Unreleased 2015 Topps Chrome Carlos Correa, 2016 Gypsy Queen autographs surface online

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2015 Topps Chrome Carlos Correa Purple Red Autographs

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Update (Feb 19): Topps spokesperson says all Correa autographs in their possession.

Last night three 2015 Topps Chrome Carlos Correa autographs were offered up for sale on the Blowout Cards forums. All three were Refractors, a Purple numbered to 250 and two Reds numbered to 5. Nice cards. The only problem is, they’ve never been released to the public.

So how did someone end up with not only these three cards but some other autographs from the yet-to-be-released 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball?

The situation started simply enough. Someone by the user name cardslinger9 was looking to sell some cards of a popular player.

Unless you knew the 2015 Topps Chrome Baseball Rookie Autographs checklist by heart, you may have not noticed anything strange about the initial post. Or, maybe they were the jumbo versions that Topps has for sale on their website.

But they weren’t. The numbering doesn’t match up and a later picture from the original poster showing the cards alongside a piece of note paper gives the perspective that these were, indeed, traditionally sized cards.

The fact that they exist shouldn’t be surprising. A few months ago, Topps posted an image on Instagram of Correa holding a signed 2015 Topps Chrome Baseball Superfractor.

So if there’s a Superfractor, the full rainbow of colors is likely. But just because they exist doesn’t mean that they’ve been released.

It didn’t take long for some of Blowout’s members to catch on and they started doing a little more digging. It was discovered that someone also going by the name of cardslinger9 had an album set up on box.es with live 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen cards. Among them were autographs of Aaron Nola and Jacob deGrom plus and a Mike Piazza autographed patch mini book card. Again, nice cards but the product isn’t due out until April.

2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Autos Upcoming

2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Aaron Nola Autograph

That album and the cardslinger9 account has been removed from the site, but there is currently a cached version from earlier in January that shows several other cards from both recent months and the past. Among them is one of the employee-only 2015 Topps Archives Kris Bryant autographs that were given to select staff in December.

So what’s going on here?

These cards look real. There are no signs that they’re counterfeit. It’s possible but doesn’t look likely.

There are several different scenarios that could explain it, but it’s hard to find one that’s reasonable. Is it a Topps employee taking cards from the company? Is it someone involved with printing or packaging? Maybe they come from somewhere else in the supply chain.

Of course, it also raises questions about the extent of the problem. Is this an isolated situation? At this point, no collectors have missed out on the 2015 Topps Chrome Carlos Correa autographs because they’ve never been released. But why would this same person have cards that are presumably scheduled for a set a couple of months from now. It’s highly unlikely that someone would be pulling that Piazza book card, but even with one less than planned available, it makes it that much harder.

Another possibility is that these cards are part of the planned amount set aside for quality issues and replacements. In that case, there might not be less in packs. But that could lead to problems if a damaged card is sent back and there isn’t anything to replace it with.

We have reached out to Topps for comment. We’ll be sure to update if we get a response.

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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15 comments

  1. Matt 1 February, 2016 at 16:25

    Someone involved with printing wouldn’t be getting their hands on signed copies. They could make duplicates, or skim a few unsigned ones, but they wouldn’t have received “employee only autos”. No, if it was someone involved with the printing they’d be selling “proof” cards, or un-numbered ones. This is someone either in Topps, or involved with pack-out/QC, who would have access to final cards.

  2. RJ 1 February, 2016 at 19:35

    This doesn’t surprise me … don’t get the autos back in time for 2014? Heck, put ’em in 2015! Don’t get the autos in the first edition of a product, but you screw up the QC so badly you have to re-release said product, so you decide to put different autos in the second release? No problem! Hide 1/1s box toppers inside the packaging, guaranteeing that many, many people who paid their hard-earned money for your product likely threw them out?

  3. David Brown 1 February, 2016 at 22:17

    I believe it would fall on Beckett to contact the FBI if this is all true. The sportscards industry is no small potato and the collectors must be protected. If this is going on it has to be stopped or like other victim law suits these companies can be sued over breach of confidence if cards that have been listed as available in packs are not available they are liable and the house of cards will fall

    • Ryan Cracknell 2 February, 2016 at 08:40

      David Brown – As of yet, none of these cards have come out or were supposed to have come out in released products. They have not been included on final checklists and have not been made available in packs to date.

  4. Mat P 1 February, 2016 at 22:32

    lol Topps, Can’t trust them. I’m a big Alistair Overeem fan, but at last count I’ve seen 5 different autos attributed to him, with the least credible looking ones being the sticker autos release by Topps – complete chicken scratch handwriting. He’s never signed on-card for them, and they’ve never fulfilled a redemption (trust me, I have two, and I’ve given up enquiring about them).

  5. Bob Loblaw 2 February, 2016 at 00:23

    Or, Matt, this IS an employee who sold both his Employee card and the cards he pilfered from Topps to a 3rd party whom he is either working with, or who is already the recipient of stolen goods and trying to move same.

  6. Corky 2 February, 2016 at 00:29

    Another case of back-door theft, this time by a Topps employee. There are ways of digitally tracking the culprit, at least to an isp and location. I am wondering though how Topps would try to explain that two of the five red refractors were missing, the guy got greedy when he went for the reds not to mention had he waited until the release dates on the Gypsy Queen cards nobody would have questioned him.

  7. Chris 2 February, 2016 at 08:50

    Topps for sure is going to say that these weren’t meant for distribution to cover their butts, but we can put the pieces together and know that they were.

  8. Cal Johnson 2 February, 2016 at 09:26

    This is not good news for a business that is struggling to regain its fan base. Topps needs to answer to all its customers.

  9. Victor Sharp 2 February, 2016 at 13:42

    This is awful for the hobby as it destroys any trust (not that I had much) left in Topps. We all know about the redemption issues, but now we see that cards that aren’t supposed to be released until April 2016 are now in the hands of a current or former employee. The loser here is all of us collectors, as trust is paramount in this industry.

  10. Tyler Sullivan 3 February, 2016 at 04:58

    How is this any different than Panin pushing garbage Spectra cards from ’14 in ’15 products, or even worse Hot Rookies autos in Playbook. Deceit fall on all companies.

  11. kstjst 3 February, 2016 at 19:25

    i sort of don’t blame topps on this…other than the fact that their security needs to be a little better. there’s pilfering in all types of jobs…so no, not totally on topps for this one. and i’m honestly not sure what the processes are for topps’ production, so whether or not it was during signing, during the pack out, during the distribution, who knows. all i know is, can someone get me the serial numbers of those cards so i can search for them on the bay?!

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