Topps Prime Football: Hobby vs. Retail

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Email this to someone

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

Hobby and retail packs are not usually made the same. Odds are different – with the best chance at hits in hobby packs – and maybe some inserts are exclusive to one or the other.

Topps Prime Football recently came out and with bigger distinctions between hobby and retail, as it has in years past.

There are significant differences between the two in this case.

Let’s break down some of the differences:

1. Different card stock

The hobby cards are on a thicker card stock, about three times the thickness of its retail counterparts. There is a definite difference in the feel of the cards as the retail cards are more flimsy.

2. Different rookies pictures

The 2012 rookies use different pictures between hobby and retail.

In one example, New York Giants’ wide receiver Rueben Randle has two distinct shots. On the hobby card, his eyes are set on the ball coming in while he’s running.

On the retail card, Randle stretches out to catch a ball.

Here’s another example using Robert Griffin III. The card on the left is the hobby picture.

3. Retail options

Prime has several options at retail. There are blasters, loose packs and two types of rack packs. One of the rack packs has just 14 cards, labeled as jumbo packs. These are $5.29 at Target.

The other “value pack” has three loose packs of Topps Prime and an extra pack of three light blue parallel cards (Note: there is a darker blue parallel in the product). These are $9.49 at Target.

4. Different odds

In a hobby box of Prime, collectors can get one autograph relic card, one autograph and two relics per box. Odds are usually different in all products between hobby and retail, but there’s a breakdown on some of the basic statistics.

Hobby odds:
Autograph Rookie Variation 1:22
Triple Relic 1:42
Quad relic 1:58
Prime Relic 1:31

Jumbo Pack odds:
Autograph Rookie Variation 1:185
Triple Relic 1:356
Quad Relic 1:412
Prime Relic: 1:245

Value Pack odds:
Autograph Rookie Variation 1:206
Triple Relic 1:699
Quad Relic 1:809
Prime Relic 1:494

5. Retail yields plenty of rookies

One hobby box of Prime gave out just eight base Rookie Cards.

Retail packs seem to be yielding at least two base Rookie Cards per pack, which means collectors can find plenty of Rookie Cards for a cheaper price.

Just not many hits.

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor of Beckett Football. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here.


  1. Ed
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Nice play by Topps…Very Nice

  2. David Johnson
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Playoff and even Pacific used to do this and it really sucks in the long term. The value of the retail cards is almost always significantly lower than the hobby counterpart. At least they made the card stock thinner to help differentiate it, but it would be nicer if they did something to actually mark the cards differently (like Playoff used to do with EXP vs SSD).

  3. Posted October 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    While I would agree with the differences in distribution and pack odds for retail vs hobby, I don’t like the distinctly different differences with the product itself, such as the different card stock and similar but different parallel cards. All this serves to do is confuse the buying public, especially for the casual consumer who does not know the industry enough to follow it and examine the differences.

  4. Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Not the first time companies will do this and not the last. While I don’t necessarily mind the products haveing a different look/thickness/etc, there’s really no way to know that you are buying a significantly different product at the retail store. I bought one of those jumbo packs at my local Target a week ago and I thought: “boy, I’m not really that impressed” Now, if I had gone to a card store or a card show and seen a box of Topps Prime, I probably would’ve thought back to my jumbo pack and passed on it, not knowing that the hobby product is really better overall quality-wise (not just odds-wise). I think most everyone realizes that the odds are better in hobby boxes compared to retail.

  5. chris
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Rg3 card looks better in retail ….

  6. Posted October 10, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    About 30% of my customers have told me they don’t like 2012 Topps Prime Football. When I asked why, they mentioned they tried it at Target/Walmart and did not like the way it looked. When I showed them examples of the hobby product, they decided to give HOBBY a try. I am sure Topps Prime Hobby sales are down because people tried retail and decided they did not like Prime. This is another problem caused when the Retail product hits retail shelves before the Hobby product.

    There is a valuable place in the hobby for retail products with lower price points. It brings new customers into the hobby. And when these new customers come into my store, I don’t mind explaining the differences when they ask, “Why are your prices so much higher than Target/Walmart.” (I am sure a number of people new to the hobby don’t ask and go away thinking it is more cost effective to buy from retail.) However, there is way too much confusion for collectors when they try to buy, sell or trade singles fairly. And, too many customers rush to judgement on the Hobby Product, if they don’t like the Retail Product.

    Whenever Topps/Panini/Upper Deck makes a product line with differences between hobby and retail they should mark the “product title” an identifier (RP for Retail Partners, for example). If they were to do this on the retail product, the hobby product would NOT need a separate identifier.

  7. JayKayZee
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    A strong way to increase sales. Now, there are twice as many cards of a player that collectors will need to chase to complete their collection. It also gives retail breakers a distinct product that they can trade, since retail cards are different from hobby.

  8. zotster
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the article – as someone who collects base card team sets, I am often unaware of the unannounced differences between retail and hobby versions of some sets. It’s nice to know things like this so that when chasing after cards for a team set, I don’t get the two different versions mixed up. I love the look of the Prime base cards and will probably chase down a hobby team set, plus pick up the retail versions of the RCs.

  9. James B
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I don’t mind the differences in product. I do favor the hobby over the retail. I like cards with the thicker card stock and having different pics for the RCs is cool too. To me, it makes it all the more exciting to try and get both versions of your favorite Rookies.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *