Topps’ Million Card Giveaway has yielded some gems, but if the company’s buy backs were balanced, the big ticket cards are still out there.
Over a case worth of 1987 Topps have been unlocked.
Nearly 9,000 1988s.
Chances are if you’ve found a few Topps Million Card Giveaway contest codes in this year’s packs, you’ve won something from the era of overproduction.
Chances are, though, that you’ve also gotten a vintage card or two, and that’s what’s helped tens of thousands of packs pass through the checkout or go through online sales in the company’s much-heralded giveaway.
A check of the cards available for “trade” on the Topps’ Million website shows that over 5000 cards from the 1950s now sit in collectors’ portfolios including a 1952 Topps Eddie Mathews, 1952 and 1952 Jackie Robinson cards, a ’54 Topps Ted Williams and high dollar rookie cards of Sandy Koufax and Ernie Banks.
Topps indicated to reporters last week that three 1952 Topps Mantle cards are part of the promotion but none have been unlocked as of yet. In fact, most of the big star cards from the ’50s–assuming they’re part of the promotion–have not been discovered.
11 vintage Mickey Mantle cards have been secured including a 1956, four 1958 All-Star cards, a 1963, two 1966 and a 1969.
No regular issue Roger Maris or pre-1973 Roberto Clemente cards have been redeemed and just two Koufax (the ’55 and a ’60). A 1963 is the only pre-1970 Carl Yastrzesmski pulled thus far. There have been no pre-1967 Topps Pete Rose, just six pre-1975 Nolan Ryan cards (nothing prior to 1971) and just one regular issue pre-1971 Hank Aaron (1962).
While it’s not yet evident what condition the buy back cards may be in, most collectors have been pleasantly surprised at the number of 1950s and 60s cards coming to light in the promotion. In addition to the ’52s, 684 1953 Topps have been unlocked, 269 1954s, 299 ’55s, 461 ’56s and 376 ’57s.
Starting in 1958, the number of cards increases significantly. Over 10,000 buybacks have been unlocked from ’58 through 1964–with some years outpacing their 1980s and 90s counterparts. For example, only 791 1986 Topps have been unlocked and just 1430 cards from 1989.