When card collecting first exploded back in the 1980s, it existed merely as a hobby for kids, and people had little interest in making actual money from trading and selling.
Now, though, that generation of card collecting children has grown up, and the cards are being treated as solid, long term investments.
In the past few years baseball cards have returned to the limelight once more- not quite in the same way that Pokemon cards did, but a notable comeback nonetheless.
But are Topps cards specifically a good investment? Read on to find out, as well as everything else you might need to know about sports cards as investments.
Are Topps Cards Worth The Investment?
There are a variety of reputable companies that have been producing baseball cards for decades, and a number of card series worth investing in. But what about Topps cards in particular?
The best way to get into collecting baseball cards (aside from getting very, very lucky) is by building a set. This entails collecting one of each card within a particular line of cards.
These days the most commonly built sets include the Topps Series I and Topp Series II.
The first of these series included 350 cards by 2019, and a lot of the most well known top players and rookie players featured.
Within each set there are also subsets, which can include stadium cards, league leader cards, future star cards, World Series highlight cards, and Topps All-Star Rookies.
The first series also features 25 super short-printed legend cards and 75 short-printed photo variation cards. These are the cards that master set builders strive to get their hands on.
As for Series II, it’s much of the same thing when it comes to the cards on offer, although there are no league leaders or World Series highlight cards.
So, when it comes to set building, the first and second Topps series are good places to start. But what about one of Topps’ most recent series, Topps Now?
‘Topps Now’ Cards: Are They Worth It?
A polarizing line, the Topps Now series is lauded by some collectors but looked down upon by others.
They work quite a bit differently than traditional cards, to the point where many collectors are sceptical, deeming it more of a gimmick than anything.
How does Topps Now work? The line was introduced in 2016, and it’s unique in that each of the cards commemorates specific events from the day before the card is printed.
Topps then manufactures scarcity by making the cards available for just one day (24 hours from the printing). After this time, the cards will never be printed again.
This inverts the idea of ripping cards (buying cards that come in packets, so you don’t know which card you’ve bought until you rip the packet open).
There is one similarity to ripping, though, in the form of the rare parallel cards that Topps will send out at random to buyers.
Buying Topps Now Cards
The base Topps Now card will cost you $10, but there are also auto versions of certain cards which cost more at $79.99. For a combination relic auto card, you could be looking at up to $250.
One trick for more affordable investing is buying multiple base cards in bulk from sellers on eBay and other auction sites. Often it’ll work out that you’re paying less for each base card, closer to five or six dollars than 10.
The base cards are, generally, high risk/high reward. You can make a lot of money if you get the right base card, but getting the right card can be tricky.
Topps do offer a loyalty program, which is worth looking into if you’re regularly buying Topps Now cards specifically.
Via the Topps Loyalty Program you’ll be able to build up points with each purchase, and eventually you’ll be entitled to a ‘card of the month’ membership, which will allow you to order one card for free each month of the season.
The aforementioned parallel versions of the Topps Now cards, which are sent to buyers at random, include the Blue #/49 version, the Purple #/25 version, the Red #/10 version, the Orange #/5 version, and the Gold #/1 version.
The trick (and it’s a hard trick to master) is buying a Topps Now card that commemorates an event that you feel will be of importance in years to come, but not an event so obvious that everyone else will be thinking the same thing.
What should you look out for when investing in Topps Now cards that everyone else won’t be looking out for as well?
For the most part you’ll want to be buying cards that commemorate moments unlikely to be repeated any time soon, cards featuring iconic individuals (either players or anyone else).
Or people you expect to become iconic individuals over time, cards that are aesthetically pleasing, and cards that have either novelty value or comedic value.
A great example of a card with novelty value is the 1/1 Dr. Anthony Fauci card, commemorating his throwing out the opening pitch for the 2020 season.
This card sold for $10,000, because not only does it capture a historical moment (the return to sporting events following the initial wave of Covid), but it’s also just sort of irregular by nature.
So, are Topps cards actually worth investing in? There are more popular lines out there that have the potential to net you more money, but in terms of building sets, the Topps Series I and Series II are great places to start.
And could make you decent money if you stick with it. Topps Now cards are an interesting new variation on the traditional format and can also make you good money.
But just because you know exactly which card you’ll be receiving doesn’t make investing that much easier.