When 2010 Contenders football was released, collectors found a surprise in the product that caused an immediate rush on the unopened boxes of the product. Panini had taken sheets of 14K gold, and printed cards on them. Each of the rookies, and some of the stars/HOF players received a solid gold “ticket” that started selling for thousands of dollars. Fast forward to this year, after Topps has released cards with pieces of diamond in 2011, they decided to do something very similar for their flagship brand. For many of the top players in Baseball, as well as veteran stars and HOF, solid gold cards were created. I have always said that innovation and creativity were lifelines that should always be considered, and I have to give it to both Topps and Panini for doing something like the gold cards. They pack a punch.
So far, we know a few of the baseball ones have been pulled, and they are not selling cheaply. Mass case breaker @brentandbecca pulled the Jackie Robinson gold rush that was featured on MLB TV, and there are a few others that have already been posted on eBay. For a card that comes out of a low end box, these sell for an absolute ton:
I probably would have thought a lot better of the Panini cards if they actually didnt look so awkward in the way they were designed, but this is Panini we are talking about. I think that the Topps version will be more about the fact that the cards are gold, much like the Panini ones were, but I just cant help feeling like these are in a different league. Baseball collectors rarely see this type of situation in wax, maybe once or twice in a number of years. The baseball hobby is made up of more set collectors than hit collectors like Basketball and Football, which means a promotion like this is a big risk for Topps. The good thing for them is that base Topps will sell because its base Topps, and national attention on the squirrel card will all drive sales.
In fact, I would be shocked if someone told me that they actually bought the boxes for the chance to pull one of these cards. It was definitely like that for 2010 Contenders football, and I have a feeling their mass coverage on every one of their internet medias led to a bit more of a buzz. Squirrel cards aside, this is a very good idea for Topps, better than their cards celebrating their diamond anniversary. I think the collectors who are lucky enough to pull one of these solid gold examples of a great idea should count their lucky stars, but I dont think Topps is doing them any favors with building buzz around the giveaway.
Maybe its just the first time around that companies will have success with a crazy idea like cards printed on gold. Panini tried to re-create their success in football with similar cards in Basketball, but did not have the same reaction from collectors. The cards sold as well as gold cards would sell, but it wasnt like the thousands of dollars we saw some of the football rookies.
Whether its embedded diamonds or even gold infused printing, these types of things are the type of gimmick that companies need more of. Products rarely offer anything special these days, something that differentiates them from the rest of the calendar, and I hope there are a lot more ideas in this well to prevent boredom.