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