Product Highlight: 1999 Topps Action Flats Baseball

I can still remember going into my local card shop and seeing these crazy little dudes for sale.

The Topps Action Flats line actually began in 1998 with the NFL. Football fans got another dose in 1999 as well. But baseball fans only received one set which was released in 1999. Another baseball set was in the works before the product line got officially dropped altogether.

What are Action Flats? An Action Flat is a small (flat) figure that comes on a stand. It was another attempt at competing with Starting Lineup. The 1999 Topps Action Flats Baseball set consists of (12) players:

  • Chipper Jones
  • Greg Maddux
  • Mark McGwire
  • Sammy Sosa
  • Kerry Wood
  • Barry Bonds
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • Cal Ripken
  • Juan Gonzalez
  • Nomar Garciaparra
  • Derek Jeter

The Action Flat figure is posed to mimic the image on the accompanying card. Cards look just like the flagship set, but have a “Action Flats” foil stamp on them.

Topps did make some parallels to chase. Away and Classic Jersey parallels apply to the figures only. Classic Jersey parallels are more difficult to find. The cards that come with the figures are the same whether the figure is a parallel or not.

Props to Topps for trying something different. But the Action Flats line never really caught on.

Montgomery Club Members Are NOT Entitled To Every Topps Online-Exclusive Product First

Members of the Topps 582 Montgomery Club were shocked on Friday, May 6, 2022 when they discovered that 2021 Topps Formula 1 Chrome Sapphire Edition was on sale to the general public. Usually club members get first access to popular online-exclusive products before everyone else for the most part.

Boxes began popping up on Topps’ European sites, and then made their was to the U.S. I was able to add (1) box to my cart, but the Topps website froze for me during the checkout process due to the high volume of users. Some made it through successfully, bots especially, before it sold out.

A box of 2020 Topps Formula 1 Chrome Sapphire Edition originally cost $99. As of right now that same product sells for around $4k. Even with the increased price ($699.99) for the 2021 product you can see why club members are angry they weren’t offered it first like they were last year.

Although a massive surprise, if you read the language on the Topps 582 Montgomery Club website it clearly states “Exclusive Access to Pre-Sale window for select Topps 2022 Online Exclusives including Sapphire, Finest Flashbacks, Ginter X, and Archives Snapshots.” The keyword here is “select”. “Select” does not mean members will get a pre-sale window for every online-exclusive product. It means just the ones Topps chooses. Which products Topps chooses can clearly change from year to year.

Attempt to charge back your membership fee, threaten not to renew your membership next year, and write all of the hate e-mail you want. All the threats in the world aren’t going to make you feel better. 2021 Topps Formula 1 Chrome Sapphire Edition is most likely gone for the $699.99 price, and nothing is going to change that. If you want a box you’ll have to pay more on the secondary market. I would be very surprised if Topps offers members their allocation now that the general public sale is over.

Why wasn’t 2021 Topps Formula 1 Chrome Sapphire Edition one of the “select” products for pre-sale? Rumors and people’s imaginations instantly began to run wild. Maybe some of it will turn out to be true. You can read through it all on the Blowout Forums.

We still have a lot of the year to go. Topps could very easily surprise members with an exclusive product (never produced before) that could make up for 2021 Topps Formula 1 Chrome Sapphire Edition not being offered to club members first. Then again, they don’t have to.

In the end, it is all in the details of the language for the club we signed up for. Plain and simple.

Product Highlight: 1992 MotorArt Iditarod Sled Dog Race

Wow! The 80’s and 90’s really did bring us some unusual card sets.

MotorArt (out of Florida) certainly isn’t the first card manufacturer you think of first. Most likely because they didn’t stick around that long. Thanks to MotorArt collectors were introduced to the Iditarod Sled Dog Race Set.

The 1992 MotorArt Iditarod Sled Dog Race Set consists of (110) cards. You could purchase the cards in two different formats:

Hobby Box
Factory Set

There was also a 4-card promo pack they issued.

Over the course of the set you will find cards of mushers, dogs, and the various survival procedures they go through to finish the race.

No relics. No autographs. No parallels. No chase cards. MotorArt did offer a promotion where you could send away for a complete set on an uncut sheet. They only made 1,049 of these (one for each mile of the race). Each sheet cost $49.

Standalone Iditarod Race sets have never gained much hobby traction. Its not uncommon to find mushers included in products such as Allen & Ginter, Sport Kings, and Goodwin Champions.

Product Highlight: 1997 Topps ProShooters Photo Marbles

Now this is one of those times you really don’t want to lose your marbles. Especially once you see how crazy collectors go for these tiny little orbs.

One of the most sought after Topps test-issued products from the 90s are the ProShooters Photo Marbles released in 1997. Collectors in Canada and Northeast U.S. had the opportunity to buy these before they disappeared off of store shelves.

Packaged inside each box are (24) packs. Inside each pack are (2) marbles and (1) of (2) checklist cards. That’s a total of (48) marbles and (24) checklist cards per box.

Much like a baseball card, each marble houses a picture of a Major League Baseball player. There are (60) total marbles in the set. Guys like Ken Griffey, Jr., Chipper Jones, Hideo Nomo, Roberto Alomar, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa all have marbles made. Many other popular players of the time are also included.

The marbles themselves are difficult to pin down. Only a small handful ever appear on eBay. What is really hard to find are the (2) checklists. Each checklist has (30) player marbles pictured on it. Player collectors go nuts for these because very few surface. Most checklists were likely thrown out by those who opened the packs.

Product Highlight: 1997 Topps Genuine Issue Tiger Woods Photos

In case you haven’t heard, Tiger Woods was involved in a bad car accident. Luckily it sounds like he’s going to be ok. Whether or not he’ll play professional golf again is totally undecided. Its way too early to tell, and by the look of what is left of the SUV he was driving we’re just lucky that he’s still alive. This is Tiger Woods we’re talking about here. A comeback isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. We’ve seen it happen before. He surprised the world when he came back and won the Masters Tournament in 2019. Anything is possible.

When it comes to cards of Tiger Woods the first company that comes to mind is Upper Deck. That makes perfect sense since he’s had an exclusive deal with them going all the way back to 2001. But that wasn’t always the case. Prior to 2001 he didn’t have a dedicated place you could go for his cards. They were kinda hit or miss, and all over the place. Two cards from this time that stick out to me the most would be his 1997-99 Grand Slam Ventures Masters Collection, and 1996 Sports Illustrated for Kids.

A product that I believe is drastically overlooked is the 1997 Topps Genuine Issue Tiger Woods Photos.  That’s correct.  Four years prior to his Upper Deck exclusive, Topps issued this small Tiger Woods-themed set after he won the Masters in 1997.

Its strange to see Tiger Woods pictured on a Topps product.  Topps isn’t known for their rich history with golfers. This set consists of six 8″ x 10″ photos. 10,000 sets were produced.  Each pack has the same six pictures.  There are no autographs and/or relics.

Here is the checklist:

  • #1 1996 US Amateur
  • #2 1997 USPGA Championship
  • #3 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open
  • #4 1997 USPGA Championship
  • #5 1997 Masters
  • #6 1997 US Open

With the recent amplified interest in sports cards and memorabilia over the last year, packs of these photos have seen a big jump in price. Sealed packs now sell for $100-$200.

None of the photos have any type of design to them.  No borders and/or fancy coloring. In a strange way it gives us a glimpse as to what a golf-focused Stadium Club set might look like.

Product Highlight: 1990 Classic Monster Trucks

SUNDAY!!! SUNDAY!!! SUNDAY!!! Lurking in the shadows, taking no prisoners, and prepared to give your kittens nightmares!!!

People are spending stupid crazy money on sports cards right now. Almost everyday another card reaches into the seven figures. This gets lots of people thinking everything printed on cardboard has the potential to hit those highs. Not true. But it certainly is fun to watch certain products, specifically mass-produced junk wax, rise in price for no other reason.

It wasn’t that long ago you could buy a box of 1990 Classic Monster Trucks for under $10. Now we’re seeing them sell for $50-$65 per box. This is absolutely insane. In no known universe are these boxes worth that much.

The 1990 Classic Monster Trucks set consists of (125) cards. Throughout the set you’ll find cards dedicated to both drivers and their trucks. You have all of the classics like Grave Digger, Bigfoot, and my personal favorite Thunder Chicken.

On the back of the driver cards is an empty white box meant to be used for an in-person autograph. I’ve always thought that to be a nice addition.

If you’re looking for chase cards there isn’t a single one. No short prints, photo variations, autographs, holograms, inserts, parallels, and/or 3D cards. You have a 125-card set, and that’s it.

Product Highlight: 1997 Pinnacle Denny’s

Denny’s distributed their final baseball card set in 1997. Upper Deck printed the cards between 1991 and 1995. Pinnacle got the job in 1996 and 1997.

There are (30) cards when it comes to the 1997 Pinnacle Denny’s set.  You’ll find a star player from each MLB team.  Card backs contain a hologram, small amount of stats, and key facts about that specific player. The front utilizes a lenticular 3D picture.

Two cards commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the desegregation of baseball.  One of them is of Jackie Robinson #29, which was distributed along with all the other cards.  The other is of Larry Doby.  His card was only available in Cleveland, which at the time made it more difficult to obtain. It was a promo made for the All-Star Game FanFest, and the National Sports Collectors Convention both of which were held in Cleveland that year. Its also possible that the Larry Doby card was available at certain Cleveland-based Denny’s restaurants.

If you look at the card number on Larry Doby it says “Denny’s 1 of 1”.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking this is a true one-of-one.  There are plenty to go around. I don’t know why they didn’t make it card #30. When looking at the checklist you’ll see two card #1’s. Tim Salmon being the other.

Purchasing an entree and non-alcoholic beverage allowed you to buy a single card for only $0.59. Most of the money went to Denny’s national charity, Save The Children.

I didn’t even know Denny’s served alcohol. Apparently certain locations do. Can you imagine a couple of drunk idiots just being fascinated with the moving image on these cards?

Product Highlight: 2006 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Baseball

A lot has changed for Upper Deck since 2006.  The company that revolutionized the industry with it’s first set in 1989 no longer makes licensed baseball cards.  Today they stick with their NHL, various entertainment properties, and memorabilia products.  They still make some of the best looking cards in the hobby. Later this year they plan to release some new golf products. Something we haven’t seen much of since 2014 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Golf.

Upper Deck didn’t issue 2006 Exquisite Collection Baseball as a standalone product.  Instead they inserted mystery redemption cards within five of their other sets.  The products you could pull one of these redemption cards out of includes UD2, Ovation, Legendary Cuts, SPx, and Fleer Tradition. Your best chance at pulling one was in a box of SPx (1:2 boxes).  The redemption cards have long since expired, but the cards which were redeemed still live on.

What did one of these mystery redemption cards guarantee you?  Collectors that redeemed them would most likely receive an autograph, relic, or autograph/relic numbered to no more than (65) copies.  Some lucky people received full-sized pieces of autographed memorabilia.  Upper Deck even threw in a meet and greet, custom Exquisite Baseball box, and a chance to win a free box of every Upper Deck/Fleer baseball product released in 2007.

It was a blast to pull one of these.  I got mine from a pack of SPx.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to sell the redemption or redeem it.  In the end, I couldn’t sell it thinking that someone might get a Babe Ruth Cut Signature.  After punching in the code, I got a really neat looking Manny Ramirez Exquisite Memorabilia/Maximum Patch #’ed/25.

When it comes to rookies, Justin Verlander and Cole Hamels are the most notable names that stick out today.

Q&A – What Happened To The 2019-20 Topps Chrome Basketball Product?

Question: What ever happened to the 2019-20 Topps Chrome basketball product?

Answer: In May of 2019, Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyler Herro shared a picture on social media showing off some basketball cards he recently signed. What got collectors so flustered was the fact that they were Topps Chrome cards.

Prior to this picture surfacing, the last basketball product Topps released came in 2009-10. It got many people wondering if Topps was going to release some type of unlicensed basketball set. Topps usually doesn’t release unlicensed products, but with all of the hype around Zion Williamson you can’t help but wonder if perhaps they were thinking about giving it a shot.

Even though Topps doesn’t have an NBA and/or CLC license, its very possible they could’ve signed someone like Zion Williamson to an exclusive autograph deal. Upper Deck has a similar setup with Michael Jordan and Ben Simmons. This would have really messed with Panini who is the only manufacturer right now with an NBA and CLC license.

Many months went by without hearing anything. During the 2020 Topps Industry Conference this product’s fate was officially confirmed. According to Topps GM David Leiner, the product doesn’t exist anymore.

It certainly gets the imagination going. What do you think a Zion Williamson Topps Chrome card would sell for? Especially when you see what Panini’s diet products go for. Can you imagine how the hobby would react to an online-exclusive Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition basketball product?

I truly believe an unlicensed Zion Williamson card made by Topps could give a licensed card from Panini a run for it’s money.

Product Highlight: 1991 Star Pics Football

For the short time that Star Pics was around they made quite an impact.  Star Pics, Inc. produced card sets for football, basketball, hockey, and various entertainment properties from 1990 to about 1992.  During this time in the hobby overproduction was in full swing, and cards limited into the thousands were considered rare.  Many of the key Star Pics signed cards continue to sell well today.  This is something that many flash in the pan card manufacturers would have killed for.

One of the most memorable Star Pics release has to be their football set from 1991.  Their 1991 football set consists of (112) cards.  Boxes and card borders are covered in footballs.  There are so many footballs in one area it reminds me of those magic eye pictures.  If you stare long enough at the footballs, you’ll probably start to see some hidden image.  The card that gets the most attention from the base set is Brett Favre #65.

Star Pics issued their 1991 football product in factory sets.  Randomly inserted within their factory sets were autographed cards.  The autographs look just like the base, except they have a signature on the front or back, and contain a gold authenticity sticker.  Stars such as Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Brett Favre, and Troy Aikman all have autographs.  It should be noted that the Star Pics autographs have been victims of counterfeits.  Since the autographs look exactly like the base cards, it wouldn’t be that difficult to take a base card of Brett Favre, forge his signature, and place an authenticity sticker on it which has been removed from a legit autograph of a less valuable player.