Into the confluence of an explosion in newly released products and the holiday season came 2014 Topps Chrome Football. Released in late November, Chrome has always been a pretty successful hobby staple. In years when the rookie crop is especially popular, the 24 count boxes with one rookie autograph usually sell well at the start. This year, it’s been a bit of a rough ride.
I wrote last week about one of my local card shops offering a deep discount on these boxes just days after release. In an effort to attain a return of capital they made a difficult decision to put an almost new product on their discount tables. Another local shop was still selling enough packs, albeit slowly, but was mulling whether to wholesale their supply yet to other dealers. That shop had Chrome at its standard price of just over $74 per box when I stopped in a few days ago. Online sellers are currently at $40-50 per box.
The card design is based on the regular Topps issue but with the usual Chrome touch. Backs have career stats and a fun twist in the inclusion of players’ Twitter handles.
Topps has inserts designed in the manner of their 1963, ’65 and ’85 sets, with the ’63 done in mini style.
There are once again four cards in each pack and each box does contain one rookie autograph. Each pack promises one rookie card. The good news is that the rookie quarterbacks are starting to find their way and despite Topps apparently printing Chrome in a quantity above what was actually ordered, the dropping prices may represent a good buying opportunity for prospectors as there will likely be some impact rookies who become major stars in the years ahead based on this year’s results.
So how did we do from our box?
Base Cards: 80 of 220 or a bit more than 35 percent of a full base set without any duplicates. With perfect collation, one needs three hobby boxes to finish a set. The mix is fairly even between veterans and rookies. We did receive a Dez Bryant short print photo variation.
Blue Wave Refractor: Tavon Austin, Khalil Mack
1000 Yard Club: LeShon McCoy
1963 Minis: Bishop Sankey, Johnny Manziel
1965 Design: Tre Mason
Rookie Autograph: Andre Williams
Frankly, at the current online price point this is not a bad grouping of cards and most collectors would be pleased. Unfortunately, it appears every recent release over the past couple of months has almost immediately settled at levels far below where a retail store can make their margin. We hope this is just a temporary situation and not a permanent dynamic hobby shift. But with the price of oil settling at levels not seen since 2009, we also wonder if that extra money will help to translate into better hobby sales as if you don’t spend your money in one place, you just might look at some of these hobby packs and see a golden buying opportunity.
A lot of product has been opened. We do know that. There are over 30,000 listings on eBay for boxes, singles, sets and more.