Topps Platinum Is Live With Early Big Hits

Topps platinum is live this coming wednesday, and some of the bigger hits from the product are showing up early thanks to an early retail release. Despite the fact that the product was one of the more uglier sets of the year from 2009, it was one of most popular retail releases of the year thanks to strong hit concentration in the packs. This year, the product may look much better, but the jury is still out on the overall success the set will have once it hits hobby shelves.

Platinum will never live up to the type of success that SP Authentic had, but it is trying awfully hard to fill the void left behind with a more  conservative design. Contrary to early reports that this product was being turned into Topps’ big hard signed patch product, it still features 100% stickers as all the Topps products normally do, something very disappointing to my hopes for Topps this year. The design isnt TERRIBLE, as evidenced by this Tim Tebow Patch Auto Refractor /99, but it isnt anywhere close to where it needs to be either. Both Panini and Topps have had a huge oppotunity to step up on the design front with Upper Deck leaving the licensed arena, but neither have released products that are in the same zip code as to where UD’s products usually delivered in visual appeal. This one had a chance, but delivered only on the most basic of levels. Maybe if Topps’ design team figured out that not every element needs a border (especially the stickers), they would have a much better look to everything they do. Right now, the borders do nothing but draw focus to the wrong parts of the cards. Think of what this card would be like without the border partially covering the player picture.

I will say this, Topps Platinum blows Threads and just about all the Panini stuff out of the water, but it will continue to be a boredom filled calendar as long as designs like this continue to be the norm. Unfortunately, Topps has adopted the Platinum design for almost all their sets this year, most evident in the upcoming Finest release, and that is not something I consider to be a good thing at this point. Who knows once we get a better look at what Platinum brings to the table.

How many more weeks until Chrome again? Ugh.

Why Parallels Work In Chrome

I just bought the Harvin Red Refractor yesterday evening, and it got me thinking. Why do I do this every freaking year? Why do I value these parallels when every other type makes me cringe?

Chrome may be the only product left that you buy not because there are hits in a box. With only one autograph in each box, and still carrying a price tag over 50 bucks per box, the product is banking on the value of more than just the value of the auto. With more than 50% of the boxes containing an auto of a non-premiere rookie, its almost a surprise that collectors still love this product as much as they do. In fact, there are a few explanations including price, value of the base cards, but also importantly, the parallels.

In every other product during the course of the year, non-auto parallels of veterans of rookies rarely take more value than the parallels in chrome. A base parallel of a guy like Tom Brady numbered to 24 in Donruss Elite versus a red refractor numbered to 25 of him in Chrome are not comaprable in any way. Elite costs more per box, has more hits per box, but the base parallels are pretty much worthless. What makes Topps Chrome parallels work?
First is design. Always design. The base chrome parallels in Topps always are some of the best looking cards of the year. Simplicity rules the game, and there are never any lightning storms on the cards. Second, they have been around for fucking ever, and collectors value the history as much as the brand itself. However, Elite has been around a long time as well. Third, I believe the name has something to do with it, as Refractor has become synonymous with rarity and cool technology. Lastly, I think the Topps brand has a lot to do with it too. Topps collectors are never going to hesitate to go to extreme lengths to complete a set. When you have people like that, who have been collecting the set since my father was a kid, you are going to have demand. Where there is demand, there is value.
I think nostalgia has a good factor in this as well, as most of the older collectors out there can remember back to 1993 Finest baseball. When you have a pedestal like that in your head, its easy to justify value of a card that has very little basic differences than other base parallels.
Also, when you have EASY to follow color schemes, the parallels become idiot proof. For instance, which sounds better? Elite Status or Red? More people can identify with a color than a word. Color is the most basic common denominator out there. If you ask anyone out there which they perceived to be a more valuable parallel, copper (/649), or gold (/10), they would always say gold. It crosses boundaries.
Im not saying you should go out there and chase rainbows, but I will say it will be fun if you do. I have collected chrome since I was a child, and I can say that I have never had many complaints about the basic concepts of the product. For every player I have collected, I have a chrome rookie, usually multiples. The fact that there are thousands of people out there like me will mean that the brand will never lose its bang. Chrome is king, even in football.

First Look: 2009 Topps Triple Threads

Ok, before I start, let me say that I know all of you know how much I despise Topps’ high end offerings. After seeing the preview from Triple Threads that was PMed to me over on FCB, I am just in shock over what is actually being marketed for this product. Considering how great base topps and chrome looks, these just look ridiculously bad. Ill go card by card, because I cant express my disgust in one paragraph.

Unlike baseball, the rookie cards are the focus of the product for every NFL set, and these just look as bad as they have ever been. The combination of all sorts of shapes doesnt fit, especially with the trademark diecut windows. Its almost like every part of the design was done separately, and then all put together whichever way would fit. The player picture is tiny, just like last year, something I cannot stand. Topps has sadly decided that horribly designed swatch windows were more important than fitting the fucking player in a on the card. When you think that this card is going to be red fucking rainbow foilboard, it becomes obvious how bad these cards are going to be.
Everyone knows how stupid I think these cards are, mainly because of the confusing configuration of the words, and because there is not a reason in holy hell that this many jersey pieces need to be on a card. Also, I still cant fathom why anyone thinks a card that is this jam packed looks good, especially when two panels are needed. More rainbow foilboard later, and you have this abomination (for you Dave).
Wow, for this one they have ALL that space for a huge player picture, nice design, and cool innovation and you end up with this piece of crap. This is also one of the 1000+ 1 of 1’s that are are part of Triple Threads, great. This is obviously pandering to the weak knees response you get out of the people that love this product when they pull one of these OMG RAREZ!!!! cards. One of the most obvious things about this example is how poorly the design fits the card, as I have little clue as to the reason this particular layout was used. Yet, because its a 1/1 foldout, some idiot will pay hundreds for a card like this, sad.
Overall, I just wish Topps would focus on creating a worthwhile product rather than showing us their swatch cutting chops. Then, to add insult to injury, you have huge foil stickers and one autograph (could be a non-premiere RC) per $170+ box and its all of a sudden crystal clear why I think this product is the worst on the market. Follow the golden rule of Topps and you would already be avoiding this product.
If a Topps product costs more than 100 bucks, STAY AWAY.