April 20, 2011

Review: 2011 Topps Tribute Pack Rip

Yesterday I got home and found a bubble mailer from Topps. Not sure if there could have been a better place to get a bubble mailer from than them, well except if a blogger or friend sent a Cano autograph or Pujols autograph.

I opened the envelope and there they were, 2 packs of 2011 Topps Tribute for the ripping. I was able to hold out til after dinner but that was it. I wanted to do a live break but it would have taken me longer to clean my desk than it would have to open the packs, so I decided to keep living in a mess.

Here is what I got:

Pack 1

Roy Campanella

Willie Stargell

Hoyt Wilhelm

Yonder Alonso auto

Catfish Hunter blue /199 (The upper left corner was pack damaged, the top layer of the card is lifted.)

Pack 2

Vernon Wells

Harmon Killebrew

Ryne Sandburg

Roberto Alomar dual game used jersey

Roy Halladay gold /50

Honestly, I am not too sure how to review a product based on a small sample from a hobby box. Don't misunderstand me here, I am grateful that Topps sent the packs to me to open but to be able to create a proper review I feel like this isn't what it should be based on.

Tribute comes 6 packs to a box, 5 cards to a pack and a price tag of $439 +/- a few bucks. I have seen some amazing cards from this set on eBay so I know they are out there. But these two packs, at least to me, were a pretty poor example of what you can pull from the product. If I spent around $90 on a pack of these cards and pulled a Yonder Alonso card as the hit, I may have bent it in half out of frustration. I honestly would have rather set fire to $90.

I will give you my review solely based on the sample provided.

Design: A

It gets an A for design simply because when you hold these cards, they are thick card stock, the backs are glossed and the card looks like it came out of a $90 pack of cards. In that respect you get what you pay for in terms of these cards looking like a very high end product. Is the design anything spectacular? Not at all, but I think the goal here is for simple elegance.

Value: C

I can't give 2 packs an A for what I got here, I'm sorry. There is nothing here that is worth what it would cost to buy these two packs. Again, I know in the scheme of things a complete box would have yielded a better outcome but these two packs do not offer me close to $200 worth of baseball goodness.

Quality: B+

The Catfish card was pack damaged, so they lose points there. I don't really care how the card got damaged because the bottom line in a pack with 5 cards and a $90 price tag... "It doesn't matter!" (the Rock) Also, I know this may be nit-picking a wee bit but each card is a different size. Some are taller, some are wider, but they are all different. I am kind of OCD so that could be why it irritates me.

Overall: B-/C+

I know that doesn't exactly average out based on the individual grades but I have to seriously weigh the price into the overall package here. While the design meets the "luxury"/ "elegance" of a $439 box of cards, the sample of players and hits doesn't add up to $439. Maybe if each base card was serial numbered to 500 or something it would, but honestly I have no interest in an autograph of a guy I have barely heard anything about (Alonso) in a product this pricey. If he is in the product, why isn't a guy like Russell Martin? He at least has an established career.

The product is nice, just for the current retail value I don't see that value in the box. That isn't Topps fault because they didn't set out to make a $500 box of cards here.

What do you guys think? Am I being too harsh? Do you think these packs are worth what they would cost to buy?


  1. Nice re-use of Ryno's 1990 Topps card photo.
    I wouldn't mind the re-use of photos if they were significant photos.
    Re-using RC photos would be kinda cool IMHO.

    I agree with you, if I were to come home to an envelope from Topps it would be a good day regardless of the contents.

  2. I am a sucker for these cards. I like the look of them, the feel, etc. I agree that they are overpriced, but I feel like these are "upper class" Topps cards and that is how they justify it. Not a product the average collector can afford, though.

  3. Nice cards, but just not affordable. Im sure I will be able to pick off what I need in the secondary market. I wonder if 2011 triple threads will hit the 400 dollar mark this year with the extra hits. Topps is pricing the average joe collector out of the market.

  4. let me know if you are looking for a good home for the alonso card :) go reds!

  5. No, I totally agree, not worth the price. I know you're paying for what "could happen," but that's not good enough for collectors like me.

  6. I love this set again this year but it is too expensive for me to buy any packs or boxes. Again I will just pick and choose the singles I want which may be better for me anyway.

  7. I don't usually look at box breaks on the Blowout forums, but I saw some breaks of this product a few minutes ago and there were a lot of damaged cards.

  8. I really like the design of the base cards. I hope they look as good in person as they do in pictures.

    I wouldn't want to pay that amount for a pack. It seems like a big disappointment for the price.

  9. While the base cards are pretty decent looking I have not really seen anything that would dictate a $75+ price range per pack let alone pulling only 1 "hit" per pack. Even the "hits" design is nothing special, sticker autographs and the design gets worse with each relic. The triple-relic cards are just horrible.

  10. out of my price range - Was the packaging sufficient to keep the Hunter card from getting damaged. For $90 I would expect something pretty protective, or do you think the card was damaged at the factory?.

  11. They get points for a simple elegant design, but lose them for not protecting them sufficiently for that price. No way I would even consider buying a box, though. I'm a set builder, not a hit chaser. A dual swatch (new) HOF'er is a decent hit, although they're white, but I still can't figure out why they put rookies and no-names in a TRIBUTE set. It's supposed to portray players that did something significant in the majors, not those who MIGHT do something MAYBE... Rookie hype is a widespread disease that infects too many sets, especially those geared toward retired players.

  12. At least those crappy packs went to someone for free. That is about the only good thing about that break. I am curious how you get hooked up with free packs? Do you have to be an affiliate of Topps? Do you have to have so many visitors to your blog? Thanks for showing the cards.

  13. Haven't seen any of these up close and personnel. Like the base design, but if they are all different sizes that would annoy the bejezzus out of me. 2001 Gold Label is like that.

  14. I just don't know what's really special or different about this high-priced set versus the same kind of thing from 2008, 2003, 1999, and so on.

    I understand that presumably there is a place for high-priced product in the hobby.

    What doesn't seem particularly fair is that, as another blogger put it, the hobby has gone largely from
    - "low-risk, high reward" (cheap pack/box price, low probable chance of a real hit), to

    - "high-risk, low-reward" (pricey pack/box price, virtual certainty of a 'hit', but that hit is something like Yonder.

  15. I agree with Tunguska, though.

    Any envelope, packet, or box from Topps is always met at my door with great enthusiasm.