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More of those stupid buybacks and answering your most-asked questions

I started scanning my latest arrival of 1975 Topps buybacks the other day to plan for a future post. I hadn't intended to publish it today -- I tend to write about these a lot and I like to rotate topics a little more frequently. 

But then someone mentioned in the comments yesterday that they were wondering about my progress and, heck, that's a sign if I ever saw one. A question about buybacks as I'm scanning the buybacks? You're getting a buybacks post!
What's more, I'm also going to answer some of the questions I get about this collection all the time. It produces more questions than any other thing I collect so I'm not going to worry whether I'm boring someone right now. Obviously not everyone is bored.
Most of the latest group of buybacks came from COMC, because it's easily been the most productive outlet for a crazy pursuit like this. But these two arrived from other places:

The Grabarketwitz arrived from Sportlots, which hasn't offered up many '75 buybacks that I've needed. I think I was too far into my pursuit by the time I started searching Sportlots. But Billy Eyechart gets my hopes up that I'll find others in the future.

The Steve Brye is from ebay, again not a place where I've found many '75 buybacks that I need. But you never know with ebay's massive "inventory," so I'll keep on checking.
Now let's get to the COMC cards:

There are 32 buybacks from COMC this time around. And although people are always asking me what superstars I have in '75 buybacks, I think nabbing cards of players like Don Gullett and Enos Cabell is a pretty decent find. These guys were a big deal back in my day and even if they've faded as time has gone on, I still respect their cards.

More key ones in Mark Belanger and Rennie Stennett. Back when I was first starting this quest, I said I wouldn't go above paying $2 per buyback. That threshold has changed as I've gotten deeper into the quest and the hobby has become more expensive. I've moved on to being OK with paying between 3-4 dollars if I have to. I still ignore anything $5 and above unless it's someone very notable.

More and more! This includes cards that I owned as a kid in '75, like Gilbreath and Nelson.

That is the rest of them. The stolen base leaders card I appreciate the most as it seems like a feat to land a buyback of one of the subsets. They don't come around that much. I also like how the leaders card shows a white edge on the left, like it was on the bottom row of a sheet and was miscut.

Once I showed these cards on Twitter I immediately landed a trade for more buybacks from @KCRissler. And I'm always surprised by how excited I get when I land that kind of a trade.

Reds and Yankees dominate here, which is also key as both were prominent teams at the time, the Reds the pending World Champs and the Yankees on the way there.
Someone's pointed out the stain on the Bobby Bonds card already and as I've mentioned before, I don't care about the condition of these cards. They've already been damaged by a foil stamp, you can't hurt it anymore.

Final buyback I'm showing is a big one. I've long known about the existence of this buyback because some time ago somebody showed it as an acquisition on their blog. I don't remember who it was -- maybe Dime Box Nick? -- but I've wanted it ever since and have been plotting ways to get it in the future (obviously not very seriously since I forgot who owned it).

Now I don't need to put together a scheme to land it. It's mine!!!

And, so, now with all of those added to the pursuit, I'm up to 437 of the 660 cards in the set in buyback form. I'm up to 66 percent of the set as buybacks and, yeah, I didn't think I'd get this far.

But there is more to get! I have actually purchased seven more buybacks from COMC, which will get me to 67 percent!

Lately with COMC I've been paying the extra to get my package in a proper time frame. I refuse to wait the insane time lengths that some have been waiting. However, this time is an experiment. I'll wait this one time. COMC says it will arrive in August (ridiculous). So let's see.

OK, so that's enough of that. You've been waiting for me to answer some questions about these. I've answered many of these before, but I'll do it again to have them here in one place. Then when someone asks them again, I can shut them up with a link.

Here you go:

Who is the biggest star that you have as a '75 buyback?

Probably the question I get the most. It's difficult to answer because buybacks of almost all of the superstars are either hard to find or don't exist. The most notable buyback card I have as far as Hall of Famers is probably Fergie Jenkins. I also have the '68 MVP card in buyback form which features Bob Gibson. And I just got that Lou Brock leaders card.

The biggest players I have for buybacks are guys who were stars at one time or another but would mostly be considered Hall of Very Good players these days: Frank Tanana, Vida Blue, Bill Buckner, Andy Messersmith, Jeff Burroughs, Tommy John, Ron Cey, Willie Davis, Vada Pinson, Jimmy Wynn, Ralph Garr, Darrell Evans, Sparky Lyle, George Scott. Players like that.

Oh, and I do know Shoebox Legends has a Nolan Ryan buyback, which I still plan to get. But he seems to have ditched blogging for youtubing so who knows if I'll ever get it.

Have you ever seen buybacks from Robin Yount, George Brett or any of the big rookies?

Short answer: No. I did see a Gary Carter buyback once, which is one of those four-player rookies. But I've never seen a Yount or Brett and I will consider those as nonexistent until I see one.

What other cards haven't you seen?
Nobody's asked this question but I'm asking it because it's interesting to me.

Aside from rookies, I haven't seen buybacks for the superstars of that time, excluding Ryan. No Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver or Reggie Jackson. The biggest hall of famers who were in that set are pretty much nonexistent, although I have come across a Rod Carew.

I've also spotted very few of the record breaker cards and none of the checklists.
I keep a running check on my blog of what cards I've spotted and how much they are on various sites. I still haven't looked at Card Barrel (it doesn't seem conducive to buyback searches) or The Beckett Marketplace (I've never figured out how that works).

How far do you think you'll get?

I think if I get to 75 percent of the set I'll be happy. The well is starting to dry up although I'm constantly surprised by what I continue to find for decent prices. There are a couple of cards that are being held hostage on COMC for stupid prices and I'm going to have to decide what to do there. But because I keep finding more buybacks, I'm going to say 75 percent. I don't see it going beyond that.

Will you be disappointed if you don't get to 100 percent?

Hell, no. I'm a realist. This is probably the most unrealistic card pursuit in my collecting history, and I knew that from the start. So my expectations were zero when I started and anything since then has been a wonderful surprise.

Why are you doing this again?

I still get this question and I really hate repeating myself but here we go:

The 1975 Topps set is my all-time favorite set, it's the first set I collected from packs purchased at the store. I was 9. Buybacks -- the stamped kind -- are dumb. They damage the card, Topps has produced buybacks in the past without altering the card, they should have kept doing that. Because I like the '75 set so much, it pained me to see the cards stamped like this, so I decided to give them a purpose (because I don't understand what the purpose of stamped buybacks are otherwise). That purpose is this buyback quest. It also allows me to collect 1975 cards again.

Will you try to collect the 1975 O-Pee-Chee set?

This isn't really a buyback question, but it's brought up a lot. The answer is no. I have a few '75 OPCs, that's enough for me. I never saw the OPC set in '75, it doesn't mean much to me because of that, so unless it's a Dodger in '75 OPC form, I don't need it.

What are buybacks again?

A lot of people are confused by the concept even years after it started. So, for the newbies and those who don't care enough to pay attention:

Buybacks are cards from older sets that are inserted randomly into new product. They don't always have a stamp on them, but most of the ones from the last six or seven years do. The cards are called "buybacks" because Topps, or whatever company, repurchases the cards from other collectors, usually dealers with vast inventory. (I think Topps also stamps old cards in their inventory but don't know that for sure).

Finding buybacks of unstamped cards that are from the '60s or '70s is cool. Cards with stamps on them? I don't know what you do with those.

Except things like this.
Do you really like doing this?
I really, really do. More than I thought I would. In a hobby that increasingly doesn't make sense to me, this makes sense even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else.

So if you have a buyback with one of these numbers on the back ...

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 14, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 35, 38, 41, 43, 45, 50, 51, 52, 53, 57, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 75, 80, 87, 93,99, 100, 104, 106, 108, 117, 118, 126, 129, 130, 136, 140, 143, 146, 148, 150, 156, 160, 168, 172, 174, 175, 180, 182, 183, 185, 186, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 216, 217, 220, 222, 223, 225, 228, 229, 230, 235, 236, 238, 240, 242, 244, 246, 248, 255, 257, 258, 260, 265, 270, 274, 276, 280, 284, 286, 291, 299, 300, 306, 307, 308, 310, 311, 312, 313, 320, 325, 330, 331, 335, 341, 350, 361, 363, 370, 371, 375, 376, 384, 385, 386, 388, 392, 394, 397, 400, 402, 407, 420, 421, 426, 430, 433, 438, 450, 451, 452, 460, 461, 462, 463, 489, 498, 500, 503, 511, 512, 513, 515, 517, 526, 529, 530, 531, 534, 537, 540, 545, 547, 554, 555, 558, 560, 561, 565, 571, 576, 580, 585, 586, 595, 599, 600, 609, 611, 614, 615, 616, 617, 618, 619, 620, 622, 623, 624, 625, 630, 637, 640, 646, 647, 651, 654, 658, 659, 660

... I need it.

Ignore the orange numbers. Those are the ones coming from COMC ... someday.


David said…
Great writeup, makes me want to take on this challenge as well. 1976?
Jeremya1um said…
Glad you posted the list. I’m going to a show tomorrow, so maybe I’ll run into one you need.
Matt said…
Looks like a fun project, I look forward to more updates on this.
gregory said…
It's pretty cool to see the progress you've made on this project. No doubt this post will get more folks to help you out on your search. I'll be one of them!
Fuji said…
A. Congratulations on reaching the 66% mark. That's an awesome achievement.

B. Love the Vida! It's a great looking card.

C. Sucks to hear COMC is still behind. I'm debating on spending the last $10 or so I have in my account just so I can receive my shipment before the start of the new school year.
Brett Alan said…
I think I've said this before, but some new 1975 buybacks (if that isn't a contradiction in terms) should be coming in 2024 Heritage.

Love that the last batch of 6 you show has two fathers of disgraced superstars.
BaseSetCalling said…
Have a brand new question that hopefully you can answer next time: have you filled up a binder page yet?

But the needs list basically answers that in that I can’t see many sequences of 9 card #s not needed.

So here’s hoping that when we see these again, 9 page-mates have been acquired - that will look cool.

I enjoyed these cards but don’t buy very many hobby boxes so never pulled many of them - just 4 of them I think. But I enjoyed finding a card that had been in a pack twice. I met my first goal of pulling a ‘75. Then I met my 2nd goal of pulling a card I remembered well from childhood, which was a ‘76 Lopes Highlight. I was in awe of most Highlights cards then. Hopefully all of the ‘75s are out there.

Another obvious question - any ‘75 All-Stars appear yet? Cya next time.
night owl said…
I can answer both of those questions now:

I had one page where all 9 pockets were filled until this latest group and now three pages are filled. Every page has at least two cards, except the last one, in which there are only 3 cards on that page anyway (658-660).

Four of the '75 All-Stars are in my buyback set: Cey, Messersmith, Burroughs and Wynn. I also know that the Garvey and Carew AS cards exist as buybacks. I haven't seen any of the others I don't think.
Jon said…
I'm not sure if you've looked or not, but checking the sold out option on COMC yields some interesting names; Aaron, Killebrew, Santo, Torre, and the Ryan that you mentioned. So it looks like at least a few of the bigger names have gotten the stamp treatment.
Anonymous said…
This is a great project IMO. I am collecting 2012 Topps flagship buybacks myself. Why, because I decided to build the 2012 Topps golden relics set, and then decided to go for the 2012 Topps World Series Rings, and then the World series pins, and then to get one card from every subset, and then one thing led to another, and said what the heck, I'll go for the master set. Slowly, very slowly, on a budget, and through trading, and no more than $20 a week of ebay purchase. And then added 2012 Topps On line exclusive mini, then 2012 Topps Chrome, and then 2012 Topps Opening Day, in pursuit of some rainbows across all 4 sets. And so, when I first saw a buyback, of course I had to have them too. And also throwback style sets, so when Transcendant puts out the Derek Jeter career cards SN/87, or imagines the Kris Bryant cards going back 20 years before his career began and SN/65, I need those too.
Jeremy said…
I haven't bought anything on COMC since last June, I think. I still have about $30 in credit or so sitting in my account there. Besides them being unable to handle their customer volume, I'm also finding that because they are so slow to list cards that the amount of cards they have for sale is not as good as it used to be, and that prices are becoming higher because of it.
Nick said…
I'm so glad you finally found a Vida Blue buyback - makes me feel less guilty about keeping mine, since it's one of my favorites from '75 Topps.
AdamE said…
What other cards haven't you seen?

I haven't seen the yankees team card featuring Virdon and I have looked for it every single day since 75 buybacks became a thing.