Sunday, January 26, 2014

Clearly You Don't Care

The release of 2014 Topps is slated for later in the week and collectors are gearing up to chase down the base set, inserts, autographs, and relics.  However, the 2014 Topps cards have already started to pop up on Ebay.  I've have already written about this problem before and the issues early releases cause huge problems for legitimate card seller including local card shops, internet vendors, case breakers, and other Ebay sellers.  

Sellers who post and sell cards before the release date are able to get a leg up on the competition for dollars in the secondary card market, but can also negatively effect the card market and make it difficult to judge.  For example, the 2013 Gypsy Queen cards were readily available last year well before the scheduled release date.  I was able to buy several blasters at the Wal-Mart in Apex, North Carolina a week ahead of time.  I put together a chunk of the set and started searching around for the holes in my set.  

One of the cards I really chased early on was a Matt Carpenter autograph.  Pre-release sales put the cards of the Cardinals second baseman over $25.  After the release the cards sank back down under $10.  The card has now rebounded and is selling for around $20.  Crazy market fluctuations are just one of the draw backs.  So why should we tolerate this as a community of collectors?  We are going to all have a crack at the cards eventually....

While Topps does not share all of the blame with these issues they could certainly do much more to stop cards from leaking out onto the market early.  For example, the person who is selling the 2014 Topps cards currently listed on Ebay lists their location as Monroe, Washington.  Google search Monroe, Washington and you can find only a few hobby card shops within the area.  I am sure Topps has enough leverage over distributors that they can put pressure on the card shops in the area not leak product to the secondary market early and undercut legitimate people in the card business.  

While I am sure Topps probably has a clear policy regarding pre-sales there are clearly those who do not follow the policy and there is little Topps does to enforce its policy to help out local card shops and legit sellers.  They should also consider working with internet based sellers who do not sell sports cards as their primary interest.  For example, while Ebay seems to let pre-sale cards onto their site, card driven secondary market sites like Check Out My Cards and Collector Revolution do a much better job of enforcing the release dates.  Want some 2014 Topps cards this week?  Don't visit these two websites...

On COMC the only thing that comes up after searching for 2014 Topps is the multi-sport set of Olympics cards that Topps put out awhile ago.  The side bar with the category breakdown shows only Multisport.  So, while Topps does not enforce it's policies COMC clearly cares enough about their customers to put their foot down and stop the sale of single cards early.  

Collector Revolution is also not showing any 2014 Topps cards for sale ahead of time.  Meaning that they are also following whatever release date policies issues with their products.  Honestly the whole situation with Topps and their problems policing release dates has come to the point where a few too many good case busters and card shops are getting overly frustrated.  The past decade has been hard on the hobby, the least Topps can do is step up and help the people that put cards into the hands of collectors...legitimately.  


  1. Maybe Topps feels like the buzz created by pre-release sales outweighs any disadvantages (to them at least). It does seem wrong to me.

    1. I think Topps wants to keep everyone happy and does not want to be the bad guy. Leaks are inevitable, but they drive shop owners and legit breakers who are using COMC, Ebay, and CR (other sites too) crazy. Biggest whole in the system is Ebay who does not, and will not, enforce Topps release dates. You break early you beat everyone out of the gate. Ask your local card shop owner about it, or find a big case breaker like Brent & Becca and get their input. They will all give you an earful.