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 (Toll Free)

Your Turn (Beckett Baseball 83): 2012 Topps Five Star … would you buy if you could buy?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

High-risk, high-reward.

That phrase sums up high-end wax boxes, and the latest example of that arrived recently with 2012 Topps Five Star.

In the next issue of Beckett Baseball, we’ll be looking at the ins and outs of the historic release from Topps — the most-expensive Topps baseball product ever made at $500 (or less) for a single pack.

We know it’s not for everybody, but we simple want to know … If you could buy it, would you buy it?  … Or, if you did, how did you do? (Click here for a Five Star checklist and OPG.)

Tell us in the comments below. Please include your name and location with your comment. We’ll run a selection of the best answers — perhaps the most-constructive ones —  in the next issue of Beckett Baseball.

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.

18 Comments

Mark

I bought one box. From a value standpoint, I got hammered. Justin Verlander base card, Paul Molitor auto, Albert Belle auto/relic, Robinson Cano parallel auto redemption (!) (sold for $49 on ebay), Stan Musial bat relic, and the big saving grace for me personally, a Chipper Jones auto.

The cards are beautiful, but the value for a casual collector is not there. Now, if you break a case and are guaranteed the home run hit(s), maybe…

Mark
Columbus, OH

Posted November 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink
Corey Luedeman

Topps Five Star is a wonderful idea for a product, however, the final product is in need of improvement. I bought into a few early breaks of the product at LiveCaseBreak.com and purchased an auto from a seller on eBay. I quickly saw that the quality of the finished product itself did not allow me to justify spending the resources needed to acquire the cards. The chipping on the borders and corner denting that I have seen are a severe deterrent to me purchasing this product. There is a great checklist of current and retired players, as long as the redemptions can be fulfilled by Topps (I have auto redemptions of Griffey Jr. from 2012 Tier One and a Willie Mays from Topps 2012 Series 1 that have been pending for a very long time). I will be staying away from this product due to the added uncertainty of card condition that is waiting for you when you open the box.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink
Mitchell

My name is Mitchell, and I’m from Wellington Kansas. The checklist was incredibly strong. Even a bad box had pretty good names. The chipping is an issue. With it being such a high end product, I would have thought they would have a problem like that. Perhaps they could have done something like in tribute and put the cards in a holder.(I understand that there would still be a problem with books, but I’m just spitballing here.) The price is fair I think. A lot of people are angry because it is way to expensive for them to buy. I most certainly can’t spend $500 on a sinlge pack of cards. I had to scrounge for change under the couch(metaphorically) to get a mini box of triple threads. One last thing, some of the cards are being underrated now because there are so many on the market. If your a person who prefers buying singles(like I am), then now is the time to buy.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink
Mitchell

I forgot to say that I would definatley buy, if I could.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
Suzanne

Nope, won’t buy any – I could never justify spending that amount of money on one pack of cards and I simply cannot afford it. Now, if somebody were to give me a free box or $500.00 to spend on it then, sure, why not! Besides I’ve seen too many boxes get opened without yielding very much value and the redemptions are a pain (I’m also waiting on a Harper auto redemption) from May!
Suzanne
Missouri

Posted November 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
Richard

Could I buy it? Yes. Will I buy it? No.

When I can buy the vast majority of the cards for far less than the cost of a pack, it simply makes
no sense to me. When I want to gamble, I play poker, at least I know that the value of the chip
when all is said and done.

My basic rule is that I need a reasonable chance to pay off the cost of the pack with a single
card (except for instances like Bowman Chrome which is low enough priced to prospect.)
Looking at completed sales, once you remove the 1/1 bat cards the number of “winning”
cards that have actually sold for more than $500 is tiny. Even guys like Yu Darvish sell for
significantly less.

For $500 you can buy mint examples of many members of the HOF.
You can even buy autographed cards issued in the past.
These packs are solely for the gambler or the guy that already has everything else and the
money does not matter to them..

Posted November 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
Jeff R. Arends

No way would I spend $500 on 5 Star. I haven’t seen a black signature card from the set without chipping. The checklist has a bunch of names but I really don’t want a Bill Buckner autograph from a $500 a pack product.
I’d rather spend the money on certified HOF autos from other sets: See 1992 Pinnacle Joe DiMaggio autos, several Mickey Mantle autos are also available for less than the current price point of 5 Star.
–Jeff

Posted November 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
Bill D.

Yes, I bought a 3 Box Case from my Hobby Dealer that I preordered, I like what i got for my $$$, What I don’t like is that the cards were either poorly cut or poorly packaged, 95% of the cards that aren’t base cards have some sort of damage. For paying this amount for this product it should have been handled much better than the cards were.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
Steve Shissler

I have purchased, got a great Black Friday deal from Blowoutcards.com for $369.95 with no shipping. So, based on what I have read, it sure seems like a much better deal than $500. I’m looking forward to it arriving and seeing what I get!

Posted November 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
Shane

I bought a 3 box case of Five Star baseball. How did I do? Lets just say I got completely hosed.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
Bill D.

Good Score Steve at $369.95 Shipped!!

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
David B

Assuming I had the money to spend, I would never spend it frivolously on such a high risk/high reward product like this. I’d sooner by several boxes of other product or I could buy Autographs of the players I want from other products. If what everyone else says is true and that condition is an issue, why would ANYONE waste their money on a product known to have significant damage? I’d even take my $500 and by amhigh-end 1975 Topps Set – at least in that I have rookie cards of 4 Hall of Famers and significant cards of several other Hall of Famers on a beautiful, condition sensitive set that really has a chance to grow in value.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
David Johnson

I was really tempted to grab one during the Black Friday sales on DACardworld and Blowoutcards, since they were under $400 a box. However I spent the money on several other boxes that I will have more fun busting.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
Mark

Interesting question. Yes I can afford the price per pack. Yes I had my card dealer hold me a pack. I watched 4 cases busted and there was 1 card worth close to box price the rest of cases were garbage. Told my dealer I will pass on box , next guy bought it. Opened it up and best card was a Molitor auto #/25… Wow that is fantastic….NOT!!!!!!!!!! 90-95% of all boxes GARBAGE.
Save your money Topps is just getting pathetic with their product lines. Open up Topps Unique Baseball from a few years ago. You will get they same crappy players, with maybe 1 or 2 good hits and save a boatload of cash.
Please give Panini a licence PLEASE.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink
Mike

No way would I spend $500 on a pack of cards that includes a base card.That is one less auto or mem card I could have gotten.And at that price I would expect at least one good hit per pack.After seeing the one they busted on Box Busters here,I would have been in the corner crying my eyes out.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink
Ian

I bought one box:

Card 1: Babe Ruth Base card #ed to 80
Card 2: Billy Williams Auto
Card 3: Al Kaline Auto
Card 4: Paul Molitor Bat Auto
Card 5: Mike Trout Silver Ink Auto #ed to /99
Card 6: Frank Robinson Bat Barrell 1/1 (sold it on eBay for $800)

Best box of anything I have ever purchased and likely to be the last box I buy. I am switching to buying individual cards or collections only. I have wasted too much money on gambles. I decided to go out with a bang and bought this as my last box. I don’t think I will ever top it. That being said, if no one bought boxes, then the hobby would die. I just have to make the smart decision for me and stop buying. I think $500 for 6 cards is a bit insane (which says something about me since I bought one). I think we need more affordable products. What’s wrong with a $20-40 product with the chance of 1-3 hits? Something needs to change in the hobby world. Young people can’t buy much these days.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink
Patrick

A few observations:

It seems a little silly for anyone to be upset about the product, unless either (a) they bought a box and most or all of the cards were cosmetically damaged, or (b) they bought a box and received far less in value that what they paid. And really as far as (b) goes, there is always that risk involved with high-end products. It’s one of the biggest reasons to buy them. Let’s be honest, most people either can’t or shouldn’t pay $500 on a gamble. I know I shouldn’t (and so I don’t). But there are many other options for me, as many other commenters have pointed out, like buying individual cards of players that I collect. And the same is true for every collector. The legitimate complaints about the product notwithstanding, to say that this particular product should cost less, or that we need more affordable products, it to overlook the simple fact that there are some things that some people can buy that other people can’t buy. Complaining about the cost of high-end products is like complaining about the cost of high-end automobiles. Likewise, no one complains about the price of Mickey Mantle cards, and not everyone can expect to afford them.

Excepting the shoddy packaging of 5-Star, and similar complaints, what is there to say? You pay for what you’re getting. That’s why Topps Opening Day is dirt cheap and Topps Tribute will put a dent in your bank account. We need to start thinking of them as luxury items, and stop complaining that “they’re way too expensive and I could never afford them Topps sucks cuz all I can buy is retail packs.” What’s wrong with buying retail packs? Nothing, as long as your expectations are where they should be. Part of the issue, I think, is that for the longest time, it cost next to nothing to buy cards. Now that that has changed, there’s still that idealistic belief that cards are for everyone, or that everyone should have equal access to them if they desire. However, in the real world, it doesn’t work that way.

So I say, collectors, buy the best you can with what you have. Be picky, don’t settle, save and let your purchase be fulfilling. Don’t buy into the hype of high-end cards unless you have the bank account to support it, and even then don’t be upset when the gamble doesn’t pay off. Because while it’s true that it’s disappointing to pay $500 for 6 cards that are worth significantly less than that, there are a lot of people that can’t afford to buy any of those cards, people who would be happy to take them off your hands at a reasonable price. I just might be one of them.

Posted November 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink
Bryan George

No, only to send a message that there is a price that is too high. This hobby should be for fun & not just to make a buck or two. Those bat knobs should have been used for something better than what they are.

Bryan George
Forney, TX

Posted December 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

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