Jason Dean Martin
July 24, 2016
Back in June, I wrote about Topps’ newest trading card promotion in conjunction with New Era and Lids. It was a simple promotion. Purchase an MLB New Era cap and you’d receive a free pack of four Topps cards produced specifically for this promotion.
In the near two months since the promotion began, I’ve been following the eBay listings for these cards on a daily basis trying to find a few particular ones for my own collection. And in those two months, I’ve come to a few conclusions that many may not be aware of.
First, let’s do some sheer number comparisons to demonstrate just how scarce these cards have been. I’ll be comparing the Topps New Era set to the newly-released 2016 Topps Allen & Ginter, which has officially been out for only two days.
(Note: for the eBay searches, I used the phrases “topps new era” and “2016 allen ginter.”)
Number of Completed eBay Listings
Topps New Era: 275
Allen & Ginter: 4,460
Number of Active eBay Listings
Topps New Era: 63
Allen & Ginter: 12,711
Total Number of Packs Produced
Topps New Era: 440,000
Allen & Ginter: ?
Topps produced 440,000 packs for the New Era promotion and only 338 listings have been listed on eBay, which is obviously a minuscule percentage (0.08% to be exact). For the sake of the argument, let’s assume Topps created 440,000 packs for 2016 Allen & Ginter and there have been 17,171 listings on eBay (or 3.90%).
So, now that I’ve laid out all the numbers for you, what do they mean? They simply mean these Topps cards from the New Era/Lids promotion are scarce! Many of the people that received these packs for purchasing their hat probably disregarded the pack of cards and could’ve done a number of things with them including simply throwing them away. I’ve also heard the notion that the Lids employees are probably hoarding them to sell. But, there are a couple reasons why I don’t believe that to be true. First, if they were hoarding them to sell, where would most people sell them? On eBay! So, why have less than 400 listings been posted? That doesn’t correlate. Second, I have been told by a couple store managers that the packs were part of their inventory meaning that they couldn’t just hand them out at random or it would be considered theft or count against their audit scores at the very least. Granted, there’s always one bad apple who’s going to do what they want, but most will follow the rules.
Here’s another fact to prove my point that these cards are scarce. Not one parallel has been listed on eBay since the promo began. Not one! According to the official release that was given to all Lids employees, there were three parallel sets (blue numbered to 99, green numbered to 25, and red numbered to 1). Out of 1,125 total possible parallels, zero have been posted for sale. It makes me wonder whether or not these were actually inserted into packs or if they were scrapped at the last minute. But, that type of thing has already been discussed here.
One thing we can be sure of is that the relic cards were in fact produced. But, even though the relics are numbered to 99 and the autographed relic cards are limited to just one copy (for a total of 900 relic cards manufactured), only five have surfaced on eBay. In today’s collecting market, a relic card numbered to 99 can be ignored by some. Don’t make that mistake with this set and get fooled by the numbering. These should be considered extremely limited and you’ll probably pay a pretty penny for one.
There isn’t a set out there that has this kind of production-to-sales ratio! Either these are being trashed minutes after the purchase or Topps didn’t actually produce 440,000 packs.
This seemed to be a nice attempt by all three parties involved to get more traffic into Lids stores and hat buyers could get an added novelty bonus. But, after a closer look, these cards aren’t anything to sneeze at. They’re extremely rare and will only get tougher to find once the stores run out of packs (and most already have). This just goes to show you that numbering can add to a card’s value, but sometimes these cardboard rectangles can have value without all the bells and whistles.