Thursday, December 1, 2016

Transcending the hobby.

I've been sitting on this post for a while now.  I was hoping that Topps would finalize the checklist so I had something more solid on the product.  Topps did confirm it's final autograph line up and promised me a full checklist weeks ago, but didn't deliver.  When Topps announced at the end of October that it would be putting out a baseball product that would retail for over $25,000, the reactions were mixed, but overwhelmingly there was a general feeling of disgust and disenfranchisement from most of us working class collectors.   But believe it or not after some deep meditation on the subject I think Topps Transcendent is good for the hobby as a whole.  Now hear me out.

Let's be honest this product is probably not for you and it's definitely not for me.  No this is more for Keith Obermann.  And I have a feeling the vast majority of the 65 box/cases available will be broken by group breakers. Random slots were going for between $150-200 a spot.  In all you get about 200 cards, over 50 autos and a base set numbered to 65 and a complete sketch card reproduction set numbered to 65.

With this product Topps launches itself to the top of the pile in the category I've seen termed the Luxury level, above Mega High End and the most expensive baseball card product or trading card product ever produced!

The previous king of the mountain was Upper Deck's Master Collection.  I've included a box break of a Master's Box and one for Panini's Eminence.  Take a look if you've never seen one of these Luxury products opened.

I've seen a lot of hate coming out about how with this set that Topps is thumbing it's nose at the common collector.  I tend to throw a lot of criticism Topps way for lots of things like quality control issues, team inclusion, and over use of the same licensed image on everything, but not on this.  For some reason we as collectors have come to expect that everything Topps produces has to be aimed at the common man.  I've fallen into this mind set as well specially when Topps tried it's 5 Star Club years ago.  But lets look at it this way.  Take any other industry that produces consumer products like the car industry.  A car manufacturer produces many types of vehicles.  Some are very affordable, I use that term loosely, with few bells and whistles while they also tend to offer very high end vehicles as well.  And even within the affordable range you can add upgrades.  I think you could carry this analogy over many scenarios, but the point is not everything Topps puts out is going to be targeted toward you or me.  So with that said Transcendent isn't a set for the masses.  Transcendent will be Topps top of the line Cadillac of card sets.  Now will it hold up, will those that are able to open this product be satisfied with what they get?  Will this blow up in Topps' face from not following through with all the hype produced about the product?  Will what's offered be worth the money ponied up?  I guess we'll find out in a few weeks.  While I won't be opening any of this product or taking part in any group breaks I will definitely be watch breaks on Youtube.

And while I'm defending Topps' decision to produce this product I do have my misgivings.  As most of you have probably noticed if you follow current releases the overall trend in the sports card market has shifted from cheaper products with large base sets and a few inserts and hits to much more expensive products that are specifically hit driven (relics and autographs) with lower card counts per box or pack and smaller or even nonexistent base sets.  Products that offer less variety of players and teams featured.  This trend is what worries me most in the hobby.  And while I actually really like the idea of a Lamborghini of a baseball card set the fact that Topps has set it's upper bounds of product pricing so high that the vacuum created from the difference to its next highest product might mean an even larger shift to much more expensive products to fill that void.  However that never happened at Upper Deck when it released it's Masters Collection, so there's hope that this is just Topps reaching for the sky and seeing if they fall flat.  What really interests me is even with 1 of 1 autos and artist sketch cards and a ton of other autographs, can this really be worth the price tag?  Feel free to comment.


  1. I'd say we share the same viewpoint - there's nothing wrong with Topps producing products for all consumer expenditure levels, just so long as the focus doesn't keep shifting up that ladder. If someone wants to and is capable of dropping the dinero on this, good luck to them. Meanwhile, I'm going to focus on buy a house!

  2. I see nothing wrong with them producing a set like this.. Is it for me? Nope.. Won't even look at the product.

    My issue is more along the lines that, in general, I've noticed most product moving away from long-time collectors. Even in the affordable sets there's emphasis on the parallels and other hits..

    I don't mind them doing this set, but they should also consider the floor..

  3. I'm obviously out of the card collecting loop these days...this is the first I'm hearing of such a product. I guess I don't care about it - though I would like to see a checklist (if for no other reason than to make sure there isn't yet another Larkin card that I'll never own on it).

  4. Love the comparison to cars. Totally agree. This product will never make its way into my collection... but it will be a fun break to watch on YouTube.

  5. I have no problem with Topps releasing a set like this. Yes, there is a very small subsect of collectors that can afford a product like that but like Fuji said, the comparison with cars was spot on. Most of us have cars but very few of us can afford a Ferrari.

    Is it worth the money? That all depends on the consumer paying for the product. I would say for me that a Ferrari isn't worth the money because I don't value a vehicle in that way. I'm sure a super high end collector would find the value in this product.