by Rich Klein
For a little more than a decade now, the Topps Tribute brand has been one of the higher end products Topps produces. Each time this issue is released, the cards are uniformly attractive and the 2012 set is no exception. The cards are produced on extra thick cardboard and feature the player’s photo against a solid background. The backs feature a small photo of the player’s face from the front photo along with some career highlights. From an aesthetic standpoint, 2012 Topps Tribute has always been a favorite because of the simple aspects of such an expensive product.
The autograph checklist includes such luminaries as Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr. and several dozen other stars, semi-stars and youngsters. They’re not in every box, of course, but it’s been enough to keep collectors buying.
Of course, there is no doubt 2012 Tribute is not for the faint of heart collector. Leading online retailers currently have boxes available in the $300-315 range with the individual packs at $55-60 each while my local card store (Triple Cards in Plano, Tx) sold out at $285 per box and $50 per pack. The owner did comment that one of his clients opened up five boxes, put every single card on EBay and barely recouped the cost of one of his five boxes from the sale of his cards.
And how did we do from our box?
Base Cards: 18 out of 100 all different. 18 percent of the base set
Blue Parallel (#d to 199): Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays
Green (#d to 75): Starlin Castro
Black (#d to 60): Joey Votto
Orange (#d to 60): Harmon Killebrew
Gold (#s to 25): Dustin Pedroia
Retired Relics Remnants (#d to 99): George Brett
Tribute to the Stars Relic Orange (#d to 25): Felix Hernandez
Autographs (#d to 99): Aroldis Chapman, Ryan Zimmerman
Autographs Blue Parallel (#d to 50): Gio Gonzalez
While no great hits out of our box, we at least got a good autograph or relic card out of every pack. For that, the higher end collector should be fairly happy. Did we get $300 worth? I’m not sure. The guarantee of a decent player with a print run of 99 or fewer should be enough to convince many collectors to take a chance on something good. At least your odds are better than the Mega Millions drawing the other night.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]