2018 Bowman Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Between the Living Set and 2018 Bowman, Topps has been on quite the successful roll.  Those collectors who didn’t get in early on the first few weeks of the Living Set, are now finding themselves in a bidding war for cards like my Rhys Hoskins.  I couldn’t be happier about this.  Its awesome to see cards that aren’t autographed, game-used, or even serial numbered bringing in this kind of cash.  Nobody does these “print on-demand” products better than Topps.  Other companies have tried, but Topps does it the best.  Hopefully there are more Phillies Living Set cards coming down the line.  I’d be all over a Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, Phillie Phanatic, or dare I say Harry Kalas card.  I paid $7.99 for Rhys Hoskins, and they’ve recently been selling for $50-$100.  It might be time to move it to my safe.

Every year there is a new “top rookie” or “major prospect” who’s going to be the next big thing.  This year its Shohei Ohtani.  Collectors are spending many thousands of dollars on him.  Given that Bowman has been “Home Of The Rookie Card” for years, its no surprise that his cards from this product are reaching insane levels.  Base autographs sell for roughly $1,500.  All others just go up from there.  Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards has offered $75,000 for the Ohtani Superfractor Auto #’ed 1/1 when it comes back from BGS a 9.5 or higher.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes back with a BGS Black Label.  That story alone has been circulating the media outlets and drawing lots of attention not only to this product, but the whole hobby in general.  Its fantastic to see the hobby get the spotlight like that.  If you do hit the jackpot and pull an autograph of him, especially from Bowman, I’d move it ASAP.  A lot can happen between now and the end of his career.  Could he go on to be the next Babe Ruth?  Sure.  He could also suffer a career ending injury next week and never play again.  Its a high stakes gamble.  Consider yourself lucky to have pulled one out now.  Don’t push your luck by holding on to it.

Prospecting continues to be a very large part of the industry.  Everyone wants to get in on the ground floor of that possible one day future Hall Of Famer.  Products like BowmanBowman Chrome, and Bowman Draft are still the key brands to do this.  Because of all the attention on Ohtani, 2018 Bowman in particular has been quite popular.  This popularity has carried over to other players.  Topps has gotten extremely lucky over the past few years with so many rookies performing well.  Other top prospects/rookies you’d want to pull include Ronald Acuña, Rhys Hoskins, Hunter Greene, and Luis Robert.

Parallels!!!  Parallels!!!  Parallels!!!  2018 Bowman contains a massive amount of parallels.  Depending on the player, you could have over (50) parallels to chase down.  Forget Skittles, this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Taste the rainbow.”  Quite the challenge.

Of all the inserts, I’ve got to go with Bowman Sterling as my favorite.  Between 2004 and 2014, Bowman Sterling was a regular high-end standalone baseball set.  Then it disappeared.  Now its back!  From the looks of it, these new Bowman Sterling cards will be inserted throughout other Bowman products this year too.  Parallels include Atomic #’ed/150, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.  Autographs are serial numbered to (99) and have Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1 parallels.

When it comes to prospecting, there can be a lot of pressure from other collectors about who you should and shouldn’t pickup.  I say collect what you enjoy.  Also, don’t get in over your head.  Modern day sports cards shouldn’t be used as investments.

I think it would be neat to see “print on-demand” exclusive Bowman cards for prospects.  Topps could base them on some of the players featured on that week’s Baseball America’s Hot Sheet.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Adbert Alzolay

Parallels

  • Carter Kieboom Atomic Refractor
  • Evan White Refractor #’ed/499
  • Corbin Burnes Orange Refractor #’ed/25
  • Nate Pearson Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 Orange Refractor #’ed/25

Inserts

  • Clint Frazier Bowman Sterling
  • Jesus Luzardo/A.J. Puk/Paul Blackburn Talent Pipeline
  • Jon Duplantier/Alex Young/Anthony Banda Talent Pipeline
  • Joey Gallo Bowman Birthdays
  • Max Kepler Bowman Birthdays
  • Nick Williams Bowman Birthdays
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. #Bowman Trending
  • Scott Kingery #Bowman Trending
  • Stephen Gonsalves #Bowman Trending
  • Bo Bichette #Bowman Trending
  • Nick Williams ROY Favorites
  • Jack Flaherty ROY Favorites
  • Harrison Bader ROY Favorites
  • Michael Baez Bowman Scouts’ Top 100
  • Luiz Gohara Bowman Scouts’ Top 100
  • Juan Soto Bowman Scouts’ Top 100
  • Sam Travis Bowman Scouts’ Top 100
  • Adam Haseley Bowman Scouts’ Top 100
  • Chance Sisco Bowman Scouts’ Top 100

Notable Prospects/Rookies

  • Shohei Ohtani Bowman RC
  • Rhys Hoskins Bowman RC
  • Hunter Greene Bowman
  • Hunter Greene Bowman Chrome
  • Keibert Ruiz Bowman
  • Keibert Ruiz Bowman Chrome
  • Cristian Pache Bowman Chrome

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2018 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball Box Break & Review

This August I plan to attend the 39th National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.  It’ll be my fourth time visiting the I-X Center, and seventh overall National.  One of my collecting goals is to eventually own an original card from the 1880’s.  Something from the Old Judge or Gypsy Queen sets would be nice.  Tobacco cards from that time period were the first broadly distributed cards in the hobby.  Prior to that, what cards were available mainly were issued through localized promotions.  I certainly don’t want to pick one up on a whim.  I’d like to take my time, do some research, and obtain one in person.  The National is a terrific place to find these.  I can’t promise that I’ll pull the trigger on any while I’m there though.  I’m easily drawn to corporate wrapper redemption programs and vintage bobbleheads.

When it comes to the hobby today, nobody makes artistic sets better than Topps.  I don’t care if the art-look comes from using a filter in Photoshop or a hired artist, Topps does it well.  2018 Gypsy Queen continues this tradition.

This year the Gypsy Queen set consists of (300) cards.  Parallels include Green (Retail), Missing Team Nameplate, Missing Blackplate, Indigo #’ed/250, GQ Logo Swap, Bazooka Back, Black & White #’ed/50, Red #’ed/10, and Black #’ed/1.

Short prints fall 1:24 packs, and range from card #301-#320.  These too have parallels: Missing Team Nameplate, GQ Logo Swap, Bazooka Back, and Black #’ed/1.  All short prints are of retired players.

Lots of products today have variations that need to be watched for.  That goes double for Gypsy Queen.  2018 Gypsy Queen has three main variations: Capless, Jackie Robinson Day, and Team Swap Error.  Now this is where things can get a little nutty.  Both of the Capless and Jackie Robinson Day variations have parallels.  The Capless variations have GQ Logo Swap and Black #’ed/1 parallels.  The Jackie Robinson Day variations have GQ Logo Swap and Black #’ed/1 parallels.  You’ll also find that some Jackie Robinson Day variations have autographed counterparts.  These autographs also have parallels: Black & White #’ed/42 and Black #’ed/1.  Team Swap Errors do not have any parallels.

CMP code list:

  • Base – #29
  • Base SP – #59
  • Jackie Robinson Day Variation – #64
  • Capless Variation – #67
  • Team Swap Error Variation – #70

Be aware that the CMP codes DO NOT change for parallels.  The CMP codes are great for weeding out the regular variations/short prints.  But you almost need to check the front and back of every card to see if its a parallel no matter what the CMP code is.  While opening my box, I did realize that many of these cards were backwards and/or upside down in the packs.

Gypsy Queen is packed with some great looking “hits”.  You’re most likely going to pull (2) on-card autographs from your hobby box.  The GlassWorks Box Toppers look even better than last year.  I like the chrome and wood grain design.  If you get really lucky, you might find a low numbered parallel and/or autographed version.

When Topps revived the Gypsy Queen brand in 2011, they introduced collectors to the Original Art Patch Card.  Since then, these have been a staple.  Artist Dan Bergren worked on the ones for 2018.  He recently did work for 2017 Transcendent Collection.  Found at a rate of 1:30,430 packs now they’re called Playoff Performers Portrait Art Patch Originals.  Nineteen different players covering the past and present make up this set.  Each player has two cards.  That’s a total of (38) cards.  One of these years it would be fun to see these in a booklet format.  A sketch on one side with a jumbo patch on the other.

Ripping through a box of Gypsy Queen quickly just looking for the autographs and relics isn’t in your best interest.  I highly suggest examining everything so you don’t miss something.  Adding parallels to the variations requires extra attention in order to find them.  Take your time and have fun.

You can see the entire checklist here.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Anthony Banda RC Auto
  • Zack Granite RC Auto

Short Print

  • Mariano Rivera

Parallels

  • Khris Davis Jackie Robinson Day Variation GQ Logo Swap
  • Patrick Corbin Indigo #’ed/250
  • Brad Miller Bazooka Back
  • Luis Castillo Missing Team Nameplate
  • Chris Sale GQ Logo Swap
  • Yangervis Solarte GQ Logo Swap

Inserts

  • Francisco Lindor GlassWorks Box Topper
  • J.P. Crawford Fortune Teller
  • Khris Davis Fortune Teller
  • Gary Sanchez Fortune Teller
  • Giancarlo Stanton Tarot of the Diamond
  • Clayton Kershaw Tarot of the Diamond
  • Kevin Kiermaier Tarot of the Diamond

Rookies

  • Paul Blackburn
  • Dominic Smith
  • A.J. Jimenez
  • Greg Allen
  • J.P. Crawford
  • Rhys Hoskins
  • Felix Jorge
  • Nicky Delmonico
  • Walker Buehler
  • Tzu-Wei Lin
  • Miguel Andujar
  • Amed Rosario
  • Miguel Gomez
  • Francisco Mejia
  • Victor Robles
  • Ozzie Albies
  • Shohei Ohtani
  • Erick Fedde
  • Chance Sisco
  • Clint Frazier
  • Sandy Alcantara

2018 Topps Heritage Baseball Box Break & Review

The year was 1969.  Mickey Mantle decided to call it quits.  A guy who would one day be known as Mr. October was just getting started.  Professional baseball celebrated it’s 100th anniversary.  Mankind first landed on the moon too (or did they).  A lot was going on, much like what you’ll find inside a box of 2018 Topps Heritage Baseball.

2018 is the year that Topps Heritage receives the 1969 Topps Baseball treatment.  At least when it comes to it’s design.  I can’t wait to see what happens in two years when the 1971 Topps Baseball design is on the chopping block.  Those solid black borders should make things fun.

Topps Heritage seems to always have something for everyone.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a set collector or someone picking up high-end singles on the secondary market.  I really appreciate the high-end cards that come out of products like this.  They just look so good.

2018 Topps Heritage consists of (500) cards.  #1-#400 are base while #401-#500 are short prints.  There are six parallels – 100th Anniversary #’ed/25, Black Border #’ed/50, Flip Stock #’ed/5, Magenta Back #’ed/25, Minis #’ed/100, and Chrome.  The Chrome parallels come in a variety of colors such as Base #’ed/999, Refractor #’ed/569, Purple, Black #’ed/69, Gold #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed/1.

The heart and soul of today’s Heritage sets are the variations.  Some can jump right out at you while others take a little more time to identify.  You simply cannot rip open a box and quickly breeze through the cards.  By doing that you could easily miss what could be your pull of a lifetime.  I find the best way to identify variations is to flip over every card and check the tiny CMP code.  When it comes to 2018 Topps Heritage, if that code ends in a number other than #65 you’ve found something worth looking into.

CMP Code List:

  • Base – #65
  • Base Short Print – #85
  • Nickname – #04
  • RC Cup Year Error – #03
  • Team Color Swap – #02
  • Action Image – #01
  • Throwback – #00
  • Traded – #99
  • Error – #98

Real One Autographs continue to be a favorite of mine.  They’re simple and easy on the eyes.  Red Ink versions #’ed/69 are especially fun when pulled.

The original 1969 Topps Baseball set contains lots of great vintage cards.  But one stands above them all, and that would be the Reggie Jackson RC #260.  Topps got Mr. October to sign (10) original rookies and inserted them into Heritage this year.  Given that there are only ten copies, not everyone will find one.  Very cool though.

Before the Brewers ended up in Milwaukee, they played their initial season in Seattle as the Pilots in 1969.  The Pilots only lasted for one season.  Merchandise from the Pilots in some cases is highly sought after.  To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Topps was able to get (15) guys from that team to sign autographs for Heritage.  Its been a long time since we’ve seen new Pilots cards.  One of the autographs is that of Jim Bouton, who went on to help create Big League Chew bubble gum.

Collectors are ripping into boxes looking for rookies of Shohei Ohtani.  He has two Real One Autographs – Base and Red Ink #’ed/69.  These are his first MLB autographs.  Ohtani lacks a base rookie, but is an Action Image variation for card #17.  Most #17 cards have Zach Davies, but some have Ohtani.

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Carlos Correa Clubhouse Collection Jersey

Parallels

  • Gary Sanchez Chrome #’ed/999
  • Cody Bellinger Chrome Refractor #’ed/569
  • Kole Calhoun Black Border #’ed/50

Short Prints

  • Alcides Escobar #445
  • Drew Pomeranz #404
  • Victor Martinez #427
  • Garrett Richards #452
  • Kelvin Herrera #409
  • Chase Anderson #432
  • Bruce Maxwell #495
  • Kenley Jansen #424

Inserts

  • Jedd Gyorko/Eric Hosmer/Andrew Cashner – Mike Trout – 1969 Topps Bazooka Ad Panel – #2
  • News Flashbacks 1969 – The Beatles’ Abbey Road Album Released #3
  • Lou Brock/Dee Gordon Then & Now #11
  • Ozzie Albies RC 1969 Topps Deckle Edge #11
  • Andrew Benintendi 1969 Topps Deckle Edge #17
  • Baseball Flashbacks 1969 – Jim Palmer
  • Baseball Flashbacks 1969 – Juan Marichal
  • Joey Votto New Age Performers #13
  • Mike Trout New Age Performers #2

Pin Highlight: 2017 MLB Little League Classic – Cardinals vs. Pirates – Baseball Pin

There is no doubt that one of the major highlights during last year’s Little League World Series was the Major League game that took place at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.  In nine innings the Pirates defeated the Cardinals 6-3.  It even got it’s very own Topps Now card.

Three different pins were made to celebrate this inaugural event.  The first two are fairly simple to find.  One features the MLB Little League Classic name with logos from both teams.  A second has Fredbird and the Pirate Parrot on it.  The third pin is what you see pictured above.  As you can probably tell, it has the MLB Little League Classic name, team logos, and is in the shape of a baseball.  Unlike the other two though, this pin was not available for sale over at Little League.  A majority of them were given out to game attendees.  Only Little League players and their families, plus any Lycoming County residents lucky enough to win a lottery were allowed to attend the game.  Not much of the general public made it in.  All pins are made by WinCraft.

Sports Card Info has been known to get me into certain events for free, but this wasn’t one of them.  So how did I get one?  For a short time Fanatics had them for sale.  The day after I purchased mine, Fanatics pulled them off the market.  Why?  I don’t know.  The next thing I saw were them being handed out on T.V.

The 2018 Little League World Series takes place August 16-26.  Little League recently unveiled the official logo for the 2018 games.  The Phillies will take on the Mets August 19 in the second MLB Little League Classic.

2018 Topps Series 1 Baseball Box Break & Review

Its a tradition that’s been in place since 1952.  The Topps flagship brand has been the heart of the hobby and center attraction for countless collectors for generations.  This set kicks off the 2018 baseball card season while setting the tone for all products throughout the year.  Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger both have their rookie seasons in the past, who knows which rookie(s) will dominate the hobby in the coming months.  Of all their baseball products, the Topps flagship set is probably the one that is purchased the most.  It’s annual release is a major event across the hobby.

This might be my favorite modern day Topps flagship design.  It has a lot going on, but doesn’t overtake the card.  I really like the colored wave next to the team’s logo.  With Topps having a long history in the candy business, that wave sometimes reminds me of a colorful gummy snack that I use to eat as a kid.  The pixels are a fun feature too.  I’d really like to see some pixel art cards in a future product.  Imagine pulling a card of Rhys Hoskins and the picture is pixelated and looks like he should be in an NES video game.  That would be awesome!  Sorta in line with the cartoon-like autographs found in 2016 Topps MLB Wacky Packages.  With Series 2Update, and Chrome, there are lots of opportunities for this to happen.

As is the case with a lot of Topps sets, there are SPs and SSPs.  Checking the CMP code on the back can help in identifying them.  Base cards end in #87.  SPs end in #43.  SSPs end in #44.

It wouldn’t be a Topps product without a throwback to a classic set.  Last year it was 1987 Topps Baseball, for 2018 its 1983 Topps Baseball.  As expected they all look fantastic, especially the parallels and on-card autographs.

The Topps Reverence cards got an upgrade too.  This year’s cards don’t look as busy, and contain full-body shots of the player versus a small head shot.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this high-end autograph/relic insert get it’s own standalone product someday.

I pulled a Topps Home Run Challange card of Trey Mancini.  These are fun inserts.  Log into your Topps account, head over to the Home Run Challange website, enter the code, and pick the date you think that player will hit a home run.  I picked 6/16/18.  If Trey Mancini hits a home run that day, I’ll get a special card.

The 2018 baseball card season has begun.  Good luck to everyone who opens a box.

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Anthony Rizzo Major League Material Jersey

Short Print

  • Cody Bellinger #42

Parallels

  • Eric Thames 1983 Topps Black #’ed/299
  • Andrew Cashner Vintage Stock #’ed/99
  • Nick Pivetta Gold #’ed/2018
  • Mookie Betts Rainbow Foil
  • Yulieski Gurriel Rainbow Foil
  • Marcus Semien Rainbow Foil

Inserts

  • Trey Mancini Topps Home Run Challange
  • Aaron Judge Topps Now Top 10 #10
  • Aaron Judge Topps Now Top 10 #4
  • Yoenis Cespedes Superstar Sensations #49
  • Max Scherzer Superstar Sensations #25
  • Gary Sanchez Superstar Sensations #22
  • Carlos Correa Superstar Sensations #5
  • Ryan Zimmerman MLB Awards #7
  • Martin Maldonado MLB Awards #14
  • Buster Posey MLB Awards #32
  • Marcell Ozuna MLB Awards #43
  • Francisco Lindor MLB Awards #39
  • Miguel Sano Topps Salute #48
  • Charlie Blackmon Topps Salute #10
  • Roy Halladay Topps Salute #34
  • Jose Berrios Topps Salute #67
  • Brandon Woodruff Topps Salute #91
  • Joey Votto Topps Salute #3
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Salute #26
  • Victor Robles Topps Salute #82
  • Alex Bregman Topps Salute #61
  • Justin Verlander 1983 Topps #98
  • Masahiro Tanaka 1983 Topps #78
  • Clint Frazier 1983 Topps RC #70
  • Harrison Bader 1983 Topps RC #29
  • Matt Carpenter 1983 Topps #11
  • Eric Thames 1983 Topps #10
  • Barry Larkin 1983 Topps #57
  • Ryan McMahon 1983 Topps RC #76
  • Carlos Correa 1983 Topps #92

Card of the Day: Jose Canseco 1987 Topps Toys “R” Us Baseball Rookies #5

Frank Thomas ’17 Topps Luminaries Redemption Card Received

In the middle of November, I opened a box of 2017 Topps Luminaries Baseball.  Waiting inside was a redemption for a Frank Thomas Autographed Letter Book Card #’ed 1/1.  As soon as it was pulled, I redeemed it.

At 5:01 a.m. on 12/28/17 I received an e-mail from Topps informing me that my card had been shipped.  According to the tracking number it was scheduled to be delivered the same day.  By lunch time it had arrived.

This card kicks butt.  Booklet, on-card autograph, and game-worn jersey letter patch.  It didn’t really matter to me which letter they used, but I’m glad Topps chose the “T”.

When it comes to redemption cards, you never truly know how long it will take to get your card.  Everyone’s experience can differ.  Personally, I’ve never had to wait that long with Topps products.  Historically they’ve been fast and efficient for me.  The Topps website easily lets me track my redemption cards, while I find their communication skills flawless.  No problems at all.