Each year at the National Convention, thousands of collectors stream through the gates to buy and sell their favorite collectibles. That is what it has been about for decades. In more recent years, free giveaways have also been a major factor for why the attendance creeps up, and this year, Topps and Panini are both preparing a large offering.
Yesterday, via Twitter, Topps previewed a few of the Gypsy Queen mini cards that will be given away at their booth. These cards, which will be the reward for busting packs and boxes, are limited edition, uncirculated cards that will be some of the most desirable examples in the entire show. Gypsy Queen has become one of the best looking sets of the year with its painted vintage design, and the checklist is a veritable who’s who of the hot list going into the Baltimore convention.
Not only that, but with an added football component this year, its clear that Topps is not taking their giveaway with a grain of salt. One of the biggest complaints last year was a lack of focus surrounding NFL cards at Topps’ booth, and to see them run with the idea is definitely a great thing for collectors. Obviously, Bryce Harper and company’s presence in the giveaway will extend Topps’ line around the dealer area, but to see guys like RGIII and Luck get a GQ mini is well worth the time spent in line.
Panini is similarly ramping up their giveaway, with more of a focus on the instant win redemptions and other prizes that collectors can win. If there is one thing that Topps has not yet figured out, or needed to figure out, its that specialized content in pack form will drive more of a frenzy. Panini’s booth at each national convention has been a mob scene thanks to the wrapper redemption packs, and this year should be no different.
Although I have to say that some of the cards IN the packs are extremely ugly, yet others look pretty cool. I also think that the instant win prizes like the signed hats and sketch cards are a cool idea to drive people to the booth, and should help Panini stay at the forefront of the swag party for another year.
Panini does have the extreme advantage because Elite will be on the floor during the show, where as the highly anticipated Topps Football will not. Last year, Inception was the later release, meaning that Topps was the product that everyone spent time looking for at the show. With Elite, Panini’s equivalent to Topps Chrome, already on the show floor, it is THAT much easier to find something worth breaking to obtain the wrapper packs at Panini’s booth. However, with Bowman Platinum cleaning up on the baseball side, Topps will not be without its fanatics as well.
The national convention will prove to be a great experience for collectors this coming week, stay tuned for more compiled coverage here on the site all week long.