Topps Now is the latest marketing strategy by the grandfather of baseball card producers and is something every collector needs to pay attention to. For those who do not know what Topps Now is here is the rundown taken from the Topps website:
Imagine your favorite player throwing a no-hitter, and then getting a card of that special moment the very next day! Starting April 4, baseball fans everywhere will get the opportunity to do so.
The Topps Company is proud to introduce TOPPS NOW, a Topps.com-exclusive product that will depict the greatest moments and milestones from the 2016 Major League Baseball season almost as soon as they happen. The physical cards will be available the very next day to purchase through Topps.com, but for just 24 hours, and will not be available for purchase again.
“TOPPS NOW was inspired by input from our passionate baseball fans,” said Clay Luraschi, Topps ’Vice President of Product Development. “Magical moments will be captured on baseball cards the very next day, giving fans everywhere a chance to own a piece of history almost immediately.”
The first two cards in the TOPPS NOW set include Francisco Liriano (card. No. 1) and the Kansas City Royals (card No. 2).
TOPPS NOW cards will depict great achievements and performances throughout the 2016 season. If a player hits four home runs in a game or has a walk-off home run, baseball fans can expect to see those cards in the TOPPS NOW set the next day. TOPPS NOW combines the magic of baseball cards with the timeliness of a special moment to get cards into the hands of baseball fans and collectors in a way that has never been done before.
TOPPS NOW adds to an already great portfolio of Topps’ Major League Baseball-exclusive cards with a new card design. In addition, at the end of each card’s selling window, Topps will announce the number of cards that will be printed for each card.
Fans can also let Topps know every night what they think should be on a TOPPS NOW card through Topps’ social media accounts utilizing the hashtag #TOPPSNOW.
Now that you have the basics, you might respond, Hey! that’s great I am going to join up for this new card distribution method.” Or, perhaps you are uninterested, “Ten bucks for one card, what the hell is Topps thinking?”
Either way, one thing you can’t do is ignore it. Why do I say that? For a few reasons. The first is that Topps considers all these cards to be eligible for rookie card status. For those who don’t much pay attention to RC’s anymore (like me) and much prefer the first card of a player, then this might not cause much of an effect. Most player’s first cards come much earlier than when the player first achieves an appearance in the major leagues. But some do slip through the cracks, not many, but some. And those players, along with all other players who gain a Topps Now card in their rookie debut season will be considered as an RC by the company with the RC logo printed on the card.
For hobbyists who collect RC’s, this could complicate matters substantially. If rookies playing in 2016 make an impact to an extent that Topps make a card for them in Topps Now, and if that rookie did not get treatment in the sets issued in 2016, meaning he will not be on a regular issue card until 2017 then those 2017 cards which would have become RC’s may not technically be RC’s anymore. Even if they still become RC’s they might not be desirable to RC collectors as the Topps Now RC card, issued the year previous, might become the desired RC card.
With the development mentioned above, it could lead to extreme scarcity for RC cards, especially for 2016 if Topps Now cards stay at the print runs now being shown (between 500 to 1400 of each card). With such small print runs, these RC’s could become the next chase collectable for RC seekers who haven’t joined the program. Already (as of Apr. 14th, 2016) there are RCs of the following players in Topps Now: Trevor Brown, Trevor Story, Tyler White, Kenta Maeda and Nomar Mazara. Of the fifteen cards printed so far, seven show RC cards. With print runs under 2000 you can see how these cards are going to become quite desirable if these rookies make more and more of an impact in the future.
A second reason to pay attention is for those hobbyists who are player collectors. If you are a player collector who desires one of every card of a favorite player, then Topps Now might be something you will need to join in on. Although presently the non RC cards that have hit eBay have been in the $9.99 price range (the original selling price through Topps) it might not stay that way as more and more collectors get wind of this new card distribution method. Player collectors of Chris Davis, Addison Russell, Albert Pujols, Brandon Crawford, David Ortiz, Francisco Liriano, and Bryce Harper have Topps Now cards they might want to collect. Even team collectors have a Kansas City team card in Topps Now that they might want to add to their collection.
Whether Topps Now will catch on to a large extent remains to be seen. It might be a interesting blip in 2016, or it might be continue on into the future becoming a desired area of collecting by baseball hobbyists. At $9.99 a card, I will pass on it myself. I’ll let you decide on what is best for your collecting needs.