2019 Topps Chrome Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

I have a confession to make.  I’m easily distracted by shiny objects.  So are a lot of other collectors.  BE CAREFUL OPENING WHILE OPERATING HEAVY MACHINERY!

I can only speak for myself, but when I finished opening my box one word came to mind… balance.  The box I opened contained a very nice balance of hits.  It probably is one of the best Topps Chrome Baseball boxes I’ve ever opened.

A hobby box will run you about $110 right now.  The base set consists of (204) cards with the following parallels: Base Refractor, Prism, Sepia (Blaster), Pink (Value Pack), Negative, Purple #’ed/299, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Green Wave #’ed/99 (Hobby/Jumbo), Blue Wave #’ed/75 (Hobby/Jumbo), Gold #’ed/50, Gold Wave #’ed/50 (Hobby/Jumbo), Orange #’ed/25 (Hobby), Orange Wave #’ed/25 (Hobby/Jumbo), Red #’ed/5, Red Wave #’ed/5 (Hobby/Jumbo), Superfractor #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.

SP Photo Variations are quite difficult to pull falling at a rate of 1:247 packs.  There are (25) total SP Photo Variations.  Pulling the regular version is hard enough, but they do have parallels: Green #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.

CMP codes are helpful:

  • Base – #369
  • SP Photo Variation – #409

Housed inside each hobby box are (2) guaranteed autographs which can come in the form of Rookie Autographs, Dual Rookie Autographs, 1984 Topps Baseball Autographs, 1999 Topps Chrome Baseball Autographs, Freshman Flash Autographs, and Future Stars Autographs.

Relics are case hits.  When you think about Topps Chrome Baseball, relics don’t always pop into your head right away.  They tend to be much more difficult to pull from this brand.  Called Debut Gear, these horizontally-oriented hits came out well and make me wish we saw more chrome-style relics.  Not only did I pull a case hit (1:544 packs) I got the Red Refractor version #’ed/5 (1:17,628 packs).  Not too shabby for a 24-pack box.  Debut Gear Autographs are also available.

Non-autographed inserts include 1984 Topps Baseball, Freshman Flash, Future Stars, and Greatness Returns.

I think you’ll agree that my hits were quite balanced.  One of these years I’d like to see some Topps Chrome Baseball National Sports Collectors Convention exclusive cards.  Shiny stuff!!!

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Cedric Mullins Gold Wave Refractor Auto #’ed/50
  • Sean Reid-Foley Auto

Relic

  • Ivan Rodriguez Debut Gear Patch Red Refractor #’ed/5

SP Photo Variation

  • Justus Sheffield Green Refractor #’ed/99

Parallels

  • Carlos Santana Purple Refractor #’ed/299
  • Touki Toussaint Prism Refractor
  • Jose Urena Prism Refractor
  • Dakota Hudson Prism Refractor
  • Sandy Alcantara Prism Refractor
  • Charlie Blackmon Refractor
  • Evan Longoria Refractor
  • Whit Merrifield Refractor
  • Nick Burdi Refractor
  • Jesus Aguilar Refractor
  • Justus Sheffield Refractor
  • Ronald Guzman Refractor

Inserts

  • Ty Cobb/Bryce Harper Greatness Returns
  • Kyle Wright Freshman Flash
  • Cedric Mullins Freshman Flash
  • Scott Kingery Future Stars
  • Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. Future Stars
  • Miles Mikolas Future Stars
  • Ichiro 1984 Topps
  • Francisco Lindor 1984 Topps
  • Joey Votto 1984 Topps
  • Yusei Kikuchi 1984 Topps

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2019 Topps Archives Signature Series Baseball (Active Player Edition) Hobby Box Break & Review

“Wouldn’t this card look nice with an on-card autograph?”.  That’s the question Topps answers each year with the release of Archives Signature Series.  That goes for the Active Player and Retired Player Edition.  I’ve had quite a bit of luck with this brand before.  In 2017 I pulled a Mike Trout autograph #’ed 1/1.  Last year I got a Starling Marte autograph #’ed 1/1.  No duds for me.  Now I didn’t get another 1/1 autograph this time, but it is a decent card of a pitcher doing well this year.

Buyback autographs are what keep the heart of this product beating.  Each box contains (1) encased buyback autograph of a currently active MLB player.  Just under (100) different MLB players have autographs in here.  Many with multiple cards.

For those of you unfamiliar with what a buyback autograph is, here’s a little refresher.  Topps will buy up a ton of cards they issued in the past.  They then get players to sign those cards.  Topps then foil stamps the cards with the “Archives Signature Series” logo.  The cards are then placed in BCW holders for their protection.

A single box will cost just under $50.  If you think that’s too expensive for one card, I’d recommend sticking to picking up singles on the secondary market.  Its amazing how far an on-card autograph on a simple base card can go.  Lots of past Topps designs are improved with an on-card autograph.

Very simple and to the point.  I’ve always said cards with a simple design are the most attractive.

Wondering if your favorite player has cards in here?  Take a look.  The amount of cards per player and the serial numbering varies.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Michael Soroka 2015 Bowman Draft Buyback Auto #’ed/79

2019 Onyx/Futera Unique Prospects & Legends Baseball Preview

Two card manufacturers working together on a single product is certainly not something that happens very often.  Especially during a time when exclusives are all the rage, and everyone is out for themselves.  Onyx Authenticated and Futera have done what seems to be the impossible.  Working simultaneously, both companies are happy to introduce 2019 Onyx/Futera Unique Prospects & Legends Baseball.

No.  There aren’t any team names and/or logos.  But given the quality of these cards, I truly believe that doesn’t matter one bit.  Futera mainly focuses on European soccer now, but I’ve always thought their cards looked extremely well done.  I didn’t think seeing a baseball product come from them was a possibility until now.  Onyx’s baseball products aren’t too shabby either.  Their Vintage Collection is a blast to open.

2019 Onyx/Futera Unique Prospects & Legends Baseball is a limited, high-end release.  Only (75) cases will be produced.  Each pack contains an autograph or autograph/relic.  Baseball fans will get to take advantage of Futera’s Colour Grading and Code For Collectors features.  These are two services which allow you to see how rare that relic card might be, and the process that went into making that specific card.  Its a level of documentation that every card manufacturer should adhere to.  Services such as these really helps to cut down on counterfeits.

Be sure to checkout the official sales sheet and checklist.  You’ll find its filled with prospects and Hall of Famers.  I wouldn’t mind pulling that Babe Ruth cut signature.  My favorite cards are the 24ct Gold-Plated Framed cards.

(4) packs come in a single box.  Each pack will cost around $97.  That’s about $400 for the entire box.  As of this writing, August 23rd is the launch date.

2019 Topps Stadium Club Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

In an age where high-end hits continue to be the main focus of box breakers, Stadium Club aims to change that.  I’m going to say this right now.  Every Stadium Club box opened is a good box.  There isn’t a bad one in the bunch.

2019 Topps Stadium Club continues the tradition of superb and unique photography.  That’s what Stadium Club is all about.  The photos Topps uses are so entertaining to look at.  I truly believe this brand could survive without any hits at all just because of the photography.  That’s saying a lot, especially today.

When diving into a hobby box, you’ll find (16) packs with (8) cards inside each pack.  Sitting on top of the packs is an oversize box topper.  Some of these box toppers can be found with autographs and numbered to (10) copies or less.

The base set consists of (301) cards.  Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. made it in with card #301.  Full bleed photographs without a border really makes the pictures do all of the talking.  The checklist covers rookies, veterans, retired stars, and Hall of Famers.  Parallels of the base set include Red Foil (1:3), Black Foil (1:8), Sepia (Retail), Black/White (1:48 Hobby), Rainbow Foilboard #’ed/25 (1:147), Members Only (1:256), 1st Day Issue (1:367), Photographer’s Proof (1:513), and Gold Rainbow Foilboard #’ed 1/1 (1:1,808 Hobby).

SP Photo Variations are a bit more difficult to pick out because of all the unique photos used in the base set.  CMP codes can help:

  • Base – #768
  • SP Photo Variation – #805

What could make these base cards look better?  How about printing some on chrome stock?  That’s exactly what Topps did.  (90) Stadium Club Chrome cards can be pulled and have the following parallels: Refractor (1:64), Orange Refractor #’ed/99 (1:124), Gold Minted (1:257), and Superfractor #’ed 1/1 (1:5,976 Hobby).

Like I mentioned earlier, I strongly believe this brand could standalone without any hits.  But the on-card autographs do look really good.  Each hobby box should come with (2) autographs.

Autographs that you can get include Base Autographs, Base Chrome Autographs, Beam Team Autographs, Co-Signers Autographs, Emperors of the Zone Autographs, Lone Star Autographs, and Power Zone Autographs.

Inserts include Beam Team, Emperors of the Zone, Instavision, Power Zone, and Warp Speed.  Instavision inserts return as case hits.  Its fun to see the attention they receive on the secondary market considering they aren’t autographed.

I think its time we see some exclusive Stadium Club cards made for the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Its been years since that’s happened.  That concept could be taken in all sorts of directions.

It doesn’t matter if your two autographs are super valuable or not.  Once all of the packs are ripped, you’re going to be left with a nice selection of cards featuring memorable photographs.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Stephen Tarpley Base Auto Redemption
  • Ramon Laureano Base Auto

Parallels

  • Javier Baez Warp Speed Red Foil
  • Charlie Blackmon Black/White
  • Yadier Molina Stadium Club Chrome Orange Refractor #’ed/99
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. Stadium Club Chrome
  • Javier Baez Black Foil
  • Chris Taylor Black Foil
  • Corbin Burnes Red Foil
  • Albert Almora Jr. Red Foil
  • Niko Goodrum Red Foil
  • Matt Chapman Red Foil
  • Robbie Ray Red Foil
  • Ramon Laureano Red Foil

Inserts

  • Juan Soto Oversize Box Topper
  • Christian Yelich Beam Team
  • Mookie Betts Warp Speed
  • Byron Buxton Warp Speed
  • Nolan Ryan Emperors of the Zone
  • Trevor Bauer Emperors of the Zone
  • Matt Carpenter Power Zone
  • Miguel Andujar Power Zone

Favorite Card

  • Christy Mathewson #29

Christy Mathewson attended Bucknell University, which is just a few miles away from where I live.  He’s buried in a cemetery next to the school.  Pretty neat considering he’s a member of the first Hall of Fame class.  Depending on the year, he’ll either have a bunch of cards made or none at all.

Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces Babe Ruth Ball Unveiled

During the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, collectors were introduced to Piece of the Game’s Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces.  Scheduled to be released to the world on July 9, 2019, this is truly a unique product.

Inside every case you will find (10) game-used, autographed, and hand-painted baseballs.  The baseballs were actually used by the player depicted on the ball.  Those baseballs were used for singles, doubles, triples, home runs, strike outs, you name it.  (15) cases have been produced.  That’s a total of (150) baseballs.

Sports artist Monty Sheldon is responsible for the artwork.  He’s been painting on baseballs for over 20 years, and his stuff looks amazing.

At a cost of $36,000 per case, this product is for the ultimate high-end breaker.  With an awesome checklist of players, there really isn’t a bad case.  If I had to pick the luckiest case to open, it would be the one housing the Babe Ruth ball.  Its considered the chase ball to find.

A lot of time and effort went into making this product happen.  It certainly isn’t something that could be quickly pumped out over night.  Good luck.  I hope its a success.

2019 Topps Museum Collection Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

BIG HITS!  BIG HITS!  BIG HITS!  That’s what Museum Collection is all about.  Over the years I’ve pulled some incredible looking cards from this product.  2019 Topps Museum Collection did not disappoint.  What a great box!!!

Museum Collection is a high-risk, high-reward product.  That’s of course if you’re thinking solely about making money.  When it comes to modern day cards, making money should never be your #1 concern.  Today’s cards should be thought of as fun, not investments.  Too many products receive an unnecessary bashing because the people opening them didn’t get a high-dollar hit.

At about $200 per box, Museum Collection may not fit everyone’s budget.  Some may settle for just a mini-box.  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.  Parallels include Copper, Sapphire #’ed/150, Amethyst #’ed/99, Ruby #’ed/50, and Emerald #’ed 1/1.

This brand is really known for only having one type of insert – Canvas Collection.  For the most part, you’ll likely get (1) Canvas Collection Reproduction insert.  If you get really lucky, there are Canvas Collection OriginalsCanvas Collection Original Player Autographs, and Canvas Collection Originals Shaped Sketches.

Hits that you’ll find include Archival Autographs, Museum Framed Autographs, Superstar Showpieces Autographs, Dual Autographs, Triple Autographs, Single-Player Signature Swatches Dual Relic Autographs, Single-Player Signature Swatches Triple Relic Autographs, Momentous Material Jumbo Patch Autographs, Momentous Material Dual Jumbo Patch Autograph Book, Museum Framed Autograph Patch, Museum Framed Dual Autograph Patch Book, Single-Player Primary Pieces Quad Relics, Single-Player Primary Pieces Quad Relic Legends, Four-Player Primary Pieces Quad Relics, Meaningful Material Relics, Dual Meaningful Material Relics, Momentous Material Jumbo Patch Relics, Museum Memorabilia, and Jumbo Lumber Bat Nameplate Relics.

The Museum Framed Dual Autograph Patch Books are very well done.  I like the look of the metal hinges that hook the cards together.  They remind me of how book cards originally were made when they were first introduced to the hobby.

FYI – The Juan Soto and Pete Alonso cards were in the same pack.  Second pack in from the right.  That’s where all of the good stuff is.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Auto/Relic

  • Juan Soto Momentous Material 3-Color Patch Auto Gold #’ed/5

Auto

  • Dennis Eckersley Archival Autograph #’ed/199

Relics

  • Andrew Benintendi Single-Player Primary Pieces Quad Relic Copper #’ed/75
  • Dustin Pedroia Meaningful Material 3-Color Patch Gold #’ed/25

Parallels

  • Pete Alonso RC Sapphire #’ed/150
  • Kris Bryant Copper
  • Roberto Alomar Copper
  • Michael Kopech RC Copper

Insert

  • Buster Posey Canvas Collection Reproduction

Base

  • Jacob deGrom #54
  • Jose Altuve #39
  • Charlie Blackmon #34
  • Josh Donaldson #7
  • Mike Piazza #56
  • Roberto Clemente #76
  • Ozzie Smith #89
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. #6
  • Clayton Kershaw #47
  • George Springer #40
  • Freddie Freeman #4

2019 Topps Series 2 Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

We’re at the halfway point of the 2019 MLB season.  Things started off really well for my Phillies, but recently they have sunk into second place behind the Braves.  Pitching is the Phillies’ biggest problem.  They just don’t have it.  If I had to pick their best pitcher, I’d go with Zach Eflin.  That Jake Arrieta has become so incredibly difficult to watch.  I believe he reached his pinnacle when winning the World Series with the Cubs.  Since then its been downhill.  What bothers me the most is how much praise I keep hearing about their pitching.  No sooner does the game end, Phillies lose, and all you hear about is how great the pitching was.  Sometimes I think they’re in complete pitching denial.

Ok.  That’s enough about me complaining about the Phillies’ pitching.  Being almost halfway through the MLB season means the next addition to the classic flagship set is upon us once again.  I’m talking about 2019 Topps Series 2.  In a few more months we will be welcomed with 2019 Topps Updates.

Flagship sets such as this are made for major set collectors.  Products like Series 2 come with (24) packs per box, and guarantee (1) autograph or relic per hobby box.  More affordable retail options are always available.  If you feel like spending a bit more, jumbo boxes offer more hits.

2019 Topps Series 2 picks up right where Series 1 left off.  The base set ranges from card #351 to #700.  Parallels include Purple (Meijer), 150th Anniversary, Rainbow Foil, Gold #’ed/2,019, Advanced Stats #’ed/150, Vintage Stock #’ed/99, Independence Day #’ed/76, Black #’ed/67 (Hobby/Jumbo), Mother’s Day Pink #’ed/50, Father’s Day Blue #’ed/50, Memorial Day Camo #’ed/25, Base Clear #’ed/10, Platinum #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.

Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. made it into the set as a Short Print.

You can’t have a flagship set without photo variations.  And there are plenty of them to look for.  The CMP codes can help:

  • Base – #962
  • SP Variation – #031
  • SSP Variation – #032

The Advanced Stat parallel also has a different CMP code which ends in #968.  The easiest way to identify these is to just look at the back as they are #’ed/150.

Unless you get extremely lucky, your hit for the most part will be a basic one-color relic.  There are plenty of big cards to find, but that shouldn’t be your main goal with this type of product.  Its vital that you check everything.  That autograph or relic may not have been a big dollar hit, but a photo variation or parallel could easily end up being the highlight.  The photos Topps picked, especially for the SSP variations, are really interesting.

The Home Run Challenge inserts continue to be my favorite.  None of the dates I’ve picked have been correct.  Anything that can keep collectors thinking about the product once its been opened is ok in my book.  Especially in a time when there are lots of products to choose from.

Gary Vaynerchuk a.k.a. Gary Vee, is featured on his own insert set, and even has some autographs.  Gary Vee is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, investor, and internet personality.  I’ve talked a bit about him before.  Earlier this year Gary Vee appeared on The Rich Eisen Show, and mentioned some of the sports cards he’s been investing in.  Trading cards is one of the areas he started in many years ago.

I think its great to see Gary Vee using his platform to talk about cards.  The general public listening though shouldn’t misinterpret what a successful, wealthy person like Gary Vee does for a hobby as a new guaranteed can’t lose source of income.  A lot of people will interpret what he says in that type of manner.  Its not meant to be received that way.  Just be smart, and enjoy the show.  His insert set highlights top entrepreneurs in baseball.

Set collectors get the most enjoyment out of Series 2.  Bring on Topps Chrome and Updates!

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Jason Heyward Major League Material Relic 150th Anniversary #’ed/150

SP Photo Variation

  • Joe Morgan #374

Parallels

  • Evolution – Radio Broadcast – Black #’ed/299
  • Tyler O’Neill Independence Day #’ed/76
  • Chris Owings 150th Anniversary
  • Billy McKinney Rainbow Foil
  • Patrick Corbin Rainbow Foil
  • Ronald Torreyes Gold #’ed/2019
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu Gold #’ed/2019
  • Ender Inciarte Gold #’ed/2019
  • David Dahl Gold #’ed/2019

Inserts

  • Carlos Correa Home Run Challenge
  • Byron Buxton Significant Statistics
  • Trevor Story Significant Statistics
  • Derek Jeter Gary Vee’s Top Entrepreneurs In Baseball
  • Chris Iannetta Gary Vee’s Top Entrepreneurs In Baseball
  • Johnny Bench 150 Years of Baseball
  • Honus Wagner 150 Years of Baseball
  • Jackie Robinson Iconic Card Reprints
  • Ernie Banks Iconic Card Reprints
  • Dale Murphy Iconic Card Reprints
  • Javier Baez 1984 Topps Baseball Rookies & All-Stars
  • Mark McGwire 1984 Topps Baseball Rookies & All-Stars
  • Max Scherzer 1984 Topps Baseball Rookies & All-Stars
  • Francisco Lindor 1984 Topps Baseball Rookies & All-Stars
  • Chris Sale 1984 Topps Baseball Rookies & All-Stars
  • Jose Altuve 1984 Topps Baseball Rookies & All-Stars