I mentioned yesterday I did get some wrapper redemptions at the National. This is different from the promo cards I got by paying for the VIP ticket. The way this works, you buy a company’s product, go to their booth and open “X” number of packs (or a box) and they give you something in return. Usually there is some sort of limit to the number of cards per day – though that depends on the company. This can lead to pretty large lines early on.
I mentioned yesterday that on day #2 (Thursday), I got there just before 2:00 – so I wasn’t thinking I’d get too much in the way of these redemptions that day. Except Panini doesn’t have a limit per day on theirs. Basically, if you buy the product, you can get the redemption. It’s a bit weird that the first one of these I did was Panini, considering the word Topps is in my blog name. But I assumed Topps was maxed out on theirs for the day, and I liked Golden Age when I bought it in 2012. I wasn’t going to buy any more retro sets after Archives, but as I mentioned, that’s out the window since I wanted to do some of this promo stuff since I was attending the NSCC.
My box of 2013 Golden Age (I think it cost me $65) netted me 5 wrapper redemption packs from Panini. The box was $65 if I remember right. After buying it from Dave and Adam’s Card World, I took it to their booth. They actually don’t watch you open the box or anything – they just slit the top of the box topper and most of the packs so you can’t redeem it twice. That’s fine by me – as I’ve mentioned, I’m in the midst of a move and I’m definitely going to be opening this and any other boxes at a later date. I’ll post about them then. For now – I will show one of the two “hits” I got from the wrapper redemption packs. Those redemption packs are more focused on basketball and football, which is fine. Here’s what I got:
I had to pull this off the internet, because I was in Cincinnati Saturday and Sunday and I left the Panini cards at home – but the above are the two hits I got (with a different looking swatch on the Montee Ball card).
After Panini, I bought a Topps series 2 box ($39 – the price has come down quickly). I hadn’t bought one of those quite yet. I usually buy HTA jumbo boxes of new Topps flagship, but this was cheap and it worked best with the Topps redemption. I figured I’d buy it Thursday and hope to come back and get some of the cards tomorrow – since there was no line at Topps, I figured they were out. Well, I went up and asked them, and they were out of 3 of the 8 cards – but still had all 4 football players and Ernie Banks left. Funny how the NFL dominates the rest of the sports world – but sports card collectors will always go for the baseball guys first!
Opening 3 packs to gets you one card, so I opened half the box and got Banks and the 4 football guys – EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, Eddie Lacy and Tavon Austin. The set is a remake of 1952 Bowman. I actually got the last Banks card given out on Thursday.
On Friday, I got there in the morning and waited in line to get the rest of the set. Or at least I hoped. The day before, the guys at Topps said Harper, Trout and Frank Thomas had sold out around noon. But the line was ridiculous even at 9:30. You see, dealers can get in there before even us schmucks (I mean “VIPs”) – who paid extra to be able to get in a half-hour before the rest of the “bourgeoisie”.
Well, Topps has 2 other wrapper redemptions that are more expensive and even though they are all #’d to 500 – I learned that the others are the quicker “sellout”. The big kahuna is to buy a box of Bowman Platinum (runs around $100) and you get a 25-card Bowman set that has Yasiel Puig. This sold out real fast and seemed like it had a lot of pissed off people in the line. One guy definitely caused a scene, though I was a bit further back in line to tell exactly what got him so worked up. From what I could tell, Topps actually modified what they were doing and gave out tickets to make it more fair. The one other, and second most popular in my estimation, is to buy a box of Topps Tribute WBC (~$150), and you get a Gypsy Queen Yasiel Puig card.
Regardless, I did get up in time to get the rest of the set. I opened the second half of the box and got all 4 baseball players and dupes of 2 of the football guys. Here’s the full set.
I also bought a box of Goodwin Champions, but missed out on the redemption there. This was just poor planning on my part – I bought it at 1 PM on Friday after walking around the floor and buying some single cards. I could have gotten the redemptions easily, but they literally had just run out. I didn’t get back to the National on Sunday, so that was that.
Sport Kings has a giveaway, too. Buy a box and open it there, and you get a memorabilia or autograph card #’d to 20 or less. I thought about doing that, but had spent enough already.
Thoughts on the process
Topps and Panini are very different in what they do. Both have product that’s exclusive to the National, but Panini makes theirs a lot less exclusive and hands out packs. There aren’t crazy lines, but I guess those crazy lines drum up interest. However, as I mentioned, it makes for a lot of grumpy customers. I waited in line from about 9 to 9:30 just to get into the National, and I was behind a bunch of VIPs just to get in to the event. Then, to get in line for the Topps redemption, I was behind some of those VIPs ahead of me in line AND any dealers. I then waited in line from 9:30 until about 10:45. That’s 2 hours waiting, and if I hadn’t paid for the VIP ticket it would be longer!
I’m not complaining about waiting – I knew it was coming and I had the option to leave at any time. I read some of the promotional materials that came in my VIP bag. I read about a new book about the 1914-15 Cracker Jack sets that I may pick up at some point. One thing, though – it would stink if I bought the product from a dealer and then didn’t get the redemptions. It just seems a good way to alienate customers – maybe that’s the way the consumer product industry works. But Panini does it so differently, and while they don’t create the aura of exclusivity, they don’t have customers making a scene in line and leaving what’s supposed to be a promotional extra with a bad taste in their mouth. For what it’s worth – it seems like Upper Deck is in between the two. They do have create a max give-out per day, but it’s done with packs and in a way that finds a middle ground.
From what I heard, I do think Topps changed it up for Saturday. I’m on my way back from Cincinnati now, so didn’t go, but I think they were doing something to start the line at 10 AM instead of 8:30. This makes it more consumer driven at least – the dealers would have to leave their table to get in that line at 10 AM. I think that’s an improvement, for sure.