2015 Topps Chrome Football marks the likely swan song for a popular brand

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2015 Topps Chrome Football Melvin Gordon Pink Refractor Autograph

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

With Panini poised to takeover exclusive NFL card rights starting in 2016, 2015 Topps Chrome Football marks the end of an era for one of the hobby’s most popular brands. It might not have the longevity of the flagship football line, but to the modern hobby, Chrome might be more important.

Sticking with what has made it an important brand, 2015 Topps Chrome Football hasn’t changed much. It still has the promise of one rookie autograph per box and the intrigue that comes with an abundance of Refractors.

Get a fully sortable 2015 Topps Chrome Football checklist.

Base Set

2015 Topps Chrome Football Marcus Mariota

Next to flagship Topps, this may very well be the set that football fans build each year. It has 200 cards — 100 veterans and 100 rookies.

From there, you move into Refractors. Hobby boxes have a dozen different versions:


  • Refractors (1:3 packs)
  • Green (1:12)
  • Blue Wave (1:24)
  • Pulsar (1:24)
  • STS Camo /499
  • BCA Pink /399


  • Black /299
  • Blue
  • Sepia /99
  • Gold
  • Red
  • Superfractor 1/1


Pulsar Refractors, Sepia Refractors and Superfractors are only found in hobby packs.

Printing Plates are also randomly inserted. As usual, each card has four different colors (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) and all are one-of-ones.

Collectors can also find hot boxes. Each pack in these has a Diamond Refractor not available anywhere else.

Purple are exclusive to retail.

Nearly a third of the 2015 Topps Chrome Football base set has variations with different photos. The final checklist has 35 veterans/retired stars and 25 rookies. Variations have Supfractor parallels.

Autographs

2015 Topps Chrome 1989 Refractor Rookie Autograph Tyler Lockett

Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs have a lot of history. Similar to Contenders, they’re accessible to collectors on most budgets. They don’t reach the same heights as a lot of high-end products. However, because the set is widely collected, it usually translates into greater popularity.

On-card signatures are the norm, which also adds to the overall package.

The 2015 Topps Chrome Football Rookie Autographs checklist has 64 players so not all are going to be superstars. That is standard for the product, though.

Refractors are almost as numerous as the base set:


  • Refractors /150
  • STS Camo /99
  • BCA Pink /75
  • Blue /50
  • Hot Box (1 per case)


  • Black /25
  • Pulsar /15
  • Gold /10
  • Red /5
  • Superfractor 1/1


Rookie and Veteran Variation Autographs use the same alternate image theme as the base variations. Both have Superfractors (1/1).

Dual and Triple Rookie Autographs come on Refractor stock and deliver multiple signatures. Rookie Premiere participants are featured in Rookie Autograph Patches. These are also done as Refractors.

Inserts

2015 Topps Chrome 60th Anniversary

Several of the 2015 Topps Chrome Football inserts dip into the past, either with the subjects or the designs. Topps 60th Anniversary uses old designs with different players. Parallels include Refractors, Pulsar Refractors and Superfractors (1/1). Select players have autographed versions as well.

All-Time 1,000 Yard Club and All-Time 4,000 Yard Club features all-time great quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Some of these also have signed cards.

1976 Topps Football and 1989 Topps Football use rookies from this year on the older designs. Autographed versions are numbered and come with on-card signatures.

All 35 players in the Super Bowl 50 Die-Cut set have won the big game. This means a checklist that spans multiple generations. Parallels include Refractors (/99), Pulsar Refractors (/50) and Superfractors (1/1).

2015 Topps Chrome Football at a glance:

Packs per box: 24
Cards per pack: 4
Boxes per case: 12
Set size: 200 cards
Release date: November 20, 2015

What to expect in a hobby box:

  • Rookie Autographs – 1
  • Blue Wave Refractors – 1
  • Pulsar Refractors – 1
  • Green Refractors – 2
  • Refractors – 8

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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11 comments

  1. DanM13 20 November, 2015 at 16:21

    I’m a bit meager as far as card collecting goes, but I feel like I must get a hobby box of TC. It’s always been perhaps my favorite brand and it’s a shame to see it get replaced by Panini’s poor excuse for a chromium set.

  2. David D 20 November, 2015 at 17:23

    It seems that -with the exception of a certain hobby shop owner- and his local patrons- the majority of “collectors” writing in -are upset- disgusted- and blue over Panini taking over the Hobby. I certainly agree with Dan and others, who see Panini’s monopoly as the “beginning of the end” of the trading card industry!

  3. Paul 21 November, 2015 at 00:01

    I will agree with Dan M. Topps chrome has alwasys been solid I have been buying more topps products this and will continue to buy vintage topps cards.

  4. Paul 21 November, 2015 at 12:29

    I would say its not the end football cards. But it does not help them that the use the same idea over and over. just gets old. What would rather buy. Topps has been around 75years. Topps football cards came out in 1957 after buying bowman. Panini is out of Italy the have no idea how to make football cards and baseball cards.

  5. Charlie DiPietro 23 November, 2015 at 09:55

    I will miss Topps from the football scene. They make many great products. But, in the business world nothing stays the same.

    Bowman Gum Company was a Philadelphia-based manufacturer of bubble gum and trading cards in the period surrounding World War II founded by Jacob Warren Bowman. Originally known as Gum, Inc., the company produced a series of cards known as the “Play Ball” from 1939 to 1941. Production halted after the United States entered the war, and the company did not return to making baseball, football, and other sports-related trading cards until 1948, then under the Bowman name.

    In 1948, they were competing against Leaf Candy Company which left the marketplace and in 1950 sold $1 million in baseball cards. For a few years, Bowman was the leading producer of baseball cards, but was overtaken by Topps Chewing Gum. After a period in which the two fought to sign players to exclusive contracts for their cards, Topps bought out Bowman in 1956 for $200,000. Much later, the Bowman brand was resurrected by Topps in 1989 to use on some of its subsidiary sports card sets.

    Leaf produced some great vintage sets and some favorites from the 90’s (Mr. Brian Gray bought the rights to the name Leaf). Upper Deck made some of my favorite cards (especially high end) but they no longer are able to produce NBA, NFL or MLB cards.

    Donruss produced baseball cards from 1981 to 1998, when then parent company Pinnacle Brands filed for bankruptcy. Baseball card production resumed in 2001, when then parent company Playoff Corporation acquired the rights to produce baseball cards. In 2004, Donruss Playoff acquired the rights to Pacific Trading Cards Inc. From 2007 to 2009, Donruss released baseball card products featuring players that are no longer under MLB contract after MLB decided to limit licensing options in 2005.

    On March 13, 2009, Panini Spa. of Italy (which had previously acquired the exclusive license to produce NBA trading cards beginning with the 2009–10 season), announced that it had purchased Donruss Playoff. Effective immediately, the company was renamed Panini America Inc. However, the company remained separate and continued to operate out of Irving, Texas, with much of the existing upper management and workforce.

    Today, many of the Panini America workforce and management staff has many years experience in the making of sports cards from their previous jobs with Upper Deck, Fleer, and Donruss. Through the efforts of Panini America to give customers what they want, football collectors have made Panini the leading producer of football cards.

  6. Terence 25 November, 2015 at 08:05

    It is to bad Panini has to take over. They are horrible as I still never got me redemption cards I sent to them in February, 2015. I will never buy any Panini cards again after that.

  7. Bill 1 March, 2016 at 22:25

    Don’t want to spread rumors but Panini killed the card market with with so many blank thick cards, suggesting with con-artist tactics to lure collectors and buyers is absurd, Topps doesn’t put fillers in Their product and that’s all I have to say.

    • Ryan Cracknell 2 March, 2016 at 10:15

      The purpose of the blank thick cards is to act like a decoy and help keep away pack searching. They don’t count as a “card” in packs.

  8. eric fern 7 May, 2016 at 21:03

    I pulled a 1/1 triple auto. jamies winston marcus maroita todd gruly. I would like to find out what is valued at. Or where i could go to find out. please let me know what you find out. THANK YOU ERIC FERN

  9. Edith Batten 24 November, 2016 at 13:34

    I bought a pack of football cards by mistake, I collect baseball cards. In the packs there was one super rookie card JAELEN STRONG REFRACTOR 92/99 is this a good card?

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