There are certain days of card store ownership that stand out each year. There is the day after the Super Bowl when people are flocking in for whoever starred in the biggest game of the year. Black Friday and other promotional days always carry a larger significance because of the opportunity to reward collectors with freebies. My personal favorite is release day for the new Topps MLB Series 1.
Sure it does not have the massive autograph power that Five Star has. Because of licensing rules it never has the strongest rookie class. For dozens of reasons it no longer goes for the .25 that it did when I was a child.
Regardless, there is something about when the Fed Ex truck stops and unloads my double figure order of Topps 1 regular and jumbo cases that makes me feel like I am getting onto my bike, undertaking a ride of several miles that involves crossing 2 streets that I was not allowed to take and blowing every bit of my allowance that I had been able to save over the previous few months.
It took only one jumbo box to get all of these inserts!
This year my shop was one of the lucky four to be chosen by Topps to host sneak preview case breaks the night before the product was released to other shops. Few things blow me away after being in the hobby for over 22 years as a shop owner, but knowing that I had one of the earliest cases of Topps gave me the same feeling as someone who gets invited to a movie sneak preview.
So for the first time ever, we were able to give away 12 hobby boxes of Topps 1 to collectors and we got to see all the cardboard goodness a night early. Props go out to Topps who stepped up with a program that allowed collectors to get their hands on product early, while at the same time allowing anyone who was online to enjoy the results.
Topps is going away from their recent white border style with a welcomed change of pace. Back again are the numerous numbered and unnumbered parallels that have become a staple of this annual release.
What I saw that was really cool were the framed cards numbered out of 20. While we have seen these before, there is something about seeing a base card that isn’t a 1/1 and still generates a ton of buzz. These gems offer a high gloss and enough metal on them to make them lethal in the right ninja’s hand.
We must have lucked out since we pulled not one, but two of the acetate parallel cards limited to just 10 made. I did not know that they were in the release and seeing them was kind of like when they found Lucy, The Missing Link. It did not hurt that we pulled two hard to find singles from this set and they were of two of the most popular pitchers from 2014, Madison Bumgarner and Masahiro Tanaka.
Looking through the rest of the checklist, there are enough inserts to keep master set collectors busy for the few months… until Series 2 hits.
High-end collectors are not ignored with a list of autographs that rival any set in recent memory. Possible signed cards include Mike Trout, Mariano Rivera, Yasiel Puig, Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr, Nolan Ryan, Warren Spahn, Ozzie Smith, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, Duke Snider, Sandy Koufax, Bryce Harper and more (you can see the pulls that have gone to eBay here).
The Baseball History 1/1 Cut Signature set offers many traditional names and some that might make you go “hmmmm”. Sure pulling autos from Ted Williams, Reggie Jackson, Tom Seaver, Hank Aaron and other make complete sense in this release. Autographs from Ted Turner, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Rosa Parks, Steve Wozniak, Casey Kasem, Dwight Eisenhower are just cool, especially when you are going to own the only ones ever made.
Also opening eyes last night were the First Pitch insert set highlighting those who took the mound last season.
It is not every product that allows you to get cards of Jeff Bridges (looking like The Dude), Tom Morello, 50 Cent (who probably would not fully appreciate Topps for bringing more attention to his infamous toss), Eddie Vedder, Macklemore, Jack White and others. Topps, if you are reading this and are looking for an idea for Series 2, feel free to insert some autographed versions and I will promise to snag at least three of the ones mentioned above.
There is plenty more to wax poetic about with 2015 Topps 1 MLB, but I need to get back to sending box after box of regulars and jumbos out the door to happy collectors. I hope you find your way to your local card shop and enjoy reliving your pack busting days of your childhood with this stellar release.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. Normally, his column focuses on what products are selling best in hobby shops. He’s got thousands of cards for sale on COMC.com under the ID cardmn5150. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him at [email protected].