Diving Deeper Into 2014 Topps Chrome Autos

As I mentioned yesterday, Chrome is easily one of my favorite products of the year. Not only does it deliver a ton of fun for a very inexpensive break, but it also can pack a punch with some huge hits. I think that although the production run is increased significantly this year, it only adds more of a chase for the top cards. Here are some of my favorites so far.

Rookie Autos and Refractor Autos

I liked the design when I first saw it back at the beginning of this year. Seeing how it translates to the Chrome version is better, as the autographs fit very well into the layout. Adding in the way they changed the refractor borders to just be the sides of the card, and it adds a pop of color that isnt too overwhelming. I like it a lot. The big rookie autos are super SP this year, a la 2012 with Luck and Griffin, although that only increases the value of the pull when you do find one. With the 2014 class sinking other than the WRs, this will help the secondary value significantly.

2014 Topps Chrome Johnny Manziel Auto Inscription RC

2014 Topps Chrome Teddy Bridgewater Auto RC

2014 Topps Chrome Derek Carr Auto Refractor RC /150

2014 Topps Chrome Sammy Watkins Auto RC

2014 Topps Chrome John Brown Gold Refractor Auto /10

1985 Autos /15

I really love these cards. When they used the 1985 design in the flagship with inception style retouched photos, I chased a few of them. Now that they have updated photos with on card autos, Im fawning over them. The 1985 Topps set was iconic for a lot of reasons, but the design is really why so many people love them. I cannot be more excited for these cards, and if previous years are any indication, these will be highly sought after.

2014 Topps Chrome Austin Sefarian Jenkins 1985 Auto

2014 Topps Chrome Tre Mason 1985 Auto

Rookie Auto Patches /50

Does it suck balls that they arent on card? Yes. It does. Are the cards still awesome regardless of the sticker? Yes they are. This design reminds me of the set from 2006 Exquisite with the swooping lines and autograph placement, and that is a very good thing. Because I really hate the base rookie relic design, these look that much better in the long run.

2014 Topps Chrome Jonny Manziel Auto Patch /50

2014 Topps Chrome Brandin Cooks Auto Patch /50

Die Cut Rookie Autos

I think that of all the die cut designs for these cards over the years, the 2014 is the best version. The spiky pattern of the diecuts hearken back to the 2012 Platinum ones, and I absolutely loved those too. Although, like the 1985 autos, these are extremely rare, they are boss looking cards that many collectors will chase. I believe there are superfractor versions as well.

2014 Topps Chrome Sammy Watkins Die Cut Auto /15

2014 Topps Chrome Jeremy Hill Die Cut Auto /15

Veteran Autos

I really like that they brought these back for a second year, and I only wish they had enough time in their licensing to make these on card eventually. Either way, they are a huge plus for any player collectors, and I expect that they will be quite rare. The checklist is nicer than last year, too – only making things better overall.

2014 Topps Chrome Andrew Luck Veteran Auto /10

2014 Topps Chrome Alfred Morris Veteran Auto /10

As we get further into the set, Im sure there will be more surprises, but things are looking good so far.

SCU Go-Live Report – 2014 Topps Chrome Football

There arent many holidays left in my football holiday, however the release of the year's Topps Chrome set still makes me excited every single time. Its hobby royalty, and no matter how bad the year’s rookie class is, Chrome is popular. Consistency is the name of the game, and Topps has ALWAYS delivered in droves.

Here are some of the big hits so far:

2014 Topps Chrome Kelvin Benjamin Auto RC

2014 Topps Chrome Odell Beckham Refractor Auto RC /150

2014 Topps Chrome Drew Brees Photo Variation SSP

2014 Topps Chrome Derek Carr Variation Auto RC 4/75 – Huge price already

2014 Topps Chrome Aaron Murray Auto RC – Nice auto on these. Wow.

2014 Topps Chrome Martavis Bryant Auto RC

Like we saw in the release of 2014 Topps, the design is pretty nice. Its not as nice as 2012, but it is still awesome – especially the color refractors. Despite the mislabeled sell sheet, the on card autographs are back, and this time, it seems as though more of the rookies have signed for the set outside of the normal RPS guys like Manziel and Bridgewater.

Even cards like the rookie diecut set look great, and we are seeing from Topps’ twitter page that there are also on card autographs for them as well. My favorite remains the 1985 cards, which now feature updated RPS photos, unlike the inception style retouched college shots from the flagship sets. As we have seen since 2012, there are autographed versions that will sell for A LOT of money.

As they were in 2011 through now, the auto patches are back, and they are BAD ASS. I absolutely love these cards, and they are some of the first on card memorabilia cards at an affordable price all year. These have been some amazing cards in the past, and I am glad they are here for another year.

The craziest part about Chrome is that the 1/1 Superfractors and Autographs from the top guys will be the chase set this year. There is no more expensive rookie card than the top guys in the class and their superfractors. I have even seen un-autographed supers sell for more than logo patch autos from other sets.

Lets face it, Chrome is king. With this being the second to last year of the product, people are going to get protective. That means that this set, despite a reported ginormous print run, will still sell. Even though you are likely not even going to pull a top auto in every case, it wont matter. There are reports that the top autos will be the toughest pull since 2012, and I am saying it may not matter all that much. Chrome is going away, and nostalgia will keep this product afloat.

I love Chrome as much as anyone, and as far back as I can remember, I have bought the Chrome RC of my favorite players. Knowing that wont be available after 2015 saddens me.

2014 Rookie WRs Challenging a QB First Hobby

Football is a QB based hobby. Its so abundantly clear that this is the case, that every collector needs a literal firestorm of potential to start recognizing players in other positions. Not only is it sad that we have reached this point, but it is hurting the value of products. Without a strong QB to carry a rookie class, wax is dead. Or is it?

The 2014 class of rookie Wide Receivers has been STELLAR. That might be an understatement. Receiver after receiver has made huge impact for their teams, and we arent even done yet.

Odell Beckham Jr.

If you missed the game on Sunday Night, you might have missed the best catch in pro football, arguably ever. It may not have been the most IMPORTANT catch, but it was like watching something worthy of a super hero. Beckham was injured in the first few weeks of the season, but since returning, he has been nothing short of remarkable on a Giants team that consistently shows that Eli Manning should not have the leash he has been granted. Beckham’s hands are legendary, and his route running is improving by the week. He is destined to be a top flight guy, and that shouldnt be a surprise.

His cards have been on fire:

2014 Flawless Odell Beckham Jr. Jumbo Patch Auto

2014 Topps Odell Beckham Jr. Topps Variation Auto

2014 Inception Odell Beckham Jr Jumbo Patch Auto Booklet /5

Mike Evans

Lost among all the Odell Beckham hype over the last few weeks, Mike Evans has quietly put together an awesome rookie campaign. He plays for a horrible team in Tampa, which silences his production significantly, but he has been great all around. Now, one could argue that Beckham also plays for a terrible team, but there are faaaaaar more Giants fans than Bucs fans. Evans is well on his way to a 1000 yard season with over 10 TDs, which hasnt been done for a while by a rookie.

Like Beckham, his cards have been selling very well:

2014 Topps Chrome Mike Evans 63 Tall Boy Mini Auto /15

2014 Flawless Mike Evans Jumbo Patch Auto Red /15

2014 Topps Valor Mike Evans RC Patch Auto /75

Sammy Watkins

Like the two mentioned above, Watkins has done very well this year, and it should go without saying that his ceiling may be higher than both. The issue is that like both of these guys, he has dealt with some QB issues, although Orton has probably played the best out of Manning and Glennon/McCown. Watkins had a slow start to his season, but single handedly beat a few teams all on his own. He is shaping up to be quite the player.

2014 Topps Finest Sammy Watkins Gold Refractor Auto Patch

2014 Leaf Trinity Sammy Watkins Inscription Auto

2014 Topps Sammy Watkins Jumbo Patch Auto

Jordan Matthews

Its no secret that Matthews is a character on and off the field. He is just one of those guys who seems to be having a great time out there. Of the three receivers mentioned above him, his team seems to be the most likely to make the playoffs, which will mean better value for his cards. He has a huge issue in his AWFUL signature, which curbs appeal for his cards, but his production has been really nice.

2014 Flawless Jordan Matthews Jumbo Logo Patch Auto

2014 Topps Prime Jordan Matthews Quad Relic Auto RC

Brandin Cooks

Coming out of the preseason, he was the most talked about receiver coming into the year. Playing with a future HOF QB in Brees only lifted his stock further, and everyone was quite excited to see what he could do. Unfortunately for collectors, the Saints have only mustered an airy fart of a season so far, but have been inexplicably lucky playing in the worst division in Football. If they can win tonight, they will be on track to win the division, which is shocking with a 4-6 record. Cooks had some great games, but is still coming into his potential.

2014 Topps Finest Brandin Cooks Nike Logo Auto Patch 1/1

2014 Flawless Brandin Cooks Logo Patch Auto 1/1

Martavis Bryant

High round pick? Check. Plays for Pittsburgh? Check. Hobby equation for success? Check. Bryant is Mike Wallace version 2.0, a speedster deep threat who can burn the defense for some major plays. The issue is that he didnt play the whole year, and only recently came on board as favorite deep threat target for Big Ben. As a result, his card options are very limited, but lots of people are looking to get some of his stuff because of on field play and team affiliation. 6 TDs in as many games will do that.

2014 Elite Martavis Bryant Auto Red Status

2014 SPX Martavis Bryant Inscription Jumbo Patch Auto

The jury may still be out on these guys, but fear not, there is lots of football left. I am excited to see what they can do in the coming weeks leading up to the post season.

2014 Topps Chrome Football Retail Hits the Shelves!

Im sad. Im sad because this is the second to last time we are going to see Topps Chrome in Football. It has become the penultimate football product every year, a set that appeals to both the set collectors, who enjoy more lower end products, and the hit collectors who chase the high end autos and such. That rarely happens, and it should be maddening that this is not going to continue being the one holiday we can look forward to every year. Instead, we will be left with crappy knockoffs that have never and will never measure up.

Here are some of the retail cards already up:

2014 Topps Chrome Blake Bortles Orange Retail Refractor

2014 Topps Chrome Kelvin Benjamin X-Fractor RC

2014 Topps Chrome Johnny Manziel 1963 Mini RC

2014 Topps Chrome Lot of 1985 Rookie Retro Flashback Cards – Cant wait to see the autographed versions!

The retail cards from 2014 Chrome have started to pop up recently, and as we get closer to Wednesday’s release, more and more will surface. Its crazy that a product costing less than 80 dollars per box delivers the top chase cards of the year. Those card DONT come from products that cost 150 bucks or even 1500 bucks per box, just Chrome. Its a testament to the staying power of the brand, and also how much it will be missed after 2015.

When looking at retail, it does actually deliver some reasons to buy. Different parallels, autographs, and other content make it worthwhile trip to Target or Wal Mart to pick some up, and I would suggest taking a gander next time you are there. I absolutely love this set because it can deliver so much value in the non-hit cards, and that only serves to make the retail version that much more attractive.

There have been numerous reports that this is the largest production run for Chrome in a long time, but I dont think it will have much effect. Topps knows people will want to get as much out of this set as possible, and it wont matter that guys like Manziel and company will be tough pulls. People buy Chrome because it always looks great, and always is a fun rip. Its cheap and can pack a punch if you hit something nice. Retail, since 2012 has been a major reason why Chrome’s popularity has increased, and I am probably walking out the door as you read this to go pick some up.

Questions Raised By Panini’s Recent Flawless Football Fiasco

Every so often, something comes along in the hobby that ignites a huge discussion. A good example from the past was Mark Ingram’s photo from the 2011 Rookie Premiere, showcasing a clear representation of the way that Event Used jerseys were done. Although it wasnt displaying anything that most of us experienced online collectors didnt know, it clued a lot of others in, and they werent happy. This new Panini Flawless fiasco is a similarly big discussion, although its far less cut and dry.

The whole situation was further complicated after Panini released a more extensive understanding of how far the mislabeled cards went, and with some additional thought, there are a lot of questions that were established in the mean time. For those of you unaware of the situation, here is my original reaction.

What Does Further Discovery of “Mislabeled” cards Mean?

When Panini released their first statement, I wrote it off. Three players had issues? Okay, whatever. But now more players are part of it? Wait what? That’s a bit different. It seems a larger part of the print run was deemed to be mislabeled, and that is a very disappointing situation. Remember, this is a product that costs a mortgage payment per box, attention to detail needs to be top of mind. Something doesnt compute. This led me to the next question.

Was This Really A Mistake?

Aha! Now we get to the meat of the discussion. Originally, I could see how a few wrong swatches get into the wrong cards. It happens. Yet, to have extensive documentation of which cards from which run were effective? How does that happen unless you know exactly what is going on? Its one thing to say, “Well we missed on these three player’s whole runs. The wrong bag of swatches got used.” Its another thing to say, “3 cards from Subset A were bad, but the rest were good, and the same goes for 6 cards from subset B, but the rest were good.” That shows me that someone probably knew exactly what was going on. You dont have that type of documentation without knowing. Products go through too many QC checks to not catch this many issues.

Flawless came out very early in the year. Very early. I can easily see a scenario unfold that stems from having to rush the cards to print, cutting corners, and hoping no one can tell the difference. Not only is that extremely short sighted with a hobby that is known for its meticulous study of the different releases, but it is a blatant disregard for everything that we find to be trustworthy. This brings me to a third question.

Why the fuck do they have so many old photo shoot jerseys in stock?

Calvin Johnson attended the photo shoot in 2007, which was over 7 years ago. There is absolutely NO excuse for having his swatches in inventory after this many years. Somewhere down the line they needed to pick up a game used jersey, and dump this shit once that happens. This brings me to a fourth question.

How many other cards/products might this have affected?

This was a likely hand packed, highly QCed product that should have never had these issues. What about those other products that cost 1/16th of the price? Can we trust that Panini hasnt cut the same corners with other products? I have to say that my once solid stance is shaken with them, and I am guessing that others will probably feel the same way. Many of the players on the list have been in MANY products, and that only begs the final question.

CAN WE TRUST ANYONE ANYMORE?

I want to say yes. I want to say that the plethora of bad autographs, bad jerseys, and dismantled trust gives us nothing that should shake our confidence, but that just isnt true. Panini made themselves the online bad guy overnight, mainly because they mistreated that trust. This recent post further explaining the situation only makes things worse, even though it is them stepping out from beyond the shadows to own up. The bottom line is that they are only owning up because they got caught, and it seems like they are employing every part of their PR department to try and spin this away from the questions I am posing in the above part of this article.

The industry is not in a good place right now, and it is even more in question now that the company who just signed an exclusive license with the world. These are the people that the leagues are putting their trust in, and we can all but be certain that as long as the checks clear, they could care less. Or, will a shaken public who is coming off the heels of a federal investigation finally have a jumping off point to rid this bully from the yard? Who knows, but this cant hurt.

Here is the article in question if you want to take a look.