by Rich Klein
You know, the hardest issue for Topps to market may very well be its Series 2 baseball boxes. After all, Series One kicks off the collecting year after a cold, hard winter. Collectors are excited to buy a fresh baseball product. Casual fans pick up some packs or a box. Many will buy because they have been purchasing Topps since they themselves were children. It’s sort of a rite of spring. By the time we get to June, most of the hype surrounding Series One has faded, other products have been issued and the Update Series that closes the year and offers the hottest rookies is still several months away.
Yet there are many good aspects to Series Two. There is still time in the production process to include any rookie player who was on an opening day roster and if Topps gets really lucky as in 2001 you are able to have Ichiro Suzuki as a rookie in series 2 and Albert Pujols as a rookie in the update series. Now, understand years like 2001 do not happen that often but card company executives can always dream of a perfect rookie card storm.
The one aspect I think can goose up some interest in Series Two is to create new insert sets for series two so not all the same concepts that were in the first series are repeated.
Having said that, opening any Topps base product is usually a fair deal as a collector is pretty much guaranteed 360 cards at less than a 20 cent per card average. In fact, a careful shopper can get these cards at a cost of less than 15 cents each. Since in today’s world just about every card is going to retail for more than that, it’s a good deal for everyone. And as with all base Topps products, there is one relic or autograph card per box.
There are photo variations that can be confusing; 25 of them in Series Two although many are variations of cards that were actually in Series One. Master sets are starting to get very expensive if you’re a true set collector. Box and case breakers tend to like them.
The design for Series Two is, of course, the same as the first and when I was at Nick’s last week (Nick’s Sports Cards, Richardson, TX.), the price of these boxes was $63.25 while leading on-line retailers are between $45-55 per box. Each hobby box contains 36 packs with 10 cards per pack and the aforementioned one hit per box.
So how did we do?
Base Cards: I counted 292 of 330 and did not notice any duplicates. This is a tad less than 90 percent. I went through these cards at least twice and did not notice any of the Short Print variations.
Emerald Parallels: Phililippe Aumont, Jedd Gyorko, Chris Herrmann, Dan Straily, Mike Trout, Jordany Valdespin
Black Parallel (#td to 62): Mike Trout
1972 Topps Minis: Jose Atulve, Jose Bautista, Eric Davis, Roy Halladay, Will Middlebrooks, Paul O’Neill, David Ortiz, Brandon Phillips. Ozzie Smith
Chase it Down: In my opinion, these are amongst the most attractive cards Topps has produced in recent years. To me, these are reminiscent of the old Stadium Club sets. The full color borders feature action defensive photos with the player’s name on the bottom. Alex Gordon, Chase Headley, Mike Moustakas, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout
Chasing History: Hank Aaron, Miguel Cabrera, Ty Cobb, Yu Darvish, Derek Jeter, Lance Lynn, Phil Niekro, David Price. Jered Weaver
Cut to the Chase: Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner and Manny Machado
Making Their Marks: Trevor Bauer, Yu Darvish, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore. Salvador Perez, Stephen Strasburg
The Elite: Josh Hamilton Buster Posey
WBC Stars: Robinson Cano. Joe Mauer (2). Hanley Ramirez. Yes, the only duplicate I received was in an insert set
There’s also the online chase component here with several cards in each box with codes you can enter online which adds a little mystery. We didn’t score anything huge but it’s an added bonus that drives box and pack sales.
Facebook Promotion: This is a pretty neat contest in which liking Topps on Facebook gives one a chance to win vintage cards. To me, a good usage of Topps’ ability to buy back older cards and give them away.
Topps does seem to make sure there’s at least one card that will bring strong value to the box and with my box it’s the Trout black version, which would bring around $40-60 if I was to offer it. Overall, a pretty good amount of cards for the money with 2013 Topps Series Two and at that lower cost, certainly something many collectors should consider, even if rounding up all of those insert sets and variations is once again a monumental task.
The product released about 2-3 weeks ago and right now there are over 14,000 listings on eBay.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]