Flashback Product of the Week: 2000 eTopps Football

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 Oh eTopps.  You lasted so much longer than I had anticipated.  The first time I even heard of the whole eTopps program was at a local card shop, which is now closed.  This was back in 2002.  So I guess you could say I was a little late to the eTopps thing.

If your not familiar with how eTopps worked, here is a quick rundown.  Each week Topps would offer a limited number of cards for sale on the eTopps website.  These cards were called IPOs or initial public offerings.  Your card purchases would then be stored in an online portfolio.  If you wanted to, Topps would send the cards to you for a fee.  The best way to describe eTopps would be to say that it was like a stock market for online exclusive cards.  Your card’s prices would change based on eBay sales.  Throughout it’s twelve year run, eTopps cards were made for MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, and lots of other major sporting events.  In January 2012, it was announced that eTopps would no longer be issuing new IPOs.  The site still allows collectors to access their portfolio, sell, and trade cards.  You can also continue to request to have your cards delivered.

Given the initial success of the first few cards, Topps did what any good business would do.  That’s to jack up the production run.  Card prices in majority took a dive.  It was usually cheaper to buy the cards after they hit eBay, except for a select few.  Early cards of guys like Tony Banks, James Thrash, and Kevin Johnson had low print runs which made their prices soar.  Cards of these guys normally would go for nothing, but in this rare case they get pricey.  Its no different as to why some of those Starting Lineup figures of no-name players sell for crazy amounts.  There were also issues with the website and printing delays.  Autographed eTopps cards that Topps offered continue to sell well today based on the player.  The most valuable eTopps card that I ever owned was a LeBron James rookie.

The very first eTopps cards were issued in 2000.  Its a small set containing only twelve NFL players.  Eddie George has the lowest print run with 496 cards.  Jamal Lewis isn’t far behind with 500.  With the death of eTopps, collectors now flock to online apps like Topps BUNT.  In my opinion, Topps BUNT is a far superior product and is bringing kids back to the hobby.

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