February 26, 2011

Hobby Box Break and Review: 2011 Topps Series 1 Hobby

As most of you are aware we broke a case of 2011 Topps Series 1 a few weeks ago and had fun with it (for the most part). I got a box from Topps to review on the blog and the way I thought I would approach this review is more of an overall comparison as to where to get certain cards.

I will first show you what was pulled from the hobby box that I opened. I didn't scan the base cards because we have all seen them and most of us have 40 stacks laying around by now.

Hobby boxes contain 36 packs, 10 cards per pack, and one auto or relic per box (on average).

Here goes...

Topps 60

Dynamic Duos

CMGR Reprints

Topps 60 Years of Collecting (Original Back)

Topps 60 Years of Collecting

Diamond Anniversary

Gold parallels

Kimball Champions

Game Used relic Jered Weaver

I didn't notice this until I was scanning the cards for the review, but every single Diamond Anniversary and Gold parallel that was pulled were all horizontal cards. I don't think I have ever seen that before, because I would have picked up on it while placing the cards in the scanner. Perhaps there is a box of vertical inserts out there somewhere.

Now that you can see all the cards laid out, you definitely get a great variety and amount of inserts from a hobby box. There were also 5 or 6 Diamond Giveaway cards, however I redeemed them because I was bored. Nothing redeemed from the codes was from anything earlier than 2007...

If all things are equal, meaning the pricing on the Jumbos and Hobby boxes levels off to a more acceptable/affordable level, I really think you get a better value out of the Jumbo box. As much as I don't like the leather manufactured patches, I think I would take that over the single relic card in a hobby box. Plus in a jumbo, you get an autograph as well as another relic in each box. The total base cards in a hobby vs. a jumbo is negligible, both contain roughly 300 +/- 20 cards in a quest to build a complete set.

Did Series 1 make the grade here at A Cardboard Problem? Read on to find out what I think.

Design: A

I think this years base set design has been one of the nicest and sharpest to come out in recent years. I like the name and team logo locations and designs and all the pictures are action shots.

Value: C

Based on the current price points for hobby boxes, the dealers are crazy. Dealers should be selling the base series 1 for a more reasonable price for young kids and us old folks to be able to afford more than a box or a blaster. If these boxes were to level off around $50 or so a box, I would change my grade here to an A.

Quality: A-

This set is the same consistent set we see year in and year out. You end up with almost a complete set per box and a great variety of inserts and parallels. My only gripe with the quality issue is that there are always a few packs that have a card that is crinkled or a pack with all dinged corners. While I know that can happen in transit, or from a shop dropping a box it is still frustrating.

Overall: B+

Series 1 baseball is the set builder's set, so to speak. Each year Topps consistently puts out the flagship set in such a manner that it follows or builds upon the tradition of the base set. I absolutely love the Diamond Anniversary cards in this set and think they could even be a solution to the xfractors of the future. They would be interesting to see incorporated throughout the remaining sets of the year, would love to see them in chrome stock, if they can remain flat and not wavy and curly.

If you are a player collector, I would hold off on buying a box of these and just pick up the singles you need through trades or buying singles at shows and on eBay.

To read more on 2011 Topps Series 1, please feel free to scroll through the archives we have a bunch of posts on the set including posts about each individual subset.


  1. is the gold ortiz for trade?

  2. Re: all the Diamonds and Golds being horizontals. A few yrs back the 2008 Jumbo box I picked up had all the gold foil cards (remember those) in the horizontal format.

  3. If you could put aside the Halladays for me I'd appreciate it! I'll send you an email...

  4. This post starts to touch on something I have been wondering about. I can pick up a pack of 2011 Series 1, with 12 cards, at Target or Walmart for 1.99. My local card shop has packs, with 10 cards for 2.99. On a per card basis, that works out to a 80% premium. Are valuable cards inserted at a higher rate in the packs that go to hobby stores?

    I suppose I should have just bought a pack of each and compared the small print, but that 2.99 works out to around a dozen 1974s and I rather go after those anyways.

  5. I'd agree Value=C, but not for your reasons. If you want the kids to be able to afford it, point them to Opening Day. I think the Value=C because this product appears to have enough demand to keep the price per hobby box inflated. I lucked out and picked up a couple of boxes recently and a week later most online seller were selling boxes about $6-10 more than what I bought them at. I'm going to open one and I haven't decided yet if I will open the second one or flip it if the secondary market price continues to rise.

    carlsonjok: typically, hobby boxes have better normal parallel and hits insertion rates than retail. Retail does have an advantage in some hobby exclusive parallels such as the old-school Topps logo or the background of a player image replaced with black in a black-type parallel.

  6. Daniel Descalso has never looked so bedazzled!

  7. Jumbos always are better better than "regular" 36ct. boxes!

  8. Would you trade the Pence diamond parallel? email me