Instead of busting Hobby boxes of Topps Series 1 and Topps Series 2 this year, I decided I would just buy a Hobby set, the one that comes with a pack of 5 serially-numbered foil parallels. As I mentioned yesterday, these parallels can be some of the most difficult ones to find, as most of them stay locked away in sealed factory sets. So even though the print run is usually pretty high, they can be as hard to find as some of the cards that are numbered to # / 10 or # / 5. When I was working on my Josh Reddick rainbow from the 2013 Topps Sets, the Factory Set parallel was one of the worst to find. It took several months, and I eventually found one copy buried on a card shop website. I believe that's the only copy I've ever seen, so I was lucky to be the one who stumbled on it.
So here's the box. I'm sure just about everyone has seen one of these in a card shop or at the local big box store. There are several different versions of these, each with a different-colored box and a different type of special insert inside. I wanted the Hobby one with the 5-card pack of numbered parallels.
One thing I found interesting upon opening this was that the cards aren't in sequential order. From the side I could see that there were a couple blocks of cards with similar lines visible on the side. Upon further inspection I found that the bands of white I could see were all of the horizontal cards from each series, packed together. They must print the horizontal cards on their own sheet or something. My guess is that these are packed in the order they get cut from the sheet. Series 1 and Series 2 are separate from each other, and the horizontal cards in each series are in their own block in the middle of the vertical cards.
I was kind of hoping that I'd pull some big name players from my foil pack, because one or two of those could probably pay for the set. Out of these three, Billy Hamilton is probably the biggest name, but that's not exactly saying a whole lot. They are cool enough cards. The foil kind of reminds me of the Opening Day parallels without the blue accents. Each one is numbered out of # / 177. The foil treatment does kind of make the people in the background look ghostly.
Wade Miley and Tyler Saladino probably aren't going to do much to inflate my Paypal balance, either. Oh, well. I was going to buy the factory set anyway, and it probably didn't cost me anything more than a hand-collated set would.
Today Topps released their first Topps Chrome factory set, which for the first time features the full Topps flagship checklist on Chrome stock. You also get a bunch of fancy parallels (2 Superfractors, 13 Blue Sapphire 65th Anniversary parallels # / 5) and whatnot in the set, but it carries a price tag of $1,500.00 with a print run of 250 sets total. I guess you could probably automatically make money buying a set and flipping the singles, but that's a lot of work and (for me) a lot of money up front.
Well, that's my review of the set. Sorry I didn't post any base cards. I think we've all seen plenty of flagship base by now. If not, imagine the cards pictured above are a little less blurry and take the serial numbering away. Voila! That's what base Topps looks like this year.