Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I pulled my first buyback the other day

I don't have a lot of use for the buybacks that Topps has been putting in its products the last few years.

To me, stamping an old card is completely unnecessary. If you want to wow a collector with a 30-year-old card then just put the damn card in the pack. You don't need to deface it.

But, somehow, by stamping cards, and stamping them in different colors, Topps has convinced some collectors that they have something special. I don't get it. I'll never get it. Don't bother explaining it to me.

The reason why I collect the 1975 Topps buyback cards is because I want these buybacks to have some meaning. This is the only way I can think of where they have meaning, by trying to complete a set of them -- or at least as many of them that exist from a particular set.

I've formed this thought process all without pulling a single buyback card. Buybacks, for the most part, are inserted in hobby boxes. I don't know why, maybe so shop owners and dealers can tout them as "hits"? And since I don't have a suitable hobby shop near me, that cuts down on my ability to pull a buyback. I'm not in the habit of ordering hobby boxes online either.

So how do I know how I'd feel about pulling a buyback? Maybe I was wrong in my preemptive analysis. What would happen if I discovered a buyback in my pack and I actually liked it?

Well, the other day I got to find out the answers to those questions.

My wife brought home a pack of baseball cards from her sister's house. Her sister had bought another pack for me. It was a common, ordinary 2017 Topps Series 1 flagship pack. I have no plans to open any flagship for the rest of the year, except to use my coupon on Series 2. So I wasn't too thrilled with this pack at all. The 2017 design is interesting and uplifting only if you compare it to the set that came out the preceding year. Otherwise it's boring and a little bit depressing.

But let's open the pack so I can finally get to the point:

Blah, blah, blah ...

... blah, blah, blah, blah ...

... And there it is.

So in trying to capture my immediate thoughts when I spotted this buyback, I admit that it was nice to see a 1986 design pop out of a 2017 pack.

That was diminished somewhat by the 1987-themed insert card that arrived immediately before Candiotti, but still it was nice to see some color after all of the gray of 2017.

My next move was turn the card over because I didn't remember this card from the 1986 Topps set, which I have completed. Sure enough it was a card from the Traded set.

And I became immediately disgusted.

I need that Candiotti card for the 1986 Traded set! Oh, I'm not really attempting to complete it or have any real plans to in the future, but every card set from this time period is one that I eventually would like to complete. But now it's just a card with a "Rediscover Topps" stamp -- and there's no way I'm looking up what a bronze stamp means.

It's not a real big deal. I can go out and find the 1986 Traded set -- unstamped -- easily enough. I'm just trying to chronicle my immediate gut reaction. And, as a set-collector it was "Hey! A buyback ... ugh!"

I do try to look at the other point of view: pulling a 31-year-old card is kind of cool. Imagine if it was 1986 and I was pulling a 31-year-old card out of a pack? That would be a 1955 card, man!

But, again, that would never happen. First of all, 1955 Topps cards were larger than 2 1/2-by-3 1/2 and you'd have to wedge that baby into the pack and ruin it. Secondly, the only reason Topps is stamping cards from 1986 is because card companies created 90,000 more cards in 1986 than they did in 1955 and we've got to get rid of them somehow!

So, those are my thoughts about pulling a buyback -- pretty much the thoughts I had before pulling a buyback.


Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.


  1. nice of your Sister-in-law to think of you with a pack of cards. I haven't pulled a single buy-back and kept it. I want vintage cards unstamped, and cards of recent years nowhere near a new release. As long as we buy the product, card companies will keep filling it with crap. They know us far too well. :/

  2. Impulse-purchased a $5 Target pack (I don't care about inserts) and found a 1971 buyback (Ken Harrelson) inside. I still don't know how I feel. At least with the junk-wax era buybacks you know this is just another variation from the millions they printed. The 1971 card though would've been cool for me to pull when I was collecting as a kid ~1990 so after the excitement of something I never saw when I was little that damn stamp was sitting there making me feel kind of depressed.

  3. The only time I care about a buyback, and even then not much.. Is if it falls into my collections.. Otherwise, MEH

  4. I second what Mike said. Other than a Brave, or PC or other collection of mine, forget about it. I agree with you Greg, just put the DAMN thing in the pack un-stamped or marked in any other way!

  5. Rey Ordonez has ended up with at least one Rediscover Topps card (that I know of) and now I'm chasing the dang different colored stamped parallels! When will this ever end?!

  6. Back in 1991 (maybe 1992), I pulled a buyback card out of a pack of Topps. It was a 1970 Topps league leaders card. The idea of pulling a twenty-something year old card was pretty cool. However since it wasn't stamped or anything, there wasn't any proof that I had pulled a buyback.

    1. I suppose that's a way to look at it, if you want proof you pulled a buyback, it has to be marked in some way. But why can't they mark it in semi-small type on the back like a serial number?

    2. That would have worked. Anything from Topps would have been appreciated. Honestly... I didn't even think about that card until your post, so I guess it didn't bother me that much.

  7. In 2011 I when I was blogging the '59 Topps someone sent me a Stu Miller buyback from that set. I was blown away. I had no idea that there were such things. I keep it in the set binder along with some variations and Bob Lemke faux 59s.

    Most of the ones I've come across since are cards I threw away the first time I had them when we needed my room for a nursery. I pass those on to the guys who collect 'em.

  8. I've never considered what I would do if I pulled a "need" as a buyback.

    Could I live with a '72 high number with one of those goodly stamps? Probably not.

  9. Stamped Buybacks disgust me. I wish they still did the unmarked thing like Fuji mentioned. Especially for anything pre junk years. Maybe someday I'll drink the buyback Cool-Aid like I did with reprints some years back. Reprints are an affordable way to get cards that ordinarily are out of the common collector's price range. I guess stamped buybacks are a cool variant for some collectors to pursue. So far I don't have any buybacks, knock on wood I never will.

  10. They are doing this with Bowman packs and i pulled a 1991 Bruce Hurst the other day and my reaction was disappointment. It was an awesome shaped card and I wouldve rather have had that with no stamp on it.