Where Does Topps Stand for 2010?

When it was announced that Topps was back in the football arena for the foreseeable future, I started to think about a few things. First, how many boxes of Chrome I would buy, second, whether my personal vendetta against Sterling and Triple Threads would gain more steam, and third, how the hell they would put together a calendar so quickly.

Im not sure how many of you actually understand how much time goes into product development. Im not just talking about creating the design and having the players sign the cards, im talking about the actual amount of time it takes to get a product from stage A to stage Z. Because most of the manufacturers put together their calendars almost a year in advance, Topps may not be prepared to put out a good slate of products until 2011. At that point, the NFL could be in the midst of an epic lockout, and cards may not be the biggest problem on the menu.

Panini knew they were producing cards all through the winter, despite the fact that it has yet to show in their quality of design and content for the already previewed sets. Topps has not. Im sure they already have some of their plans in place from before the loss of the license, but I guarantee you that things are probably in “Holy shit we need this done YESTERDAY!” mode right now for some of their products. Also, because of massive sticker dumps in a few different sets last year, they are probably going to need to replentish their stores of autographs to put on the cards.

Although they have not commented on their understood and expected lack of preparation, im willing to bet that redemptions and fuck ups may abound this year. Who is to say they are even going to be at the rookie premiere, usually scheduled around May each year. With Panini having free reign over the event until a few weeks ago, it may not even happen in its usual form. Then, when you factor in that Upper Deck probably wants to be there to get their NCAA cards signed, things start looking pretty hairy.

Do I think that Topps is going to suck at EVERYTHING this year? No. Will certain aspects of their products lack the usual finishing touches? Probably. I think that Topps, Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome will all be produced as usual with no drawbacks. The sets pretty much make themselves, especially because there is usually very few memorabilia cards in the set. Besides, if memorabilia is gone, I would actually cheer rather than jeer at its omission from one of my favorite sets of the year. Also, the Chromes have already been produced for baseball, so designs definitely have a better likelihood of being exactly the same.

Lastly, Topps is currently in the market for a new football guru, and I sincerely hope that they invest in some changes to the usual suspects. Instead of throwing us another disgusting helping of Topps Triple Threads with a side dish of Ugly Platinum, I am expecting the new management to take a different design approach to make the sets into viable competition against great looking sets of the past. At this point, I am still not wasting my money on new crap, when old stars still shine more brightly. Why spend 150 bucks on a box of 2010 Triple Threads when I can spend 80 bucks on 2009 Ultimate and get pretty much the same content with better looking cards and hard signed sigs? Why buy 2010 Platinum or whatever, and get stuck with stickers and terrible designs when I can spend less on 2009 SPA and get just about the same stuff? That’s why its important for the new guy to realize what Upper Deck left behind when leaving their NFL license in the forclosure section of the penny saver. Then again, with Upper Deck exclaiming that they will use their NCAA license to the best of their abilities, we may not need to settle anymore. I will say, I would be happy settling if the stickers and stuff from Topps actually looked okay. Hint hint.

My Card Collecting Love Affair Is Over

Its been a long and convoluted love affair between Chrome and I, lasting over a decade. Since 1998, I have always chased the Chrome cards of my favorite players, even when I stopped collecting cards. Based on emails I have received from many of the other people in this hobby, they feel the same way. The parts of Chrome I always loved the most were the refractors, as the chromium technology made rainbow foil look like wrapping paper on other products. These cards were everything they were hyped up to be, and I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the refractor is quite possible the best tech feature in the modern card.

In fact, chrome rookies and refractors are possibly the only non-numbered card to still hold value in this hobby. It is very rare that a non-auto, non-numbered card has any value what-so-ever, but the refractor has bucked this trend since its inception in 1993 finest baseball. This also means that the low numbered colored refractors are worth even more, and the Red refractors from both Topps and Bowman chrome have been known to crack 100 bucks without an auto. Think about it, look at all the other low numbered parallels that are present in just about every set. Will any of them frequently draw big bucks without a jersey, patch, or auto? Rarely if any will have that power.

Of course, 2009 is the final year for Chrome in football, and I am very sad to see it go. I will always have a special spot in my heart if it comes back, but for now, this is the end. Although I havent ever had much success with pulls out of either product, I think the singles are always going to be part of my collection. I was lucky enough to pull a coveted red refractor auto last week, and I was happy to finally have the feeling of pulling something like that. However, knowing that those kind of singles will not be available for the forseeable future makes me pretty angry that Topps is out of football. I am very glad to see the end of Triple Threads and Sterling (both kinds), yet I cant help but think that I would be willing to put up with those fluffy turds if I could have another shot at some chrome cards of the 2010 rookie class.

Lastly, its rare that I love a product like chrome through most of its run, and I credit the way that Topps approached the product each year. Instead of rehashing designs or lazily working with new concepts, there was a new fresh look every year. The refractors stayed the same, but I always looked forward to seeing the new design that was coming. Most of the time, they did very well with both Topps and Bowman chrome, and no matter what, those refractors always held their own. Collectors still chase the original Finest set because of the refractors, and I think I may start to join them without a new product each year. After all, my love didn’t come from staying with tradition, it came from appreciation. I never collected Chrome because I needed to be the person who had them all, I collected Chrome because I wanted to.

Great Day At The Local Shop!

Its very rare that I pull anything when buying loose packs. Its rarer that I pull anything to even recoup half the value of what I buy. Today was not one of those days.

I was running some errands and I stopped in at the Baseball Card Co. over here in Northridge, CA to see what I could find. They had their normal great selection of packs, so I decided to try some Bowman Chrome, after all the Topps Chrome I had busted. Luckily for me I did, because in the six packs I purchased, I pulled these two cards:
Yes, this is the first red refractor I have ever pulled, and the White was just a bonus. The Massaquoi is numbered 2/5 and is up for sale as we speak. In addition to these cards, I also pulled a base Stafford RC and a base Freeman RC, so these six packs were probably the best ever for me.
Let me know if you are interested in either, I will consider any reasonable offer.

Product Review: 2009 Topps Mayo Football

Ill say this right now, writing reviews of the hugely packed calendar for football has become extremely boring and aggravating. There has been little to bring about excitement in my eyes, and Topps Mayo is not any different than those. Last year, the Mayo product was new, and brought early comparisons to Allen and Ginter for football collectors. After a myriad of checklist issues and problems, it went from collector favorite to hobby dog. This year, things actually got worse in my opinion, as the set went from having its own soul to stealing that of Allen and Ginter and bastardizing it for retail success.


Although I really like the switch to the white bordered cards, I really don’t like the way this stuff turned out. The cards are just rip offs of another popular set, and really have no redeeming value of their own. Almost 80% of the painted subjects are in non-game situations with their helmets off, and I find that extremely fucking boring and stupid. I get the human aspect of the baseball players having faces in the game, but football is a gridiron sport built around violence. I don’t need to see Michael Crabtree lounging around, or Vince Young with his sideline hat. Get their helmet on.

Secondly, adding the rip cards to this set just makes me want to fall asleep even more, as the concept is so fucking stale outside of A&G. Because Topps football isnt as widely collected by the cult of topps fans, this Mayo set doesn’t have the same allure as a perennial success like its Baseball counterpart. A&G isnt successful because its new and fresh every year, its successful because of the number of Topps baseball collectors out there. The baseball collectors are rabid set builders, where in football its about rookies, autos and relics. So fuck off with your lame ass rip cards.

Lastly, im not happy about the non-sports subjects in this product. They are really not fun or interesting, and just tend to make this more of an A&G rip off than usual. The problem is, that with the minis, the different backs, and the rip cards, you may as well just slap the A&G name on it and call it a product. At this point, its just a hamburger filled junk box posing as a favorite retro set.

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Autograph Cards

If there was one redeeming part of 2008 Topps Mayo football it was the on card signatures. The checklist may have sucked balls, but at least the cards looked good. This years’ is typical foil stickered Topps poop, where they had to change the orientation of the cards just to accommodate the stickers. Fucking weak. There is a good part to this though, as the four player cabinet cards, straight out of A&G, look like they acutally have some merit in the way they look.

Honestly, the one fucking part of making a retro set is the on card signatures. Philly did it without problems, and yet both Magic and Mayo feature nothing of the sort. Its really sad actually, because I know a lot of people love the retro sets, and unfortunately, Topps could give a flying fuck.

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Relic Cards

For once, the framed relic cards are good in a set. I actually think they did a pretty good job! The football shaped windows look pretty nice with the painted cards, and I think it is the one part of this year’s mayo that deserves our attention.

Hell, the four player cabinet relic cards look good too, especially when you see the size of those beasts. I think if they had put the thought into the auto cards that they did for the relics, things may be a lot different.

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Value to the Collector

The autos are cheap, the set is cheap, everything about this set is cheap. The only way I would suggest buying a box of this product is if you are looking for a big set to collect. Its not going to be interesting like Ginter, but it will keep you busy until something better comes out.

Stay away from this set and stay away from the singles. Its not worth your time.

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Overall Impressions

This is another reason why I am somewhat glad that it was topps that got the axe. Souless ripoffs that have no business in a calendar other than for filler purposes. I feel bad for the late season shit, because it will be worthless as Topps cleans out the vaults.

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2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Donruss Limited (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Bowman Chrome (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Donruss Certified (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Upper Deck Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Philadelphia (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Topps Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Icons (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Heroes (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Topps Finest (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Upper Deck SP Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Upper Deck SPX (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Playoff Absolute Memorabilia (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Topps Mayo (2/5 GELLMANS)
21. Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
21. SP Signature Edition (1/5 GELLMANS)
23. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS – NR)

2009 Bowman Chrome Is Live!

2009 Bowman Chrome is live, something that I have been waiting for a long time. I really like the design this year, and I think that as long as things look the way they did from the original set, this could be as good as Topps Chrome was.

I also see that they are using a weird almost ribbed look for her pleasure, not really sure why they didnt just go with the flat chrome. Regardless, these cards do look like a fun rip.