Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When life hands you buybacks, make ... uh ... buyback-ade

To show you how quickly the hobby moves in 2015, I am writing about something that was a hot topic just yesterday that collectors have already dropped in order to comment on the 2016 Topps flagship design.

But this is a blog, not the place for the latest off-the-cuff opinions. If you want one of those, in particular about the 2016 Topps design, here's mine. For anything more concrete on '16 Topps from me (or anyone, really), wait until January/February 2016.

Now, onto buybacks.

These things have been around for a while, and they're really quite ridiculous, and I think everyone has weighed in on that. Why buybacks are a subject all over again is because Allen and Ginter -- in another case of dragging the good names of both Allen and Ginter through the mud --  has inserted stamped buybacks of past A&G cards, no more than 10 years old, into its packs this year.

This makes me eternally grateful that I did not buy a box of A&G this year. Packaging a 5-year-old buyback as a "hit" is a stretch of logic that I'm convinced is only out there to test exactly how dumb the collecting public is.

While all of this A&G nonsense has been going on, I've been conducting my own buyback research. As you know, I'm trying to collect as many buybacks from the 1975 Topps set as I can. It is my effort to turn the comical ploy of buybacks into my own amusement. Lemons into lemonade, as it were.

The buybacks have been coming to my mailbox pretty quickly. Brian of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary sent me some just the other day.

I believe these are my first goodies from The National.

The '75 buybacks Brian sent gives me 25 buyback cards from that set, and that's not even all of them, because I still have another buyback package to show.

This has caused me to think about adding a want list, with earnest, because the last thing I want is duplicate buybacks. But it's also caused me to start looking online to see what's out there.

A quick review unearthed a little more than 100 different 1975 Topps buyback cards, something that will keep me busy for quite a bit I think (although maybe not, at the rate that I've been getting the cards lately).

I didn't find any '75 Topps superstar buybacks (in fact not one All-Star card), but that doesn't mean there aren't notable buyback cards from that set. For example, Brian sent this key Mario Mendoza buyback.

And I did stumble across buybacks of other "valuable" cards from around the same time period. There was a 1976 Topps buyback Nolan Ryan on COMC, which is terribly sad for anyone who doesn't own a regular 1976 Topps Nolan Ryan.

And that's the key, right? Where are you at as a collector? I can have fun with this project because I've already completed the 1975 Topps set. But what if you hadn't completed the set yet? What if you really liked the '75 set and were looking to complete it and you saw all these cards from that set rendered useless to your mission because of a stamp?

Maybe '75 isn't the best example. Maybe something from the '60s is a better example. That might put a dent in someone's collection quest. Although if Topps is issuing '60s high-number buybacks, that is hard-core, and I am standing up and shaking my fist while applauding at the same time.

I like this buyback project because it is breezy in nature. There is no part of me that wants to add this card to my Dodger collection because I don't have a Ferguson card with a stamp on it. I'm treating it for what it is, a quarter card that somebody altered.

But you can find while searching online people who are treating the buyback cards as more than what they are. Some of the '75 buybacks go for a buck or less, because that's what a regular '75 Topps card would go for. But others -- and this is based solely on the mind-set of the seller -- go for double digits, because the stamp supposedly makes it rare.

That's capitalism at its finest/ugliest. But you won't get me to buy any of those inflated buybacks. This is not a high-stakes project.

(Great place for a stamp)

This is a fun project.

Speaking of fun, Brian sent some other cards without stamps:

Melissa McCarthy completes the Dodger First Pitch insert set. All five cards are mine.

Gotta get Kershaw in another insert set. But at least this one commemorates his home run against the Giants to start the 2013 season.

I suppose two out of three of these have something stamped.

And four 1972 Topps needs. Yay!

If you want to see me squeamish about a buyback, show me a stamped 1972 Topps card. Like I said, the whole dynamic changes when you're trying to complete a set.

Brian also sent something that requires opening, but I'll save that for later.

You're too busy pondering the 2016 Topps design anyway.


  1. I just sold some buyback cards on ebay. (Don't worry no 75s) I have been buying the Virdon buybacks when I find then and I had to buy a whole lot once busy for the Virdon. (It was all Astros so it still was cheap. I sold all the other top recoup some of the money. So free buyback Virdon for me.

  2. I am one of the gullible idiots that actually enjoys these for some reason. They shouldn't count as a "hit", that's terrible, but for some reason I can't explain I actually dig the Topps buybacks. I think I need help.

  3. Found one on my first day at the national in a quarter box, a couple on day two, so by the time i was getting ready to leave I was asking vendors if they had any under the table, or in a box somewhere... It became a fun chase! I even bought a 68 Tony Perez buyback for myself!

  4. I forgot the whole point of my story... the reason for the high prices on some of those buybacks is for player collects likes me.

  5. Buyback-stamped autographs = cool
    Buyback-stamped 2008 Allen & Ginter = stupid

    Not just stupid, I tend to agree with you that it does seem like Topps is just trying to see how gullible the public is.

    Buybacks like the 1975 Topps cards are somewhere in the middle. I do think it's pretty cool that you're going for them (or accepting them when sent, at least).

  6. I love that Mario Mendoza buyback. Even though buybacks are stupid and no one should collect them so that Topps will get the message and stop ruining good vintage cards.

  7. One of the things I find weird about this is I have no idea what the strategy is for distributing cards like these. Are there just as many Mario Mendoza stamped 1975 cards as there are of, say, Robin Yount? Are there any stamped Robin Younts? (Why would you stamp a perfectly good vintage rookie card, anyway?) Is it even possible to collect an entire buyback set?

  8. When it comes to buybacks. I don't believe I need to get them for completeness's sake because, well, who knows what is out there as a buyback. I doubt, as madding insinuates, that Topps went out there on the secondary market and bought 20 of every card to ruin, er, stamp with foil. Think about the 4-headed rookie cards -- that buyback stamp would go right over one player's entire photo!

  9. I totally understand the concept. They're one more thing to track down for player/team collectors. If I was the almighty Cardboard God... and the hobby revolved around me, I'd continue to put these into packs. The only difference is I'd limit them to fan favorites and stars. As for the A&G buckbacks... I'm not a huge fan. I mean... I'd love to add a Kurt Suzuki to my collection, but that's because I love adding any new Suzuki to my PC. I'd probably pay a buck for one of the framed minis of him... and 50¢ for the non-framed buybacks.

  10. For those wondering what buybacks are our there here is what buybacks I found for my one player collection so far: 57, 58, 61, 73, 76, 77, 78, 80. This includes all variations of the buybacks except heritage. 77 is the only buyback I have in both 75th Anniversary and Original Buyback. I've also seen multiple copies of 59, 76, 77, and 78 on ebay. His Topps card run for comoarison is: 55-65 (64 is a high #), 72 (high #), 73, 75-80.