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Friday, February 20, 2009

2009 Topps Card Packaging

There's lots of different ways to buy Topps this year. Here's a run down of all the ways I've come across so far.

Packs:

Hobby pack - 10 cards $1.75-$2.00

Retail pack - 12 cards $1.99

Retail Jumbo pack - 36 cards $4.99

Hobby Jumbo pack - 50 cards $10 if you can find anyone selling them by the pack

Basic difference between a Hobby and retail pack is that Hobby packs have a slightly better chance at pulling the autogamer cards and there are several hobby exclusive inserts such as Ring of Honor, Silk parallels and printing plates. Retail packs get you a few more base cards for your buck as well. The basic inserts are found at the same ratio in both the hobby and retail packs: 1:1 ToppsTown, 1:4 Turkey Red and Legends and 1:7 gold parallel. Retail jumbo packs seem to either have a Legends or a Turkey red card, plus a 1:2 shot at a gold parallel and a ToppsTown card in each pack. Hobby jumbo packs give the best bang for the buck, including a Legends, Turkey Red, Ring of Honor, Gold border and a ToppsTown in every pack. Also, there is a 1:2 shot at pulling either a relic, auto, Legends manufactured letter patch or WBC redemption card. These are rarely sold by the pack though, and will cost at least $10 a pop.

The best value for a box is the HTA jumbo boxes. You'll most likely get the complete set, 10 of each of the low end inserts and 2 relics, an autograph, the patch and the mysterious WBC redemption card. If you don't want to drop $90-$100 on a jumbo box though, there are retail options:

Wal-Mart "Cereal box" 55 cards with 1 Chrome legend card $9.99

I saw some of these at Wal-Mart yesterday, but was so perplexed by them that I didn't get one. Part of the confusion was that I had seen these before packaged with a binder and plastic sheets and didn't know what to make of the small boxes. I was under the impression that they would be in a large box with the binder and pages and cards inside, but it looks like the binder and pages are just add-ons when sold online. The cereal box itself is about the size of one of those collectible card game "deck protector" boxes used for storage and have either Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams on the box. Cereal box is the actual name for this product, I scanned the barcode to check the price and it is set up with that name in Wal-Mart's inventory.

The other thing that confused me was the insert ratios. The hook for this product is the one-per-box Chrome refractor Legends card. The checklist can be found here at the bottom of the post. It's a decent checklist and has some nice players in there. I would have put in say, Cobb and Clemente over Munson and Sisler but that's just me. My confusion was over the other insert cards. ToppsTown cards were listed at one per box, but no others were guaranteed on the package. The odds on the side showed gold cards at 1:2 boxes and various other parallels and variations at higher odds, but no Turkey Red or Legends. It does look like there is a Turkey Red and Legends card in there though along with the Refractor. That makes the Cereal box (you know, like those little boxes of cereal you'd beg your mom to buy and then only eat the three good cereals in the package and leave the raisin bran to rot in the the pantry) package sort of a low-rent HTA Jumbo pack. I'm intrigued though and I might have to go back and pick up a Ruth for further study.

Target $19.99 Blaster

Here's a blaster sighting with a picture of the package. It's your typical blaster, 10 packs plus a bonus for 20 bucks. The bad news: the packs only have 8 cards each. Since there's a big ad on the side of the box promoting the 10 ToppsTown code cards in the box, that leaves 70 actual cards per box. With inserts. make that about 62-63 base cards in a box. for comparison, 6 packs of retail for $12 will get you 66 cards (minus ToppsTown) and two retail Jumbo packs has the same 70 cards for $10. So Topps definitely went the el cheapo route with the cards in the blasters. HOWEVER... Topps upped the ante on blaster box bonuses with some manufactured patches. These aren't fake letters either, they appear to be official logos from significant events. The checklist is very nice as well, although I'll bet money that if I get a blaster I'll pull Don Larsen. The cards kind of look like the manufactured patches that Upper Deck has been doing throughout the decade, except now they are obtainable by the unwashed masses. I haven't seen any of these in the wild yet, and to be honest, I'm not sure if I'll be buying one or not due to the reduced card count. The problem is I can probably buy the exact card I want outright and still have enough money to buy a couple of Jumbo packs and get the same number of cards. It's a neat idea though, I'll give Topps that.

I'm not sure if there are any other flavors of Topps packs out there, like the 10 dollar 80 card Super Jumbo pack that I found for 2008 Updates & Highlights, but I'll keep on the lookout. I'd give equal time to Upper Deck, but so far all I've seen are $5 hobby packs and $20 blasters. (just between you and me, Hobby packs are the way to go if you can swing it) Once retail packs and Fat Packs start appearing I'll give you the rundown on those too.

20 comments:

Cuyahogabend said...

Thanks for the run down. Very helpful!

I was at the hobby shop the other night and asked where the 09 Topps were. The owner said he was completely sold out and that Topps shortprinted the hobby-only cards, thereby shortprinting the hobby boxes as well. He mentioned that he could only purchase boxes from the giant distributors as they had purchased most / all of Topps inventory. He doubted that he'd bring anymore in as it would cost him more to purchase boxes than what he could sell them at. Wierd eh?

Matt said...

Oh man...do I want that Schmidt patch as well.

Greg said...

If dayf doesn't mind, I'll take this opportunity to do a little begging. I need card #'s 34, 76, 98, and 166 to complete my set. I've got roughly a 100 duplicates for trade... just shoot me an email with your wantlist. Thanks!

deal said...

welcome back to doing baseball cards. Thanks for the rundown. This is all very helpful info.

We may see the 55 card cereal box thing again. On Mag exchange topps has a sell sheet for a 55 card WBC set that sort of appears similar.

I am not sure that the Jumbo is better then 5 or 6 hobby packs.

Greg said...

Oh, and I'd love to have the two Banks patches. They look pretty slick. Looks like they're dirt cheap on ebay, too.

Joey said...

Nice piece Dayf. I am intrigued by the cereal boxes. I have the 1996 Topps cereal box set unopened in my display. I have often wondered which four randomly inserted Mickey Mantle cards might be in my boxes??

Howard Bagby said...

I bought 3 of the cereal boxes. Each one I bought had a Topps Town, a Turkey Red, a Legends, and a Gold card.

gcrl said...

i bought a target blaster last week and got a ripken/83 all star game at comiskey patch. not too bad looking, for a manufactured patch card.

handcollated said...

That WalMart version for $9.99 is a stripped down version of what I initially saw. The one with the binder and sheets should be $25 bucks or so and available online. Just google shop 2009 Topps Cereal box and you'll get oodles of hits.

mfw13 said...

With all these different packaging options and price points, I wish they would develop an option with a really cheap price and NO INSERTS for set builders like me.

dayf said...

Cuyahogabend - Yeah, unless you are in Topps' HTA program you have to go through the distributors to get the product. Bad news for sellers when the product is new and hot, good news 3-6 months from now when the distributors slash the product. I get a lot of good deals from the flea market guy a few months after the fact.

Greg - I only have #76. I'll keep looking though.

Howard - Thanks for the info, I'll probably pick up a Ruth box just for the novelty value now.

handcollated - yeah all the cereal box offers online have that same package. I think I'll just pick up the box for 10, and just get the binders and pages separately now.

mfw13 - I agree. Bring back the vending box!

Jeffrey Wolfe said...

Hey I picked up a cereal box yesterday, here's what I got...

http://cardjunkiejeffwolfe.blogspot.com/2009/02/2009-topps-baseball_20.html

The refractors are actually kinda cool.

handcollated said...

While at the not so local Target, I checked last year's baseball blasters. They, too had 10 packs of 8 cards each. They had both series 2 and U & H, and both had that same 10 packs, 8 cards a pack configuration.

Matt said...

I took a stab at a blaster from Target...chasing the dream of the Schmidt patch, although this Philly fan would also gladly accept the Jimmie Foxx. No dice...62 Mantle. After Target, my wife and I headed over to the comic book shop (for her Buffy fix) and I picked up my first packs of '09 UD of the year. Honestly the first place I've seen them.

Cuyahogabend said...

Picked up a hobby box at the Flea Market today for $50. He said was selling HTA boxes for $95 last week which he was selling for $130 today. He said he sold all three boxes almost as soon as he opened.

dayf said...

handcollated: So they had 8 cards per pack in last year's blasters? Interesting, I didn't notice that. I think the manufactured patch is probably an upgrade from an asdrubal cabrera jersey.

eRox said...

I'm with MFW13 on this one. Every time I see a new configuration, I have to break out the tip calculator and figure out the price per card. Makes me wish they had a unit cost on the end cap like they do for coffee. Right now, I'm buying retail jumbo packs at Meijer. 36 cards for $4.99 that's um...

Anyway, the cereal box is a neat gimmick, but I think I'll get the refractor at a show separately next year. But still, what do they look like? I haven't see a scan of one yet?

zeth scott said...

i am selling a bunch of older cards that have some neat things on the cards none sinded tho sorry i you want a card specific tell me

zeth scott said...

sorry nobody acted fast so i sold the cards <(

zeth scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.