Featured Cards: 2012 Topps Five Star Silver Signatures #FSSI-JK, John Kruk; 2012 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSA-JK, John Kruk
Make it stop!
$500 for a pack of five cards. Let that seep into your conscious for a while. For that sin alone, this set should die a quick, horrible death. What, Topps didn’t have enough ridiculously high-end product? Wasn’t Topps satisfied with its effort on Museum Collection? (Which, I should add, became my guilty pleasure of 2012 — but more on that another time.) Did Topps not make enough money hand over fist with Triple Threads and Tribute? Furthermore, the ugly marketing of the set by Topps just left a nasty taste — somewhat similar to the gum Donruss included in packs of their ’81 baseball cards — in my mouth. In fact, it angered me that they said this set was for their “most passionate, hard-core, heaviest collectors.”
Really? Fuck you, Topps. I spend hundreds of dollars per year adding new cards to my Phillies collection. I currently own numerous Phillies cards bearing serial numbered print runs smaller than my age (in some cases less than half my age, but I’d rather not dwell on that), but because I cannot spend $500 on one pack, I’m not a passionate, hard-core collector? Here, have some 31-year-old gum from one of your products, chew it for about five hours, and then get back to me about how I am not a passionate collector.
If that wasn’t enough, the Five Star cards themselves (not the design, I’m talking the materials, and final result) are enough to make a collector cry. I was at a local baseball card store on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and saw someone purchase and open a pack. He was kind enough to let me take a look at the cards, and I was aghast to see that three of the five cards displayed noticeable chipping and/or dings. I’m sorry, but for $500/pack the effing cards should come out in pristine condition. There’s just no excuse for this hot, steaming mess. Worse still, all the cards are 180-point in thickness. The only way to properly store the things in a manner to avoid damage (in many instances, further damage) is to purchase and use a lot of Ultra-Pro holders — and this includes the base cards.
Finally, and this is a problem endemic to all high-end sets, there’s the problem with the resale market. I spent just $25 to acquire the two Five Star Kruk autograph cards shown in this post. I realize and accept that these days the resale value of all the cards in a pack very rarely matches what one paid for it. However, the problem seems especially acute with Five Star. Thinking back on what I saw in the card store last week, I doubt that particular collector will be able to recoup even half of what he paid if he was to list all five of those cards on eBay.
Topps needs to stop this crap now. I understand Topps likely needs the high-end
collectors gamblers to maintain a healthy profit margin, and that once they have their money they don’t give two pieces of a Pat Burrell game-used jersey about the secondary market. However, how about treating the rest of us collectors — the ones on a budget — with a little more respect and care? How about doing more to show us that we matter and spending a little more time on quality control and not rehashing the same exact same card under multiple different brands (see any Phillies player who appeared in Topps, Topps Chrome, Topps Opening Day and the Topps Phillies Team Set). You know, try to actually mix up the photos a little more, put more effort into including bench players and bullpen long men, and stop including SPs in the base set of the Heritage brand.
I actually feel somewhat dirty for having acquired the two Kruk cards shown here. The depressing fact is, however, that it’s likely that some of the base cards will filter their way into my collection when/if I can purchase them cheaply enough. Why? Because I am a passionate collector (even I don’t meet the Topps financial criteria for such a label) and I want as complete a Phillies collection as possible. I’ll have my fingers crossed so that they won’t be too dinged or chipped when they arrive.
Hopefully, Five Star is the first and last time we see something like this from Topps. Sadly, I doubt that will be the case.