The past two weeks has obviously been a major change for collecting inserts in Topps Bunt. For a while, there were limited numbers of inserts and pack prices were high. It seemed like a lot of the frustration among Bunt’ers was the difficulty in getting inserts.
I am not sure if the Topps folks reacted to what was happening or this was the plan from the beginning, but they made a changes for the better. They started faster paced series releases like the Heritage Series 2 or the League Leaders and they made the cards available in less expensive packs. There were still cards that were hard to get but when you opened packs, you at least had a chance to pull an insert. And there are also the long running series (Player of the Week, Sunday Night, Editor’s Choice, Fan’s Choice) that people can chase. The nice thing about the short-run chases is that they seem to usually tell you ahead of time how difficult it will be to pull the cards. For the long-running series (except Golden Moments and Throwback Thursday), they don’t tell us how many cards are being released… so it is more risky to chase the cards through packs or trading.
So, which series are currently out there and what should we chase?
- Mascot series – this is winding down. I thought it was a waste of coins and time. Evidently others agreed because Topps had to aggressively discount the packs to get people to pull the last of the cards. I don’t think these cards have much trade value.
- Bowman #1 draft pick series – I like this series. I didn’t really chase it because I thought it would require too many coins but I think the veteran players went after these. That is going to make it tough to extract the low card count players (Harper, Strasburg) from trade. Like the first Bowman series, I think these will continue to hold some value but not like sigs.
- League Leaders – this one is pretty much finished. And it is a good example of two approaches from Topps. In some chases, they set a discreet deadline for when the award will be handed out; in other chases, they give the award every day for a period of time. Personally, I prefer the former. If you are going to offer a limited card, make it as limited as possible. Which brings us back to the League Leaders — it seems like the combination of card accessibility (the rarest card was Encarnacion at 750 cards) and giving the award every day for three weeks seems to have lowered the desirability. That said, it seems like it is good for the game to have both types of chases.
- Turkey Red – maybe because I don’t like the look of these cards, maybe because I don’t know how many they are releasing of each one… I pretty much ignored this. I just checked the card counts and they are really low. Either that means no one is buying or it is really hard to get. I might wait till later this week to se what happens with this series. They are giving out the Jeter award every day this week.
So the key to buying packs and trading for the series:
- Understand scarcity — how many are they going to release. Don’t pay too much for the high card count cards that are part of the series — you’ll be able to get them, I promise. Spend your time and money going after the most rare cards.
- Try to get a sense for how much people want them. The best proxy – look at the fan feed in the app to see how many people are asking for the cards.
- Look at whether they are going to give out the award once or multiple times. The Heritage Series 2 was a bear to get the Utley card because it was a one-time give. The above mentioned League Leaders chase was the opposite – which cards do you think were harder to get and will hold more of their value?
I am sure Topps will announce another series in the next couple days since most of the above are winding down. I am looking forward to checking it out.