2018 Topps Clearly Authentic Baseball Box Break & Review

Topps introduced us to Clearly Authentic last year.  It quickly became one of my favorite new products, especially after pulling a Don Mattingly Rookie Reprint Auto.  Classic designs, on-card autographs, and acetate card stock can make for some interesting finds.

Housed inside every box of Clearly Authentic is (1) autographed card.  Boxes sell for $50-$60.  For the most part, the card you pull will feature the 2018 Topps flagship design along with a new image of that specific player.  Parallels of these include Green #’ed/99, Black #’ed/75, Red #’ed/50, Blue #’ed/25, Purple #’ed/10, Orange #’ed/5, and Gold #’ed 1/1.

Outside of the flagship design are Salute and MLB Awards.  Both of these have the same parallels as the base – Green #’ed/99, Black #’ed/75, Red #’ed/50, Blue #’ed/25, Purple #’ed/10, Orange #’ed/5, and Gold #’ed 1/1.

Case hits include 1993 Finest StarsReprints, and Legendary autographs.  All vary in serial numbering, but each have a Gold parallel #’ed 1/1.  The Reprints have really caught the eye of collectors, and are my personal favorite cards that you can pull.

I’ve noticed that boxes containing redemptions come with (2) autographs.  That certainly is a nice bonus.

Too many people bash products because what they pull might not get all of their money back.  You’re not thinking correctly if that’s all you want to do.  For some, picking up singles on the secondary market might work better.  Either way lots of collectors can enjoy this product.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Jose Altuve MLB Awards Blue Auto #’ed/25

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2018 Topps Allen & Ginter Hobby Box Break & Review

Allen & Ginter is an odd duck.  And that’s what makes it so incredibly popular.  Sure, baseball is at it’s core.  But all of the weird, wild, and wacky other things are what make opening a box fun.  Even when the checklist is announced, you still don’t know all of the possibilities a box could hold.  Who knows?  This product has been out for a few weeks, and there could still be some undiscovered surprises.  Everything and anything goes with Allen & Ginter.  Just by saying the phrase, “Allen & Ginter has everything including the kitchen sink.”, could trigger Topps to come up with a special catchphrases insert set for next year’s version that literally pictures a kitchen sink on the card.  Like I said, anything goes.

The set this year consists of (350) total cards.  #301 – #350 are short prints.  Parallels of the normal size cards include Silver Glossy (Hobby Hot Box), and Glossy #’ed 1/1.  Mini cards have and always will play a major role in Allen & Ginter.  Each pack should contain (1) mini card.  Parallels of the minis include A&G Logo Back, Black, No Number, Brooklyn Back #’ed/25, Gold (Retail), Glow-In-The-Dark (unannounced (1) per case), Metal #’ed/3 (Hobby), Wood #’ed 1/1 (Hobby), Glossy #’ed 1/1, and Framed Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.

Inside every hobby box there should be at least (3) hits.  For some reason, some box breakers have reported not receiving all three guaranteed cards.  The same goes for the mini Wood parallels #’ed 1/1.  The mini Wood parallels aren’t the easiest cards to pull to begin with, but collectors opening many cases haven’t found a single one.  During the National Sports Collectors Convention I attended the Topps Q&A.  These topics were brought up.  According to Topps, “We have been investigating with our manufacturer and they say they’re in the product.  It doesn’t make sense.  We’re continuing to dig.  Usually when there’s a collation problem, it shows up in other areas.  When I come into work, I look on eBay to see if any are in there.  It’s odd.”  This mainly pertains to the Wood minis not found in Rip Cards.  Ones found in Rip Cards seem to be the only Wood minis to popup.

There are (42) non-baseball related autographs.  People like Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jon Lovitz, Bill James, and Tommy Wiseau highlight these cards.

Unique and odd relics make for some interesting pulls.  DNA, Fabled, Sunken Treasure, and World’s Greatest Beaches relics are instant Allen & Ginter classics.

Truth is, if you enjoyed Allen & Ginter other years, you should like the 2018 set as well.

Here is what I pulled:

Relics

  • Dustin Pedroia Mini Framed Relic
  • Anthony Rizzo Full-Size Relic
  • Lewis Brinson Full-Size Relic

Parallels

  • Gio Gonzalez Glow-In-The-Dark Mini
  • Austin Hays Black Mini
  • Randy Johnson Black Mini
  • Tom Segura A&G Mini
  • Nick Castellanos A&G Mini
  • Amed Rosario A&G Mini
  • Jason Kipnis A&G Mini
  • Tim Anderson A&G Mini

Short Prints

  • Gregory Polanco Mini
  • Carlos Martinez Mini
  • Hideki Matsui
  • Kevin Kiermaier
  • Starlin Castro
  • Gregory Polanco
  • Max Kepler
  • Brandon Woodruff
  • Carlos Martinez
  • Tyler Glasnow
  • Aroldis Chapman
  • Zach Davies
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Anthony Rendon

Inserts

  • Natural Wonders – The Antarctic – Box Topper
  • Indigenous Heroes – Sequoyah “George Guess” Mini
  • Benjamin Geaux-Homme Unannounced Mini
  • Flags of Lost Nations – West Germany Mini
  • Flags of Lost Nations – Republic Of Salo Mini
  • Flags of Lost Nations – Ceylon Mini
  • Jose Abreu Home Run Challange
  • Early Catcher’s Mask – Baseball Equipment of the Ages
  • Modern Glove – Baseball Equipment of the Ages
  • Bases – Baseball Equipment of the Ages
  • Catcher’s Chest Protector – Baseball Equipment of the Ages
  • IO – Magnificent Moons
  • Ganymede – Magnificent Moons
  • Enceladus – Magnificent Moons
  • Titan – Magnificent Moons
  • South Beach – World’s Greatest Beaches
  • Roatan – World’s Greatest Beaches
  • Venice Beach – World’s Greatest Beaches
  • Harbour Island – World’s Greatest Beaches
  • Xander Bogaerts – World Talent
  • Ichiro – World Talent
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu – World Talent
  • Clayton Kershaw – World Talent
  • Yasiel Puig – World Talent
  • Carlos Correa – World Talent
  • Greg Maddux – Fantasy Goldmine
  • Bob Gibson – Fantasy Goldmine
  • Tom Seaver – Fantasy Goldmine
  • Ernie Banks – Fantasy Goldmine
  • Sandy Koufax – Fantasy Goldmine
  • Roger Clemens – Fantasy Goldmine

2018 Topps UFC Knockout Box Break & Review

Its been three years since I’ve gotten my hands on a box of UFC Knockout.  The first box of this stuff I opened was in 2015, and I pulled a monster hit.  That Ronda Rousey/Miesha Tate Auto/Relic Booklet #’ed/5 was insane.  It is also one of only a few booklet cards I’ve pulled.  Topps has done really well with it’s line of UFC products.  Boxes of their first UFC product, Round 1, continue to sell for a decent amount.  Upwards of $250 to $300 in most cases.  For a premiere flagship product nine years after it’s debut, I consider that very good.  Sometimes this can happen with new products.  The same thing happened to 2006 Allen & Ginter.

If you’re a UFC fan or just want to open a box full of hits, Knockout is totally the product for you.  Each box comes with (4) packs.  Inside every pack you’ll find (2) hits.  That is a total of (8) hits per box.  A master box goes for about $130.  Considering all the hits you’re guaranteed, that isn’t too bad of a price.

When a product is configured like this, the base set isn’t what most box breakers are after.  With that being said, there is a base set to put together.  It consists of (100) cards.  Parallels that you can pull include Green #’ed/199, Blue #’ed/99, Red #’ed/8, and Gold #’ed 1/1.  You should get (8) parallels in every box.

Outside of the base set and it’s parallels, there is one insert.  These come in the form of Notable Knockouts.  There are (10) cards in this set.  Although they aren’t serial numbered, only (100) copies of each card were printed.  The photos Topps used for these are fairly intense and show a lot of action.

Hits!  Hits!  Hits!  That certainly is the focus of UFC Knockout.  I enjoy the Tier One Autographs signed in gold paint pen.  The AKA Ink set is nice looking too.  I’m a big fan of cards featuring dark backgrounds and paint pen signatures.  Lots of big names.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto/Relics

  • Henry Cejudo Tier One Fight Glove Auto/Relic #’ed/10
  • Joseph Benavidez Knockout Auto/Relic #’ed/199

Autos

  • Michelle Waterson Tier One Auto #’ed/99
  • Cub Swanson Knockout Auto Blue #’ed/35

Relics

  • Dustin Poirier Tier One Relic Purple #’ed/25
  • Daniel Cormier Knockout Relic Blue #’ed/50
  • Tony Ferguson Fight Mat Relic Blue #’ed/50
  • Robert Whittaker Fight Mat Relic #’ed/99

Parallels

  • Rashad Evans Blue #’ed/99
  • Arianny Celeste Blue #’ed/99
  • Ray Borg Blue #’ed/99
  • Joanne Calderwood Green #’ed/199
  • Thomas Almedia Green #’ed/199
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz Green #’ed/199
  • Dooho Choi Green #’ed/199
  • Tecia Torres Green #’ed/199

2018 Topps Big League Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Wanting to get more of a younger demographic back involved with the hobby is something I think all manufacturers would like to do.  This hobby started out for kids.  Then it became a business when all of that old cardboard started to gain value.  Follow that up with much more attention focused on autographs/memorabilia.  Newer products can financially be out of the range for some would be collectors.  Some say digital products like Topps Bunt could possibly be the answer.  Physical products with digital tie-ins maybe.  I don’t know because I’m not a fortune teller.  Its tricky trying to create a product for a younger audience.  Kids don’t like being treated like kids.  They want to pull out the big stuff they see others getting.  But at the same time the manufacturer has to be careful not to load it up too much or the price per box/pack ends up being too high.  Its a balancing act.  For years I’ve said that Topps should have a corporate booth on the Little League campus during the World Series like many companies do.  Talk about hitting your target audience.  Little League has been known to be picky and expensive about who can and cannot setup.  There is a whole system to it.

Enter 2018 Topps Big League Baseball.  Hobby boxes come with (24) packs, (10) cards per pack, and cost about $45.  Its possible to pull a hit, but there is nothing guaranteed per box.  The base set consists of (400) cards.  Parallels include Gold (one per pack), Blue (Blasters), Rainbow Foil #’ed/100, Black & White #’ed/50, and Red Foil #’ed 1/1.

Photo variations are in here too.  The easiest ones to pull are the Base Player Weekend Nickname variations.  These fall 1:3 packs.  I actually consider them more of an insert.  More difficult variations come 1:507 packs.

CMP Codes:

  • Base #106
  • Base Player Weekend Nickname #529
  • Error #530

Like I mentioned before, you aren’t guaranteed any hits per box.  With that being said, autographs can be pulled.  There are two types of autographs.  The first is Big League Autographs which come 1:114 packs.  (34) current stars and veterans make up this checklist.  The other is Rookie Republic Autographs coming in at 1:102 packs.  (23) rookies are in here.  All autographs have Gold #’ed/99, Black & White #’ed/50, and Red Foil #’ed 1/1 parallels.

Star Caricature Reproductions and their original artwork counterparts make for fun pulls.  These add a bit more animation to the player’s face.  I’d have to say that my favorite cards are the Ballpark Landmarks portion of the base set.  You’ll find that they fall between card #351 and #365.  A card of the Harry Kalas statue at Citizens Bank Park would have been neat to see.  The one of B&O Warehouse reminds me of the two times the National Sports Collectors Convention was held in Baltimore.  I can almost see the restaurant I ate at.

If you’re a set collector who wants a break from this year’s flagship design, 2018 Topps Big League Baseball might just work.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Josh Harrison Big League Autographs

Parallels

  • Jeff Bagwell Rainbow Foil #’ed/100
  • Josh Reddick Gold
  • Aaron Altherr Gold
  • Mike Zunino Gold
  • Ballpark Landmarks Frank Thomas Statue Gold
  • Ballpark Landmarks B&O Warehouse Gold
  • Matt Olson Gold
  • Jorge Polanco Gold
  • Aaron Judge/Edwin Encarnacion/Mike Trout 2017 AL Walk Leaders Stat Kings Gold
  • Michael Fulmer Gold
  • Whit Merrifield Gold
  • Ricky Nolasco Gold
  • Zack Greinke Gold
  • Scott Kingery Gold
  • Erick Fedde Gold
  • Daniel Mengden Gold
  • Carlos Gonzalez Gold
  • Francisco Mejia Gold
  • Jason Kipnis Gold
  • Manny Margot Gold
  • Jed Lowrie Gold
  • Jordan Hicks Gold
  • Ballpark Landmarks Swimming Pool Gold
  • Charlie Blackmon/Giancarlo Stanton/Paul Goldschmidt 2017 NL Runs Scored Leaders Stat Kings Gold
  • Addison Russell Gold

Inserts

  • Miguel Cabrera Star Caricature Reproductions
  • Kris Bryant Star Caricature Reproductions
  • Byron Buxton Star Caricature Reproductions
  • Bryce Harper Ministers Of Mash
  • Mike Trout Ministers Of Mash
  • Aaron Judge Ministers Of Mash
  • Giancarlo Stanton Ministers Of Mash
  • Joey Votto Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Mookie Betts Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Manny Machado Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Alex Bregman Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Adrian Beltre Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Anthony Rizzo Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Aaron Judge Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Paul Goldschmidt Base Player Weekend Nickname

2018 Topps Museum Collection Box Break & Review

Originally called Topps Marquee when it made it’s debut in 2011, this product was quickly renamed to Museum Collection the following year.  And that’s the way its been ever since.  Museum Collection strictly focuses on autographs and memorabilia.  No short prints and/or photo variations.

Given that autographs and memorabilia are at the heart of what drives Museum Collection, there is a base set and two types of inserts.  The base set consists of (100) cards all printed on thick stock.  Parallels include Copper, Sapphire #’ed/150, Amethyst #’ed/99, Ruby #’ed/50, and Emerald #’ed 1/1.  Canvas Collection highlights the inserts.  Reprints of these artistic pieces come (1) per box.  Original art #’ed 1/1 can also be found.

Museum Collection shines when it comes to relics and autographs.  Inside each box you’ll find (4) mini-boxes.  Every mini-box contains a hit.  In fact, a master box should have (1) on-card autograph, (1) autograph/relic, (1) quad relic, and (1) prime relic.

I’m a big fan of how most of these cards look.  Archival AutographsMuseum Framed cards, and the Jumbo Lumber Bat Nameplate Relics really standout and make for a good box.  This product allows you to add some incredible patches to your collection.

The Canvas Collection Original Player Autographs are probably my favorite.  (25) players make up this set.  Each is an original piece of artwork signed by the player.

Boxes and packs are not for the collector who is on a budget.  A master box goes for $200, while mini-boxes are about $50.  Like a lot of high-end products such as this, risk takers can get their thrill.  On the other hand, player collectors can score some sick looking relics and autographs on the secondary market.

Need to see the checklist?

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Andre Dawson Archival Autographs #’ed/299

Auto/Relic

  • Dee Gordon Signature Swatches Triple Relic Autographs #’ed/149

Relics

  • Max Scherzer/Stephen Strasburg Dual Meaningful Material Patches #’ed/50
  • Ryan Braun/Eric Thames/Domingo Santana/Orlando Arcia Primary Pieces Quad Relics Copper #’ed/75

Parallels

  • Pedro Martinez Amethyst #’ed/99
  • Xander Bogaerts Copper
  • Barry Larkin Copper
  • Aaron Judge Copper

Insert

  • Al Kaline Canvas Collection Reproductions

2018 Topps Archives Signature Series Active Player Edition Box Break & Review

Upon opening a box of Topps Archives Signature Series Active Player Edition last year, my head almost exploded.  Not only did I pull a card numbered one-of-one, but it was an autograph of Mike Trout too.  Its not everyday that you get to pull one of those.  That was the second Mike Trout autograph I’ve pulled.

Topps Archives Signature Series Active Player Edition has returned for 2018.  Housed inside each $50 box is (1) buyback autograph of a current player.  The version of this product that focuses on retired stars will be released in October.

To some collectors, $50 might seem like a lot of money for just one autographed card.  Especially when you have no clue as to who you might get.  That’s why the secondary market is a great place to pickup singles if you don’t feel like taking the $50 gamble.  Over the years, Topps has created some amazing looking sets.  On-card buyback autographs amplify some of those awesome base sets.  I know when opening Gypsy Queen or Allen & Ginter I’ve said to myself “Wouldn’t this base set look cool with autographs?”  Products such as this do exactly that.  Something as simple as an on-card autograph on a base card can be quite eye appealing.  Just look at how well Stadium Club has been received the last few years.  Simple is almost always better when it comes to card design.

The checklist covers (67) active MLB players.  Each player has multiple cards, and the serial numbering varies.  Risk takers hoping for a big pull should have fun.  So should those player collectors picking up cards on the secondary market.  In some way everyone can enjoy it.

Another 1/1!  I’m on a roll with this product.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Starling Marte 2016 Gypsy Queen Walk-Off Winners Buyback Auto #’ed 1/1

2018 Bowman Platinum Baseball Collector’s Box Break & Review

Earlier this week I opened a blaster box of 2018 Bowman Platinum.  At the time of that writing, Walmart’s website still had some blasters for sale.  Checking right now, they have nothing.  I was able to get my paws on a Collector’s Box though.

If you’re going for the ultimate 2018 Bowman Platinum experience, opening a Collector’s Box is the best way to go.  Remember, this product is exclusive to Walmart.  Hobby shops and online dealers couldn’t get it.  Unless they went to their local Walmart, cleaned the shelves, and resold what they bought.  Ripping into a Collector’s Box is equal to what a traditional hobby box would be.  Of the three formats this product comes in (Blasters, Fat Packs, and Collector’s Boxes), the Collector’s Box is the only one that guarantees (2) autographs.  Its also the only place you can pull Orange parallels #’ed/25.  A Collector’s Box runs about $80, and inside you should find (20) packs.

As I mentioned when opening my blaster, the base set consists of (100) cards.  There are also (100) Top Prospects.  Each has the following parallels: Ice (Blaster), Sky Blue (Fat Pack), Purple #’ed/250, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/25 (Collector’s Box), Red #’ed/10, and Foilfractor #’ed/1.

Ten players have photo variations: Kris Bryant, Rafael Devers, Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Francisco Lindor, Aaron Judge, and Bryce Harper.  These are easy to spot as the pictures are much different compared to the base.  If using the CMP codes is easier, base cards end in #264 and photo variations end in #303.  Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene has (10) Short Prints that on the surface look just like base.  The card number on these all start with the letters “HG”.

Relics can be found, but are difficult to pull.  Platinum Rookie Auto Pieces fall 1:374 packs, and Platinum Patches come 1:4,706 packs.  The Platinum Patches remind me of Triple Threads.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Nick Allen
  • MJ Melendez

Parallels

  • Heliot Ramos Purple #’ed/250
  • Paul DeJong Purple #’ed/250

Inserts

  • Colton Welker Platinum Presence
  • Keston Hura Platinum Presence
  • Gleyber Torres Prismatic Prodigies
  • Tony Santillan Prismatic Prodigies
  • Eloy Jimenez Prismatic Prodigies
  • Jon Duplantier Prismatic Prodigies
  • Tyler Mahle Rookie Revelations
  • Harrison Bader Rookie Revelations
  • Walker Buehler Rookie Revelations
  • Miguel Andujar Rookie Revelations