2013 Topps Strata football is back for its second season after a very well received 2012 debut. Strata has 18 packs with six cards per pack and each box promises three hits: One Clear Cut Autograph Relic, one additional autograph and one more relic.
My local card store of reference for this break was Nick’s Sportscards in Richardson, TX (a shout out to Nick and Debbie here as they have links to Rich’s Ramblings each week) and Nick reported very solid sales at $69.95 per box while leading on-line retailers are currently between $55-60 per box. The cards themselves show a player photo set against a background which matched his team’s colors with his name at the bottom. The backs have biographical information, some quick career highlights and seasonal and career stats.
The autograph checklist is again heavily weighted toward rookies, which does temper the enthusiasm a bit. We’ve seen a few new impact players, but as the 2013 NFL season winds down, there still have not been any real new breakout rookies or stars to match some recent years past. Back in 2004, we had a great rookie quarterback class which began with Ben Roethlisberger and also included Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. The first two listed quarterbacks have combined for four Super Bowl victories and the rookie class as a whole even includes future Hall of Famers Larry Fitzgerald and Steven Jackson. We have documented the extraordinary rookie quarterbacks of the past two seasons and while nothing is ever guaranteed, the classes of 2011-12 are off to good long-term starts.
This year, guys like Giovanni Bernard, Le’Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy have all had their moments as running backs, Keenan Allen has been a great addition in San Diego, Sheldon Richardson has been terrific for the Jets and Kiko Alonso has been quite a find by the Bills. None, though, have really captivated collectors.
So how did we do from our box?
Base Cards: 93 of 150 with one duplicate. Our dupe was Geno Smith so if he does develop further that could end up being a nice double to have.
Orange Parallels: Le”Veon Bell, Sam Bradford, Cecil Shorts, Stephan Taylor and Reggie Wayne
Bronze Parallel (#d to 150): E.J. Manuel
Rookie Jersey Emerald (#d to 35): Stephan Taylor
Autograph: Justin Hunter
To me anytime a box is in the $50-60 range and offers this many hits, it is one that many collectors enjoy opening. There is always the chance of even bigger hits than what we received but at this price point most boxes will provide good to excellent value despite the minimal star power. As time goes on, some of those still relatively unknown rookies could break out. One always worries about mid-level issues but Strata shows why Nick’s collectors made this a strong in-store seller.
2013 Topps Strata Football was released December 11. Over 4,000 listings have been placed on eBay since then. Click here to see them.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]