I love me some variations in sets like this. Not only does it add potential value to the packs with adding very little cost to the box, but they give a chase element to cards that have become relatively worthless as individuals outside of a set. In fact, the sets themselves have become relatively worthless, more presented for the fun of the collectors who put them together.
This year’s variations, more importantly the ones of Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols have made huge news as the first “in uniform” examples of the newly minted Marlins and Angels players. They are so ridiculously sought after for the huge fan bases of both players/teams that they would be expensive regardless of how short printed they are.
I dont think anyone expected them to hit this level:
From the analysis of @brentandbecca, probably the most famous mass case breaker on Twitter, his guess is that both are limited to under 225 copies, probably even closer to 100 copies. In a set with a production run as big as base Topps has, that is like finding a dropped screw on your silver carpet. As a result, the cards have maintained huge value on ebay, value that the more common rally squirrel card should lose as more are found.
As far as I know, these might be some of the most expensive modern cards of this type ever created. Non-rookie, non-numbered, non-error, non-recalled cards without an autograph or swatch.
When you think about it, that is pretty remarkable when looking at the landscape of today’s hobby. Contrived scarcity due to serial numbering has prevented rarity of normal, non autograph/relic cards from being valuable in most cases, and yet, in both Baseball and Football, Topps has found ways of making it happen.
I know there is a lot of venom surrounding the release of 2012 Topps baseball, but it is mostly from collectors who have spent their hobby lives collecting the base set. They are not the same type of collector like me, one who loves the high end chase over any other type of chase. I understand their point of view, being what Topps used to be and what it is, but I disagree that it is bad. Any time you can give people more opportunity to get a return on investment without adding cost to a pack/box, I will applaud the addition. If it looks like crap, well, that might hinder my own personal excitement.
What I think people fail to remember is that the industry has changed since the advent of the auto/relic card. It has permeated every facet of the product base for every sport, and personally, I think its a great thing. It makes people like me (and there is a ton of people like me out there) from leaving. I am not a card collector, but I do collect cards, as stupid as that sounds. I collect autographs, as well as a few other things here and there, and cards happen to be the best vehicle for accomplishing that. Like many humans, I am ultra competitve and steeped in vanity, so I have to have the best collection. The high end cards are what accomplish this feat, and the more of them that exist, the more fun I will have obtaining them for my growing collection.
Ten months, or even ten years from now, these cards will be lost in the overall progression of the years that pass. However, their inclusion and existence continue to drive a shockingly positive result that I never expected. That, my friends, will never be negative.