I’m not much for recent cards. In my searches locally I have purchased cards from the early 2000s and I personally bought boxes of 2006 and 2007 Topps and Fleer products when I returned to the hobby at that time from a 15 year absence. But my concentration has been from 81-93 for set collecting and then good cards of HOF players during that era and earlier.
But when Topps came out with their first Signature Series boxes last year I was intrigued. I’m not much into collecting auto cards either, if I happen to pull one that’s cool, but I don’t chase after them. This product was Topps first buy back issue that was not used as inserts. It meant that you were guaranteed a signature card. Which for me, made a signature card more attractive.
For those of you not knowing much about this product here is a short description. Topps went out and bought back a bunch of their cards in the secondary market. Then they got a bunch of players (retired) to sign these cards. They sent the cards to the printer to stamp on a gold foil “Topps Archives 2015” logo and a serial number ranging from 1/1 to around 99/99. The players who signed these cards range from HOF players like Sandy Koufax (the main attraction for collectors), Ken Griffey Jr., John Smoltz, Rollie Fingers, and other non-HOF stars like Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green and Andres Galarraga. They then took the cards and sealed them in a plastic container (slabbed as it were) and attached a Topps Archives gold colored sticker wrapped front to back at the top right of the container.
Once Topps got the card together (signature, foil stamping, plastic encasement) they then put one of these cards in each box of the product. You buy a box, you get just one card. You buy a case, you get 20 boxes, or 20 signature cards. You will see a range of Topps and Bowman cards in the product ranging mostly from the 80s, 90s, 00s. Pulls I have seen have come from 1987 Topps, 1992 Topps, 1991 Stadium Club, 1994 Bowman. All these cards are actually worth pennies until Topps stamps and players sign them. You will not get any rookie card signatures here, not that you would actually want them as many would say the rookie cards are defaced with a signature on them.
When this product was released it was understood to be quite limited. When you pulled cards that were 1/1s at a rate of 2-4 per case you could see why. The SRP, to my understanding was 40.00, but many dealers held back the product from its initial release in order to raise the price later (I see greed still pervades the hobby). But I’m not sure why. Because in the end, I decided not to purchase a case or even a box of this product.
I waited and watched some case breaks on you tube and the pulls were nothing spectacular. I would have difficulty paying 40.00 or 50.00 on a 1992 Topps card of Andres Galarraga. In fact all the cards I saw pulled from cases, whether from HOF players or not are cards I already have sans-signature. For me it’s hard to get excited for a 1987 Topps star card even if it now has a signature and gold foil stamping on it. I have seen the card already for over 15 years already. It’s like dressing up a rat in a tuxedo. In the end it’s still a rat.
Probably the people who eventually pulled or will pull a Sandy Koufax or Nolan Ryan Signature might think the purchase was worth it, but my guess is everyone else will be yawn-struck.