Is there any hobby brand which has become as well established in the past 20 years as “chrome”? When I took a look at our 2015 Topps Chrome box, I was struck by how commonly accepted the word is now in the hobby. In fact, with Bowman, which mixes Chrome cards and your more standard issues cards, the commonly accepted word for the cards many of us grew up with is “paper”.
And chrome has also come to mean a guarantee of autographed cards in a box. For Bowman, the autographs are almost always on the Chrome cards unless there is some special insert set used. In Topps Chrome, there are usually one or two autograph cards per box depending on the sport. The concept of Chrome autographs has become so common with the hobby that it is hard to believe the whole idea is now more than a decade old.
Each 24 pack hobby box has four cards per pack with two autographs per box. There are, of course, some other parallels and insert cards in the mix. My local card store (Triple Cards in Plano TX) reported very strong sales of multiple cases at $75.25 per box despite a slight delay in receiving his order. Most leading on-line retailers are now at between $65-70 before shipping. The folks at the local shop told us his collectors were happy with the product, with few redemption cards being pulled. He also said the cases have produced a decent amount of Kris Bryant autographs.
Here’s what we pulled in the box we received from Topps:
Base Cards: 85 of 200 or slightly more than 40 percent of a complete set. We did not receive any of the 201-205 short prints. If you’re a set collector, you’ll have to work to complete this one, but it’s generally not that difficult.
Refractors: Erric Hosman, Paul Konerko. Rougned Odor, Guilder Rodriguez.
Purple Refractor (#d to 250): Justin Morneau
Career Commencement: Julio Teheran
Future Stars: Maikel Franco, Dalton Pompey
Gallery of Greats; Alex Gordon
Autograph: Micah Johnson (on card)
Rookie Autograph Green Refractor (#d to 99): Brandon Finnegan (on card)
I really, really wish Topps would print “Refractor” on the backs of those cards. In fact, many collectors, dealers and box breakers have echoed those comments online. I had to review the cards twice before realizing which ones were refractors. Perhaps most importantly, doing so would really assist less advanced collectors in knowing what they pulled. It shouldn’t be that hard, should it?
It would have been nice to land a Carlos Correa short print card or a bigger name autograph, but with two on card rookie autos, one numbered to 99, it’s hard to complain. This is a stars and rookies heavy product, which also helps from a value perspective.