by Rich Klein
I often talk about how Topps Heritage may be my favorite overall product. Based on designs from past sets, I look forward to seeing how Topps adopts modern technology to what was plain, thin cardboard. When I received the 2013 Topps Archives football hobby box, I was struck by how much Topps appreciates not only their long history but also the normal collector paradigm. For many years, we used a rule of thumb that collectors returned to the hobby approximately 20 years after the peak collecting days of their youth. That’s the point in time when they start having some extra money, have settled down, maybe with a youngster or two themselves, and have steady jobs or careers.
So any new release which mixes the players and designs of both yesterday and today and caters to 1980’s and 90’s kids has some natural advantages in getting collectors to buy it. And after all, any product with a nice hook should be successful on the secondary market. The Topps Archives formula is to meld the designs and players of the past with the current rosters and toss in a couple of ‘Fan Favorite’ autographs in each box.
At the local Dallas show where I have a regular table, one of the dealers had busted a couple of blaster boxes of the baseball product and I was surprised to see a Delino DeShields autograph card on his table. That is when I realized the hook to Archives is not only to have autographs of players from that era but also to have shorter printed cards of some who may not have been superstars but are all still remembered. Some collectors like it but if you’re after monster hits, Archives may not always be the product for you, considering it’s well above the price point of the base Topps issue. There is a nice base set here, though.
Each hobby box consists of 24 packs with each box holding eight packs. Some boxes, including ours, had a box-topper. My local card store (Triple Cards in Plano, TX) reported slow sales at $96.25 per box while leading on-line retailers are currently between $65-75 per box. Mike Fruitman wrote his ‘What’s Hot in the Shop?’ column on Archives football a couple of weeks ago and reported some nice pulls and some solid sales in the early going at least. Blaster boxes run the usual $20 and you can watch a video break done by editor Rich Mueller below.
Here’s what we pulled:
Base Cards: 172 of 200 or 86% of the set. There were no duplicates. There are no rookie cards in this set and we didn’t pull any of the various pose variations either.
Short Prints: William Andrews, Wayne Chrebet, Haywood Jeffires, Mercury Morris. Vai Sikahema, Ickey Woods
Gold Parallels: Maurice Jones-Drew, Andrew Luck
1000 Yard Club: Jamaal Charles, A.J. Green, Mike Wallace
1970 Topps Glossy Style: Rob Gronkowski, Ray Lewis. Andrew Luck, Darren McFadden
Fan Favorite Autographs: Ed McCaffrey, Jim Zorn
Well, in a really bad pun, we had a lot of luck the second we opened the box topper wrapper and noticed the Andrew Luck signed card. That was certainly a very nice little pull to begin the box and guaranteed we would have a very happy experience.
But even without the Luck card, there is a lot in these boxes for collectors and fans of the NFL’s past to appreciate. And if you can pick up a box at the current low end price levels, the price per card becomes approximately 35 cents per card which is pretty reasonable for a quality mix of players, a pair of signed cards and a walk down memory lane.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]