Saturday, November 15, 2014

When retail is better than hobby

Over the last couple weeks I've purchased five hanger boxes of 2014 Topps Update because there's been nothing else even slightly interesting. From these five boxes I have accumulated what I'm guessing is close to a complete set as well as plenty of inserts, Walmart blue parallels, five gold parallels and the following cards.

A sparkle variation and an image variation. Topps really went nuts with the variations in Update series. Way over the top. I mean..really, come on Topps. A pitcher who hasn't had a good season since 2007 and a guy whose prime ended when I was in high school and who hasn't played more than half a season since 2008. I guess maybe this is better than forty-seven different parallels ala Bowman Chrome.





So let's analyze this. For about $50 plus tax I got a near full set, two variations, two color parallels numbered under 100 and a numbered relic of the newly crowned National League Cy Young and MVP award winner. Hobby boxes have just this week dropped below $50 online and I would imagine are still in the $60-70 range at your typical overpriced LCS (like mine). Actually knowing my LCS they're probably still $85 there like they were on release day and will stay at $85 until they turn to dust. But I feel like the chances of pulling these cards from one hobby box are near zero. Most boxes would likely yield one sub-100 color parallel, an unnumbered All-Star stitches relic and MAYBE one variation if you're lucky.

So I think I'm starting to figure out that during the period of peak to mid-range prices for current year Topps flagship buying retail is a better bet than buying hobby. Ignoring the existence of jumbo boxes of course. While I think hobby is far superior to retail in other Topps sets like Ginter, Topps Chrome and Bowman Platinum, in this case it looks to me like retail wins.

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