A Comment On Superfractors

When it comes to 1 of 1 cards in this hobby, there have been more mistakes than successes. Obviously the quad logo auto 1/1s in Exquisite are one thing, but they go all the way down to the 10,000+ 1/1s in Topps Moments and Milestones. One specific type of 1/1 has trancended the normal contructs of value surrounding base parallels, and I know that many people buy just to seek them out. Back in the 1990s, when refractor technology made its play, Topps literally put every possible design into its different parallels. Then they started numbering them. Then they started numbering them REALLY low. Then they made the granddaddy of all chrome cards, the 1/1 golden ticket Super-fucking-fractor.

Dont get me wrong, the idea of the Superfractor doesnt bother me one bit. Having a 1/1 parallel in a set built on the success of the different variations of the cards actually make sense. Its the look that I just absolutely hate. The cards look awful in my opinion, they always have, mainly due to the fact that the whole card is printed on that gold atomic mega refracting x-fractor board. Why not just put a nice gold border on it? How about using the gold atomic mega refracting x-fractor board, but only for the outside of the card?
Listen, I know you chromies are going to crucify me for this post, and I understand that the card itself is an icon even with the weird cardstock, but I just cant see myself ever going after one. After seeing the potential for gold bordered cards with the gold refractor autographs that are inserted in this year’s product, it has become clear how awesome a 1/1 like that could be. Instead of putting up with a player pic you cant see, you now have a really sleek addition to the parallels of the base set.
I am not kidding myself with the idea that Topps may actually change the look of the Superfractors, but I will say that its disappointing each time I see a card look like this:

What Does The Future Hold For Chrome?

Next week, one of my favorite sets of the year will hit shelves. For 2007 and 2008, Topps chrome was possibly the best set of the year for the entire brand with maybe the exception of Bowman Chrome. This year’s success will hinge on a few things, mainly stemming from practices that Topps seems to have given up on for their chrome products all together.

If you notice for this year, the autograph space for the rookies is curved, something that wont lend itself very well to a square sticker. I sincerely hope that the new standard set by Chrome baseball will hold true for football, and deliver on card autographs for the first time in a VERY long time.

The preview sheet, released a few months ago, seemed to hint at on card autos, as Topps usually incorporates the awful rainbow foil stickers into the sell sheets. This time, they did not. If this does end up being the case, I may end up maxing out some credit cards to buy a few cases, as I cant tell you how excited I would be to open a few boxes.

Last year also brought the first Topps Chrome Patch Auto cards as well, numbered to a miniscule 25 per subject, something that could compete with SPA in terms of value if it were numbered a little higher. Now that Bowman chrome has also incorporated swatches into a product that doesnt need them, I hope the sophomore edition of the TC Patch cards dont screw up more of this potential set of the year.

As we saw with base Topps, the cards look great, and should be even better in chrome tech. The photos look ten times better than last year’s distanced player shots, some even using very dynamic action shots from the trampoline station at the premiere. However, we also saw that there were some variation SPs with VERY low print runs in base Topps, thus begging the question as to value in chrome. These cards could be huge if they are as short printed, and available in the normal refractor pyramid.

Well, its only a matter of days now, I hope its not delayed any further. I am ready with money in hand.

Join The Cause

A big focus of this blog lately has been to highlight scams that are happening around the hobby, mainly with the fake Topps rookie premiere autos that have spread like a disease. Topps has yet to respond to any emails, despite the number of people who have contacted them in response to this site. This means that as long as eBay is making money off these auctions, and as long as people continue to buy them, they are here to stay. Sadly.

Here are some ways to protect yourself, as most of these cards are pretty big investments. Basically, if any of these red flags are present, stay away and just wait for the next one.

1. Seller has MANY rookie premiere autos or questionable cards up for sale that all look the same. Most of the time, these cards come up for sale through sellers that have basically made a living selling them. That will leave hundreds of cards in their possession to sell, many of them looking signed by the same person. If you see this pop up, its time to investigate before bidding. If you are about to buy a rookie premiere, this should be step number one, and the link to do so is right under the seller’s name in the auction. Actually, this isnt a bad idea with any questionable card.

2. Seller has MANY red ink RPAs for sale. Ever since the inception of these cards, the red ink variations have been the toughest to pull. Usually around 10 or so copies of the cards are signed in red ink, which leaves very few of these cards to actually pop up for sale. Unfortunately, this has changed recently, as the red inks are a favorite of these douchebags due to their value. Although its possible for someone to sell their collection of red inks, that comes once a year at most. If you see an auction block full of duals and quad red inks, stay away.

3. Seller’s cards are signed in THICK markers. Staedler pens, which are used to sign these cards, are becoming harder and harder to find. Most of the time they are also pretty expensive to purchase. This leads to the sellers trying to use the wrong pens, or just being to stupid to use the right ones. Staedler pens leave razor sharp lines that are very distinguishable, and you can easily tell when someone has butchered a fake with a fine point sharpie. Again, this is something that can be seen in the seller’s auction listings, because many should have the same lines in the sigs.

4. Autographs on the cards don’t look right. It can be tough sometimes to determine which autos look real, but most of the time, you can find PSA or BGS graded copies to compare the autos to. Look for the slant of the letters, the connection of the lines, even stop and start points on the sig. If they are different, something is up.

5. The players sold by the seller are always the top of the class. I have seen that during the sales of these cards, SOME of the weird players from the premiere sometimes get fakes, but the top guys ALWAYS are a focus for obvious reasons. If the guy has twenty rookie premiere autos for sale, and all of them are Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and Matt Ryan, a flag should be applied.

6. Price is low. Most quad red ink autos sell at around 400 for the good players, these are selling at around 200. Obviously, its rare that a price would drop 50% for any card without circumstance, so be sure to pay attention to ending price on the cards. If they usually are ending lower than they should, its for a reason.

Guys, in all reality, if people would just do their research, this could all be avoided. Im not saying they should come here, but they should go on eBay and look around to compare notes on other legit sales. The fact is that people in this world are generally ignorant and would rather live in their own world than spend their money with people who actually deserve it. If they had the tools, they would use them, but as we have seen around here lately, using smarts to apply to a sale is very rare.

2009 Topps Football Is Live

2009 Topps has hit the bay, and I think this could be a really good year for them. First off, I know that they ditched the flag backgrounds for the RPAs, as long as the photos I saw were used, and secondly, they switched away from those awful looking Career Best auto designs from last year.

I liked this year’s base auto design in baseball, and it also looks good in football, though Im not sure why they have career best cards for the rookies who have never played a down. I think we need to change the name there.

EDIT: The first RPA is up, and I am digging the way the borders look, though the player looks a little to stark against that background. Im not a helmet off picture supporter, but this design looks good. See? Topps low end is where its at.

EDIT 2: The duals look great. Kudos to Topps on those.

Edit 3: I have seen variations on some of the rookie cards popping up on the bay, makes me wonder how these will factor into the sets. Ive also noticed that Topps wasnt shy about including some of the premiere tents in the photos, which is a letdown, but I can deal with it. Maybe they will edit the photos when chrome comes around.

I Am Very Scared For This Year’s Finest

Thanks to Jerry for sending me a preview of the Sanchez.

First off, last year’s finest was bad, REALLY BAD. The parallels were pastel shades of pink and blue, and really didnt make sense. They put manufactured NFL logo shields into auto cards for no reason. Lastly, they said a ton of shit was going to be numbered, and it wasnt at all. Yes, they offered to fix it, but thats not the point. Basically, the point is, for Topps Finest 2008, there was let down after let down for the set.
This year, like last year, looks promising from the original images that were leaked. They have a patch auto parallel, they have good looking base cards that dont look like pink film strips, and it looks like things may finally be back to the form we were used to from pre 2005.
However, this is a Topps product that just barely breaks the golden rule of Topps football cards. Last year, 2007, 2006, and 2005 were pretty much design diarrhea, but for 2009, it shows promise.
That doesnt mean im not holding my breath for the coming Topps Finest apocalypse. I have that feeling, deep down inside that they will find some way to fuck it up beyond belief. I mean, they are using the foil stickers, as usual, and the rainbow foil seems to be making a return for a second year. Lets hope they realize that colored parallels only work when they are done in a chrome product that costs 80 dollars less per box.
As with any higher end product, parallels usually have no place unless there is something extremely differentiated between the cards. Colors dont cut it for a product that costs this much, especially when they have a scheme equal to a box of lucky charms.