Beckett 20 Questions on … redemptions



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

If there’s one thing in the hobby that’s the most loathed and yet still misunderstood, it’s redemptions.

They’re a reality of today’s hobby structure of hard- and often-hitting boxes. They’re a reality of that combined with the fact that there are countless brands and several companies. They’re a reality and a product of a volume business making what formerly had been a bit less — a lot less? — of a commodity, autographs.

For an upcoming issue of Beckett Baseball, we’ve decided that we want to hear your take on redemptions. We want to see how you assess them in varying ways even though they are something that we probably all don’t like but all have to deal with.

Unless, of course, you can settle for fewer autographs …

1. Are you currently owed a card via a redemption?

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1b. How many redemption cards are you waiting on?

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See the rest of the questions … after the jump.


2. How long have you been waiting for your oldest redemption card?

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2b. What's your limit for waiting on a redemption? (How long is too long?)

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3. Do you feel you understand why redemption cards exist?

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4. What do you believe are the top two leading causes of redemptions? (Pick two)

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5. From a card company's perspective, which of these would be the biggest reason to prevent redemptions?

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6. Do you feel redemption cards should have an expiration date?

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7. Have you ever had a redemption card go unfulfilled?

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8. What's the fastest you have had a redemption card fulfilled?

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9. Do you approve of redemptions for mystery cards or items that will not fit into packs?

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10. Have you ever had a redemption card exchanged?

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11. If you had a card exchanged, were you pleased?

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12. If you had a card exchanged, did you receive a better card value-wise?

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13. Do you buy redemptions or wait until the cards show up live on the secondary market?

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14. Would you be in favor of one auto design for all of a company's products in a year to nix redemptions?

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15. Would you be in favor of more redemptions (and damaged cards) in place of sticker autos?

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16. Which company handles its redemptions the best?

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17. Do redemptions damper your collecting fun?

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18. What do you do when you get a redemption?

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19. Do you collect or save expired/scratched redemptions?

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20. Can you live with how redemptions exist in the hobby today?

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Have something else to say? Leave it in the comments below …

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. Kyle Thornton 27 August, 2013 at 12:40

    I honestly feel that there are to many products with to many redemptions in them. This causes a backlog which hurts the collects. I also think no camp should be able to give out “Mystery” items. They should have to name what it is on the card!!!!

  2. dalsubfan 27 August, 2013 at 12:49

    I can live with the way it is, but it should be better. I understand that the companies can’t wait for all materials to come in before releasing a product. And especially if the person they are waiting for was a major part of the marketing of a product. But I do think, companies owe it to the collector to work to minimize the problem. Get the autos in place BEFORE making the big advertising push when it’s an athlete who is access limited. Delaying products waiting for autos does not make the product more valuable and often damages sales interest..

    Also I think part of the effort should be pushed back on the athletes/signers. Put in their contracts that the company will ID signers who are late at product release. Negative publicity is a great motivator.

  3. Wayne Frazer 27 August, 2013 at 12:53

    Redemptions are never going to totally go away, and I believe the manufacturers are doing their level best to get rid of any many as they can on the front end and clear the backlog on the back end. But there is NO WAY cards should ever have an expiration date on them. The manufacturers are charging sellers and collectors for those autographs when they price the products — that means not honouring the redemptions or using the cards for other purposes is double-dipping, plain and simple.

  4. Christopher Potter 27 August, 2013 at 12:57

    I think that there should be no expiration on the redemption cards. That always irratated me because if you get an old box of cards it has a chance to not have the autographs because of it not to mention they already made their money from it from the initial sale to the vendor or card dealer!

  5. Paul Angilly 27 August, 2013 at 13:08

    Simple solution: Set a deadline to get autographs back. If they don’t arrive on time, they are not included in the product and the athlete isn’t paid. If something comes in late from an athlete they really want to have, put it in the next product and pay the athlete a discounted fee. Don’t advertise autographs for a product until you have them in-hand.

    And yes, I could live with fewer autographs in products, if that’s necessary, especially since 80-90 percent of autographed cards coming out of products today can soon be found for sale for $5 or less. Get cards signed on-card by true superstars and make them a real chase instead of a guarantee.

  6. John 27 August, 2013 at 13:10

    Just some suggestions but redemptions should be completely taken out of products. How hard would it be if Topps/UD/Panini would just update their on-line checklists with the autos they’ve received in-house. This way the collector knows which player to expect right up until release day.

    For the players that don’t get their autos back to the company, drop the MSRP according to how much they were going to pay them for their autos. It may not be much, but there’s no reason to keep prices high if everyone can see the checklist and know the high dollar players aren’t included.

  7. Brad Barber 27 August, 2013 at 13:34

    Redemption’s suck, I was lucky enough to get one of the 2012 Topps Golden Tickets, which I sent in in Jan of 2012. I still have not received the Autograph 24k Gold Infused Baseball of Mays,Aaron, and Griffey Jr. It’s pretty said when Topps builds a promotion around 2012 Topps Series I about look for the golden ticket and then over a year and half later have not fulfilled theses redemption cards.Its not like there was 100’s of these, there was only 20 balls. I did see in March of this year they showed off where Willie Mays did sign the ball.

  8. larry robidoux 27 August, 2013 at 13:34

    They have been around for years and they will continue. I remember back in the 90’s with all the scratch off and mail in redemptions and I got a lot of them. I didn’t have a problem back then but now with so many of them the only problem I see is the time frame to get the redemption. I like the fact that you have a chance at a nice redemption but hate the wait to redeem it..

  9. John B 27 August, 2013 at 14:03

    There needs to be legal action against Topps. They never answer Emails on redemption questions, they could care less. The slow process of redemption cards hurt the collector on making a profit on boxes purchased. Topps is the worst and it seems they really do not care. Their monopoly on the Baseball Card market needs to end

  10. David Brewer 27 August, 2013 at 14:10

    Im still waiting on my Will Middlebrooks 1/1 patch auto topps finest that they have been giving me the run around for 2 years. Ive called them several times and they tell me its being made, one person told me they are waiting for will to sign the card, then another tells me they are waiting on the material ( patch) to finish the card? Which one is it and why is it not here yet? Why does Will Middlebrooks have a 2013 Bowman Platinum Patch Autograph card out on the market now and my card still hasnt been made? I paid a nice 75 dollar bill for it.
    I think that Topps needs to handle these old redemption’s now,and if its been over 2 years they should over compensate it with an additional item to please the customer.

  11. Don Jones 27 August, 2013 at 14:13

    Redemption system is bad out of Topps football last year I got 4 of 7 redemption the other 3 had to settle for replacements? Panini I got 2 of 4 still waiting on 2 more. They were sent in the first of this year. I think it is like selling something that don’t really have.

  12. MiChael B 27 August, 2013 at 14:45

    I would like to see all redemptions for all cards in the retail issued products, so Pack searcher will not ruin the thrill of a pull.

  13. steve emerick 27 August, 2013 at 15:52

    I loathe redemptions. Many times I feel it is corporate greed to put advertised hits into boxes as a sell point knowing that they will never be filled. If I walked into a electronics store and bought a new phone, I want it today not 6 months to a year from now. We live in a microwave world! Same goes for cards. I didn’t buy the product looking for a redemption, I bought it to get instant gratification and the advertised content of the box. I feel that the leagues and the respective players associations that grant licenses need to stand up and be counted as well for their members inability to get the expected product back into the hands of the manufacturer. And as far as redemption replacements go, I have way more sad tales than positives. BUT the worst is Topps. I pulled a redemption for a franchise tags auto of Jonathen Ogden #/50 back in the early aughts. I got a letter and a replacement package about 9 months later of Todd Bouman.. A future HOFer for a preseason cut fodder. I even called topps and expressed my displeasure but to no avail as they considered the cards of equal value.. HUH?

    In short, redemptions should not be inserted into packs unless that item will not fit into packs. As pack out time draws near, manufacturer should get on a plane and fly to wherever the prospective signer is and in collaboration with the players association and league , handle the signing in person. The postage and staffing savings alone would offset the plane ticket. If the guy wont sign or will not meet with the rep , then DONT put it in! End of story!

  14. wil 27 August, 2013 at 16:22

    do away with them , if they don’t sign in time just put a regular card , if the players don’t respect the game and there fans , and don’t want a nice autograph card then just do base cards , and upper deck is the worst don’t buy any of there product that’s over a season old , I guess that’s why they keep downsize , and cant get any pro license cards

  15. Jason K 27 August, 2013 at 16:26

    Redemption cards, unfortunately, are a part of the hobby that we will likely never get rid of. However, if they were handled differently, I don’t think collectors would despise them as much as we do. I have actually moved to a different city in the time it took for me to receive a redemption, and when I called customer service to let them know (in hopes of changing the address they have on file for sending the card) I was told that they couldn’t change the address (even though the card hadn’t been shipped yet), and I should contact the post office.

    First, I understand that expiration dates are a necessity. However, card companies need to understand that there are a lot of collectors that don’t purchase products the week, month, or sometimes even the year they are released. Putting an expiration date of 12-18 months from the release date of a product is WAY too soon. If a company can’t fulfill a redemption in 12-18 months (as many horror stories I have heard suggest), they shouldn’t expect us to redeem a card in 12-18 months. I think 4-5 years is a reasonable time to put as an expiration date from the release date (when was the last time you opened a product from 2008-2009?). This gives enough time for the bargain minded collector to buy up the clearance priced boxes (or the hobby shop time to break open any un-purchased merchandise) and still get the cards they are entitled to. If collectors wait until close to the expiration date to redeem the card, then that SHOULD kill three birds with one stone. It would save collectors from waiting forever for a card to be mailed, keep collectors happy because they are less likely to pull expired redemption cards from older boxes, and give the card company ample time to manufacture the card. Everybody wins!

    As for replacement cards, I think that manufacturers owe it to their customers to get the card promised (or something VERY close). Many people buy redemption cards of players they collect on the secondary market, so I understand collectors getting upset when they get a replacement card for a player they could care less about. With the exception of rookie autographs, there is almost no reason an autograph of the same player from another product wouldn’t be an acceptable replacement card. If there is not another autographed card from that player available as a replacement, the company needs to communicate with the customer and find a replacement that is suitable for both the customer and the manufacturer.

    The only redemption cards I would eliminate COMPLETELY are the ones Topps has done in the past where the collector has to go to a hobby shop a certain week to get a card (I believe “Prime 9” was done this way). I understand that Topps was trying to help hobby shops by bringing customers back in the door. However, I know I am not alone in having to drive 90 min or more to get to the closest hobby shop. Having to plan a week around driving 3 hours round trip to get a baseball card is not my idea of collecting fun.

    On a positive, I think card companies have taken a step in the right direction in making redemption cards easier to redeem. Redeeming them online rather than mailing the card is MUCH better than the way things used to be.

  16. toughpull 27 August, 2013 at 16:45

    I bought 4 2011 Topps American Pie jimi hendrix relic redemptions 2 for me and 2 for some friends. Paid about $200-$250 each. What did i get 4 dwight gooden auto’s in replace. These maybe get $10 dollars each. I lost $800to $1000 on the deal. Never have i got a redemption from Topps equal to what i had. Almost close to getting out of this hobby. I had to pay my friends money back and stuck with the gooden cards. BEWARE OF TOPPS

  17. Tom Waldron 27 August, 2013 at 16:51

    The one thing I think that we all cant tollerate is a product and usually a Hi dollar product with too many redemptions as a percentage to the auto’s in whole. I mean take Bowman inception baesball I’ve seen a lot of breaks and it’s a ton of redmeptions and we all know it’s not going to be fullfilled. Plus the hi dollar cards touted to preseel the pRODUCT ENDS UP A REDEMPTION AND it never seen or made. Also I think a company should be made to put the amount of redmptions on the box if they can give us the odds of certain hits than why not this. You know why they never will is because NOBODY would buy the product.
    Personally if you say a particular card is in the set and it’s a redmption it should be in house shortly after the product hits the street otherwise it looks like fraud. This is for the Major card far Topps Panini Ud . I understand why they exist but the sheer volume in products have gone up and when we are spending hard earned money a company should be trying harder to get this to the buyer.Nothing is worst than getting a redmeptions for a hot player parallel auto -blah blah blah and never getting it.

  18. Harrison 27 August, 2013 at 16:58

    It is ridiculous that the companies (esp and mostly Topps) delay product releases by a month or more and then still fill a product with redemptions especially of the best names and most popular players. If they are going to take extra time to release a product then make an effort to get it finished instead of just wasting time giving collectors a bunch of patronizing and canned answers via social media. It has gotten to the point of being beyond absurd.

  19. Michael Pereira 27 August, 2013 at 17:11

    It’s not only redemption but the athletes autos that are bring the experience down. Maybe if they didn’t have so many autos it would be 1) Bigger rarer hits 2) Athletes have the time to sign and not initial their names.

  20. Richard 27 August, 2013 at 17:12

    I think that redemptions need to be kept to a minimum.
    Certainly a company should never issue a redemption card for someone whom they do not have
    under contract, that’s just immoral. The exception might be for draft pick cards where the person
    is not yet known or perhaps rookie of the year, etc.

    I would like to see the companies assign a point value to all redemption cards.
    In the event that the card will not be fulfilled, you should be able to choose what you want
    from a catalog based on the point value. If you have multiple cards, you get to combine the points.
    The points would be static regardless of whether the player becomes more or less popular, so the
    concept of current guide “value” would not come into play and you understand the risks involved in
    buying them on 2nd hand market. The catalog would be available online, along with quantities on
    hand of each, so that you would have an idea. Part of the problem with the redemption programs
    came with the attempt to replace. They often try, but the also usually fail to satisfy.

    I’m still unhappy with Upper deck. I bought a redemption card for a John Stockton Autographed card
    only to eventually get an 8 x 10 auto photo of Penny Hardaway. Not even close at the time and if
    got even worse as time went on.

  21. Jonathan Mills 27 August, 2013 at 17:41

    Very simply put – the card makers get their money on time. The wholesalers get their money on time. The dealers get their money on time. As a customer who pays for boxes of cards, I should get my cards in the boxes. Redemptions of regular sized cards should not be in packs at all. Have update versions if redemptions are necessary. Don’t pull the old “bait-and-switch”. That’s false advertisement to me. I buy a box of cards hoping to get a certain player only to find that all of that player’s autographs will be redemptions. That’s not fair! That player should not be included in the checklist. Include them in a redemption/update product. This is one thing that I absolutely love about SAGE – NO Redemptions. All other products should take notice. One company owes me redemptions from more than 3 years ago.

  22. Jeff Kruer 27 August, 2013 at 17:57

    I’m sorry, but this is just poor management. If you don’t have the final product, don’t list the card. Topp’s recent practice of sending out “replacement cards” really stinks! Instead of two rising stars, Nolan Arenado & Jose Altuve, I get Duke Snider & David Wright. No doubt Snider & Wright are stars, but I have lot’s of their autographs, while I have none of the two players promised. Oh by the way, the replacement cards are not part of any “Real Product”, but rather, a cheap looking card, with stickers. If the buying public continues to allow this poor level of service, you can bet, it will only get worse. For me, I’m done spending my money with companies you can’t trust to honor their word.

  23. Nick G 27 August, 2013 at 18:09

    As stated below, redemptions are a constant in the industry. But, I believe any product considered high end should not have redemptions. They are released later during the season so there should be ample time to receive the majority of autos and any not received should not be advertised as such. There is nothing more disappointing than dropping huge cash on a product and pulling a redemption, even if it’s a whale.

  24. ssumms 27 August, 2013 at 18:35

    Card companies have a vested interest to minimize redemptions because they increase costs and result in unsatisfied customers. However, redemptions will continue to be a part of the collecting hobby for several reasons. The biggest concern regarding redemptions is the replacement process. At times, the original redemption card will no longer be available, often outside of the control of the card company. However, replacing a redemption card should automatically result in the replacement card being of EQUAL or GREATER value than the original redemption. It is simply unacceptable to replace a rare, limited edition, rookie, patch, etc., redemption with a base auto that can be purchased on Ebay for a fraction of the the value of the original redemption. I have read numerous reports of Topps replacing redemption case hits with base autos of players like Gary Carter that can be purchased for $8-$12 on Ebay. I don’t know if this is intentional, or if this is occurring because employees are not educated on researching values for original redemptions versus replacements. Simple searches for Ebay completed listings will result in a general idea of values. Either way, replacement redemptions cards should always results in equal or greater value that the original redemption. Enough said.

  25. Mark Fiscus 27 August, 2013 at 18:40

    Whoever voted Panini as the best must be getting paid under the table. They are, hands down, the very worst. I’ve gotten 3 redemptions in a box many times from them. That is unacceptable. Their lag time is awful and they don’t respond to e-mails any more. I quit buying their products for a year, then was lured back in a year ago when they promised better service on their redemption program. Now it’s right back where it used to be, the worst in the business. I strongly feel the answer is simple: If you need to do redemptions, what until all redemptions are in before you release the product. Then the onus is on the card company. But, in this world, greed and shareholders win every time. I still don’t like the idea of paying for a product and having to wait up to two years to get what I paid for. If I buy a car, I want all 4 tires on it. I don’t want 3 and have to wait a year for the fourth one.

  26. Scott 27 August, 2013 at 19:10

    I have outstanding redemptions that have been hanging around for a while 2+ years, some of them are jersey card with no auto. I am not sure why Topps hasn’t gotten a jersey of Freddie Freeman for one of the redemptions. Anyhow, I would be ok with redemptions if there was better communications from the companies to the collectors with the outstanding redemptions. The companies need to set a time limit of their own and be prepared to make sure they are fulfilled in someway within a reasonable time. Instead of sending any card as a replacement offer several for a collector to choose form as a replacement. They need to eliminate expiration dates. I will not buy unopened products that are say 3 years old or older due to expired redemptions. Some companies may still honor them in some way but I do not want the hassle.

  27. Troy Tutti 27 August, 2013 at 19:18

    If we as the card holders have an dead line to get the card in. Why shouldn’t the company’s have one to? Where after a set amount of time has passed we would get a cash settlement set by the price guide.

  28. Ryan 27 August, 2013 at 19:25

    I’m 100% okay with redemptions for anything that has more than one persons signature on it.

    I”m fine with them if it’s a veteran star like Drew Brees or Kobe Bryant, I am aware that they don’t need the money and it’s really a matter of their convenience, so in most of those cases it’s redemption or nothing.

    I’m alright with a big name rookie redemption, like Luck or RGIII in football last year for instance. I’m completely alright with a guy like Puig in baseball this year having a redemption, as his taking the world by storm was abit of a surprise and he had very few cards when he was called up.

    But the offensive linemen, the 3rd round anything, the late lottery and beyond draft pick, or mister no-name minor leaguer should sign on time or forfeit their chance to sign their name for thousands of dollars.

    Perhaps I’m alone, but I’d be alright with a system where products cost less and autographs are significantly more rare, while eliminating the chance that if I do pull one it will be one of this years many different spins on greg mcelroy

  29. Mike Dorn 27 August, 2013 at 19:33

    Card companies could make redemptions less painful by including a bonus card or small set with your redemption. It could even be a specially made card or set for redemptions where people might even get excited about getting a redemption.

    Upper Deck did this during Lebron’s rookie year where they made that special 3-D looking card that was included with your redemption. I was hoping to get a redemption card for someone that year but never did, and had to purchase the card on the secondary market.

    Also, eliminate the expiration dates. As long as the company is still in business they should honor the redemption. I remember hearing the story about Topps destroying all of the 2001 Bowman Chrome Pujols cards that were not redeemed by the expiration date. Why would you do that.

    How cool would it be to still be able to open a box of 2001 Bowman Chrome and be able to redeem that card if you pulled the redemption for it.

  30. David Brewer 27 August, 2013 at 21:47

    Im sure Chris Olds knows some people over at Topps and Panini, and I hope he passes along a link to this page to Topps/Panini Reps so they can see what a hassle and negative experience we are having with there products that could ultimately drive away future business.

  31. Robert 28 August, 2013 at 01:32

    no, I”m not getting paid (or paid under the table) to vote Panini does the best with redemptions. I’ve had 6 redemptions with them in 2 years — 3 fulfilled as stated on the card and within 6 months and 3 outstanding within 6 months since the code was entered on their site. One of the three is probably on the way any day now as their blog entry last week said the athlete returned his autos. I trust the other 2 outstanding ones will be sent as redeemed in the next few months based on my good track record with Panini.

    Topps meanwhile – two just got replaced – one was decent equal value, the other replacement ripped me off, value-wise. both were outstanding the better part of 1.5 years. it’s been at least 3-4 years since topps sent me a card as redeemed and not sent a replacement. I have no faith topps will ever again send me an auto of an athlete as stated on a redemption card so I quit buying topps redemption cards on the auction sites.

  32. Mark 28 August, 2013 at 06:17

    Redemptions for anything other than oversized items are inexcusable. If you cannot schedule a signing or obtain a memorabilia item before the release date of the product, then either push back the release of the product or reduce the hit odds and price of the product.

    I am waiting on an auto/relic redemption of a baseball Hall of Famer from Topps. It is not like this person is a threat to change teams, and his game-used memorabilia is fixed. Topps either has it or it doesn’t. They have a contract with this former player, or they wouldn’t have included him. This player is not ill. What exactly is the problem here? Why weren’t the cards produced and signed well in advance? As a collector, I am paying the price for poor planning.

    I don’t want to complain only about Topps. Just about every box of Panini sports product seems to have a redemption card. Panini gives you an option of how long you want to wait-4 or 8 months-before a replacement is offered. The next time that actually means anything will be the first time.

    And there is the Upper Deck golf redemption I have from a 2012 product. It is an industry-wide problem.

    I am just about ready to make a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, because it is clear that these companies do not take their obligations to their customers seriously.

  33. michael runyon 28 August, 2013 at 08:10

    I am amazed at how many collectors believe that the companies have any powere over the athletes. These players make so much money that what they make off of cards is more of a nuisance fee. If they have to be bothered to sign something might as well get paid for it, even if you dont need the money. No matter what michael jordan or kobe make off cards autographs do you really think they would miss that money.

    Even racing has a few drivers that tend to be slower on the return that others and again you cant penalize them. They will never sign for you again. One such driver was caught with autopen sigs on his cards and after redoing them he quit signing. DId one have to do with the other probably but he isnt saying. The collectors are the ones that miss out.

    Redemptions should be kept to a minimum. Do not advertise if you dont have the deal in place and I am one that would rather wait than to have a sticker

  34. Keith 28 August, 2013 at 09:19

    It’s only a matter of time before someone gets upset enough and has the resources to sue and follow through on it over redemption cards. Essentially having redemption cards with expiration dates in packs and not indicating it on the outside packaging is against the law. Any time you put an expiration date on a redemption, it has to be indicated on the packaging so the consumer knows that they may not be getting what is indicated on the packaging and what they are buying has an expiration date on it for redemption. Secondly, Topps substituting other cards for ones they cannot fulfill is a classic “bait and switch” which is against the law. They can allow the consumer to choose something else in place of it, but not switch it without the consumers consent. Unfortunately, they continue to get away with it because most collectors do not have the resources to follow through with a lawsuit, and besides, the value on most redemptions is pretty low so it’s not worthwhile for an individual anyway. Class action would be the way to go if you could get enough people together on it.

  35. deez 28 August, 2013 at 09:32

    i wonder how many people vote for
    no expiration dates and no special cards made for unavailable redemptions at the same time

  36. Mike Stewart 28 August, 2013 at 10:21

    Companies bring it on themselves. Take 2013 Topps Tier One…with Willie Mays redemptions. This is the same “Willie Mays” that hasn’t signed for Topps due to failing eyesight for well over a year. The same “Willie Mays” that has outstanding, unsigned 2012 Topps Tier One redemptions. And Topps, in all of their infinite wisdom has inserted signatures that will most certainly be replaced. Should we talk about Axl Rose? They made a big splash that they would be releasing Axl Rose autographs…with no mention as redemptions and we’ve still heard nothing on when/if these ever appear. It’s on the manufacturer to follow through with what they promote and claim to be willing to deliver, so I don’t care about the player dragging his feet or whatever the reason. Let’s also not forgot that certain companies (*cough* Topps *cough*) have released multiple redemption cards for players/personalities that they have never had a contract in place, including some where they were flat out told that the player/personality had no interest and wouldn’t sign…yet still released redemptions.

  37. Keith S 28 August, 2013 at 12:42

    I like what was said above about the company throwing in something “extra” for the aggravation and delay.

    Before Fleer went out of business, they would often include a few packs or some bonus cards when a card needed to be replaced due to being damaged. Procedures like that would help the redemption issue a lot! I got caught with a couple of outstanding Fleer redemptions when the company went out of business, and got nothing close to value once that was all resolved. That’s something else to keep in mind with high value redemptions from companies who might not be in the best financial shape.

    How about a bonus program based on the number of redemptions you’ve had with a company??

    How about ensuring that if a redemption needs to be exchanged, that the replacement has EQUAL TO or MORE value than the original??

    How about rewarding your loyal customers with something a bit EXTRA from having to go thru the process and wait for the promised hit or hits from a box??

    Any or all of those would help tremendously!!!

  38. Gary 28 August, 2013 at 13:06

    Man, so many of these comments are funny.. Somehow people keep confusing the word “Collecting” with “Business”. If you feel that opening cards and selling them on Ebay the second the packs are open for Profit is “Collecting”, than you come from a different world of “Collecting” than i do (Maybe im the only one). If you get a redemption (especially for something nice) than LUCKY YOU! who cares if you have to wait for it, you are a “COLLECTOR” and you should appreciate the card not the value it brings on EBAY. Hey, I spend my hard earned money on this Hobby because i LOVE IT, not because of the possible money i will make on the secondary market.
    One thing however, No redemption should expire. I agree with other on this! – Thanks

  39. Mark see 28 August, 2013 at 13:59

    Currently am taking the issue up with topps and the attorney general of iowa as I believe this may be in violation of Marketing laws and unfair/deceptive acts and practices. When talked to topps on two cards greater than 6 months sounded like didn’t even have the auto or memorabilia and both about more than a year.

  40. ROBERT SIMPSON 28 August, 2013 at 17:58

    For those who get ripped off in exchanges why not pursue legal action. What these companies is doing is FRAUD. Especially 4 Hendrix turns into 4 Goodens. How can that not be the legal definition of Fraud?

    You people need to stand up & not just take these companies crap!

    If they jip you on a redemption contact the BBB or a state Attorney General! If you live close enought to one of the companies SUE THEM! Or even try to file criminal fraud charges!

    These companies are getting away with this crap because the people are not pressing them enough on these issues!

    Also how can it not be fraud to issue a redemption in a box with an EXP DATE??? The card was supposed to be in the box but its not but if you dont open the box soon enough tough luck for you????

    Stand Up & Stop taking the crap these companies are giving!

  41. Robert 28 August, 2013 at 23:10

    wowsers, topps now issuing redemption cards for RELICS. How they issue a redemption card for a item not in hand that is controllable to have during product packout is beyond me! More proof to me that Topps is unethical in building their autos/relics checklist so that they can insert redemptions for anything and pray that they might be able to find a way to make good on those autos/relics.

  42. Ken 29 August, 2013 at 10:25

    Redemptions are a blight on the industry, and until such time as the card companies take a firm stand which requires the athletes to return their autos, be they on-card or sticker, by a certain date or not be included in a release, things will not improve! As an example, I have been waiting nearly 1 1/2 years for a 2012 Topps Chrome Bryce Harper Red Refractor, print run of “25.” How long can it take Harper to sign 25 cards, for crying out loud?1? And so far as the companies’ “…replacement with a card of equal or greater value…,” that is pure hogwash! I have NEVER had a replacement come anywhere close to what the original redemption was worth! Instead, it seems as if what is sent to the customer is whatever leftover piece of junk happens to be at the top of some storage box, convenient to the Customer Service (?) Rep, who is tasked with pulling it!

  43. Jason 29 August, 2013 at 11:27

    Redemptions are at best an expensive and time consuming bandaid for a gushing revenue wound and at worst, a bait and switch. Redemptions should be filled within 6 months and if not, should be able to be used as coupons towards future purchases from that brand. Any unscratched redemption card thats expired should be worth at least Beckett Value or more! Cards too rare to be listed in a Beckett should have to be filled under penalty of false advertisement.

  44. Mike 29 August, 2013 at 12:29

    Perhaps the biggest issue I have with redemptions is simply this, consumers buy the products in hopes of getting the cards advertised. Many of these products are high end cards of high profile players. Take the newly released 2012 Topps Baseball Topps Tier One for example, at a glance autographs of Frank Thomas, Nomar Garciaparra, Bryce Harper, Tom Seaver, Andre Dawson, Prince Fielder, Manny Machado, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Craig Biggio, Reggie Jackson, John Smoltz, Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken Jr., Yu Darvish, Johnny Bench, and Hank Aaron all have redemptions not to mention the countless relic cards that also require redeeming. Having to drop a hundred bucks on a box to get four cards only to find that you may have to wait in excess of a few months just to get them or be informed that your great pull cannot be redeemed all can be a bit infuriating.

    Equally frustrating, however, is the dreadful communication, or lack thereof, from the company regarding these cards. My experiences with redemption cards are strictly limited to my interactions with the Topps Company and they have been nothing short of dreadful. Their redemption website is awful proving the consumer with little or next to no information regarding their redemption. Speaking to a customer service representative takes up at a minimum an hour of your time. Making things worse is the fact that once the card is shipped there is no direct link to search the delivery status of your item. Instead it merely indicates that it was shipped and provides a tracking number. You have to take that tracking number and then visit the USPS website for delivery status. The last card I received took me over a week to find once it made its way to the post office because they lost track of the “tracked” package and could only tell me that it was somewhere in their facility.

    The bottom line is this, while redemptions are a necessary evil of the hobby, the card companies – Topps in particular – need to at a minimum find a way to be more consumer friendly and have better lines of communication.

  45. Carl Burke 29 August, 2013 at 15:48

    I got two great cards out of Topps 2013 Allen and Ginter and they both were redemptions. (David Ortiz auto boxloader /12 and a Axl Rose auto.) It’s just frustrating when you spend close to $100 on a product and have to wait for what hopefully will be a great pull. Will I get the card? Will I not get the card?
    I do understand why redemptions exist but there has to be a way to reduce the number of redemptions in a product.
    I waited eight months for a rookie auto Yu Darvish red refractor /5 from Topps Bowman. It was the longest wait of my life in terms of time and uncertainty of whether or not I would get what was promised to me. (Also the most valuable card I’ve ever waited for.) I also waited six months for a Darin Mastroianni auto Bowman 2011 card (some people must have waited two years for it because I bought it late in 2012) and got a replacement card that was nowhere near the value of what the actual card would have been worth. I can’t stand the “not knowing.”
    People tell me Panini America is better with redemptions than Topps but I’ve had trouble contacting both companies. Maybe Panini gives you better replacements. I certainly don’t want to find out. I just want the card I was promised. Because that’s what a redemption card is, a promissory note.
    The only cards I can see being a real problem getting signed are ones that have multiple autographs and two, three, four or more players need to get the card, sign it and send it to the next guy.
    Although a necessary evil, I wish there were less of them.
    Carl Burke

  46. Dustin Norton 31 August, 2013 at 21:29

    What other product can you buy and get an IOU. Its like they are taking loans from us then going out and getting the autos with that interest free money.

  47. charles 4 September, 2013 at 13:21

    I mean for real these Question where so one sided, most were the lesser of 2 evils, I have way to many redemptions for what I spend on cards, this one is from last years Tie one a Topps product, for a Relic of Al Kaline, for a Relic, and I see they are once more doing it again, for real this selling something you don’t have and are not sure when you will have it is becoming a norm that is wrong, I waited 2 years, for a couple of redemption in the past Matt Harvey most recent. and do you think they would at least give you a pack for having to wait so long but nothing, all u get is more redemption, and a story about how its so hard for the companys to get them. my idea is to stop pumping out product at the pace of a machine

  48. Brad 21 September, 2013 at 16:36

    Redemptions are aweful! Especially from Topps. I would say that only about 3/5 of my redemptions are fulfilled and some of those are replacement cards. I still have my big box hit, a 1/1 autographed printing plate of Matt Kemp, still waiting to get here. By the way it is from the 2012 Topps Tribute set and I bought the box in October 2012, and 2014 will be live in February. Do away with redemptions and bring back the fun of ACTUALLY GETTING an autograph card.

  49. kingbudd 17 October, 2013 at 14:10

    I think you need to ask the question in this questionnaire, what company fills their products with the most redemption’s. I guarantee it is Panini. Look at 12-13 Limited Basketball, the product has five cards and the average redemption was 2-3 per pack. How is that good for the hobby and why would ANY company release a product with that amount of redemption’s.

  50. Hugh Zanger 8 January, 2015 at 01:07

    When I buy a product, whether it’s a current box in hobby store, box from last year or two from retail vendor etc… I’m expecting whatever I score in that box is mine. With redemptions, I believe whoever they said you won, and what you won, is what you should receive. Vendor could have right to offer me something else, to make it easier for them, and maybe better for me, but as their CUSTOMER I want what I was promised. No deadlines, no switches etc… I don’t want to hear their woes about back shop problems managing redemptions. If you can’t manage it to your CUSTOMER’s expectation, don’t do it. I really believe these company’s either need to figure out redemptions without penalties, like expiration dates, switches, long delays. They sure don’t wait to take our money when we buy the product. If they can’t do it well, very well, favoring their CUSTOMER in all instances, then stop doing it until you can. That includes not selling any products with redemptions, unless you have the cards complete(ie signed), can fulfill them timely (the player and card type awarded), no expiration dates and no long wait times. In essence, the product has to be built and ready for sale, with any redemption cards also ready to go after product hits market. As for expiration, it’s ridiculous. I wiont rehash that here, but it’s bad business. Do you want to gain share or lose it. There is a lot of frustration with this topic across the board. Also – we don’t want to hear all the reasons it’s “hard” to manage redemptions. We don’t need to know about all the twists and turns you deal with internally. We’re the customer, and we’re buying your finished products you ship to sell. No excuses, do it well, always favoring customers who keep your business going (hobby and retail), or not at all. That would mean a very crisp, customer friendly redemption if included. If the customer wins that, they should be guaranteed they’ll get what they won – period. If you want to offer some alternative to a customer for a specific redemption card, fine, but the customer should have the choice of card they won as described, and in addition, they can consider and offer the vendo wants to make for whatever reason. But the card won in redemption should always be complete and ready. Some of this lately has been getting into shady territory. Remember who your customer is, and why they buy you brand – right now

  51. TedB 30 December, 2015 at 09:01

    I know this is an older article, I would just like to add something to this Redemption debate. Redemptions, for one reason or another, are part of collecting now and companies can either keep this up or try to cut back on them because they cost the companies money too. I just don’t see how there are still 2013,2014 cards unredeemed for pretty big stars and then in the 2015 product they have live autos placed in the boxes, not even redemptions. Seems that some companies are skipping over all the people who have been waiting years and ignoring them and starting over fresh.

    Another problem I have with Redemptions, a huge problem at that, is how sometimes autographs are “randomly” tied to redemptions like say the 2010 Finest Jason Heyward Rookie Redemption #1 card. Topps made a big deal about it and said 10% would be autographed. Topps didn’t say a word about the Refractor versions, so nobody was sure how they did those but then the Blue Refractor version started making its rounds and it was numbered to 20. The Gold Refractor had 5 autographed versions made and I searched years until I found one on eBay….right in the description the seller wrote “I was sent this card recently as a replacement for a totally unrelated card”… here #5 of 5 is turning up as a REPLACEMENT to another card all together, I have a HUUUGE problem with this seeing as how in 2010 those Gold Redemption cards unredeemed were selling for over $600 just FOR A CHANCE of hitting that autograph, and Topps never even made all of them available in the first place they locked up at least one that we know of!

    I’ve been waiting on a Marquise Lee Bronze Strata Auto Relic for over a year now, and a Kris Bryant Tier One auto for 6 1/2 months now Topps needs to get on it they are getting piled up so far back in Redemptions that they’ll never be able to dig themselves out of this mess. Hope they make my Bryant, I’d be so upset if something happened and it didn’t get made.

  52. William Coker 22 February, 2019 at 11:23

    What do you know, here we are in 2019, almost 7 years since this article was written and we (collectors) are still dealing with the same exact issues. I would even venture to say things have gotten worse if anything. They sure have not gotten any better. I recently received a Redemption for a Juan Soto /10 out of Topps Five Star in which the base and higher numbered parallels were found live on the secondary market. After 3 weeks the status of my redemption still read as “pending”, so I had to spend hours of my own time locating the specific Topps Redemption Report that listed my card so that I had facts straight when I went to contact Topps to find out what was going on. And of course with Topps having the worst customer service department in the industry, they do not have any sort of database of their past Redemption Reports so you have to get lucky by googling past reports to try to see if your card was included as being ready for fulfillment. I know from experience if you call their customer service line and speak to someone in the redemption department all they are going to tell you is to check the redemption reports, so you better be equipped with the right info proving that your card should have already been shipped. I had to email a contact with the company,, AND submit an inquiry on their website just to get my card. And they never even bothered responding to a single line of communication, they just finally shipped it. They play so many ridiculous games with cards that they owe their customers. You have to absolutely beat on their wall to get what is rightfully yours. But they will continue to do it and will not change because they know they’re the only game in town. I even recently wrote the CEO of Topps a hand written letter and mailed it to him at their headquarters. Do you think I got a response? Not a chance. As much as I love how the hobby has evolved over the years, its things like this that makes me miss “the junk era”, when there were no redemptions, because there were no autographs!

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