Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My rules for buying a Topps Now card

The charade is over.

I can no longer pretend that the price of a Topps Now card is prohibitive. I can't pretend that I can't pay it or won't pay it. I can't say it's outrageous, should be boycotted, or that it ruins what is one of the best concepts for a set conceived in the last quarter of a century.

I can't say that because I've paid.

I paid $9.99 for a card produced and issued in 2017.

I am a sucker.

This is the first time in the year and a half that Topps Now has existed that I have bought one of the cards for full price. Several weeks ago I bought a Topps Now card of Cody Bellinger for a reduced price, which was still pretty outlandish if you're taking a hard line against the cost of these things.

But I don't regret my purchase. I don't feel like a sucker at all. The purchase, while maybe not the most efficient or frugal, seems appropriate. I'm actually proud of it, in fact. And I started to think of why that is.

From that bit of musing came my rules for buying a Topps Now card.

These are my rules only. Nobody else has to follow them. I don't want anyone getting snippy and demanding who put me in charge. Go do whatever the hell you want. I'm talking to myself here and whoever wants to read it.

So there are plenty of reasons why you could buy a Topps Now card. But what makes the most sense to me? When does shelling out that $9.99 -- if you must -- come with zero guilt feelings and is actually satisfying? What caused me to buy the card in the above cardboard envelope without hesitation?

The rules:

1. Discover money in your PayPal account you didn't know was in there.

Free money! Well, actually it's not free. I probably had to do something really brain-numbing at work, like write a headline for local recreational softball tryout physicals, to earn that money. But still, unexpected money!

2. The subject has appeared on few cards or even no cards with my favorite team.

This was the reason I sprung for the Bellinger card earlier and the reason I thought about buying the Yu Darvish card, too. The less likely that the subject will appear as a Dodger in a future release adds to appropriateness.

3. The moment being commemorated is particularly memorable.

Is this something you will want to remember after the season is over? Two years from now? Did your team just win the World Series? By all means, get that Topps Now card!

4. It may not be Game 7 of the World Series but this could be the high point of the season.

Now we're getting to a key reason why I bought this card.

5. All the stars aligned perfectly for this moment.

In other words, a 27-year-old third-string catcher, called up for his first major league game, delivers the game-winning double in the 11th inning in his first major league at-bat to give the Dodgers a 3-2 victory, and their second late-inning comeback of the game, against the distasteful Giants of all teams.

This win clinched yet another sweep for the Dodgers, added to the string of amazing moments during this season, and I remember thinking to myself just after it happened: "This very well could be the high point of the season. No matter what else that happens for the rest of the year, no matter the outcome of the postseason, there always will be this moment, when the Dodgers appeared to be absolutely unstoppable, to everyone."

And that's why I sprung for this card:

Kyle Farmer may never have another card. So getting this seemed like a requirement.

I don't really like the "call-up" designation on the card, but that's quibbling. Everything else about it -- that follow-through for his opposite-field double is unmistakable -- is perfect.

I don't recommend spending $9.99 for a Topps Now card more than once a year. That's definitely the limit for me anyway. I'll go the $5 or $6 route online if I feel the need again.

In terms of whether this is an actual card -- there are those who think Topps Now shouldn't be considered a card in the traditional sense -- yes, I consider this a card. But when I put my Dodgers sets in order in my binders, every set is listed alphabetically except for Topps Now. Topps Now goes at the very end, as kind of a punishment for sealing the coffin on my dream of obtaining every Dodger card. It was just a flicker of a hope for many years anyway, but now it's dead forever. Topps Now killed it.

But at least I got a Kyle Farmer card out of it.

And not a tinge of guilt.


  1. In a small way Topps Now is kind of like Topps Total. Again, I'm not sure you'd run across a Kyle Farmer card any other way.

  2. When these cards first came out, I said there was know way I was going to pay 9.99 for a card that came out in 2017. However, a weakness that I had since I was 6 years old, the want of Baseball (sport) cards. When I was a kid when I saw a card I WANTED EVERY CARD, that I did not have. Up until 1988, I owned every Baseball, Football, Hockey and Basketball set that was made from 1971 to 1988. But then Upper Deck happend and I was not going to pay a $1 a pack for cards no way. However that feeling that I had back then sometimes takes over me. It did with Topps Now AND Cody Bellinger, He kept hitting those Home Runs and I WANTED a card of him I bought the 2nd Topps Now card of him for 5.99. I am currently watching a Devers card and may buy one of those. Topps Now beats what little will power I have.

  3. I still don't own a Topps Now card, not even off of eBay or COMC, but I could see myself paying full price if it were a perfect convergence (as with you) or if I were at the game being Now-icized.

  4. My rule for TOPPS NOW. Open BUNT app every day, get free coins, accumulate those free coins, when a TOPPS NOW card I want is released which hasn't been very often, spend free coins to open TOPPS NOW packs to pull the TOPPS NOW card I want.

    1. ps, if I'm going to spend $9.99 actual money on a card, it better have an auto or relic included and TOPPS NOW doesn't offer that at that price point.

  5. Farmer is exactly the kind of player who will turn up sharing a rookie card in next year's Heritage. Not to ruin the buzz (and not the same as having a card that's all him). Just sayin'.

  6. It's your money... and your collection. Do whatever the heck you want. I just dropped $80 on Stadium Club and A&G blasters... pulled probably $25 in actual resale value... and walked away with a smile on my face. Those are my rules!

    1. Must be nice. I've got a family, home repairs and college payments that have something to say about that kind of behavior.

    2. Yeah... there are pros and cons to being single with no children. I guess being able to buy a few blasters every now and then would be one of the perks. I also don't have any college debt. As for home repairs... well that's a different story. I'm about to have my AC unit repaired/replaced. Depending on how bad it is... it could put a pretty big dent in my cardboard budget.

  7. Your phrase "distasteful giants" makes this post a winner for me.

    I didn't realise you could get bonuses in Bunt to use against Topps Now. I don't think that's enough to make me try Bunt though.

  8. If you see a Topps Now card live on their website, double check on eBay first. There are a few sellers who offer the same cards for $6-$7 with free shipping. My suspicions are they buy them in bulk and get a little bit of a discount and/or they are hoarding and speculating. Either way, you save a couple of bucks.

    1. that is exactly what they do. There is a seller "toppsnow" that does that. I don't know if they have any connections to Topps but they do that bulk thing as well as a few other sellers. I recently purchased 2 Topps Now cards from them for $5.99 each (out of a Topps Now Spending splurge of 4 cards). One of the cards is supposedly shipping (shipped 3 Aug) the other one hasn't been marked shipped yet. Both say estimated shipping date is mid Sept (12/13 Sep - 25 Sep). I bought the 4 cards on 29 July and have since gotten the other 2 cards I had bought from other sellers one for $7.90 the other for $7.75 Free shipping in each case.

  9. As a collector, I too am a sucker. Paying too much for little pieces of cardboard. Why do I do it? Maybe because it makes me feel 10 years old again and it's a diversion from work, home repairs, etc.

  10. The eBay price is usually $5.50-6 depending on how many cards get released. I also talked about NOW cards on my blog today.

  11. I buy any Tigers card as long as I have the money...and I've missed several because of the lack thereof. I need to check out ebay for the ones I missed.
    Good job!

  12. I personally love the idea behind Topps Now and I'm glad they initated the team program this year where I can pay a flat rate and then wait for my team to get a card...I also essentially get a free card by buying the bundle so its a win/win for me. I do however prefer to get cards of players that don't normally get many cards...like that utility bench player who comes up big in a game and wins it for the team. Love those type of cards.

  13. Welcome to the "suckers" club. No guilt required.

    I also applied the rationalization rules. I avoided these as long as I could and then a very precise set of rules made me open the wallet.

    I'm still waiting for my card (went the eBay route - the Topps Now idea is fine, but $10 is terrible, and $6 makes it marginally better).

  14. The cheapest I've seen a Topps Now card was for $4 at the National this year. I haven't fallen into the single card trap as of yet. I might be more inclined if the relics and autos were given to random buyers instead of sold independently. Of course there's no reason for them to do that.

  15. I found a Trevor Story Topps Now card in the 7/$5 bins at a recent card show. (which was ironic because it was one of the very few Now cards that I already owned.) Looks like the cheapest on COMC right now is a Jayson Werth /478
    for $2.99.