Monday, January 15, 2018

200 and counting ... and evaluating

I recently added a modest selection of 1975 Topps buybacks to my quest to "complete" a 1975 buyback set and, in the process, went over 200 cards in my project.

I now have 206.

My intent with this project was for it to be as carefree as possible. I don't really expect to complete the entire 660-card set. I wanted to be surprised with what I find, and by when I grab a certain card and what is out there. I didn't want to make a want list (that's why the want list features only cards I've accumulated in the set) or be trapped by other tasks that happen naturally when you try to complete a set.

But I've kind of changed that approach. With reaching 200 different cards, I think I owe it to myself to know how close I can get to a complete set here. I should see some sort of finish line as I continue this project.

So I did a small amount of searching and counting.

Looking at the various online card outlets, there are 22 buybacks that I need that I could acquire with no problem tomorrow. They are within my budget and I fully expect to have them in the next month or two.

There are also a whopping 139 more that I need that I can get with very little problem. There is no deadline on this project, so who knows when I'll get them, but they will land in my collection with no struggle.

There are about eight that I could get with a little counter-offering on COMC.

There are 18 more that are being offered for unreasonable prices. But they ARE out there. So I can always find them somewhere else or -- this the beauty of online shopping -- another one may pop up at a much more rational price tomorrow.

I found 37 more in COMC's "sold-out" queue. Some of those same "sold-out" cards are on ebay or elsewhere so the "sold-out" thing won't be much of a deterrent. Again, today's "sold-out" card can be tomorrow's "make-me-an-offer" card.

I found 18 more at various other online sites like sportlots.

That brought me to 234 cards that I need that I know are out there. Add that to the total I have already, and I'm dealing with 440 known 1975 Topps buybacks on this particular day, January 15, 2018.

So, curiosity peaked, what's missing?

Well ...

-- I didn't find any Hank Aaron card, not the first card in the set or the last card.

-- Very few of the "double zero" cards. No Willie Stargell or Reggie Jackson or Rod Carew.

-- There WAS a Nolan Ryan buyback card but I'm not paying $200 for a buyback of a card I have already. Besides, Shoebox Legends has one of those stamped Ryans and maybe I'll throw him all the Red Sox in my collection for it.

-- There also was a stamped Carl Yastrzemski, also outrageously priced as some dealer took advantage of Topps' beyond-ridiculous "levels of stamped scarcity" in its 2017 buybacks. Just keep finding more ways to screw the lowly collector.

-- No Ron Cey or Steve Garvey. But I do know there's a Cey out there because I've seen it somewhere. I'm assuming if there's a Garvey, gcrl has gotten it already or will get to it first. Let's hope he picks up a 2-for-1 deal.

-- Very few MVP subset cards. They do exist though. I found a couple.

-- No 4-player rookie prospects cards. I've heard mention of a couple of those cards, but I didn't see one on this go-round.

-- No rookie Brett or rookie Yount. If those two do exist, this project just got a lot less fun.

-- No superstars like Rose, Bench, Seaver, Schmidt or Gibson.

-- No Vida Blue, although I saw one on Dime Box Nick the other day that he says he's going to keep but OH YES, IT WILL BE MINE.

-- No checklists. I doubt there are any. I think even Topps couldn't convince a single collector in the world that they had anything special when they pulled a stamped checklist.

-- No Herb Washington. (*sad face*)

-- a limited number of team cards, there were probably under 10.

That's what I'm facing.

But I'm still glad I did this. If there are 440 buybacks that are reachable then I'm almost halfway through this project and this is a good point to check my progress.

None of this research is scientific. I do know that if I ever approach 440 unique cards, that I will then proceed to unearth buybacks that I had never knew existed. That's the fun of this continuing project.

Whenever I can rescue a poor, abused, stamped and scarred '75 Topps card, whether it's one year, five years or 20 years from now, I will do so.


  1. Love this project! You’ve inspired me to do the same with the 792-card 1990 Topps set. FYI there is another 75 Ryan on eBay, the price is ridiculous at the moment but I bet it will come down someday.

  2. I wonder how many of us have that 1975 Herb Washington as one of our favorite cards period.

  3. How many of each card in 1975 do you think Topps stamped? Cool project!

  4. Since these stamped buybacks began, I've yet to see any big RCs or stars make the blogs or auctions. There maybe be a stray or two out there. I've looked for the fun of it. May the cards favor you.

  5. They might have stamped a few of the checklists, as there are buyback checklists out there... says the person who has a few in his ongoing frankenset :)

  6. I do have buybacks of the garvey/burroughs mvp and the nlcs cards in my garvey collection, but that's it. Wait 6 years for the heritage buybacks. Should be plenty more then.

  7. I'm assuming any of the various buybacks fit your set. Theoretically then, there will be cards out there in the future that don't exist today.

  8. -I pulled an 1987 checklist with the Rediscover Topps heading......havent had much luck with I got out of a Series 1 Jumbo box, Series 2 Hobby box and an 2 Updated Hobby boxes was an Frank Viola bronze card and a Terry Francona card....

  9. Excuse my ignorance, but what is the differences between stamped buybacks etc? I see "original" and "75th" stamps. Can you shed light for my uninformed brain.

    1. The buyback difference marks the year in which it was released. The "original" stamps were issued in 2015 and the 75th in 2014.

    2. Hey Johngy, there were 3 variations in 2014 and 2015. I wrote about them several years ago here:

  10. Like Jeff stated, the cards you seek might be coming in the future. The buybacks seem like a topic that will be part of the new norm going forward. They might even use different buyback designs which will make the buyback set a little more visually interesting (although I think in your case the fact that they are 1975s is what makes them interesting) Still, variety is nice, right? I have yet to see a 1975 buyback at my only local dealer who might have them, but I plan to get them for you if I do. I've only found three in his stash, which I sent to Shane a while back.

  11. Congratulations on reaching 200! That's quite the accomplishment. Finding a Herb Washington buyback would be sweet.