Do you have what it takes to be a member of the Topps Five Star Club?



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

First comes the $500 pack, next comes the $10,000 club.

With the arrival of the most-expensive baseball card set in Topps history tomorrow in 2012 Topps Five Star, the company released details of its Five Star Club, which is “an elite club for our most passionate collectors.”

Membership is free, but as part of the application process one must present evidence of spending $10,000 a year on Topps product either via receipts or a statement from one’s hobby shop owner.

Those selected to be in the club will receive a personalized membership card, exclusive autograph cards every quarter, exclusive Five Star parallel cards for football and baseball, be able to participate in quarterly calls with Topps employees and receive VIP status at selected national events. There also will be exclusive contests for members.

Five Star Club: Are you in or out?

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To be considered, the application must include a letter of reference from a hobby shop or online retailer, evidence of spending $10,000 a year (via receipts and photos of collection or in the dealer letter) and, lastly, a 500-word essay explaining why one should be a member of the club.

As part of the membership, which is only open to United States residents, Topps requires members to remain in good standing, attend most Five Star events and “must present Topps in a positive light in any statements made … including but not limited to press, blogs and social media postings such as Facebook and Twitter and cannot being Topps or its products into disrepute.”

Applications must be received by Nov. 30 and members will be notified by Jan. 15, 2013.

Memberships will be for the calendar year and can be revoked at at time.

Click here to view and download the application.

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


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  1. Richard 13 November, 2012 at 16:54

    So, do the hobby dealers that spend the $20K+ qualify for anything?
    I would think it would not be that hard for a dealership without a “whale” to fake up at least
    one membership for someone.

  2. Roger 13 November, 2012 at 17:51

    Who the hell can afford to spend $10,000 on the crap Topps is producing now days? Do they not realize the state of the U.S. economy & the number of folks who are struggling just to survive?

  3. Tony 13 November, 2012 at 19:57

    I haven’t spent $10,000 on the hobby in the past 10 YEARS combined, and I’ll bet I’m getting more satisfaction and relaxation of of this hobby than most of those who think that something that has a print run over 10 is overproduced!

  4. walker19446 13 November, 2012 at 20:19

    If you are required to buy $ 10,000.00 a year. Topps should set you up witrh a Wholesale Direct Account, because when you buy from a Distributor you are paying about Retail and then turn around and pay your State Sales tax.

  5. J CECIL 13 November, 2012 at 20:26

    This is completely garbage in my opinion. What about us folks who work a full time job, set money aside for the kids, take care of our families but yet still spend and scavenge for any money we can to get what we can while still supporting the industry. These big wigs need to start taking into consideration of some how mainstreaming the middle and upper class as well. I am almost positive 70% of us on Beckett cant spend 10K a year on product without it making any dents into our lives. I dont know could be me whining but still Im sick of the industry coming up with all these GREAT clubs and memberships and deals for the 30% of consumers who are high class and then only making a weak wrapper redemption for us middle and lower folks.

  6. Emblem 13 November, 2012 at 20:41

    How about the $10K I poured into overhyped eTopps products in 2001-2011? Getting $1K for that now is the least Topps should do for me…

  7. Tim 13 November, 2012 at 20:54

    Are you kidding? I can’t get topps to send me the cards that they owe me now. They don’t do a very good job of answering emails either. I’m sure not going to pay for customer service like that. They’ll be lucky if I spend another 10 cents on their products, let alone $10,000.

  8. Mark 13 November, 2012 at 20:54


    “must present Topps in a positive light in any statements made … including but not limited to press, blogs and social media postings such as Facebook and Twitter and cannot being Topps or its products into disrepute.”


  9. Coimbre21 13 November, 2012 at 21:05

    I like that Topps is taking this approach even though I won’t be part of the club.

    There obviously is a very high end for vintage cards and memorabilia (and everything else in life) and it makes sense to cover the high end of the card collecting market spectrum.

    If done right, Topps further entrenches it brand and sustainability as a company.

    Why be mad or resentful? It doesn’t affect my collecting goals or replace the memories of opening 10 cent packs at all.

  10. Joey 13 November, 2012 at 21:32

    everyone should stop buying topps after this …. I’m done collecting topps and with the hobby all together!!!!!

  11. reds77 14 November, 2012 at 00:00

    Well, I probably won’t be spending $10K on NEW Topps product in a year. I could, I guess, but why? Honestly the thing that turns it into an instant “no” for me is this:

    “must present Topps in a positive light in any statements made … including but not limited to press, blogs and social media postings such as Facebook and Twitter and cannot being Topps or its products into disrepute.”

    $10K of business in a year, but I’m not allowed to say anything bad about you in public?

    Give me a break.

    I won’t say anything bad about my employer in public. But, you know, they PAY ME for that consideration. And I won’t say anything bad about my wife in public, either. A company I buy stuff from? Yeah, I am not going to roll over like that for a couple of free cards.

  12. Aaron Lettner 14 November, 2012 at 02:26

    Wow Topps… “arrogant” that’s the word I would use to describe the disclaimer for entering their “membership” club. With the way the card industry has been dying a slow morbid death over the past 20 or so years you think topps would have just a bit more repect for the collector.

  13. jn 14 November, 2012 at 08:09

    Who would want a personalized membership card, calls from Topps employees? Who wants VIP treatment at a card show? Terrible idea.

  14. JonathanI 14 November, 2012 at 09:11

    So my card-collecting thirteen-year-old daughter is out? Too bad. I guess this hobby really is not for kids anymore.

  15. zotster 14 November, 2012 at 12:55

    If Topps wants me to “present Topps in a positive light in any statements made … including but not limited to press, blogs and social media postings such as Facebook and Twitter and cannot being Topps or its products into disrepute,” then THEY can pay ME to be a company PR person.

    The sheer audacity is incredible …

  16. Richard 14 November, 2012 at 13:07

    I wonder if they count buying cards off of Ebay or only unopened products?
    I know guys that put together insane things. The heritage update set had a limit of 20, and he
    bought 20. That’s 2K for that alone. He assembles master sets, like the parallels of base Topps,
    but he does not crack the product to get there since he would have to deal with selling all of the
    excess and his time is too valuable for that.

  17. Joe C. 14 November, 2012 at 13:38

    People who are spending alot of money must have been really complaining to someone! Well good for those who join……getting some preferential treatment and acess to premium cards for giving away your right to free speech? Folks have died for the priviledge of free speech.

    Topps should put out an official VIP list so that others in the hobby can decide if they are going to buy or trade with those people…..they shouldn’t care that they are on such a list because they don’t care about giving up thier God given right to complain.

    Keep collecting………

  18. chrisolds 14 November, 2012 at 14:10

    Richard: Even in my heaviest wax-buying years, I probably didn’t meet that. I’m closer to retired on wax these days than I am that.

  19. Kory Kasler 14 November, 2012 at 14:45

    The best thing for Topps to do is to try to appear as “in-touch” with their customers as they possibly can, and I feel as though Topps may be shooting themselves in the foot unfortunately. I know many companies do this same sort of thing, where they take care of the big spenders, but when it comes to something like collecting, where there are passionate collectors spending $50/month (if that) as well as those who spend $10k+ a year, and I think the “average” collector is going to view this as a negative program and make Topps look out of touch, unfortunately.

  20. joe 14 November, 2012 at 15:05

    Next to high end ($500/pack) products, this is the dumbest thing ever. So only the rich get the good deals. Hey Topps, what about average collectors. You know the ones who love this hobby and scrap up $50-$100 just to buy a box. I guess we don’t matter. This is what has been driving me out of this hobby.

  21. Jeff S 14 November, 2012 at 15:52

    Different ways of collecting for different people. Topps offers packs at dollar stores of base sets and this for super collectors. I say any way that Topps promotes and offers freebies for collectors is only good.

  22. Charlie DiPietro 14 November, 2012 at 16:13

    There are over 100,000 sports card collectors (safe guess because Topps Facebook Page has 72,503 likes). My guess is the San Antonio area has about 500 sports card collectors. Only half of these collectors come into my store more than twice a year. And, I only have about fifteen customers who spend $10,000 a year or more in my store. While I try to make all my customers feel I appreciate their business, my top spending customers need to know I want them to come back and I do a little extra for them without making it too obvious to my other valued customers.

    It is smart business to do a little extra for Topps’ top spending customers. About 13% of the people who answered this poll said “They’re in.” However, not all of my top spending customers want in for one reason or another. At the same time, it is a good idea to do something extra for those who spend a significant amount of their entertainment dollars buying Topps products. Since Topps is requiring these Five Star Club members to attend conference call meetings and provide input to questions about products, my guess is that membership is expected to by quite limited. I just don’t see 7250 people (10% of Topps’ Facebook followers) on a meaningful conference call.

    While I agree it is a good move to provide exclusive rewards to these top spending customers who also agree to abide by membership requiring restrictions, I believe it was a PR mistake for Topps to publicly announce this exclusive club in this manner. I am not saying the club should be kept secret. However, you don’t want ANY customers to misinterpret your intentions and feel you don’t appreciate their business.

  23. Frank.D. 14 November, 2012 at 17:26

    One more reason why the exclusive Topps MLB contract must be ended – they are totally out of touch with collectors. A few wealthy collectors cannot replace the passionate , long time collectors who are either leaving the hobby or decreasing what they are buying because of this agreement.

  24. James Yellis 14 November, 2012 at 18:18

    What a Joke, there are better ways to spend 10K in the hobby then that! Forget it Topps, your making me want to spend more on the other companies product then yours now

  25. Joe R. 14 November, 2012 at 20:15

    here is what makes this worse. i just bought and opened a case of five star and every card has chipping from one or two white spots to heavy chipping on all sides. this product was packaged very poorly for the price and now i am torn beween selling then in this condition or trying to get replacements for some. a 500 per pack product needs to be done better than it is. alot of cards that have hit ebay already are chipped too. these cards are not ever going to be gradable. I think Beckett and/or Chris Olds should do a story on why a 500 per pack product was treated like this in shipping and packaging

  26. Jeremy Robinson 14 November, 2012 at 21:46

    Complete BS, what they didnt tell you is that you wont get your rewards for like 5 years…. on year 2 of waiting on 2 redemptions i sent in….. i hope I never get a GD redemption again…..

  27. Jamie Case 14 November, 2012 at 22:28

    Pay $500 and get autos like Tiant , Blue , Buckner , Griffey Sr, Ventura , C Fielder , Napoli , Cj Wilson , Kruk . Get real worse than Triple Threads .

  28. Andrew 15 November, 2012 at 10:26

    Joe R

    Couldn’t help it notice the same things regarding condition while I was browsing eBay. You’d think that a lot of these cards are 4-5 years old, seeing how banged up they are, let alone 2 days old. I don’t have a problem with high end, exclusivity, etc. But I do take offense to poor quality and a categorical lack of respect for the core collecting fan base. This monopoly has to end, it’s one of the reasons the card monopoly ended originally back in 1981. THERE IS NO QUALITY CONTROL OR ACCOUNTABILITY AND THIS SUCKS FOR EVERYONE, DEEP POCKETS OR NOT!

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