2020 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team & Hopefuls Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Autograph/Relic/Olympic Fans

Do you know what the secret is to being an Olympic athlete? LITTLE CHOCOLATE DONUTS!

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games were postponed last year thanks to COVID-19. This obviously postponed the release of 2020 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team & Hopefuls. Even though everything about this product screams 2020, I see many people referring to it as a 2021 product. It makes sense as to why seeing that the cards were printed in 2021, and have a 2021 copyright date.

We don’t get to see many standalone Olympic products. They’re usually reserved only for years when the Olympics are actually taking place. Although it isn’t uncommon for Olympians to show up in other products like Allen & Ginter. Its a welcomed change of pace as these athletes who can become superstars overnight usually don’t have that many cards made.

The base set consists of (76) cards. Parallels include Bronze (1 per pack), Silver (1:4), U.S. Flag #’ed/299, Gold #’ed/99, and FoilFractor #’ed 1/1. Watch carefully for those Gold parallels. The gold color is quite similar to the Copper ones and can easily be missed. Check the back to see if they are serial numbered to (99) copies to make sure. I almost missed mine.

Every hobby box comes with (24) packs containing (8) cards per pack. On average you should find (3) hits per box. One of those hits should be an autograph.

Autographs include your regular autographs that mirror that of the base cards. You will also find Olympic Champions Autographs which feature past winners.

Relics include Achievement Medallions Commemorative Relics, Team USA Memorabilia Pieces, and USOC Insignia Commemorative Relics.

Inserts include For Pride and Country, New to the Games!, and U.S. Olympic Heroes.

Wouldn’t it be fun to see this product receive the Sapphire treatment?

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Auto:

  • Kathleen Baker Base Auto #’ed/350

Relics:

  • Matt Grevers Team USA Memorabilia Pieces
  • Robbie Hummel Team USA Memorabilia Pieces

Parallels:

  • Brooke Raboutou Gold #’ed/99
  • Rose Lavelle U.S. Flag #’ed/299
  • Cat Osterman #9 Silver
  • Maggie Steffens #68 Silver
  • Brooke Raboutou #29 Silver
  • Damon Huffman #44 Silver
  • Michael Andrew #22 Silver
  • Kelsi Dahlia #18 Silver
  • Vashti Cunningham #60 Copper
  • Megan Rapinoe #20 Copper
  • Carlin Isles #5 Copper
  • Megan Rapinoe #33 Copper
  • Kyle Snyder #38 Copper
  • Alex Morgan #61 Copper
  • Mariel Zagunis #75 Copper
  • Monica Aksamit #64 Copper
  • Lilly King #74 Copper
  • Alex Morgan #21 Copper
  • Matt Grevers #17 Copper
  • David Brown #62 Copper
  • Rose Lavelle #11 Copper
  • Simone Manuel #27 Copper
  • Cat Osterman #9 Copper
  • Sam Mikulak #72 Copper

Inserts:

  • Lilly King U.S. Olympic Heroes
  • Sam Mikulak U.S. Olympic Heroes
  • Matt Grevers U.S. Olympic Heroes
  • Jessica Long U.S. Olympic Heroes
  • Carissa Moore U.S. Olympic Heroes
  • Kathleen Baker U.S. Olympic Heroes
  • Robbie Hummel U.S. Olympic Heroes
  • Rose Lavelle U.S. Olympic Heroes
  • Haylie McCleney New To The Games!
  • Kareem Maddox New To The Games!
  • Damon Huffman New To The Games!
  • 3-On-3 Basketball New To The Games!
  • Tom Schaar New To The Games!
  • Robbie Hummel New To The Games!
  • Ryan Murphy For Pride & Country
  • David Boudia For Pride & Country
  • Madison Hughes For Pride & Country
  • Lilly King For Pride & Country
  • Alex Morgan For Pride & Country
  • Kathleen Baker For Pride & Country
  • Jordan Burroughs For Pride & Country
  • Johnny Hooper For Pride & Country

Card of the Day: Simone Biles 2016 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Hopefuls #38

Card of the Day: 1986 Topps – Garbage Pail Kids – U.S. Arnie #110b

Card of the Day: Theodore Roosevelt 1956 Topps U.S. Presidents #28

Card of the Day: John McNally 1992 Impel U.S. Olympic Hopefuls #63

Card of the Day: Jesse Owens 1991 Impel U.S. Olympic Hall Of Fame #1

The Topps Foil Test Technology That Brought Us Desert Shield and Stadium Club

Upper Deck set a new standard for card quality after they released their first set in 1989.  Collectors got a taste of what “premium” cards were like, and they weren’t about to turn back.  Other card companies had to figure out ways to amp-up their cards.  If not, they could’ve easily lost their fan base.  Adapt or die!

Topps wasn’t completely out of the loop when it came to making “premium” cards.  Long before Upper Deck arrived, Topps made Tiffany factory sets.  These mimicked the overall design of that year’s Topps set, but were printed on higher quality card stock.  To this day it still amazes me what some collectors are willing to spend on a Tiffany base card of a star.  Even when its not a rookie.  But just switching to better stock for their normal sets wouldn’t be enough to compete.  It was time to bring on the foil.

1990 Topps Baseball is a poster child of the overproduction era.  Unless you’re talking about it’s Tiffany counterpart, Frank Thomas no-name rookie, or George Bush card, there isn’t much value to look for.  The base design is one of my all-time favorites though – lots of color!  While browsing through the grocery store in 1990, I bet many of you can remember spotting those 100-card bricks known as jumbo packs.  Inside each of those packs was a specially made Glossy Rookies card.  The set commemorates popular rookies from the previous season.  Most of the players have rookie cards in products from 1989.

In order to step-up their game, Topps tested some new printing techniques.  They took tons of regular Glossy Rookies and printed a foil stripe across the front.  You can find them in a variety of colors – blue, purple, green, red, silver, and gold.  The stripe can be in multiple locations as well.  One card may have it straight across the player’s face, while another could be near the bottom.  Multiple colors for each player can be found in many different positions.  Occasionally you’ll see cards with two stripes, but I’ve never seen one with two different colors.  Usually if there are two, the colors match.  If that isn’t enough, the asterisk variations carry over to these foil tests.  Every player in the Glossy Rookies set has a card with one and two asterisks on the back.  For those collectors who are obsessed with variations, this could be an endless battle.  Ken Griffey, Jr. is the most popular foil test.

Looking back at what companies tested in order to stay relevant and in the game can be interesting.  The lessons Topps learned from this foil test issue were implemented in their Desert Shield and Stadium Club sets.

Card of the Day: William McKinley 1932 U.S. Caramel Presidents

Card of the Day: Trevor Lawrence 2018 Leaf Metal US Army All-American Green Flag Etch Auto