading online retailers are currently in the $50-55 box range. These boxes contain 36 packs with 10 cards per pack and promise one autograph or relic per box.
Here’s what we pulled from our hobby box:
Base Cards; 303 of 440 or just slightly less than 70 percent of the set with no duplicates
Gold Parallel: #s to 2012: Greg Jennings, Philip Rivers, Tennessee Titans
Ring of Honor: Eli Manning
Quarterback Immortal Inserts: John Elway, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Bart Starr.
Paramount Pairs: Justin Blackmon/Trent Richardson, LaGarrette Blount/LaMichael James, Ahmed Bradshaw/Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Griffin III/Kendall Wright, Brandon Lloyd/Wes Welker, Willis McGehee/Lamar Miller, Sidney Rice/Alshon Jeffrey, Ryan Tannehill/Cyrus Gray, Brandon Weedem/Justin Blackmon
1965 Topps Style: Miles Austin, Kenny Britt, Victor Cruz, Marcell Dareus, Eric Decker, Blaine Gabbert, Devery Henderson, Jordy Nelson, LeSean McCoy, Eli Manning, Osi Umenyiora, Jason Witten
Quarterback Rookie Reprints: Dan Fouts, Peyton Manning, Jim Plunkett, Aaron Rodgers, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach
NFL Game Time: Six in the box.
Rookie Premier Autograph (#d to 90) Isaiah Pead
Topps again delivers a sizable number of cards for the money. You’ll need to trade or buy what you don’t have if you chase the inserts but it’s a good start. Frankly at any price point where your cost is less than 15 cents per card, there is something worthwhile about taking a chance on not only picking up good bulk trade material but also a chance at some nice hits. The six contest cards help raise the value of the box if you don’t score big and frankly, the online concept is becoming one of the big attractions inside Topps’ base products now.
It would have been nice to pull a bigger name autograph but if Pead’s career turns out anything like the man ahead of him on the Rams’ depth chart, Steven Jackson, it’ll be a nice hit. We shall see.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]