20 Years Later Topps Crystal Is Still A Mystery

Drawing a blank upon hearing about 1999 Topps Crystal?  I was debating whether or not to use this for a post since very little is known about it.  But then I thought perhaps just talking about it could shed some new light on this set.

Right now, there are only five different cards known to exist that come with the Topps Crystal name – Craig Biggio, Wally Joyner, Ivan Rodriguez, Andy Brown, and Mike Mussina.  Every card that has surfaced is serial numbered to (99) copies.  Given how rarely you see these popup, I highly doubt (99) copies were actually made for each card though.

The reason why you probably haven’t heard of Topps Crystal is because it was never released.  Many people believe that Topps printed these cards as a test for what would eventually become 2000 Topps HD.  The printing technology between the two is very similar.  Topps HD was a minor success, but only survived for two years.  What makes the cards standout is that they are printed on thick plastic.  Its unfortunate that they didn’t catch on.  I think they look really well done.  Especially the handful of on-card autographs that include Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Adrian Gonzalez.

Seeing that Topps Crystal was never officially released, it makes you wonder how these five cards found their way out.  The most logical explanation is that someone at Topps walked out the door with them.  The odds of finding a new Topps Crystal card are slim, but it could happen.  It would be cool to find one from the Phillies.  For all we know, one of Pat Burrell could be out there somewhere.

Baseball’s Forgotten Rom Com – The Slugger’s Wife

Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Darryl Palmer.  He’s one of the most famous Atlanta Braves players of all time.  Palmer is right up there with the likes of Chipper Jones, Warren Spahn, and Greg Maddux.  Collectors stand in line for hours to get his autograph.

If you seriously have no clue who Darryl Palmer is, that’s alright.  He doesn’t actually exist.  Actor Michael O’Keefe (Danny Noonan from Caddyshack) portrayed the fictitious baseball player in the 1985 film The Slugger’s Wife.  The movie is a romantic comedy about a baseball player who falls in love with a singer (Rebecca De Mornay).  It was a box office flop, and has been long forgotten.  When you’re sitting around with your friends talking about your favorite baseball-themed movies, The Slugger’s Wife rarely comes up.

To go along with the movie, Topps printed-up a prop/promo card of the film’s main character – Darryl Palmer.  It was made using the classic 1984 Topps Baseball design, but isn’t part of the main set.  This card stands alone.  On the card’s back is a made up story about the character.

The Slugger’s Wife may have bombed, but this card sure didn’t.  You rarely see it popup.  Collectors have been known to spend crazy amounts for it.  Way more than what any standard 1984 Topps Baseball card is worth.  That’s including the Don Mattingly rookie card.  I highly doubt we’ll be seeing The Slugger’s Wife cards make their Archives debut anytime soon.

Pro Set’s Failed Attempt At Entering The Baseball Card Market

Pro Set released a steady run of products starting in 1989, and continued to do so until they met their demise in 1994.  During that time period, Pro Set produced cards for football, hockey, golf, soccer, and racing.  They also released a handful of entertainment sets.  It was football and hockey that they were mostly known for though.  Pro Set was the king when it came to error cards.  Some of these errors continue to bring in big dollars today.

You wouldn’t know to look at them, but 1992 Flopps was made by Pro Set.  It was a project that didn’t get that far off of the ground.  To put it simply, it was Pro Set’s attempt at making a baseball card product.  Without obtaining a license from MLB or getting permission from the MLBPA, Pro Set decided to throw these spoof cards out there to see how collectors would react.

Pro Set made 5-card promo packs that were distributed to dealers.  Each pack contained the same cards – Barry Bones, Ken Groovy, Jr., Stickey Henderson, Wade Bugs, and Lance Perishable.  Of all the products that Pro Set made, these were probably the most artistic.  I wonder what happened to the original artwork?  The card backs feature fun write-ups too.

The name “Pro Set” doesn’t appear anywhere on these cards.  They made it look like “Flopps” was an official company.  Maybe that’s what Pro Set wanted because they knew there was a chance that someone was going to step in.  And that’s exactly what happened.  The MLBPA took legal action, and Pro Set never tried to make baseball cards again.  The actual set was suppose to contain (66) cards – (55) base, (10) Scratch N’ Sniff, and (1) collectible card.  I have no idea what the collectible card was going to be.  Holograms were big at the time, so perhaps something like that.

The only cards Pro Set officially released were the 1992 Flopps promo packs.  The MLBPA jumped in before Pro Set could go any further.  Occasionally a Scratch N’ Sniff card will popup.  Those probably found their way out the backdoor.  You would think a canceled product such as 1992 Flopps would be rare, but that’s not the case.  Sealed promo packs can easily be found for next to nothing.  Even the Scratch N’ Sniff cards barely draw much attention.

2019 Topps Star Wars Holiday Shopping Guide

Topps and Star Wars go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Its been that way since 1977.  Today’s Star Wars products made by Topps bring you closer than ever to your favorite characters, moments, and iconic scenes that have become so ingrained into pop-culture.

I’ve been a fan of Star Wars since I was little.  Its the first movie franchise I can remember watching where one film depended on another.  I had a bunch of Star Wars trading cards from the 90’s.  Most of them came packaged with those bendable action figures made by JusToys.  As a kid I fondly, remember those rubber figures taking a beating on the school playground.  I played with them a lot.

The Skywalker family story looks to be wrapping-up with December 20th’s release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.  Star Wars merchandise is always a popular holiday item.  Its even more popular when a new film is released right at the height of the holiday season.

These are my top Topps Star Wars products any aspiring Jedi or Sith Lord would enjoy ripping into.  Runner-up products include 2019 Topps Star Wars Black & White: The Empire Strikes Back2019 Topps Star Wars Journey to Episode 9, and 2019 Topps Star Wars Resistance Surprise PacksDave & Adam’s Card World, Blowout Cards, Steel City Collectibles, Chicagoland Sports Cards, and Topps.com is where I’d shop.

The Mandalorian Topps NOW Cards & Photos

With the launch of the Disney+ streaming service Star Wars fans get to enjoy a new show called The Mandalorian.  The show takes place after Return of the Jedi, and 25 years before The Force Awakens.  It follows a Bounty Hunter who gets into all kinds of trouble.

After each episode a series of Topps NOW cards will be sold for a limited time over at Topps.com.  Each card set will highlight important parts of that episode.  Topps has already issued cards like this for The Mandalorian when it comes to Poster Cards and Trailer Sets.

Star Wars Authentics is where you can pickup both signed and unsigned photos from the show’s cast.  Autographed photos will start to appear on November 13th.  More will be added throughout the season.

Collector Type: Autograph/Set

2019 Topps Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

How could I not have this one on the list?  Due out the same day as the film, 2019 Topps Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker features a 100-card set.  Artwork, scenes, and characters from the film are the main subjects.

A Hobby box should yield (2) hits.  One is guaranteed to be an autograph or sketch card.  Autograph subjects include actors from the film.

(24) packs come in a Hobby box.  Every pack will have (1) parallel – Blue, Green (1:2 packs), Purple (1:4), Orange #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/25, Printing Plates #’ed 1/1, and Black #’ed 1/1.  Orange and Printing Plates are only in hobby packs.

Costume Relics make for some interesting pulls.  For the first time ever, relic cards of the Millennium Falcon can be pulled.  That’s correct.  Now you can own a piece of the ship that made the Kessel Run is less than twelve parsecs.

Collector Type: Set

2019 Topps Star Wars Authentics Autographs Series 1 & 2

Great photographs!  That’s the big draw when it comes to these two products.  Both Series 1 and Series 2 were released separately, but are configured similarly.

Packaged inside each blind pack is (1) autographed 8 x 10 photo, and (1) card.  Series 1 signed photos cover actors from the Classic Trilogy and Prequels, New Trilogy, Solo, Rogue One, The Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels.  You can also find some Multi-Signed photos.  Cards will be serial numbered to (75) or less.

Series 2 autographed photo subjects come from the Classic Saga, Prequels, New Trilogy, Resistance, Rogue One, The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Solo & Battlefront.  Multi-Signed photos are available in here too.  Cards are serial numbered to (99) or less.

If you don’t feel like taking the gamble, you can buy signed photos directly from Star Wars Authentics.

Collector Type: Autograph/Risk taker

2019 Topps Star Wars Chrome Legacy

Star Wars fans get to enjoy their cards get the chrome-treatment.

(200) cards make-up the base set.  Shiny parallels include Refractor, Blue #’ed/99, Green #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Black #’ed/10, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.

A Hobby box consists of (2) mini-boxes.  Inside a full box you should find (2) hits.  One is guaranteed to be an autograph or sketch card.  Commemorative Medallions also count as hits.

Marvel Comic Book Covers, Posters, and Concept Art highlight the inserts.  I really like the Concept Art cards.

Collector Type: Chrome fan/Set

2019 Topps Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

This 100-card recap set covers the films and various shows.  Centering mainly on the Skywalker family and the surrounding characters.

A Hobby box should come with (2) hits.  One of those hits is guaranteed to be an autograph.

The Commemorative Blueprints cards are what catch my eye.  These feature famous vehicles from the Star Wars universe printed on see-thru acetate card stock.  Like an actual blueprint, the card points out lots of intricate details about that vehicle.  Very cool!  Best looking cards in the product!

Collector Type: Set

2019 Topps Star Wars Masterwork

Masterwork is configured just like the Museum Collection brand Topps uses for some of their sports products.  We’re now stepping away from the set collector stuff, and entering a higher-end realm.

(4) packs come in a Hobby box.  You’re guaranteed (2) autographs and (2) more additional hits that could be autographs, relics, Film Cel or Medallion Cards.

Printed on 72 pt. stock you have a 100-card set to put together.  Parallels include Blue, Green #’ed/99, Purple #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/10, Black #’ed/5, Printing Plates #’ed 1/1, and Gold #’ed 1/1.

New signers include Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), and Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo).  Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) also makes a return.

Collector Type: High-end/Autograph/Relic seeker

2019 Topps Star Wars Stellar Signatures

For the ultimate Star Wars fan with deep pockets.  Stellar Signatures is the Transcendent of the Star Wars world.  A single box will run around $7,500.

What do you get with a product that carries that kind of price tag?  Well here you go:

  • (36) Autographs
  • (4) Dual Autographs
  • (1) Over-Sized Sketch Card
  • (1) 100-Card Sketch Card Reproduction Set

Because of the high price, a full box probably isn’t an option for everybody.  I’d check eBay for some single cards people are selling.  Purchasing one of those with another Star Wars box would make an excellent gift.

Collector Type: Ultra-premium/Autograph/You’re probably George Lucas

2019 Topps Baseball Holiday Shopping Guide

Wondering what to get that special baseball collector for the holidays?  A box of baseball cards can be one of the best gifts a collector can receive.  Its basically two gifts in one.  Upon ripping off the wrapping they get the initial surprise of a box.  Then they get to open that box which probably will have even more surprises in it.

Here are my top Topps baseball card products I believe any collector would enjoy.  Dave & Adam’s Card World, Blowout Cards, Steel City Collectibles, and Chicagoland Sports Cards is where I’d shop.

Not every single baseball product released by Topps in 2019 is listed here.  These are products I’m looking forward to, had a lot of luck with, and/or enjoy watching other collectors open.  Your list may differ, but this is mine.  A couple of runner-up products include 2019 Topps High Tek2019 Topps Gold Label2019 Topps Fire, and 2019 Bowman’s Best.

2019 Bowman Draft

Focusing heavily on rookies and prospects, 2019 Bowman Draft should scratch the itch of that collector who’s looking for that next big player.  The main draw is that it contains the first cards of players who were recently drafted by MLB teams over the summer.  Hobby boxes contain (12) packs, (3) autographs, and (24) refractors.  Super Jumbo boxes contain (5) packs, (5) autographs, and (40) refractors.  You can’t get much closer to the beginning of a player’s career than owning their 1st year prospect cards from a Bowman product.

Collector Type: Prospect/Rookie/Set

2019 Topps Holiday Mega Box

This product is exclusively sold at Walmart.  It places a fun holiday spin to the traditional 2019 Topps flagship design.  The set features (200) cards with rookies of Pete Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Keston Hiura, and Eloy Jimenez.  New for 2019 are the short print photo variations.  (10) packs per box.

Every box comes with (1) autograph, relic, or autograph relic.  Some of the more entertaining cards are the Faux Holiday Relics.  These are sure to be conversation starters.  Subjects include Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Frosty the Snowman, and Ebenezer Scrooge.

Retail settings like Walmart and Target are sometimes the best option for card collectors.  If you’re at Walmart doing some holiday shopping, be sure to checkout their card section.  Various Topps products have retail versions.

Despite being sold exclusively at Walmart, these boxes are scooped-up fast.  eBay would be the best place to find them.

Collector Type: Set

2019 Topps Update Series

When it comes to flagship sets, Update Series has it all.  Players in their recently traded uniforms, and rookie cards of those young prospects recently called-up to the big leagues.  Additional cards of top rookies can also be found.  Great for those collectors who enjoy putting sets together.

Tons of short print photo variations to pull.  Hobby boxes have (24) packs and come with (1) autograph or relic.  Hobby Jumbo boxes have (10) packs and come with (1) autograph and (2) relics.  (300) cards in the set.

Both Hobby and Jumbo boxes come with special Silver Packs.  Hobby (1) and Jumbo (2).  Cards found in these packs resemble 1984 Topps Baseball and are printed on chrome stock.  Parallels and autographs have been randomly inserted.

Collector Type: Set

Sports Card Info’s box break & review

2019 Topps Chrome Update Series

Doing some holiday shopping at Target?  Then stop on over at their card section to see if they have any 2019 Topps Chrome Update Series.  Exclusively sold at Target, this product takes (100) cards from the regular Update Series and puts a chrome twist to it.

You can find this product in two different formats – Mega Boxes and Value Packs.  A Mega Box contains (7) packs, while Value Packs come with (3) packs plus an additional pack containing (2) pink refractors.  About 1:10 boxes has an autograph.

Just like the 2019 Topps Holiday Mega Box, Target shoppers will snatch them up.  Check eBay for them.

Collector Type: Set

2019 Topps Stadium Club

Known for it’s renowned photography, 2019 Topps Stadium Club is one of the most visually appealing products that you can open.

A Hobby box will yield (2) on-card autographs.  There are a lot of great autographs to pull, but the photos found on the base set will keep you entertained.  Even if you’re two autographs aren’t life altering, you are guaranteed to have so many nice looking cards once that box is finally opened.

Of all the Topps products, I actually believe this set could survive on it’s own without any autographs.  In today’s age of hit focused collectors, that’s saying quite a lot.

The photography makes every box a great one.

Collector Type: Set

Sports Card Info’s box break & review

2019 Topps Archives

Coming in at (300) cards, this retro-inspired brand utilizes classic Topps designs from 1958, 1975, and 1993.

Housed inside each Hobby box are (2) on-card autographs.  Along with top rookies, well-known retired stars, and Hall of Famers, you’ll find autographs of what I call obscure retired players.  These are baseball players who had long and successful careers, but don’t have many autographed cards.

Collector Type: Set

Sports Card Info’s box break & review

2019 Topps Clearly Authentic

Over the last few years the Clearly Authentic brand has become one of the more anticipated releases.  Housed inside every box is (1) encased on-card autograph acetate card.  The product has a mix of current players, retired stars, and Hall of Famers.  All on classic card designs.

The see-thru aspect has really connected with collectors.  Between the box I had, and some of the others I’ve seen opened, it seems to be quite the solid product.  A bit riskier given that only (1) card comes in a single box.

Collector Type: Autograph/Risk taker

Sports Card Info’s box break & review

2019 Topps Museum Collection

Moving into some higher-end products we have 2019 Topps Museum Collection.  Every box comes with (4) mini-boxes.  Inside each mini-box you’ll find (1) hit.  (1) on-card autograph, (1) autograph relic, (1) quad relic, and (1) prime relic can be found in every master box.  A 100-card base set is there to put together.  It consists of a mixture of rookies, veterans, and Hall of Famers.

What’s always impressed me the most about Museum Collection are the metal-framed autographed cards signed in paint pen.  If you get really lucky, there are Canvas Collection OriginalsCanvas Collection Original Player Autographs, and Canvas Collection Originals Shaped Sketches.

When I opened my box earlier this year I pulled a Juan Soto Auto/Patch #’ed/5, and a Pete Alonso RC #’ed/150 from the same pack.

Collector Type: High-end/Risk taker

Sports Card Info’s box break & review

2019 Topps Triple Threads

A regular release since 2006, this high-end product comes with (2) mini-boxes per master box.  Inside each mini-box are (2) hits.  Despite relics and autographs being the main focus, there is a base set to collect.  The latest Triple Threads set consists of (100) cards.

What makes Triple Threads so recognizable are the windows housing many of the relics.  The relic windows tend to spell out funny, interesting, quirky, and historical tidbits about that player.

My box of 2019 Triple Threads really delivered some nice looking cards.  My big pull was a Lou Brock/Tim Raines/Rickey Henderson 150 Years of Baseball Triple Auto Relic #’ed/9.

Collector Type: High-end/Risk taker

Sports Card Info’s box break & review

2019 Topps Dynasty

Now we’re getting into the premium stuff.  Dynasty is one of the most entertaining products to watch people open.  You only get (1) card per box, but that card is guaranteed to be limited to 10-copies or less.  Most collectors will pull a card containing an on-card autograph teamed with a patch.  Both rookies, veterans, and Hall of Famers are represented.

2019 Topps Dynasty includes new Autographed Batting Glove cards #’ed/5.  Rare parallels will feature unique parts of the glove such as the Jumbo Logo and parts of the Wrist Strap.

Collector Type: Premium/Risk taker

2019 Topps Transcendent

Ok.  I’m about to go all Hammacher Schlemmer on you here.  Topps Transcendent is the poster child when it comes to ultra-premium products.  With a price tag of over $20,000 this product packs quite the punch.

Only (100) cases will be produced.  Inside each case you’ll find Transcendent Collection Autographs – 50 (two are #’ed 1/1), (1) Autograph Patch, Autograph Bat Knob or Autograph Nameplate Book Cards (#’ed 1/1), (1) Derek Jeter Autographs (#’ed 1/1), (1) 1953 Superfractor Autographs (#’ed 1/1), (1) Oversized Cut Signature or Letter Patch Autographs (#’ed 1/1), (1) Franchise Favorites Sketch Cards (#’ed 1/1), (1) 50-Card Base Set, (1) 100-Card Franchise Favorites Sketch Reproductions Set, and (1) Ken Griffey Jr. VIP Event Invitation.

If you’re able to attend the VIP Event, you’ll meet Ken Griffey Jr.  In addition to that, many more exclusive cards only available during this event will be waiting for you.

Collector Type: Ultra-premium/risk taker

Topps Custom Cards

Have you considered Topps Custom Cards?  This can make a truly unique gift.  Over on the Topps website you can create your very own trading cards.  Make that special collector in your life the subject of their very own card.  Simply choose your image, design the front and back, and then review/buy.

Remember When CBS Made Football Cards?

CBS loves to keep reminding you of what you already know you’re watching.  If you took a shot every time they said “This is the NFL on CBS.” you’d probably pass out before they held the coin toss.  I remember Saturday Night Live making note of this back in the 90’s.  Kevin Nealon played Jim Nantz, and he kept repeating “This is the NFL on CBS.” over and over again.  “CBS proudly presents The Masters.” is another one you hear a lot.

Television stations are the last places you think about when it comes to card manufacturers.  For a very brief moment in 1989, CBS made football cards.  Now, this was not some nationally distributed product that came in a fancy box.  It was more like a 10-card set shipped in a few envelopes.

For those members of the 1989 CBS Football Announcing Team who either at one time played in the NFL or coached, received a card.  The players include: Terry Bradshaw, Dick Butkus, Irv Cross, Dan Fouts, Pat Summerall, Gary Fencik, Dan Jiggetts, John Madden, Ken Stabler, and Hank Stram.  As you can see, the cards feature an action shot of the person during their time in the NFL.  The photos were then placed on a green football field with a white yard mark.  On the back you’ll find a horizontal layout containing a head shot, biography, and stats all bordered in red.

CBS split this set up into two different releases.  Each issue has five cards.  They were sent out to various CBS representatives probably as a marketing tool.  Although they aren’t serial numbered, only about (500) sets are suppose to exist.  The price for an individual card and/or complete set can be all over the place.  It definitely is one of those oddball sets from the late 80’s.  The set’s official name is 1989 CBS Television Announcers.

Key Rookie Cards of Apollo 11’s Crew

Within 66 years we went from the Wright brothers first flight to landing on the moon.  That’s some incredible innovation right there.  Did you know a couple of relics from the Wright brothers flyer were aboard Apollo 11 and made it to the surface of the moon?  Relics like that would make an excellent addition to Allen & Ginter or Goodwin Champions cards.  It probably won’t happen though as those relics are safely kept on display at the Smithsonian.  I wonder what cards containing pieces of the Wright brothers plane would sell for on the secondary market?  Its safe to say quite a bit considering how big of an event in history that is.  The relics aren’t very big either, so very few cards could be made.

On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon.  2019 marks the 50th anniversary of this historic event.  Many men and women played important parts in order for that mission to be a success.  Three key individuals from the Apollo 11 mission are Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.  When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin traveled down to the lunar surface, Michael Collins remained in the Command Module “Columbia”.

Thousands, if not millions of years from now the Apollo 11 mission will continued to be talked about.  Its the first time mankind stepped onto a surface not of this Earth.  Truly an astonishing achievement.

Thanks to Topps, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins each have rookie cards.  These cards can be found in the 1969 Topps Man on the Moon set.  Its important to note that this set was reissued in 1970.  The 1969 set consists of (55) cards.  The 1970 reissue has the same (55) cards plus an additional (45) cards bringing the total to (99) cards.  Telling the difference between the 1969 and 1970 set is fairly easy.  All of the cards from the 1970 reissue set are numbered “1 of 99”, “2 of 99”, “3 of 99”, etc…  Whereas the original 1969 set has them numbered “1A”, “2A”, “3A”, etc…

Complete sets in exceptional condition will require some deep pockets.  In general though singles can be obtained for a relatively low price.