As most of our readers know, I’m a big fan of any and all card shops and support them all whenever possible. There is nothing like going to a store and seeing all of the different sports card boxes available in one place. Many know what’s going to be hot and try to stock along those lines. Other times, it’s a guessing game, especially when it comes to non-traditional products and sports or those that haven’t been done before.
Soccer cards aren’t new but the question remains whether they’ll sell at a particular shop. Owners are constantly asking themselves whether they should order a product, if so how many and at what price level can they be competitive. The recently released 2015 Topps MLS series is one that required some decisions. However, this is the third year for it as Topps’ flagship soccer brand so some trends have been established.
The first store I went into was Triple Cards in Plano, TX. I asked the owner if he had ordered MLS and he said “No I didn’t and I realize I made a mistake.” Despite the strong sales he had in 2013 with the same product and the major success he had with the Panini World Cup Stickers last year he still is concerned that soccer is not something his normal clientele will purchase. During our conversation we agreed I would contact Nick’s Sportscards in Richardson and we were both sure Nick’s would have ordered the product.
Not only had Nick ordered MLS boxes but he also had to re-stock them because they had sold so well. Nick’s does have a younger customer base that is more into soccer. He will also take chances on soccer, hockey or some products which might not have ‘main street appeal’ but do have a passionate collector base. Although you would not realize this from DFW talk radio, I would not be surprised to see the continued growth of soccer here and more widespread acceptance among mainstream sports fans in the coming years.
Or course, the Topps MLS issue is helped because the cards themselves are very attractive. The borderless design has the team logo and position in the upper left corner, and the player name in the upper right corner. The player’s photo takes up the card center. The backs have biographical information, the last three years of MLS statistics and a brief blurb.
The boxes consist of 24 packs with 10 cards per pack so you are also getting a decent quantity of cards for the money. Boxes promise two relics, two autographs and one autograph relic. There are also several insert sets. Nick’s was at $126 per box when I contacted them via the phone while leading online retailers are between $95-100 plus shipping.
Our autographs were all on stickers. Topps did score a coup with getting autographs of international superstar David Villa of New York City FC into the product.
Here’s what we pulled ( a full checklist for 2015 Topps MLS is below):
Base Cards: We received 215 cards and with minimal duplication, collectors should either have enough for a full set—or be very close. There are some All-Star photo variations but we didn’t see any of those in the box we received from Topps.
Gold Parallel (#d to 25): Obafemi Martins
Minis: Chicago Fire (Penalty Kick); FC Dallas (Wall(), Montreal Impact (Back Heel)
Presence of the Pitch: Omar Gonzalez, Chris Wondolowski, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Graham Zusi
Kits of the Game Black Parallel (#d to 10): Clint Dempsey
Autograph: Iganacio Piirtti
Relic Autographs Black Parallel (#d to 10): Michael Bradley
Printing Plate Black: Fabinho (1/1)
Now granted, most of the hits in an average box will not be numbered to 10 or less but the chance of completing a base set, pulling some parallels and inserts and the five hits make the 2015 MS box something which collectors should enjoy opening. And if you want to see a passionate fan base interested in collecting, go to an MLS game some day.
You can get a look at 2015 Topps MLS singles, sets, boxes and cases on eBay.