Mother: “Son, dinner is ready.”
Son: “Not now, I’m busy putting my Black Galactic Diffractors in top loaders!”
Topps Tek has the coolest sounding names when it comes to it’s parallels. I remember when this product originally came out in 1998. It was a big deal. Collectors were scrambling to find all the different patterned backgrounds for their favorite players. Between 1998 and 2000, baseball fans received an annual dose of Topps Tek. Of the three original sets, 1999 will probably remain my favorite. Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell has some rare rookies in there. Some limited to only (10) copies. In 1999, pulling a card serial numbered out of ten was considered huge.
A few years ago, Topps made the decision to bring the Tek name back. Since then, it has been fairly successful with collectors. The 2016 version might be the best one yet since this brand’s comeback.
2016 Tek has a lot going for it. The price per box is relatively low. About $56 right now. Staying true to the original sets, each card is printed on acetate. I’m not someone that needs tons of base cards, that is why I really enjoy the way Topps configured Tek. You’ll only find (1) pack per box housing (8) cards. One of those cards will be an on-card autograph.
The big player you’d want to pull from this year’s Tek is Masahiro Tanaka. Despite being a rookie in 2014, this is one of the first products to have autographs of him in a Yankees uniform. Before 2016 Tek, his autographs could only be found in Japanese card sets made by companies like BBM. Finally getting Tanaka to sign some American cards was a great move. International buyers are jumping all over them. You can also find autographs of him in that Walmart exclusive Topps Archives 65th Anniversary product. But those are even more difficult to pull.
Different patterned backgrounds and acetate are what make Topps Tek tick. Some of these patterns are rare. Ryan Cracknell put together a nice list of the various patterns and their rarities. This is one of those products that has massive depth. You better check those cards. What looks like a simple, non-parallel, non-autographed card, could easily be a case “hit” pattern. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a pattern nobody has found yet.
Overall, it was a fun and quick break. You certainly can’t go wrong with a product that promises all on-card autographs. I’d definitely open another box, especially based on the price. One of these years, I’d like to see Topps issue a special Tek patterned card during the National Sports Collectors Convention. That would make for a really cool promo.
Here is what I pulled:
- Luis Severino RC Maze Pattern Orange Magma Diffractor Auto #’ed/25
- John Smoltz Spiral Pattern Tidal Diffractor
- Jason Heyward Spiral Pattern
- Nomar Mazara RC Maze Pattern
- Billy Wagner Spiral Pattern
- Albert Pujols Cubes Pattern
- Marcus Stroman Buckle Pattern
- Aroldis Chapman Triangles Pattern
This contest is for a Aaron Ross 2007 Press Pass Legends All Conference Red Ink Auto #’ed/285. Ross is currently a free agent, but is a two-time Super Bowl champ with the Giants. Good luck!!!
- This contest will end Friday, December 9, 2016 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.
- To enter, please leave a comment in this post.
- You can enter once per day.
- The winner will be selected at random.
- Please provide a valid e-mail address when entering.
- The winner will receive an e-mail when the contest is over.
- The winner has one week to send me their contact information or the contest will be held again.
- Once the contest is over, I will need the winner’s mailing address so I can ship them this card for FREE!!!
At one time there was a small card company located in Monrovia, CA called Little Sun. They pumped out mainly baseball card sets between 1988 and 1992. Along with Upper Deck, Little Sun was one of the first manufacturers to include randomly inserted autographs within their products. The first Little Sun autographed cards can be found in their 1991 High School Prospects set. Shawn Estes, Cliff Floyd, Benji Gil, and Al Shirley all have autographs in there. Each one is limited to (500) copies. Of all the sets they issued, their final one gets the most attention. The 1992 High School Prospects set not only includes a Derek Jeter base card, but an autograph as well. Those two Derek Jeter cards are highly sought after. Collectors are willing to spend big money for them. Other autographs include Jason Kendall, Dave Landaker, and Chad Roper. Each of these autographs has a (250) copy print run. You could say that Little Sun went out with a bang with this set. Derek Jeter is pretty much the only thing keeping the Little Sun name relevant these days.
Early on in Little Sun’s card making career, they came out with a minor league product. The set is called 1988 Little Sun Minor League Legends. It only features eleven cards – Checklist #1, Pete Gray #2, Ike Boone #3, Lou Novikoff #4, Luke Easter #5, Steve Bilko #6, Frank Shellenback #7, Smead Jolley #8, Jigger Statz #9, Joe Hauser #10, and Fidel Castro #11. Yes. You read that correctly. Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has a card in here. Castro was a great athlete who enjoyed playing baseball. The Washington Senators once held tryouts for Cuban players, but he wasn’t offered a contract. After he came to power, Castro would occasionally pitch an exhibition game for the Barbudos. Despite the opposing team always hitting strongly against him, nobody would dare pull Fidel Castro from the game. Over the years, Castro has popped-up in various products. Topps even made a few cut signatures of him. While attending the National last summer, Iconic Auctions had a Fidel Castro signed baseball on display.
Like most of Little Sun’s sets, this one doesn’t hold much value. You can easily find the cards for dirt cheap. I like the artwork. It reminds me of those Diamond Stars cards from the 1930’s. National Chicle also comes to mind. Artist Michael Guccione did all the artwork for these cards.