Saturday, December 29, 2012

So, this is an etopps card ...

Back during my first year of blogging, in 2008, I jumped into everything about cards that I possibly could. I sampled every kind of pack, explored all the sites and forums, bookmarked every last page, and probably drove bloggers crazy with emails and questions.

One of the many things that I did was sign up for etopps. I can't say I fully understood the concept, and now that it is dead, I still don't have a handle on it. Near as I can tell, you could try to land issued cards every week, which were in limited quantity, and then let the card sit in your portfolio -- where I guess it could "mature," I don't know -- or eventually order the card to have for real. You know, like normal collectors do.

But the problem was I could never get a card. They were always gone by the time I put in a request. There are thousands upon thousands of collectors who are much more psycho-rabid than I am, I learned.

Eventually, I gave up. I assumed I'd never have an etopps card.

Later, I figured out that there were older etopps cards all over ebay and elsewhere and that I COULD have an etopps card -- for realz -- if I wanted one.

Years and year went by before obtaining one of these cards ever became a thought in my head again. Then, during a rare carefree moment a couple of days ago, I stumbled across this 2008 Clayton Kershaw etopps card and decided to order it up.

Today, one of those mythical, elusive cards of which more than one collector has thought "are those things really cards or is it just some fake, online thing" arrived at my door and is now in my possession.

And I'm here to tell you that the card is, in fact, real.

But is it spectacular?

Well, I don't know. The card is encased, and I knew it would arrive like that. All etopps cards are like that, so you can "protect your investment." (The worst thing to ever happen to cards is when Wall Street lingo wormed its way into the hobby).

Just from viewing it inside the case, it's very shiny and appears to be of the chrome variety. In fact, it's curling a bit like a typical chrome card, which is kind of disappointing.

My fear is that if I crack it out of its case -- which I want to do with each and every card -- that it will curl even more and the etopps mystique will be gone forever. Of course, I could crack it out of its case and the card may vanish before my eyes. Perhaps etopps cards aren't meant to be out in the wild.

So to crack or not to crack. That's the quandary I face.

Meanwhile, here's the back of the card. No one ever shows the back of etopps:

I know it's blurry. It's the case's fault. It's card #579/999 for those who care. And I'm sure you can read "2007 yield," which is another investment term. Ugh.

Of course, etopps died in 2012. I'm not economically minded, so I have no idea if the concept was a success, a bust or a big "who cares?"

I just know I have a super shiny numbered Kershaw card from the first year that he appeared in a Dodger uniform on cards. That's pretty cool.

And I've finally settled my etopps curiosity forever.

So, that's done.

Now find me a hammer.


  1. I think I have three, a Koufax, a Unitas and a Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis. I think the last one is the only one I actually bought through the program. I picked him up on waivers for my fantasy team and I have an obsession with adding a card of any play I own as fast as possible. The eTopps was his only card at the time. Like you I never fully internalized the concept and never bothered with it again until last summer when I got the Koufax and Unitas on eBay.

    FWIW I crack them out of the case as soon as I get them.

  2. Chalk me up as one of those people who didn't think these actually existed.

    I never took the time to experiment with the whole "eTopps" thing.

    Glad to see you finally got your hands on one, though!

  3. I got one on ebay, never wanted to put up good money on one and still have a huge shipping rate just to get it. Some are nice cards, may some day buy a few more. I would keep them in the "official" case unless the case is defective.

  4. The only ETopps I have I got on e-bay. It commemorates the Pine Tar Incident. Had to have it in my George Brett player collection. I took it out of the case so I can store it with the other cards.

  5. Crack it. The thing is four years old. It won't curl any more than it already is.


  6. I got one in a trade, I cracked it open. It's not like I have plans of selling them, I'm keeping it for my collection so it was a no-brainer for me.

  7. I actually have quite a few. A few of my player collections (McCovey, Rickey Henderson, Ronnie Lott) have eTopps cards and I picked up a bunch of former USC Trojan football players on the cheap. Still have them encased but thinking about cracking them to save some space.

  8. I assume you've already opened it. I know you previously discussed cutting a Cey from a nice Kelloggs panel. I'm all for opening it.

    I think that the back of the card looks better than the front. I never paid enough attention to know about these cards either.