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Topps selling Vault memorabilia direct to public on revamped website

 

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

A new season means a new look and name for The Topps Vault, which appears to be evolving.

After more than a decade of auctioning contracts, photo proofs and other card-making remnants via the Vault on eBay, the longest-running manufacturer of baseball cards is trying something new.

Topps is selling straight to the public with no eBay and no auctions — just fixed-price sales in the new Topps Shop. (The eBay account for the Vault remains active, however its previous webpage redirects to the new store.)

“As of now The Vault name is still alive,” said Brad Kinnas, Topps’ Director of Ecommerce. “For the time being, all memorabilia purchases that happen in Topps.com or ebay will be branded as such.”

However, the new site will be taking on more items and host auctions, Kinnas said.

“Our new website platform gives us the flexibility to merchandise better and experiment with different means of bringing products to our online customer — including on-site Topps.com Auctions,” he said. “In the coming months you will start seeing many new exclusive offerings from Topps.com.”

This move means one-of-a-kind items can arrive up for grabs and be gone soon — perhaps for less than the going rate one might expect. Rickey Henderson‘s 1976 Topps card contract, which predated his first Topps card by four years? It sold for $1,500.

In other cases, items might be priced a tad higher than what an eBay auction might have netted — but collectors may be able to land an item that suits their needs without the competition or wait of an auction. Photo slides, for example, start at $35, while vintage contracts start at $50. Several Hall of Famers’ items already have sold — perhaps at prices that collectors considered to be bargains.

Player contracts are perhaps among the most unique items being offered with Ken Griffey Jr.‘s 1990 contract ($750), Roger Clemens‘ 2005 deal ($450), Jack Morris‘ debut deal ($500), Dennis Eckersley‘s pre-rookie deal (1972, $275) and a Tommy Lasorda 1954 deal at $2,500 among the notables so far. (Some of these items were previously up for auction, but this writer just doesn’t have the scratch to order one and make sure it’s truly available.)

As part of the revamped site, the company also is offering MLB apparel, a limited selection of trading cards and wall art — aka uncut card sheets.

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.

5 Comments

Matthew Hood

Still have to go to Ebay for the 1/1 blank back cards though.

Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

Chris, I like how you are keeping track of what various items sell for on Topps’ eBay account. I hope that Beckett has a database of priced paid on eBay auctions.

Posted February 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

The prices cited here are on items available — or sold — on the store.

The price guide team has millions of lines of data for cards sales in the system — many from Ebay.

Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
tom w

Chris
I never felt the blank back were a real 1/1 ‘s anyway.They are a Gimick to provide sales. I would rather look for the Test issues or Promo’s but the blank backs are made on purpose I wouldn’t buy one unless it happened in the real production of a set.
Now what would be cool would be the pre-prodcution photo’s that are used to make the cards.
I have a set of 6 Slides of Rick ainkel Pacific used and those are pretty cool. I would love to see Roger Clemmons or Pujols pre-production poses like say for 01 Bowman.

Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink
zotster

I saw they had a contract from Dwight Evans – my favorite player (when he was playing) that sold for $75. Wish I had gotten there sooner, I would have been all over that, even though it’s not the type of thing I normally collect. A piece of card history with not just Evans, by Sy Berger’s autographs on it. I only hope they list another one – I’ll have to keep looking.

Posted February 16, 2013 at 12:28 am | Permalink

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