Back in 2007, chrome was very simple. A few refractors and an auto per box, and it was still one of the most popular products of the year. The one drawback was the price of over 80 dollars per box, and not many people thought any chrome box should cost that much. As the years have moved on, the price of the boxes has dropped below 65 dollars, but the content has spiked. This year is no different.
This year, Chrome has a number of new parallels that span the base set and autographs. They include crystallized atomic style, new Sepia tone refractors, and a more prominent structure in the red/black/gold/blues. Refractors add a lot of value to boxes, mainly because of the way they are viewed by collectors, the only real non-autographed cards to carry any value anymore. Now that there are more to get, the low end box content outside the autograph is more prominent than ever.
Verdict: Awesome Design and Extra Content
Topps and Bowman Chrome Rookie Patch Autos
We saw the addition of the per box rookie patches in flagship Topps, and this year in Chrome, they are taking the place of the usual base ones that look awful. In addtion, Topps also created Patch auto parallels of the amazing Bowman Chrome cards I talked about yesterday, although they are not hard signed like their non-relic counterparts. Im not a fan of how packed in the cards look with the stickers and the patches, but I know collectors will love them. Despite design flaws, they are a nice hit when you get them, and will carry a lot of value. This Cam Newton sold off eBay for what I know was a king’s ransom!
Verdict: Not good design, but great value addition
Rookie Variation Auto Parallels
These cards were not mentioned on the sell sheets, but I really like their inclusion in the set. A lot of the variation cards were really cool looking, and even though they are stickers, I love that Topps did this for Chrome. Of course, my wallet will hate having another card to buy, but I think that these types of extra rare hits are really necessary to make a good product into a great one.
Verdict: Great idea, too bad they arent on card!
Diecut Rookie Inserts and Cards
Die cutting cards has become an obsession lately for many of the companies in production of their products. Some of the time they have been successful (2010 – 2011 Finest atomics), other times, they have not been successful at all (2011 Elite). For these cards, it is a lower end set collector element that does have some value to include. Although it isnt something that I would chase, it brings more of a collectability to the product. I like that Topps added additional sets and more opportunities to obtain on card autos, but I wish that they had better names, to be honest. Finest Freshman not only sounds like Panini at work, but it seems like its in the wrong product.
Verdict: Mixed feelings on design, not in my wheelhouse for content
Overall, I am already VERY impressed with the way Chrome turned out. It is already at a higher level than I expected it to be at, and I believe that there will be few products that live up to this level of design and theme. People have already been asking if this is the best Chrome set ever produced, and I dont seem to think that they are far off base.