Maybe it has been too long since I have bought a pack of Topps base from a store, or any pack for that matter, but I was shocked to see that packs of 11 cards sell for damn near $3 at Walmart. Really? Perhaps the foil stamped glossy UV coated crap costs a lot? When I was a kid packs of cards sold for .25 to .50 and then rocketed to a cool one dollar when 89 Upper Deck came out. Anyway, what do you really get for that money?
This is not one of those candy bars used to cost a nickel 50 years ago so that's what they should cost now but this is an "are cards going in the right direction" post. It is also not a "too many releases" post either, although there are.
Consider that I started collecting cards and buying wax in 83 and did so until 92 seriously and then off and on until 2008 when I started buying wax again the following strikes me as odd. I can identify the year of every major release from 1933 to 92 but I would struggle with identifying most sets by year from 93 to present with few exceptions. There has been so much utter shit released since 92 that its impossible to keep up. Hopefully I will be able to illustrate the difference. Its my contention that quality suffers when you are pushing a product out the door every other week. Silly as it seems, that is precisely what Topps and UD have been doing for years and years.
Three quite nice sets. Simple, to the point, decent photos. Those are all from 1988. .45 a pack or so. Usually 2-3 boxes would make a set and a whole host of doubles to trade, sell or keep. Then what happened?
Is there anything that has been released since 1995 that compares? Mario is a fan of pinnacle, SPX and such and of course sets like that have their niche, but as sets and cards to collect it's my opinion that no single release comes close. 1988 isn't considered to be a strong year in design either. Some would argue that there are multiple insert sets that disprove my opinion, but that's not what I am getting at. As a set where would you rank the sets that have been released in the last 30 years?
Top of the list of sets in the last decade would be Heritage, Allen and Ginter, Goudey? Not so fast. The 1960 Topps set is still the 1960 Topps set. Allen and Ginter is still Allen and Ginter, Mayo, etc. Even if you wanted to put those on your list, a case doesn't always get you a set and costs you $700+
Don't get me wrong there are some decent sets out there. I like the 2009 Topps Football, 2008 Masterpieces, but the cards just don't hold up to scrutiny. Dinged corners make half the boxes a glossy mess. Also, have you ever tried to put together a set of Goudey. Good luck with that.
I'm not saying that 80's cards are the best. 50's, 60's and 70's have some awesome sets. Child please, anyone that argues that any set from the 90's or this decade that is better than any set from the 60's or 70's is embarrasing themselves and their family. So where did Topps get off track and why? Are/was Topps trying too hard. Chasing the all mighty dollar? Did they listen to too many bean counters?
Seems to me that Topps destroyed its tradition, and tradition is the basis for many people to collect. Year in and year out people collect the set. Now with so much crap out there, there is no reason to collect anything in particular. The same can be said about cars. Hey Buddy, nice post 92 Camary you got there. You never hear that. Neither cards nor cars have an identity or character anymore and haven't for years.
I guess the real question is: Would you rather open your choice of wax from 1970's or 80's or a box of anything made in the last 20 years? 2001 with a Pujols maybe?
What say you?