The Hunt for Another Target Exclusive
After the successful release of “Target Exclusive” 2017 Bowman Platinum, Topps is at it again with 2017 Topps Fire. This marks the first year that Topps Fire has released a complete baseball set as they spent a few years in Football before losing out on the license exclusivity that Panini obtained for the NFL. Fire was a good product in football and provided some exciting designs. They almost had an early Fleer Metal Universe feel to me but they weren’t quite as space-y and futuristic. While I liked them, they were very close to Topps Valor and didn’t provide enough differential to collect both.
As for being a Target Exclusive, this seems to be an attempt to ignite the retail market as it has seen a decline over the years due to pack searching concerns, limited “bang for buck” and the online availability of hobby products. I miss the days of going up to Wal-Mart or Target and buying packs to rip but I got to a point where I felt like I was throwing money away on the retail selection and limited chance of finding good hits. Before autographs, patches, plates, etc, I bought from Wal-Mart as much as I did from anywhere else. Those days are gone and I give Topps some credit for trying to re-engage that market.
The downside of the “exclusive” is that Target may not be in a city near you. And in the case where it is, the exclusive products are likely picked over and gone by the time most collectors get to them. The “scarcity” that is created by being exclusive has led to the first come, first serve collectors buying up the inventory and turning it over on eBay for pretty nice profits. And who can blame someone for looking to make some money on a quick card flip? But it sort of negates the effort to bring something of value to the retail market. If we are ultimately going to pay hobby prices, then let’s just keep buying hobby. By paying $89 for retail, that’s not really retail anymore in my opinion.
Despite the pitfalls of trying to find these exclusive products, I still look whenever I go by Target to see what I stumble upon. I thought I struck gold today when I saw a blaster box on the shelf. I picked it up and found that it was empty. The cellophane had been cut on one end and the contents were taken. Despite exclusive items, the retail sector still remains a minefield of searchers and unscrupulous collectors. I did see two fat packs hanging above the blasters so I picked those up. I didn’t have a lot of faith that they were unsearched but I haven’t seen the product in person yet so it was a relatively small risk to check it out.
Of course, after seeing the blasters at Target, I decided to check Wal-Mart too just to see what new products were available. I wound up buying a blaster of 2017 Panini Draft Picks Basketball and 2017 WWE Women’s Division. So I decided, “why not just have a retail rip party for this post and we can take a look at a wide variety of products.” We’ll start with WWE and save the Topps Fire for last. But before I forget, Wal-Mart was in worse shape than Target as I found boxes of Absolute Football, Panini Contenders Football and Donruss Football all ripped open and empty. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many more times; I don’t trust retail products! Companies need to work on this aspect before trying to go with exclusive products.
2017 WWE Women’s Division
81 Cards – One Hit (Auto, Kiss Card, Shirt & Mat Relics)
Like Topps Fire, this set is a retail exclusive but can only be found at Wal-Mart. The box contains one large pack of 81 cards and 1 hit. I don’t watch wrestling as much as I used to but I am a fan of Charlotte Flair and I’ve heard good things about this set. The base set is made up of two basic designs. The first has a Topps Baseball design feel to them and includes NXT and WWE Superstars. The other design is a “Roster” card with NXT, WWE and Legends. I enjoyed this section of the checklist the best. These are classy looking designs and I pulled a Stephanie McMahon and Lita in this box. All in all, it was pretty nice value and I can see buying a couple more blasters of this product.
9 Pocket Page Page: 8-1/4 x 11-3/8″; Pockets: 2-5/8 x 3-5/8″. Holds current trading cards, sketch cards and artist trading cards. Ultra-Pro brand. Made from 5-gauge polypropylene. For use in 3-ring binders. Top-loading.
My hit was a mat relic of Nikki Cross. Cross is currently in the NXT division. Not a huge hit but I’ll take it.
2017 Panini Contenders Basketball
42 Cards – 1 Autograph
Panini Contenders is not an exclusive product but I am always a fan of their retail blasters because they usually include at least 1 autograph. Contenders is a well known product in Baseball, Football and Basketball and provide the chance to hit the biggest rookie names in each sport. In basketball, the names I’m looking for are Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz, both on the box cover. This blaster box has actual packs to rip; 7 packs with 6 cards each. Contenders includes both rookies, current stars and retired veterans, as well as a few insert sets.
Super 3-Ring Binder – vinyl cover with spine pocket 11-1/2 x 12-1/4 x 4″ (L x W x D) Available in 3 colors: Black , Maroon or Blue These super capacity 3″ slant D-ring binders are made from vinyl-wrapped 100 pt. rigid cardboard.
2017 Topps Fire
This is the set that put me on my search to today. I was able to locate two fat packs with 12 cards each so I had to snatch them up. I’ve been impressed by the breaks of Topps Fire I have seen so I am excited to see the product up close.
Ok, these are really sharp cards. The first card I saw was this sweet Jackie Robinson. “Blue Chips” are found only in fat packs and pack 1 had this George Springer. The Harmon Killebrew is the “Flame” variation. The “Moniker” insert was a Jose Altuve, “Gigante”! Great timing for that pull!
The “Blue Chip” in pack 2 was a Matt Carpenter. The “Flame” was a really good looking Rougned Odor. Pictures don’t do these cards justice. I pulled another “Moniker” insert and this was Brandon Belt “Baby Giraffe”. It is always nice to pull Chipper Jones as well.
I am pleased with the evening rip and am very impressed with my first (limited) look at Topps Fire. I will certainly keep my eyes open when I go to Target and will likely pick up more of these. But much like my philosophy with Bowman Platinum, I won’t be jumping into the secondary market and paying up for packs or boxes. I’ve thrown a lot at you in this piece! What do you think of these products?