How to Find Out What Game Your Topps Strata Baseball Relic Came From

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2015 Topps Strata Clearly Authentic Autograph Jose Fernandez

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2015 Topps Strata Baseball helped change a problem many collectors have with modern memorabilia cards. Now, the followup 2016 Topps Strata has continued it. You can actually track where they’re from.

When game-used cards first came out, things were somewhat clear. We were usually told that it was a bat or jersey used by a specific player. The exact date or game may not have been included but the wording was clear. Over the years, things have gotten more vague. Lawyers may like it, but it can be hard for collectors to get excited about pieces of fabric that don’t come from any specific game or event. Even the type of material or player has been muddled.

A handful of sets over the years have gone the game-dated route. But they’re definitely the exception for game-used cards.

A seemingly simple addition to the Clearly Authentic game-used relics in both 2015 and 2016 Topps Strata Baseball lets collectors look up exactly what game the swatch came from. Topps worked with MLB Authentication for the cards to create about as much provenance as one can expect from a memorabilia card. The cards have a hologram anyone can use to look up who used the jersey (or other gear), when and more.

How to Look Up the MLB Authentication of Topps Strata Baseball Clearly Authentic Relics

1. Go to the MLB Authentication website.

MLB Authentication works to verify a ton of memorabilia — worn by players, from the dugout or otherwise — with a multi-step process. And it’s all out in the open when you look things up on their website.

2. Enter the info found on the card’s hologram.

All of the 2015 Topps Strata Clearly Authentic relics have a hologram. They’re secured under a piece of acetate so there shouldn’t be any issues with them peeling off. Enter the information on that hologram into the box at the top of the MLB Authentication home page.

The initials are selected by a drop-down menu. Then type in the rest of the code and click ‘Authenticate.’

3. The details are revealed.

If you entered the hologram information correctly, a pop-up window will show up and tell you everything you need to know about the swatch. And probably a little bit extra. If, for some reason, this window doesn’t show up, try entering the details again. You might also need to adjust your web browser’s pop-up settings.

Trying It Out

Here’s a 2015 Topps Strata Baseball Clearly Authentic patch card of Prince Fielder.

2015 Topps Strata Clearly Authentic Patch Prince Fielder

The hologram is “147564 JB.”

Head over to the MLB Authentication site and enter the details. ‘JB’ can be found in the drop-down.

2015-Topps-Strata-Baseball-Authentication-A

From that simple code we can verify several things:

2015-Topps-Strata-Baseball-Authentication-B

  • It’s from a jersey.
  • Prince Fielder wore that jersey.
  • It was worn on May 2, 2015 in a game against the Athletics.
  • It gives us a code to the complete jersey the swatch was cut from.

Taking that information, you can go an build more of a story for the card to see what happened in the game itself.

Fielder went 2-4 with a walk in an 8-7 Texas victory.

It’s unknown whether this level of authentication and transparency will carry over to other products, sports and manufacturers.

Would you be more interested in game-used cards with this sort of authentication? Would you put a premium on such cards? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter.

Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.

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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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16 comments

  1. DanM13 23 December, 2015 at 16:07

    Would I be more interested? The answer is a resounding “yes.” I doubt Panini will use a technique like this for football relics anytime soon, but I would definitely be willing to pay a little more to find out what game the swatch came from

  2. Richard 23 December, 2015 at 19:58

    About freaking time.
    I stopped buying memorabilia when they started using the weasel words that only a lawyer could love.
    The COAs the last few years promised NOTHING and helped kill the market for many. Every patch card
    was just considered the same as a manufactured one. Every bat card considered a piece of generic wood.

  3. Tyler Sullivan 23 December, 2015 at 20:56

    This is really great. To have something tangible is really good for the industry. A Trout patch is always going to sell well, but if you pull a white/gray jersey and it’s from a game he went 4-for-5 with a HR, 2 SB and a sick catch or putout adds value in my opinion, or intrigue at the very least.

    I hope the trend continues, in all sports and across all manufacturers.

    Your move Panini…

  4. Paul Angilly 23 December, 2015 at 22:32

    I just suddenly became a lot more interested in this product … I definitely want some of these, if they’re within my budget.

  5. Jonathan W. Iwanski 24 December, 2015 at 08:27

    This is the best thing Topps has done in years, in my opinion. It won’t make me buy Topps products, but it is very helpful to us as collectors.

  6. Charlie DiPietro 24 December, 2015 at 08:56

    Yes, this gives true meaning to the term memorabilia. I would pay more for a memorabilia card with this type of authentication. I hope all manufacturers place like/similar authentication in all high-end products. Great job Topps!

  7. Larry 24 December, 2015 at 09:02

    It’s a start in the right direction. But what’s to stop shady people from taking the stickers and putting them on more expensive items and then making a huge profit? You really think acetate will stop them? I think this is a start, but they need to create something that is tamper proof.

  8. Paul Jones 26 December, 2015 at 00:20

    One thing i will give Topps is there always changing with the times. The are trying new methods out to help there business were. You have some companies like Panini that just has no idea how make a good product.
    The only do what is best for business. so for that i am only buying from one company topps.

  9. philies_joe 27 December, 2015 at 08:15

    There now is a reason for me to buy relic cards. Also, this now means that a relic card is really a “hit” if you purchase boxes….at least ones that include the holograms. A+ Topps……

  10. Clint 28 December, 2015 at 15:07

    LOVE IT!! This should be a requirement for ALL jersey/bat/ball/glove cards. But then of course you eliminate companies from the market, have a one company monopoly like Panini now has, and what incentive do the manufacturers have to do this? Wish it would be followed…highly doubt that it will.

  11. David Johnson 28 December, 2015 at 15:32

    This is great. I hope they stop making so many cheap memorabilia cards and start making all mem cards like this. I would rather have 1 of these than 10 without any real authentication to them.
    As per the comment about people taking the sticker off and putting it on something else. When you look up the item it says it’s on a Topps product, so it’s not like you could put the sticker on a full jersey or other item and have the hologram make sense.

  12. starky 14 January, 2016 at 18:52

    This should be standard for all game used cards..either this or a little line from the card company on the back.

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