(3) 2020 Topps Archives Snapshots Baseball Box Break

One of the best benefits of being a member of the Topps 582 Montgomery Club is having the ability to pre-order certain online-exclusive products. This past week 2020 Topps Chrome Sapphire Baseball popped-up for pre-order and I missed out on it. Topps usually sends out an e-mail 24 hours ahead of the sale, but this time it only went out 4 hours prior. By the time I saw the e-mail the pre-order window had closed. Flipping these exclusive products on the secondary market is really fun. At $300/box 2020 Topps Chrome Sapphire Baseball to me was a bit expensive. As of right now, boxes are currently selling for $425 on the secondary market. That’s a flip, but nothing big after the fees. Its possible prices could go up. But I’m not that upset that I missed out.

As I mentioned before, flipping these products is what I usually do. But I decided to go the other route when it came to 2020 Topps Archives Snapshots Baseball. With the ability to buy three boxes at $25/box I chose to rip them open. Selling them sealed wouldn’t have been a major flip anyway.

Take a look at what I pulled. This was a cheap fun rip with a lot of on-card autograph goodness.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos:

  • Ed Kranepool
  • Matt Beaty
  • Yordan Alvarez RC

Parallels:

  • Kyle Lewis RC Black & White
  • Hunter Harvey RC Black & White
  • Shohei Ohtani Black & White
  • Willie Mays Walkoff Wires Color Image #’ed/25

Inserts:

  • Jose Canseco Walkoff Wires
  • Bo Bichette RC Walkoff Wires

Notable Base:

  • (2) Dustin May RC
  • Luis Robert RC
  • Bryce Harper
  • (2) Fernando Tatis Jr.
  • Bo Bichette RC
  • Mike Trout
  • Mike Schmidt
  • Gavin Lux RC

Onyx and Futera Team-Up Again For 2020 Baseball Unique Prospects & Legends

An impressive new baseball product arrived last year, and it looks to be returning again in 2020.  Onyx and Futera plan to release 2020 Baseball Unique Prospects & Legends in October.  Two card manufacturers collaborating on a single product doesn’t occur much today, but it seems to be working for them.

This will continue to be a limited release.  Only (70) cases are planned to be made.  Housed inside each decorative box are (4) packs each containing a hit.  On-card Signatures, Game-Used Memorabilia, 24ct Gold-Plated Framed Cards, and plenty of “1 of 1s” highlight the primary pulls.  Each hit is serial numbered to (10) or less.

A 50-card base set is there to put together.  There are (3) Heritage parallels for each base card – Bronze #’ed/15, Silver #’ed/11, and Gold #’ed/6.

Yankees’ top prospect Jasson Dominguez is featured throughout the product as well.  Other notable players include Ronald Acuña Jr., Gleyber Torres, Ichiro Suzuki, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza, Joe DiMaggio, Satchel Paige, Derek Jeter, and Willie Mays.

I’m a big fan of their 24ct Gold-Plated Framed cards.  They look very ornate and antique.  Because this is a Futera product, collectors get to take advantage of their Code for Collectors and Memorabilia Colour Grading services.  These tools enable you to see how rare your cards are, and the well-documented history as to how they came to be.

Sales Sheet

Checklist

Ben Baller’s Bling Helps To Keep Chrome King!

Chrome is king!  Especially when it arrives with some Ben Baller bling!

I absolutely love the Topps 582 Montgomery Club.  As a member not only do I get exclusive sets mailed to me throughout the year, I’m also allowed to pre-order certain limited edition online-exclusive products before the general public.  On one hand I get to collect, and on the other I get to flip.  Its the best of both worlds.

The latest online-exclusive product everyone is talking about is 2020 Topps Chrome Baseball Ben Baller Edition.  Ben Baller is an artist and jeweler.  He’s one of the twenty individuals Topps is currently working with on their Project 2020 set.

Ben Baller’s style can sure be seen on these cards.  The base set consists of (200) cards which have Green #’ed/99, Blue #’ed/75, Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractors #’ed 1/1 parallels.  You should find (6) parallels per (24) pack box.

Coming (2) per box are blinged-out 1985 Topps Baseball inserts.  Parallels include Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractors #’ed 1/1.

One of the main attractions are the (1) per box Ben’s Diamond Die-Cuts.  These have the same parallels as the 1985 Topps Baseball inserts.

Its possible to pull an autograph, but that can be difficult.  The easiest autographs to pull are Gold Refractors #’ed/50 which drop 1:403 packs.  Orange, Red, and Superfractor autographs will be even more difficult to find.

The MSRP on a box is $250.  Flippers have already been pre-selling them on the secondary market for $1,000.  Will that price stick?  Nobody knows.  It could drop.  It could also rise once they begin to ship, and breakers start ripping into them.  Anything can, and will happen.

2020 Topps Opening Day Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Set

2020 has been a weird and crazy year.  And its not even over yet.  Opening a pack of baseball cards might seem like a normal thing, but I believe everyone could use a little normal right now.

During this pandemic we’ve seen interest in sports cards reach an all-time high.  Mike Trout’s 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Auto Superfractor #’ed 1/1 recently sold for $4 million.  With headlines and widespread media coverage such as that other people will want to try and get in on the action too.  This will cause prices to rise.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option in this era of expensive products, 2020 Topps Opening Day Baseball might be just right for you.  With (36) packs per box, and (7) cards per pack, that pack busting itch can surely get scratched.  It is possible to find big hits, but nothing is guaranteed in each box.  This is why the box price is significantly lower compared to other products.

The main base set mimics that of the 2020 flagship set design.  (200) cards make up the base set.  White Sox star rookie Luis Robert has a very difficult short print to pull.  It looks just like the base set but falls 1:360 packs or roughly 1:10 boxes.

Base set parallels include Red Foil (Target), Purple Foil (Meijer), Blue Foil (2,020 copies), Opening Day Black Foil #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.  The Luis Robert short print does NOT have any parallels.

Photo variations are rather difficult to find, but do exist.  I find the best way to identify them is by checking the CMP code found on the card backs.

  • Base – #579
  • Photo Variation – #601
  • Canada Variation – #591 (exclusive cards found only in Canadian blister packs)

(15) subjects have autographs on these variations.

Autographs include Opening Day Autographs, Ballpark Profile Autographs, Diamond Relic Autographs, Mascot Autographs, Mascot Autograph Relics, and Walk This Way Autographs.

Relics include Opening Day Relics, Diamond Relics, Major League Mementos Relics, Mascot Relics, and Mascot Commemorative Patch Relics.

Inserts include Dugout Peeks, Mascots, Opening Day, Spring Has Sprung, Team Traditions and Celebrations, The Lighter Side of Baseball, Walk This Way, and 2020 Topps Sticker Collection Preview.

No autographs or relics for me in this box.  Then again, this product doesn’t guarantee any per box either.  The rarest card I pulled would be the Nolan Arenado Walk This Way insert which falls 1:369 packs.

As a Phillies fan its neat to see Phillies Public Address Announcer Dan Baker receive his first baseball card found in the Ballpark Profile Autographs set.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Parallels:

  • Gerrit Cole Blue Foil #21
  • Luis Castillo Blue Foil #125
  • Eric Hosmer Blue Foil #83

Inserts:

  • Nolan Arenado – Walk This Way
  • Seattle Mariners – Team Traditions and Celebrations
  • New York Yankees  – Team Traditions and Celebrations
  • Boston Red Sox – Team Traditions and Celebrations
  • Mookie Betts – 2020 Topps Sticker Collection Preview
  • Javier Baez – 2020 Topps Sticker Collection Preview
  • Juan Soto – 2020 Topps Sticker Collection Preview
  • Bo Bichette  – 2020 Topps Sticker Collection Preview
  • Ted Williams – Spring Has Sprung
  • Rafael Devers – Spring Has Sprung
  • Ken Griffey Jr. – Spring Has Sprung
  • Mark McGwire – Spring Has Sprung
  • Bernie Brewer – Mascots
  • Blooper – Mascots
  • Mariner Moose – Mascots
  • Rangers Captain – Mascots
  • Billy The Marlin – Mascots
  • Mrs. Met – Mascots
  • Slider – Mascots
  • Cincinnati Reds – Opening Day
  • Kansas City Royals – Opening Day
  • San Diego Padres – Opening Day
  • (2) Seattle Mariners – Opening Day
  • (2) Tampa Bay Rays – Opening Day
  • Los Angeles Dodgers – Opening Day
  • Miami Marlins  – Opening Day
  • (2) Texas Rangers – Opening Day
  • Milwaukee Brewers – Opening Day
  • Minnesota Twins – Opening Day
  • New York Yankees – Opening Day
  • Toronto Blue Jays – Opening Day
  • Oakland Athletics – Opening Day
  • Philadelphia Phillies – Opening Day
  • Washington Nationals – Opening Day

Topps Unveils The 2021 Baseball Flagship Design

I think the entire world is ready for 2020 to be over.  Many people wish to put this whole year behind us and look ahead to 2021.

A new year means a new Topps Baseball flagship set design.  Today Topps unveiled what that design plans to look like.

The flagship set sets the tone of the entire baseball card collecting year.  Between Series 1, Series 2, Update, Chrome, and Chrome Sapphire Edition its a design that you’ll be seeing quite often over a variety of products.

Card of the Day: Travis Jackson 1980-87 SSPC HOF Baseball Immortals #180

Is Pete Rose Back In Major League Baseball?… Kinda, Maybe, Probably Not

Pete Rose’s banishment from MLB for gambling on baseball while playing for and managing the Reds will go down in history as one of the most debated sports topics.  Should the banishment be forgotten allowing him entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame?  This is a question that plaques the minds of many baseball fans today, and will continue to do so for years to come.

Legendary baseball player, and sometimes controversial pop-culture figure Pete Rose hasn’t appeared on an MLB-licensed Topps baseball card since 1989.  The last time he was featured in a licensed product showing team names and/or logos comes from 1994 Upper Deck: The American Epic.  Since then he has been seen countless times in other non-licensed baseball products made by Leaf and Panini.

Collectors opening 2020 Topps Series 2 Baseball are finding a familiar looking fellow on the Philadelphia Phillies Decades’ Best insert.  With his back turned, no team name and/or logos visible, you can just make out the cockeyed name across the back of the jersey which says “ROSE”.  Other players on the card include Steve Carlton and Bob Boone.

This isn’t something that Topps made a point to alert collectors about.  Collectors are discovering this all on their own.  Self-discovering moments such as this add a bit of excitement to the brand.  Pulling a card out and saying “I wonder if anyone else has noticed this?” can be fun.

In no way is this card rare.  Topps didn’t issue a corrected version.  Each one, including the parallels, looks just like this.  That won’t stop some folks from attempting to sell their cards for a premium.  This reminds me of the 2019 Topps Stadium Club Shane Bieber “error” which calls him Justin on the back.

2020 Onyx Vintage Premium Baseball Box Break & Review

What’s this?  Another baseball card product from Onyx?  You bet!

Earlier this year collectors received a glance of 2020 Onyx Vintage Premium Baseball in the form of short-printed inserts found in 2020 Onyx Vintage Baseball.  Now the high-end inserts have a set all to their own.

This product is setup similarly to 2020 Onyx Vintage Baseball.  A box of the Premium version comes with (3) cards.  One of which will be signed on-card.  Production of the Premium set is much lower, coming in at around (100) cases.  The cards are of higher quality too as they’re printed on thicker stock.

Looking at the checklist you’ll notice its relatively small.  The base set consists of (34) cards, while the autograph checklist stands at (31) cards.  Subjects range from top minor league prospects, 2020 MLB rookies, and Hall of Famers.  Even popular prospects such as Carlos Colmenarez and Cristian Hernandez have autographs in here.

Every year there comes a new batch of “must have” prospects.  The real big one for 2020 is Jasson Dominguez who is in the Yankees organization.  I’m happy to say that 2020 Onyx Vintage Premium has autographs of him via redemption.  According to Onyx, they have them in hand and are ready to ship upon being redeemed.

The on-card autographs really look nice.  Various ink colors indicate rarity – Blue #’ed/90 or less, Green #’ed/20 or less, Red #’ed/10 or less, and Black #’ed 1/1.  Its also possible to find full-name and nickname inscriptions as well.

Fun rip!

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Luis Patino Green Ink Auto #’ed/20

Base

  • Ronny Mauricio
  • Alexander Canario

Interview: Artist Graig Kreindler Talks About The Negro Leagues Legends Baseball Card Set

Renowned artist Graig Kreindler is the artistic genius behind the artwork found in the new Negro Leagues Legends Baseball Card Set.

Coming in at (184) cards, this set plunges you into the deep history of the Negro Leagues.  Cards highlighting the Negro Leagues aren’t absent from the hobby, but this could very well be the most detailed set ever produced on the subject.

2020 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues.  It officially was founded on February 13, 1920 at Kansas City’s Paseo YMCA.

Card fronts feature Graig Kreindler’s art, while the backs come with quite extensive bios.

Sold in factory set form, these boxes are individually serial numbered to 5,000 copies.

Negro Leagues History is selling sets for $59.95.  The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame is also selling them a few different ways.  One package comes with the set and a mystery bobblehead for $80.  Another comes with the set, mystery bobblehead, and Negro Leagues centennial postcard set for $100.  Lastly, for $120 there is a package which has the set, mystery bobblehead, Negro Leagues centennial postcard set, and Negro Leagues Mount Rushmore postcard set.  All artwork done by Graig Kreindler.

With the help of fellow sports artist Monty Sheldon, I was able to snag an interview with Graig Kreindler and ask him about this new project.

How did you get involved with this project?

This project was the brainchild of Jay Caldwell, a collector based out of the Pacific Northwest.  He approached me at one of the Nationals (I believe in 2016) with the hope of commissioning me to paint some Negro League players for his personal collection.  It started out as just that, a series of portraits for a private collection.  But as Jay got a little bit more carried away in his thinking, he posed the idea of putting together an exhibit of the paintings and some of his artifacts to celebrate the upcoming centennial of the Negro National League’s formation.  The hope was that it would be something that the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO would be interested in showing in conjunction with the celebration of the anniversary.  I was very much on board, as it was kind of a dream project for me.  What started out as around 20 paintings suddenly became 50.  Then 75.  100.  150.  200.  And finally, 230.  The list of players just grew and grew, as Jay wanted to tell the story of not only the Negro National League, but the independent leagues that preceded it, as well as many Latin American teams (which often had many African American players during the winter-time months).

Over the course of three years or so, I worked on these paintings for Jay’s project, while I tried to balance all of the commission work I had going on at the time.  But in the end, I found myself at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on February 13, 2020 celebrating the centennial with Jay, the folks at the museum, many other baseball fans, and all of those portraits on the wall.  It was truly surreal.  And wonderful.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect when it comes to painting these historic baseball legends?

The most challenging aspect of this project definitely was the research component.  For one thing, there aren’t a ton of photographs left of these ballplayers.  Whether it’s the stuff that never survived up to the modern day, or because the teams were mostly covered by African American newspapers that were weekly publications, it’s just tough to compile a complete visual history of these leagues.  I think in general, though baseball is the best documented sport in history, it almost seems like it’s the opposite for the specific Negro and Latin League clubs—finding proper information for jersey styles and colors was usually a fruitless search.  Granted in the 1930s on, there was more to draw from (pardon the pun).  But once you get back to the first twenty years of the 20th century, it became much harder.  And then the 19th century?  Forget it.  To this day, I estimate that my color choices for about 50% of the paintings were educated guesses, which are leaps of faith I HATE to make.  I’m sure I’ll uncover proper information regarding some of that stuff at some point, and then I’ll try to get those paintings back so I can correct them.

Who is your favorite Negro Leagues subject to work on, and why?

It’s hard to pick a favorite Negro Leagues subject—there are a lot of things about each of the players that I love.  I think visually, it’s cool to paint somebody like Satchel Paige because of all of the different teams he played for, as well as the insane length of his career.  The same kind of thought process applies to Rube Foster, though in a different way.  He went through a pretty big physical transformation over the course of his career, what with his weight and all.  But also cool is that he became a magnate, which he might be better known as.  So having imagery of him just starting out with the Chicago Union Giants or the Philadelphia Giants—when he was comparatively svelte—is pretty special when it gets coupled with the images of him in fine suits.  There’s just so much cool visual stuff in the leagues though, whether it’s a player’s face or build, or a cool uniform, it makes it hard for me to settle on a single subject that rose above the rest.

What is the most important part of Negro League Baseball history you think fans should know?

Perhaps one of the more important parts of the history of the league is that though it was separate from the majors, it was still incredibly successful up until the 1950s.  Buck O’Neil always claimed that during its heyday, it was one of the most successful black businesses in the country.  Seeing that these teams drew so many fans to watch them play, whether it was barnstorming through some podunk town in the Midwest or selling out Comiskey Park, I don’t think that Buck was exaggerating.  With that in mind, the fact that these men and women were shut out from the white leagues and became entrepreneurs in their own right is just an amazing story of perseverance.

What lesson(s) can we learn from the existence of the Negro Leagues?

I think one important lesson that we can take from the existence of the Negro Leagues is just the fact that it existed.  And it shouldn’t have.  The fact that these men and women were shut out of professional baseball because of the color of their skin and/or ancestry is a vile thought.  And it’s important to make sure we never go back there again.  But, as I had mentioned in the previous answer, it’s also crucial that we celebrate these men and women for the athletes and civil rights trailblazers that they were.

Who is publishing the cards, and what is the process of turning your paintings into cards?

The card set is being sold by Jay’s company, through his website, negroleagueshistory.com, as well as a few other vendors (the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and buythatcard on eBay, for example) around the country.

In terms of the process of putting the cards together, Jay—who has high-res scans of all of the paintings I’ve done for him—has a designer he worked with who put everything together visually.  Jay also consulted with noted Negro Leagues historian Gary Ashwill, who helped with the information on the back of the cards.

We went through a couple rounds of designs, proofreading, and fact checking.  Once everything was where he wanted it to be, the cards were printed, boxed, and shipped to Jay, who handles the disbursement among the direct buyers.  It’s a pretty small operation, as I think all of the packing happens at Jay’s home in the Pacific Northwest.

Has your work ever been featured on trading cards before?

My work was first featured on official baseball cards last year (2019), when I did twenty paintings for Topps’ 150 Years of Baseball set.  They were the only artist renditions of the batch, and were only available through their website.  It’s a bit similar to the Topps Project 2020 model, but mine were available for a week rather than 48 hours.  Actually holding a Topps baseball card with one of my paintings on it for the first time was a REALLY cool feeling.  It’s kind of like coming full circle in a way, since I spent a portion of my childhood trying to replicate some of the Topps and Bowman issues from my father’s collection (or what was left of it).

Is it true this set was almost produced by Topps?

It’s true that Topps was one of the companies we talked to about publishing the set, and they had originally agreed to put it out, but for whatever reason, at some point in the process it just didn’t pan out.  It’s possible that the business with COVID messed things up in the end, but I’m not certain about that, and I wouldn’t want to speculate too much.  Either way, I’m just happy that these cards were able to see the light of day regardless!

I Told You It Was Coming

Sports Card Info is the Magic 8-Ball of the card industry.  On May 18th I wrote a piece called Is 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball On The Way? after some Lency Delgado 2020 Bowman Chrome Atomic Orange Refractor Autographs popped-up on Instagram.  Well… it looks like my prediction has come true.

Available next week as an online-exclusive, 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball will contain (1) prospect autograph per box.  Expect them to go fast.  I can already hear people complaining that they weren’t able to get a box, the secondary market prices are too expensive, only certain people were able to buy them, etc…  GET OVER IT!