Adding More Fuel To The Serial Number Argument

I have posted many of my feelings regarding serially numbered cards, but one thing we have never discussed is whether serial numbers are ever representative of the actual NUMBER OF CARDS PRODUCED. I have ofted blasted both Topps and Panini for their use of parallels, even to the point where 1/1s can be devalued solely due to the number available. Its gotten so bad that base cards can be serially numbered now, and even though a card is numbered to 999, there are usually 10-15 parallels that make the actual number closer to 1500. One reason why I always loved SPA and Exquisite patch autos were because of how few parallels there were. Each patch auto only had two parallels, and due to this lack of parallelery, each carried significant more value. This is completely the opposite of Triple Threads, Limited and Certified, all of which have excessive problems with Parallels.

Aside from the issue of actual production vs serial numbers, who is to say the number on the back of the card is actually correct? Over on FCB, someone posted this auction of a Mike Stanton orange refractor out of Bowman Draft Picks that is numbered in a odd way. This comes after previous years of Topps creating multiples of serially numbered chrome cards, with some of the rare red refractors having duplicates inserted into retail for the normal 5 copies. Although damning evidence was presented (email me if you have the posted pictures from a few years ago) by a frequent and trusted board member, no one at Topps ever responded to the fact that the number on the back may not be truly the correct representation.

I think that the Stanton above is just a typo mistake with the machine that serially numbers the cards, but if past experience is any inidcation, we arent privvy to all information we should be privvy to. How many times have we seen complete uncut sheets of Superfractors and Red 1/1 parallels show up on eBay in the hands of some guy who should own them? Im actually curious to know what we don’t know, mainly because in this industry, the truth is rarely a positive thing.

7 thoughts on “Adding More Fuel To The Serial Number Argument

  1. Back in 2008 I had busted a few boxes of SPX football at a show and pulled a redemption for a Dan Connor/DeMarcus Ware/Dick Butkus triple auto #d /20. I redeemed it online and waited. And waited. And waited. Four months passed and I finally got confirmation that it had been shipped. So I waited. And waited. Two weeks later, and nothing. So I contacted UD and let them know that I hadnt gotten it yet.

    I kid you not that about a week later, there were 2 envelopes in the mailbox from UD, both containing my card. Why am I even bothering to tell you all this story? Because both were #d 14/20.

  2. Here is the deal, my mothes aunt worked for Topps, to an extent there are replacement cards that are not #ed, so if you pull a 2010 refractor and it is damaged, topps replaces the card with a serial # only when the damaged card is sent in. The Stanton is stamped incorrect backwords so to speak, but instead of just destorying card they let out in packs, and of course to generate that product. I said this before on a previous site, 1 / 1 cards do not exist, if you have a card the same as one #ed to say 10, there is still one more of the card, making the 1 / 1 a novelity. A true 1/1 is only one made, no other card like it, according to my moms aunt, cards have a normal print run, but only 25% of the production is released to public, the other 75% are up for grabs, or reissued at a later time

  3. if what Jl saying is right no wonder why topps will go out of business. Not selling 3/4ths of ur inventory is pretty stupid. I’m not sure why a company would make a 1 of 1 then make 3 more copies of it to not release. That or Jl is exagerating either way stupid.

  4. No exageration, just look at what is out there, and look at how the fall of donruss went, all the back door cards, things are not always what they seem, and that is why I will only collect vintage.

  5. That is depressing. The card companies themselves are cheapening the entire experience of
    collecting cards and don’t even realize that it’s only working toward their own demise! We need a new card company bad. Maybe we can start a pool to buy an NFL license. It would be worth it to create truly collectible items.

  6. I like serial numbered cards but there is a problem with over production. How many different parallels are they going to produce? For instance 2013 Topps they have the regular issue set. How many of these are produced? Does Topps release these production numbers? I don’t think so. If they do please somebody show me this authoritative source. I think it’s safe to assume that at least 1 million of the regular issue sets are produced. Let me give some reasons. How many Americans are baseball fans. People who watch baseball on T.V., follow their team at least to some degree, & take in a game at the ball park from time to time. I haven’t done the research. I’m giving you an educated guess. (These figures could be ascertained with out to much difficulty – please someone do it.) Wikipedia, gives the U.S. Pop. figure for 2012 at 314 million. If 20 percent are baseball fans that’s nearly 63 million. I think that’s conservative. If 10 % of those are baseball card consumers that’s 6.3 million. If 2% of those are serious baseball card collectors that’s 1,260,000. These are all conservative figures. So Topps is going to have to produce this many card sets to satisfied demand & I’m confident this would apply to their base set alone. Again this is a guess but I’d say they produce 3 or 4 million of the base sets realistically. If these figures are anywhere near correct, the parallel set of topps Gold (serial numbered to the year of issue) is extraordinarily low (500 times more base cards then gold cards if only a million of the base set is produced). But they have a similar parallel set with Topps opening day. Then there’s the other parallel sets that are numbered to 1000, 500, to 99 or 100 some to 50 & 25 even 10. Then there are the ones that aren’t serial numbered that are parallels. It’s definitely a case of over kill. If they had just one parallel set numbered to some where between 2 to 10 thousand that would be good. As a result of this over kill these parallel cards investment potential is severely hampered. So why does topps do it? Because we the consumer buying into it. If they can sell them, they will keep producing them. One thing that’s going to happen is this: the collecting public is going to see that these cards (even very low numbered cards) are selling for ridiculously low prices & conclude over time that there not worth investing in. They no longer will be valued, they won’t be treasured, people will become disgusted for having to sell them for much less than they initially invested. Then what happens is this: things that aren’t valued are mishandled & not taken care of. This is the only hope for the cards to ever have significant value. When they become very scare & hard to find, people will see that & begin to go after them. Problem is, with such high production of the cards this “attrition” will take decades to manifest itself. 10, 20 may be even 50 yrs.
    So if you 12 yrs old stock up on Topps gold cards & other serial number parallels & when your 62 you’ll have some real treasures. Problem is, what do think the average age of those reading this post is? 32? OK maybe you’ll only have to wait 20 years.
    Another issue is: I noticed with the topps opening day I wanna say 2005, the only difference in the topps opening day serial numbered to 2005 & the non-serial numbered base issue is the date of opening day printed at the top of the cards (& the serial number imprinted on the back). So they take 2005 of each of the regular cards & do that, big deal. It becomes a gimmick that when collectors recover from there “card fever” will easily realize. Make the cards have some significant difference, most notably in quality & a more attractive & distinctive appearance. A good example would be the 2000 topps limited edition, which aren’t serial numbered but have a stated print run of 4000. They come on thicker card stock & are super glossy. In my opinion these cards have a better investment potential than the serial numbered to year of issue cards, because these only have a different colored border & the serial number.
    Now we can move to all the other insert cards – no sorry. I have a life outside of basball cards. I only hope, something changes, much depends on us, the consumer. Topps won’t make what they can’t sell. Lets, form a “union” of our own & tell them if they don’t get their act together were going to find another hobby. You think we can do it? I think so. Pray, God will raise up somebody. I for one believe God loves collectors – baseball collectors especailly – LOL ! MANY BLESSINGS. Johnny

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