Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I Dabbled in 2018 Topps Series 1

When 2018 Series 1 was released, I was figuratively dying to open something new. Because of the ridiculous prices of 2017 products, I didn't really open that much (other than my standard Heritage, Gypsy Queen, and Allen & Ginter). It left me wanting. 

I decided to buy a couple jumbo packs from my LCS and a couple of blasters from Wally World. Let's just say that I didn't snag anything really exciting. 

Topps has really stretched the definition of "relic" recently by creating and including "manufactured" relics. It seems that one "hit" in every jumbo hobby box is some kind of manufactured medallion. Case in point:

This is the Chris Sale All Star Game medallion. I really don't understand the purpose. I know that medallions have been featured in past products, as well. The "First Home Run" medallion immediately comes to mind. I think Topps would do better to consider these an insert rather than a hit, as this would probably leave the consumer feeling less cheated. 

Not to be outdone, each retail blaster also comes with a manufactured relic:

Whereas the medallion correctly identifies itself as such, this card labels itself as a "Players Weekend Logo Patch Card" (italics added for emphasis). This seems to be made of PVC or plastic; it isn't remotely close to being a patch. Again, the consumer gets the short end of the stick.

However, there are cards that feature genuine relics. For example:

Here, we have a plain gray swatch from a jersey. Unlike the previous two relics, this one actually has a direct relation to player on the card, as noted with the "Game-Used Memorabilia" designation on the front. However, in classic Topps fashion, the reverse-side of the card throws us a curveball (pun intended): "The memorabilia contained on this card is not from any specific game, event, or season." Well that kind of puts a damper on the game-used memorabilia notation on the front, doesn't it? Topps tells us it is game used on one side, the refuses to acknowledge that it is game-used on the reverse. Okay then.

Okay, okay...enough complaining. One thing Topps did do right this year was to dial back the photo variations of the cards. Unlike 2017 Update, which had what seems like hundreds of variations, 2018 S1 featured only batting practice photo variations (SP) and an extremely limited amount of player celebration variations (SSP). I pulled two of the BP variations (one retail, one hobby).

First up was this Yoenis Cespedes. I've always liked Yo, but it seemed like after his initial trade from Oakland, he kind of fell of the earth (in terms of coverage). 

The second variation I pulled was this Manny "soon-to-be-Money" Machado. When he hits the free agent market this winter, he will land a massive contract. Then, everyone will know him as "Money" Machado. Take it to the bank! I love the card and the hoodie, but I've never liked that particular style of Oakleys, even when I played. Regardless, still a nice card.

So there you have it, my dabble in Series 1. What are your thoughts on "manufactured" relic cards? As consumers, have we created an over-demand for "hits" that brought us to this place? Thunderdome!


  1. "I've always liked Yo, but it seemed like after his initial trade from Oakland, he kind of fell off the earth (in terms of coverage)."

    The funny thing is that he's now in New York and yet this is pretty much true.

  2. Even though you got two Red Sox "relics" I still detest these stupid things. That and the photo variations are why I stopped buying flagship packs/boxes for the most part (sometimes I wait two years and get older retail boxes from Dave & Adam's)

    You should jump on the copyrights to "Money" Machado now. He sure wont need any extra cash!

  3. I'm fine with manu-relics in a blaster. But when it's a hit in a more expensive box, I don't think that's quite right.

  4. Not my favorite relics. The "fine print" takes the fun out of them. Modern swatches just don't have any romance. Did Troy wear a jersey in warmups and then put it in a hamper labelled Topps? I liked the All-Star Game and World Series patches from a few years ago tied to specific seasons.

  5. As for the vague "guarantee" that card companies have started to adopt, they're super annoying. It just makes me think they're grabbing jerseys at Goodwill or the flea market and throwing them into their cards. It's not like anyone is going to hold them accountable since their "guarantee" is so vague.