On the Radar: 2016 Topps Transcendent Collection Baseball

There are a number of companies who have tried their hand at luxury level products, ones that are more expensive to break than even Flawless is at the Ultra Premium space. These breaks are usually repack products, but in cases like Eminence and Master Collection, they could be all original content. 2017 Topps Transcendent is a bit more than that, actually about 5 times more than any previous original product, with an MSRP set at about 25k per box.

Here are some of the cards we have seen in Luxury Level sets:

2014-15 Panini Eminence Stephen Curry Auto /5

2013 Upper Deck Tiger Woods Master Collection Auto Booklet /5

2013 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Master Collection Auto /50

The difference is that Topps is adding a TON of super high quality cards, a ridiculous checklist, and of course, a few surprises I gleaned from the sell sheet that I hope are coming. Bottom line, this product is not meant for the average collector, or even the collectors that are already opening packs on the level of what we have seen before. They are looking for 65 interested parties to engage in an offer that hasnt ever hit the market before.

Because the box and case count is so limited, its clear that they arent looking for widespread approval from us sitting here on the ground level. They know the prime target is group breakers who will be able to sell slots to a large group of individuals who can all share the tremendous burden of the product together.

My main objection as a whole, is that this is another in a long line of products SPECIFICALLY aimed at being group break friendly. Im not advocating that group breakers are doing anything wrong, just that its tiresome when all these high end products are rolling off the assembly line without a real strategy for delivering value to the single box breakers who are still out there.

Group breaking has grown the pie somewhat, that isnt really in dispute in any way. The dispute is how healthy it is to continue to cater to that setting, where the company is less and less interested in delivering value on a lower threshold. Transcendent is a bit different, because it is so high profile, that I dont think Topps can go half assed the way I have seen some recent Panini products take aim at high end.

Topps has succeeded in grabbing my attention, and many others, as the price tag alone brings in a flood of reactions. Do I think this product will sell out? Yes. Do I think this product will be sought after? No doubt. Is this a game changer or a defining moment in the hobby? Maybe – and it might not be in a good way either. Trying to attract lifelong baseball fans who have deep pockets isnt a terrible idea, as the hobby needs all of those we can get. Im curious if this just sends the wrong message, and to be honest, Topps might not care.

In terms of the look of the product, this is where I dont really see anything that really makes me go “MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE.” The design is kind of blah for me, and I hate hate hate those posed photographs. I know that Topps is trying to showcase a gilded set, but I wish the look was much more dynamic and less regal/traditional.

I think there is going to be some amazing content that comes out of this set, but for me, I think there are ways to be ultimately creative without slapping a ridiculous price tag on something, or using contrived scarcity to drive demand. Ill reserve judgement for now, but very interested to see how this turns out.

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