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.