Your Turn: Are you a fan of stamped buybacks?



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

When ToppsAllen & Ginter arrived back in 2006, one of the cooler cards I found inside one of the many boxes I ripped that year was a Rip Card — a card with a miniature card inside of it.

There was no hesitation that I was going to rip the card — I had visions of an autograph or maybe a 1/1 Dick Perez sketch inside. At worst, I’d find a rarer base card mini, right?

Wrong. Inside, I found a vintage 1800s non-sports Allen & Ginter card — a cool find but ultimately a very inexpensive card that had no identifiable features that made it any different than another of the cards from the set. It was a card I could find for far less than $10 had I thought to look.  All these years later, I still have it — and I sometimes wish that it had some type of marking, some type of notation that said where it came from to make it feel different.

Fast-forward to today, and there seems to be a healthy debate out there among collectors and dealers when it comes to Topps’ foil-stamped buybacks found in boxes of 2015 Topps Heritage. A card like the Mickey Mantle 1966 Topps card probably isn’t the norm — but it was in there. It’s presently on eBay with a premium price tag beyond a Mantle in its condition likely because of the “Topps Original” foil stamp.

Otherwise, this card is much like any other 1966 Mantle.

Some collectors and dealers don’t like the idea of stamping previously released cards — that it somehow damages the card. Others like it because it makes the card stand out from all the rest that have survived since 1966. Both are probably right, though there’s really no wrong answer here, either.

Are you a fan of stamped buybacks? Why or why not?

Let us know what you think in the comments below …  we might run a selection of your responses in the next issue of Beckett Baseball.

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 @chrisolds2009.


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  1. Tyler 9 March, 2015 at 09:23

    Something just doesn’t feel right about putting a BuyBack stamp on an original card. A serious collector is going is probably going to have anxiety when they notice a tacky foil stamp on a piece of vintage. There’s no way you should ever stamp a Mantle, Aaron, Mays, etc. Your tought from jump street that you penny sleeve and top load to protect at all cost… Not put an insignia that tells people it’s yours or it’s original.

  2. AE 9 March, 2015 at 09:45

    No, it ruins the card. I would be ticked off to pull a mantle with that on it. I don’t need something new on an original card to appreciate the card.

  3. phillies_joe 9 March, 2015 at 10:12

    No for high value cards as it decreases thier value. Don’t care one way or the other about “common” cards. I will say though that putting poor quality cards with a stamp on it in boxes is a sham.

  4. Jason Taylor 9 March, 2015 at 11:00

    I never understood the rationale behind the stamp. If the package says to look out for original Topps vintage cards in the pack, then why stamp them? Even an average collector who found one would be able to tell the difference due to the paper quality and the condition. It’s a gimmick that takes a limited commodity and alters it from its original state – a cardinal sin in collecting.

  5. Mike Estrich 9 March, 2015 at 11:07

    I would like them if they were of this quality (caliber is a different request)….except none look like this. My buybacks are usually commons that came out of someone’s bicycle spokes, were run through the wash, then given to toddlers to play with for 5 weeks before being gold foil stamped and put into a pack.

  6. Ron 9 March, 2015 at 11:35

    No, leave off the buy back on the front of the way. Ruins the card in my opinion. Also from what I have seen of the Topps buy backs the condition looks like something you would get from a four year old playing with the card. One at our local even had two, yes TWO pieces of scotch tape on the face of the card. Horrible!

  7. Tracy LeVeaux 9 March, 2015 at 12:17

    I would love to see cards other than commons. I don’t even think I’ve ever even pulled a minor star. Plus, the condition of some of these cards is atrocious.

  8. Jason 9 March, 2015 at 12:55

    I like buybacks, but would prefer a method that identifies the card is a special insert without altering the cards – something like the 2002 Topps 206 set did with the 1909-11 T206 buybacks, enclosing them like A&G mini relics. This may not play with full-size cards ins packs, but since these buybacks are Hobby-only inserts, why not include them as box-toppers?

  9. Mark 9 March, 2015 at 13:52

    It’s not really a vintage 1966 card with a freshly pressed 2015 stamp on it.

    My guess is that it helps gives some collectibility to the commons that most people opening the product have never heard of, but it probably is a downer for someone who pulls a Mantle, Mays, or Aaron. I could be wrong.

  10. David Carrigan 9 March, 2015 at 13:55

    I’d rather receive a mint reprint of an old common, rather than trying to dress up someone’s “beat-up reject”. I find that rather embarrassing, especially when Topps wants to give it premium status. I echo Mike’s post, above.

  11. Ryan 9 March, 2015 at 14:46

    Just insert them in packs without the stamp….there aren’t many of these things around comparitavely speaking so why alter them and create even less available.

  12. Larry 9 March, 2015 at 15:21

    Now that those cards are ruined Topps should use those as redemptions. You redeem the stamped card for a original card that is slabbed and graded with at least a 6 grade or higher. To me that would be the only reason to try and find one of these.

  13. Dan M 9 March, 2015 at 15:29

    What they should do is print up some new versions of certain HoFers cards, let’s just say Mantle for example, and make sure that the new card is a hologram with 12 different color foil variations each with 64 different pattern variations. Oh, and don’t forget to photoshop in some random historical figure like George Bush into the back ground (some with a sparkle and some without). Next, find a “Gem copy of Mantle’s 1966 Topps card,” and cut it up into tiny little pieces, and glue those tiny pieces of the 1966 card onto the newly printed 2015 card. Make sure that the back of the new card says something non-commital like “Congratulations! You’ve received a piece of a genuine 1966 card” so that the collector will never be sure if it is actually a piece of a Mantle card, or a Joe Smith card, or even a Halmark card. Above all, DO NOT include these cards in packs – only redemption cards. It should go without saying that the redemption cards should be either ignored or honored with a much lesser card.

  14. Matthew 9 March, 2015 at 19:14

    It’s like somebody trying to show you photos of their kid while saying look what I made.

  15. Chris 9 March, 2015 at 19:48

    it makes me sick to my stomach – why ruin these cards with a stamp. Just insert them “as is” and stop taking these out of circulation for collectors.

  16. Charlie DiPietro 9 March, 2015 at 20:30

    Most vintage collectors will say the gold foil stamp defaces the card. While I am a dedicated vintage collector, I like the idea of inserting vintage buybacks and identifying them as a modern insert by using the gold foil stamp. While these buybacks may not interest most collectors, there is a population who seek these cards on eBay.

  17. Terry 9 March, 2015 at 22:43

    I collect the stamped buy back cards from Leaf because they are numbered. I pick up some of the Topps buy backs here and there from some of my favorite years.

  18. Robert Braxton 9 March, 2015 at 23:46

    Topps’ definition of an ‘Excellent’ card and Beckett’s definition of an ‘Excellent’ card are two very different things.

    I learned (the hard way, as did the rest of you suckers) that Topps is never particularly concerned with the condition of the cards (they reattain), i.e., Topps’ Million Card Giveaway. I took delivery of over 30 TMCG cards, and my list of complaints (although not overly severe) are as varied as the number of brands to choose from at an 80’s card show. Suffice to say, if Topps is not going to at least TRY and reacquire cards in NM condition, then my enthusiasm for these new-old cards will continue to be luke warm … (and that’s putting it kindly).
    (Cool stamp though;)

  19. Steve 10 March, 2015 at 00:07

    I wouldn’t keep them for my personal collection, but if they add value in the marketplace, then I’m fine with them. I imagine there is a supercollector or two out there who will want to build the entire 1966 Topps set with the stamps on them. I never used to pull any good buybacks out of Topps Heritage, but this year so far I’ve gotten a Hank Aaron and a Jim Palmer RC (along with several commons), so I’m curious to see what they’ll go for when I list them on eBay.

  20. kris buonocore 10 March, 2015 at 06:10

    no, its no longer original. kind of like an old car that has been bought and you change the original engine its no longer original

  21. Joe 18 March, 2015 at 18:03

    I LOVE THE STAMP!!! It marks the card so everyone knows it is a buyback. A beat up common is now a rare insert. I can’t wait until someone puts a set of these together and sells it for a huge price. We will then see how much everyone likes them.

  22. Stuart Levy 23 March, 2015 at 13:37

    I first saw the buybacks as part of a contest in the 2011 topps baseball anniversary contest. Back then you had a code card and that code unlocked a a card. I had gotten some really good hits from the 50’s and 60’s among the ones that I unlocked. I ended up purchasing all the cards pre 1981. And if the post 1981 card had value, I got those as well. Then the cards arrived and most of them were in average to mostly poor condition. Then the buybacks kept showing up in packs since then. I say this in my best Charles Barkley speak…they were turrable. The cards were off center, badly cut, scratched surfaces, rounded corners and if the stamp devalued them, what was the point? Heck I even had some that were written on and others that seemed to have water damage!

    When these cards were first advertised as part of the contest, the slogan was very catchy. “The cards that your mom threw out”. Who would have thought that the slogan was so spot on. If the cards were just laying around they should have been recycled like I end up doing to all the cards I get now. I can only hope that the buybacks I have recycled have gotten a better second life as pages of a kid’s school textbook.

  23. Scott 5 April, 2016 at 07:25

    With 2016 in full swing, and much of this year’s product already on the shelves of dealers and department store chains, including Topps flagship product, you probably have come across some of this year’s Topps Buyback cards.

    This is Topps 65th Anniversary and it is reflected on all of the Buyback cards in various lines of Topps product.

    Topps, after realizing that just inserting random cards from years past, was an asinine gimmick, decided to stamp the cards with an insignia. Which to most collectors, including myself, is even worse.

    If Topps ever wanted Buyback cards to make any sense they would purchase only those cards that are popular with collectors. Forget the 1987 Topps commons and insert a 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle, Forget an ’86 common and put in a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson. Most of all, and I can’t emphasize this enough, don’t stamp the card!

    When Topps stamps a card it doesn’t create a new card, it degrades a vintage card. Just as if you accidentally spilled some ink on the card, a Topps 65th Anniversary stamp on a vintage card makes it less desirable and drops it in grade. If you had a 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn rookie card in its original form, and a second one with the stamp which would you want? The answer is a no-brainer, why would I want a damaged Gwynn card?

    To further the stupidity, this year Topps has decided to not only stamp the buyback cards but make them tiered with the stamps changing color. Although no specific numbers were given Topps did explain the color scheme itself. It is the following:

    Black – Standard Red – Limited Blue – Rare Silver – Scarce Gold – one of ones (1/1) Topps also included signature cards in the mix. The signature cards would be the exception to this whole 65th Anniversary debacle as they become similar to cards signed by players at the ballpark with proof of authenticity.

    Returning to the tiered color scheme, what is Topps thinking this will accomplish? There are only so many times that Topps can think their customers are idiots before it will affect their sales. If most collectors think that stamped buybacks are just damaged cards, what will changing the color of the object of the damage do? Absolutely nothing.

    Perhaps Topps needs someone to give them a much-needed piece of advice. I can be that someone…

    Dear Topps,

    I would like to inform you, as a representative of your concerned customer base, that your 2016 Topps Buyback promotion for your 65th Anniversary is embarrassing. You should rethink your priorities, fire or at least reprimand the people in your marketing department who thought up this scheme, and return to promotions that actually make sense.

    If you do decide to continue with buyback promotions then do it correctly. There are only two kinds of buybacks that your customers are interested in. The first are cards that have significance in the hobby. Get us excited with RC’s of Hall of Famers or at least star players. Who of your loyal patrons would be upset pulling a RC of Roberto Clemente or even more recent and less expensive inductees like Paul Molitor or Wade Boggs. Thurman Munson or Alan Trammell would be a couple of non-Hall players that RC’s would be fun to pull from Topps packs of 2016. But don’t stamp them. Keep them in their original form. Every one you stamp creates one less collectible card.

    The second kind of buybacks that are acceptable are the signature cards. You did it last year with the Topps Heritage Signature cards, you can keep up the good work. Perhaps put a slabbed signature in random boxes, or even just a redemption card in random packs so that cheaters don’t go looking for those boxes that seem a bit heavier that the others. Just don’t put signatures on the important rookie cards. Leave the important cards alone.

    Thank you,

    Your ever loyal customer,


  24. james allen sr 17 April, 2016 at 18:39

    Love anything from 1967 set if your selling or want to trade in at least vg up condition I am the man. 1967 TOPPS and yes all 1967 TOPPS buybacks. Have not seen any stars or high #’s yet so if you got them . I got about two million cards to trade. Best idea TOPPS has had in long time. Bastards at TOPPS tried to destroy hobby by getting greedy. I had stop buying cards I mean the jackass’s are putting out what 100 different sets/tiers/variations. I have collected for over 50 years. Go back to basics where you get ten cards for a dollar and each card is worth tens minimum not three cards at fifty dollars a pack and you get nine cent boo

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