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Beckett 20 Questions … on 2012 Topps Five Star

 

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Since its high-end arrival earlier this month, 2012 Topps Five Star — the most expensive pack of Topps baseball cards ever made — has been one that’s generated more drool, more talk and more debate than most products this year.

While the initial wave of cards has been priced (click here for a Five Star checklist and OPG), the impact of this one arguably may not be known for some time. Could it spark more high-end to come? Could a flood of rarities now equal genuine scarcity later? Or, could it be a one-time experiment? Only time will tell.

For now — and for the next issue of Beckett Baseball where we’ll take a look at more from Five Star — here are 20 questions about the $500-per-pack product that we want to hear your answers for. How would you grade it? What did you like? What did you not like? Give us your take on each question — or add a comment if you want at the end.

1. Did you buy any 2012 Topps Five Star wax?

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See the remaining questions after the jump.

2. Did you buy any Five Star singles?

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3. Which do you feel is the best way of dabbling in Five Star given your collecting habits?

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4. Do you feel that high-end wax is good for the hobby?

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5. Do you buy high-end wax ($200-plus boxes)?

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6. For you, what's a reasonable return on a $500 wax box?

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7. In a perfect world, is a $500-plus return on every box of Five Star possible?

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8. How do you think a product like this would do if the collecting base was three times larger?

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9. Overall, how would you grade Five Star?

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10. Should Topps do Five Star baseball again?

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11. I really like Five Star because of ... (check all that apply)

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12. What I didn't like most about Five Star is ... (check all that apply)

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13. My reaction to this card is ...

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14. If I landed this card out of a single box, I would ...

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15. Which buying/selling strategy would you use on Five Star?

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16. Which of these 50 Five Star autographs (any card) should command $100 or more? (select all that apply)

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17. How much does this Bryce Harper RC presently book for?

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18. Your reaction to seeing this card ...

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19. Have you seen a baseball brand in the last decade that trumps Five Star?

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20. Is FIve Star (or high-end) for everyone?

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

32 Comments

Jeffrey Sitzer

I love buying high end cards.But Topps has got to do something about the chipping.Period!

Posted November 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

Average collectors can not afford to buy Five Star or any High End Products…. I would like to see a poll in the future how much does the average collector makes (work or school) & how much do they spend each month compared to year…. also, do they buy wax or singles…??

I for one, spent a ton of money the last two years, but after getting out of the Navy last year & taking a $30K pay-cut… I can not afford high end products… therefore I have gone back to buying only singles & chasing older cards that I’ve always wanted or ones that catch my eye..

I’m into collecting for the hobby, not for profit..

Posted November 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Josh: Most of us can’t — which is why I believe in asking the questions about the product. I’ve considered a 20 Questions about collectors but one that’s focused on that doesn’t necessarily have a comfortable home in one of our magazines, which is where the results of these items are published. (It could in an upcoming topical issue of BSCM — so keep an eye open.)

Posted November 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
ernest

i like that you used my jason heyward auto 12/25

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
aclben

Great product but from a Design standpoint, Museum was better…

Chipping was and is a real problem but could make the nicer copies of key singles like Harper more valuable down the road.

Mike Napoli? – Let’s get these type of less than semistars out and stick with HOF’ers, perennial All Stars, hot young players, and national-level Fan Favorites

Distribution across packs – I opened several cases and some had 3-4 monster hits and some had none. A Case Hit is a must for a high end product like this.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
Matt D

A high end product shoulnt have as many issues with card quality. No excuse to get a chipped card when youre paying this much money. The checklist is too sketchy too. Chances of a return of $100 on a $500 box is REALLY good. Watch youtube breaks. More often than not people are underweamed by the hits.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

I think perhaps most collector’s could afford high-end as I’ve probably spend well over 500 this year on more budget friendly stuff. In order to do that though, we would have to sacrifice our low to mid end endeavors, which is something I at least, wouldn’t be willing to do.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
Bill D.

I agree with Matt D. There is simply no excuse for the damage that these High End cards have, You can’t sacrifice quality in any industry and expect customers to keep coming back. This is what happens when a single company gets the right to produce a card sanctioned by MLB or any other Sports League where others are not. Topps needs to come up with a game plan on how they are going to deal with this quality issue.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

Good survey. However, a good survey needs to know the background of each person answering the survey so that results can be extrapolated to represent the intended population.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Nothing scientific about this one, Charlie. It’s just a good old-fashioned set of 20 Questions.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
Topps Mets Fan

Chris, what exactly is the cause of the chipping?

Posted November 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
Richard

For you, what’s a reasonable return on a $500 wax box?

Value.
While you don’t, can’t, get $500 from every box, you should have a very reasonable chance
at getting back a good percentage of that. When you have a good selection of rookie base
card, that helps a lot. I’m curious to see how you hand the RC logo when a base line of 99
was set some time ago for minimum production amounts.

The more expensive a product, the less acceptable bad manufacturing is.

A tiny bit of market research will quickly show you which players have too little demand to
justify as anything but a base card within the set. You are given more leeway with rookies
because of potential for growth. Give someone a bunch of first round draft picks and you
have a shot at least. Stick to guys that have been at least called up, even better.
And if they happen to be the best rookie in a position that year, better yet.
If they fail later on, you can’t blame the maker today. And, you also can score points by
including guys that have had decent careers, but no autographs for a long time if ever.
A product produced this late in the game, well there is little real excuse for bad player selection.

Compare this product with the $100 set they put out as an update for Heritage.
THAT set is a hit. Low production, some harder autographs, good rookie cards, etc.
I’ve seen people sell the sets, with the auto pulled, for close to the original price of the sealed box.
And sealed sets are now up 30-50% over cost. That’s value.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink
Ronnie Rosen

Wow these cards are awesome. Bought some boxes hoping to grade then and my top 2 pulls were 2 Mike Trout autos numbered to /150, all the cards were trashed when I opened them. Not happy at all. I sent everything I got back to topps because that is not acceptable when I paid $400+ a pack. I bought a couple more cases that are still on their way, and I feel that I may have to send everything I get back to topps because there going to be in bad condition. But I am still very happy by the style of the cards and the relics, and they on cards are SWEET!!!!

Posted November 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
Tom Waldron

I guess with a lagre audience responding your going to get answers that marginalize keeping a hi end product. Such is the case with NAT TREASURES OR EXQUISITE. TOPPS 5 STAR.
One objection is that all RC’Sshould be tabed xrc’s. All high end products are not mainstream products.
I simply wouldn’t RISK the obvious in gambling I get a return on my investment. Baseball cards are fluid asets.
I can;t afford them anyway I would rather pay my mortgage instead.
That being said I see more and more average people can as a group afford the high end products now that people can buy cases and have group breaks.
I feel the overall issue is High end products leave little else to look forward to in the average boxes.or VALUES . Why can’t we get a mainstream porduct with a High end appeal.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
Robert Leaman

One of the problems with most high end products these days is that you end up getting autographed cards of players you already have. So if you pull a great card, chances are it’s an upgrade of a similar card you already own. Even though I’m a mid-price range collector, I already have autograhed cards of most notable living Hall of Famers and current stars. And I really don’t need or want mutliple autographed cards of those players. I’m good with only one. A product like this needs a lot cut autographs of deceased Hall of Famers like Ruth, Mantle, Williams, etc. Otherwise, I personally don’t see where the value is. Now, if you’re a newer collector looking for nice autographed cards, then it’s a different store. For me, I’ll stick with trying to find singles of the players I need.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink
FQ

As a Diamondbacks collecter, I’ve been able to score a couple Trevor Bauer autos for $35-39, two Paul Goldschmidt autos for $15-$25 and a Justin Upton base card for under $10. No bad for a $500 per pack product. If you aren’t collecting and over-paying for HOFers or Bryce Harper, I bet Topps Five Stars will hold and gain their value nicely once the relatively low print runs dry up on EBay.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

very nice, but cards should never be a burden in front of bills- but if you can afford it- like the song says- nice work if you can get it..

Posted November 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
Josh

I wasted my money on a box of this stuff. These were my “hits”:

Tom Seaver Jsy /25
Andre Ethier Silver Auto /99
Eric Hosmer Jsy/Auto /97
Fergie Jenkins Auto /208
Ryan Braun Auto /150

I don’t collect any of these guys, so I’ll be happy to get back $120 from this box that cost me $425. It’s unconscionable that Topps would put out an “ultra high-end” product with boxes that have this makeup. The best card is a Ryan Braun auto? And the HoF “hit” is Fergie Jenkins? What a joke. I buy a lot of high-end wax, but I will never buy another box of Five Star.

I already sent my review & angry letter to Topps.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
Brad

I have been buying high-end boxes($200+) for years. Since Topps has taken over the market, I have seen very few high-end boxes that come close to breaking even. Ex., Triple Threads, Sterling etc.. With Five Star, if I paid $500 for a pack of five cards and they were as chipped as the ones I have seen online, and to only get $200-$300 in book value, I would be outraged. This has been all too common with topps lately though, high-end price for a sub standard product. All-in-all, I will not buy Five Star.

Posted November 27, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink
Shaun

If Five Star wants to survive they need to elimate the semi-stars and reduce the print run on many of the auto’s. Add more variations of a player with a lower print run. An on-card auto of Ryan Braun #’d to 150 is only going ot fetch $30-40. Reduce that number to 99 and make another card. That way each card could pull in upwards of $50. I have personally pulled an Al Kaline Auto /208. My first thought was “how do you make a print run that high?” No way should a Hall of Fame player have a card numbered that high. #’d to 50 at the most and put a couple variations in.

Posted November 27, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink
Kevin

To answer question #19,

I think it’s easier to wow people with ultra high-end patch/auto cards so I am more impressed with a wow inducing base set and concept. That said I think the first year of Allen & Ginter trumps 5 Star.

As far as look, impact on the hobby, collector response and collectability ’06 A&G was a far more impressive brand.

5 Star is far to niche.

Posted November 27, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink
Trevor Small

@ Chris Olds

Do you think all the redemptions will be truly honored or do you think people will wait forever for their card and end up getting a replacement in the end because Topps could not get the cards signed?

Posted November 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
Chris Olds

Trevor: I’d expect most, if not all, to be honored. Griffey, for example, has signed for most products and most have been redemptions. He likely does just a couple signings a year and does everything at once.

If any aren’t signed, I’d expect it might be on combo cards where they have to go through the hands of several players. That means more legwork — and more potential obstacles.

Posted November 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
Sam DiNallo

It seems to me that Topps was testing the High-End side of the market with this release. The design was fairly pedestrian, but the on-cards autos were great. The chipping could have easily been avoided. I still believe the best high-end set was the 2006 Topps Sterling. The base cards were unique, and you had three levels of parallel for the chase cards (white suede, burgundy and cherry wood) and you were guaranteed a hit in EVERY box. The price was $250 a box – HALF of FiveStar, and all the autos were on-card as well. Some did not like the fact of only getting one player per box, but the mystery of which of the VERY EXCEPTIONAL 21 players that made the checklist mitigated most of this. The years 2006 for Sterling got watered down with mediocre players, but that first year, Topps got it right.
FiveStar is just High-End for the sake of High-End. Nothing truly orignal here except for the $500 price tag.

Posted November 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
larry

I buy a lot of high end product. This was by far the worst when it came to content and card condition. Here is contents of one box bought at over $425.

CJ Wilson Auto/99
Bill Buckner Auto /208
Mike Napoli Auto /113
Bob Gibson Base Card
Jay Bruce Jumbo Jersey /92
David Freese Single Relic Auto Redemption

ALL CARDS EXCEPT THE REDEMPTION HAD SERIOUS CHIPPING & CORNER ISSUES.

They were so bad I wouldn’t in good conscious even try to sell to recoup probably less than $100.00

Posted November 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
Jonathan Iwanski

I would like to see another company compete with Topps on this level. Right now, there is no one else allowed to make products like this. If there were, the supply would be larger for possibly the same demand, and prices could drop while quality control rose. Imagine if there was one car company around, and it put out a $60,000 car; people would want it because it was the only one–regardless of quality. However there are many car companies putting put products at $60,000+. Thus, there is competition for whose is the best. We no longer have that in baseball cards.

Posted November 28, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink
mike

I have bought other high end products before and have always walked away dissatisfied. When you drop in excess of three hundred dollars for a box which yields only a handful of cards, I don’t think there is any way not to feel slightly cheated unless of course you walk away with a card like the Sandy Koufax or Hank Aaron. When you take into account the amount of chipping reported on this cards, it’s shameless that Topps considers this a high end product. It’s like going to the car dealership and buying a brand new Porsche with hail damage while still paying full price.

Posted November 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink
Phil

As a Brett Lawrie and Jose Bauitsta collector I had no problem splashing $50ish on a Bauitista base card, jumbo relic, and Lawrie on card auto/relic given the short-runs and quality look of the card.

I don’t really buy wax so for me it’s an inexpensive way of dipping into the high end card market in the same way I did with Triple Threads for some great looking items.

However the chipping is a massive issue for me and would be more so if dropping $500 on a box or collected more expensive players. I tried to ensure the 3 cards I bought had minimal chipping. I firmly believe Topps should not have released this very, very expensive product with these obviously poor quality issues.

Posted November 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

These cards are bad for the hobby. One could debate against this point saying, “but not all collectors have to buy these cards. This set just appeals to the high-end buyers.” But I could counter-argue that this hurts the industry for ALL buyers, because this set turns people off. Take a regular new buyer. Tell them that there are packs that are selling for $500. I guarantee you that person will be disgusted. That person might even turn away from the industry, because it’s all about high-cost cards.

I have experienced this in the 90s. I collected cards throughout the mid-80s to the early-90s. Once packs got more expensive, and all these rare foil cards started showing up for the players I collect, I simply could not afford to collect cards anymore. It was frustrating to not be able to purchase all the cards of particular players I collected.

I left the industry. I left for almost 20 years. Now I’m back. And I see the same stupid stuff happening againg that I saw happen earlier. Only this time it’s a thousand times worse. Except this time around, I’m managing to just ignore these high-end cards. I learn to enjoy the inexpensive cards. But I tell ya, these cards are like a poison to our industry.

I would really like to know how people can afford to purchase these cards. I would also like to see a financial analyst’s opinion on this. It’s like the housing market. Flood the market with tons of overpriced homes, and the entire market gets washed.

Please do not let this happen to the baseball card industry. Stop the $500 packs.

Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:41 am | Permalink
Mitch Jomsky

I was a little Dissatisfied After buying a box of Tier One and a pack of Tribute. So I learned that it’s much better to avoid higher end products, unless you like to gamble for that elusive 1/1 bat knob or whatever they’re lacing the packs with in order to entice the collector/investor. I steered clear of Triple Threads, although I like the product. I avoided Finest even though I thought there were some great auto’s in there.
I picked up a couple of Five Star (5*) cards off eBay. Very nice product and it would be well worth it for $100 a pack. $500 is just …… Obscene!
I’d have more fun opening 5 hobby boxes of Heritage or A&G …. You’d net more autos than 1 pack of 5* and be less dissappointed, IMO.
Mitch

Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
Amichai

This product really dissapointed me, that is all i can say about it.

Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

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