I recently purchased a box of 2017 Topps Clearly Authentic at my LCS. The box itself comes with one autograph on acetate stock and has a base set with a design of 2017 Topps and features names like Benintendi, Judge, Harper, Posey, Seager, Swanson, Freeman, Moncada, and Machado, just to name a few. The base checklist of 82 cards comes with parallels as well; Green /99 or less, Red /50 or less, Blue /25 or less and the always popular Gold 1/1. I am usually hesitant when buying boxes with only one card in them because you really are taking a chance. The box itself is $55 so it’s not quite as expensive as some other one hit wonders I have seen.
While the base checklist is very solid and I enjoy pulling autographs of my favorite current players, the real draw for this box with me was the “Reprint Autograph” checklist. To be clear, the card is a reprint and the autograph is authentic. Beyond the base set, Topps also has a Reprint set randomly inserted throughout cases. This checklist includes some of the biggest names in the collecting hobby over the last 60 years or so. But perhaps more importantly, the cards they are featured on are reprints of some of their most iconic cards. So when I say Bo Jackson is in the checklist, I’m talking about the 86’ Topps Traded and the ’87 Topps Future Star!
Just check out a few of the highlights from the Reprint checklist:
Topps really did a great job on these and the possibility of pulling one of these gems makes the investment worth the risk for me. These are nowhere near the only autographs of their kind on the market today though. Autographs on reprinted card designs are not a new fad. They have been around for several years now and are really my favorite kind of autograph. My personal favorite baseball set every year is Topps Archives because of the Fan Favorite Autograph set. Topps Football did an Archives set in 2013 and I really enjoyed it as well. Unfortunately, that was the only run for the Archives set in Football so when I want to rip those packs, they aren’t exactly abundant on the market.
I did recently find a box on eBay for $39.99 and I scooped it up to try and finish the set I am working on. But I’d be lying if I said that was a bigger reason than the opportunity to pull those 2 Fan Favorite Autographs. I was not disappointed either. I pulled Gary Clark with the Redskins and Ernest Givins with the Oilers. These names may not leap off the page at you like a Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott but I was very excited to land these. You see, Clark and Givins were go to receivers for me in Super Tecmo Bowl back in the early 90’s when I tried to dominate every one in high school on Nintendo. I first learned about competitive fire from that game. Sometimes it got ugly but when you sat down in front of that TV, you knew what you were getting yourself into and you accepted the risk.
Gary Clark and Ernest Givins aren’t the only Super Tecmo legends in that set. I also own Christian Okoye, Don Beebe, Ickey Woods, Vai Sikahema, Cornelius Bennett and Eric Allen. These cards are more fun to pull for me than a 2017 Deshaun Watson and that is not an exaggeration. While I still watch football religiously today, I can actually go back 25 years in my mind and tell you about an interception Eric Allen had against Don Beebe and the Bills in a Super Bowl between me and a friend. That interception, along with the quick feet of QB Eagles, gave me a championship and I have been a fan ever since. My love for these cards is based in nostalgia more so than value. I probably bought all of those cards for the price of one Watson today. So while I won’t retire off of these retro autographs, they are certainly invaluable to me.
The nostalgia extends to baseball as well. I recently added Gregg Jefferies and Kevin Maas, both in 1990 Topps reprints, to my collection for about $15 total. If you collected in the late 80’s and early 90’s, you definitely know the names Jefferies and Maas. I traded stacks of cards for one ‘89 Jefferies Future Star or one ‘90 Maas Upper Deck. Now, I own a card with their autograph and it cost less than some packs of cards today. That is collecting to me! I love pulling a Dak or Judge and having something crazy valuable because that is human nature. But what I really love to collect are players that mean or meant something to me in my life. If I can add their auto to the collection, that’s even better.
Here are a few of my favorite Topps Baseball Archives Autographs. Kevin Mitchell will forever be known to me as the outfielder that caught a fly ball with his bare hand. Tony Pena is one of my favorite catchers ever and I love the old Pirates uniforms. I loved collecting Jim Abbott in the 90’s and I would have no other way to obtain his autograph than buying this card on eBay for about $12. I picked up this Tony Fernandez in a box of 2017 Archives.
My rip of the 2017 Topps Clearly Authentic resulted in a card that is aimed more toward value than nostalgia but I am very pleased with its contents as well. It wasn’t Bo or Jose but it was a star of today. It was also a red parallel that was numbered 7/50. Corey Seager and the Los Angeles Dodgers are very hot this year and if they can make a run in the playoffs, this card may be one of the better ones to have from the base checklist. I will probably remain hesitant with products like these but the success of this box break, the relatively reasonable price tag and the allure of a 1987 Bo Jackson Future Star will surely lead me back down this path again.
What do you think about one card boxes like these?