by Rich Klein
I still remember back in my Beckett days we used to have very spirited discussions about whether to list “retail” inserts as there was a large and boisterous hobby dealer group who would only buy and sell those cards which were part of hobby packs. Now, part of me understands the frustration of hobby store owners, who even in peak hobby days of the early 1990’s had to compete against a growing retail (read Walmart and Target especially) market.
The other part of me would always argue if the cards were available in packs and being sold on the secondary market then our job as the leading price authority and cataloguer of trading cards was to make sure these cards were in our magazine and were priced. If you think about this, hobby dealers today have even more issues which not only include retail outlets but now direct to consumer products. While I understand why dealers are upset, my line always was back in those days, and still is today, if these are cards and I’m a seller of cards can I find a way to make money off these cards. After all, my job as a hobby dealer is to stay in business and any cards that help me stay in business are worth it to me.
Which all brings me to 2013 Topps Turkey Red Baseball.
Sold only via the Topps online store, the cards come in 11-card packs (a small box actually). There are ten base cards (there are some parallels) and one autograph for a cost of $24.99 shipped direct from Topps. Needless to say, even with a maximum limit of boxes per household this product is sold out from Topps.com but is now available in the secondary market for $35-40 per box. So for those dealers who are willing to buy products such as this from a “newer” source there is money that can be made. Remember in 2012, dealers made money with both Topps Mini and Topps Heritage Hi #’s so just as it was 20 years ago, dealers more interested in profit do not worry about “hobby only” and just do what it takes to stay in business.
The cards are done in the general style of the now 102-year-old original tobacco-based cabinet cards but there aren’t a lot of similarities. These are standard sized cards, printed on thin, non-glossy stock.
All autographs are signed on stickers.
Base Cards: 10 out of 100 or 10 percent of the set. This means with perfect distribution a collector needs 10 boxes to complete a set and remember these cards are not going to be heavily distributed in the hobby. The players we received were: Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, Matt Kemp, Evan Longoria, Justin Morneau, Dustin Pedroia, Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, C.C. Sabathia, Pablo Sandoval.
We did not pull any parallel cards
The autograph checklist includes a wide spectrum of players—from stars like Mike Trout to common players and unfortunately, your odds of getting a common player are much higher. Trout and Yu Darvish autos are numbered to only 10.
Here’s what 20 boxes yielded one collector who posted his results on the PSA Message Board:
4 x Scott Diamond
4 x Chris Archer
3 x Mike Fiers
2 x Steve Cishek
2 x Drew Hutchinson
The concept and the future
The direct to consumer price is, at least, an inexpensive way of guaranteeing an autograph card and Topps recognizes that’s the main draw for a lot of collectors who are avid buyers of current products. Even a basic Topps 1 box which costs double this does not have a guarantee of an autograph.
2013 Topps Turkey Red is limited and base card prices should stay relatively strong. It looks like the direct to consumer market is here to stay so in addition to frequenting local shows and stores (if one if fortunate enough to have those near them) to find something new, I’d also say be alert for theseoffers from card companies as you never know what goodies may be available.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]