Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Topps Buyback Cards

1973 Topps - #43

The concept of buyback cards was foreign to me until I won on Sportlots a Series 2 lot of 2015 Topps.  Included in the lot were two Topps buyback cards.  I don't know when exactly Topps started its buyback program but I believe it's only been in the past couple years that Topps has stamped the cards.  

Since buybacks are not new topic there has already been plenty of digital ink spilled talking about these cards.  That won't stop me from giving my own $.02, though.  

In my experience so far, all of my buyback cards have been from the 1970s.  As I mentioned in my trade post documenting my first vintage basketball cards, the vintage cards have a classic look and feel to them. I don't need an all-star player to feel like I had a successful pull.  Any card is fine by me.

1979 Topps - #696

Some critics might argue that if collectors want vintage cards they should just go out and buy the originals and keep the buybacks out of the modern sets.  It's fair point but I personally wouldn't seek out these cards on my own.  I'm not at the point where I'm trying to collect vintage cards.  Any buybacks I receive I consider a special surprise.  

There is also the question of value.  Are buyback cards more valuable than the originals? I have not performed any comparison research but my gut answer would be no.  I don't think the stamp adds any intrinsic value beyond the original.  Or rather, the unstamped version.  

The downside to the buyback cards is that it is nearly impossible to put together a checklist.  Topps never releases a checklist of all the buyback cards they've inserted into boxes and I doubt Topps even knows which cards are shipped off.  Collectors don't even know how many different buyback cards are out there.

1973 Topps - #283

Another thorny issue is the matter of cataloging and sorting buyback cards.  At least on the Trading Card Database, with no set checklist the cards cannot be added to my collection.  I've resorted to cataloging the card under it's original set.  I then scan the front of the buyback and upload it to my collection.  That way the stamped version will show up in my collection gallery.  

When I sort the card I put it with the set that it was pulled from.  For example, the Ray Sadecki card was pulled from 2014 Topps Update.  Therefore, I will keep it sorted with the rest of my Update cards.  I also make a note in my collection on TCDB that it's sorted with Update so I can find it easier at a later date.

Topps 1978 - #217

Will Topps continue the buyback program for 2017 flagship?  Given that there is no shortage of cheap commons out in the world, my money is on "yes."

1 comment:

  1. Me personally I'd rather have the "original" non-stamped cards. I will no pursue or intentionally buy any stamped "buybacks". My biggest reason is the stamp. It is like the cancellation mark for postage stamps. It lowers the collection money value. Keeping it from getting any condition near-mint or better. I'm not sure when Topps started the buybacks, or exactly when they started stamping them. I think it might have been for some anniversary, or a Heritage set that they started the stamping and just continued with the tradition. I would tend to guess/wager that they will insert buybacks into the 2017 product. I don't know if Topps has any type of standard for what condition buybacks can be. I think they tend to only do whatever you want to consider mid-range condition up to near-mint.