Thursday, August 18, 2016

Built in Secrecy

I'm just curious as to how many of us bloggers out there are worried about competing with our fellow collectors when it comes to acquiring cards. Case in point, I've always been fascinated with the concept of eTopps. The ability to purchase cards online, a limited print run, sealed and stored offsite with the ability to ship the cards to your house. It was a radical idea at the time that lasted for a decade before it became an afterthought to many collectors. I never collected any of the cards through the eTopps website. By the time I had learned about the cards the program had essentially ceased. Sure, you could still purchase cards from fellow collectors on eBay to have them transferred to your online eTopps portfolio but Topps had driven the cost of shipping those cards to astronomical rates that many collectors, I feel, just cut their losses and abandoned their account with many of these cards never to see the light of day.

Eventually I began to think how great it would be to try and actually build a physical set of eTopps cards. Instead of buying digital cards online and having them transfer to an eTopps account (to avoid shipping fees), I decided to start scouring eBay, COMC, Beckett, Sportlots, and Amazon to see if I could build a set from cards collectors already had in hand. My only stipulation was that the cards still needed to be sealed in their plastic case that Topps had sent them. I decided to settle on the 2008 eTopps set because I like the giant team logos in the background and the number of great rookie cards in the set. Joey Votto, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Davis, Johnny Cueto, Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce, Daniel Murphy, and Clay Buccholz to name a few. In addition you have a nice collection of hall of famers (or soon to be hall of famers) with Ken Griffey Jr., Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Ivan Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter. The lowest print run in this set for a particular card is 499 (Carlos Gonzalez, Brandon Jones, CC Sabathia, Ivan Rodriguez, and Daniel Murphy). So theoretically there could only be a total of 499 sets ever assembled based on the print run, but because of the fact that there are team and player collectors that number shrinks drastically. Follow that up with the fact that due to the high cost of shipping eTopps cards, many of those 2008 cards will probably never hit the market. That got me thinking, realistically what could be the total number of sets ever assembled? My guess would be less than 25, but I could be wrong. I'm sure Patrick over at Radicards would be better able to run the numbers and give a more precise analytical answer.

When I first started chasing these cards down in January of this year I noticed that there were instances of only 1 card of a player being sold. I already knew that there were some cards in the set that were not even listed. I decided that if I could acquire at least 59 of the 69 cards that were produced, that would only leave me with 10 cards (or 14%) of the set to chase which seemed like a realist chance to succeed. Yesterday the last 5 of the 69 cards in this set showed up in my mailbox. You can see all of the cards by checking out my 2008 eTopps page under the pages section on the top right column of my blog.




Anyone else out there working on a secret project?

10 comments:

  1. I'm not a fan of the concept. I guess it's also because it came when I was in a lull from collecting.
    The closest thing to secret that I'm working on is getting ballpark cards.

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    1. That's a very cool project to work on Mike. I had thought about picking up stadium seat relics from all the ballparks but just never got around to starting it. Who know, maybe someday. Best of luck on your project!

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  2. No secret project, but congratulations on a cool accomplishment!

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    1. Thanks Angus! It was a fun project to complete, but I'm not sure I would undertake another one :)

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  3. Whoa! That's impressive. I wish eTopps would stop emailing me about their shipping sales which are still expensive.

    My whole blog is a secret project that no one I actually know knows about. Does that count?

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  4. I have no card secrets!

    (And I have that Kershaw etopps card already so ain't even jealous).

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    1. Just curious if you freed him from his plastic prison or kept him locked away.

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  5. That's a really cool set project! I guess the closest thing I have to similar secret project is my pursuit of as many 2014 Topps Stadium Club Members Only parallels as I can gather. I know I won't complete the set, but I can gather a lot of the common and semistar cards.

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    1. Thanks RAZ! Best of luck on your Stadium Club project. That's definitely a high mountain to climb...but if you make it to the top it'll definitely be an epic accomplishment!

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