To Stamp Or Not To Stamp, That Is the Question!

As most loyal Topps Heritage collectors know, Topps has been including buyback original cards inside one in every two hobby boxes for the last five years. A 2008 Topps Heritage box had a 50% chance of having an original 1959 Topps card inside a box topper pack.
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A case of 12 boxes would yield six original cards on average. Topps continued doing this the following year by inserting original 1960 Topps cards as box toppers inside boxes of 2009 Topps Heritage at the same rate. If you notice there is a 50 year difference between a Heritage release and the original design the Heritage set is patterned after. When Topps first announced that they were going to do this back in 2008, I was very excited and increased my order as I thought this would be huge in helping me complete my 1959 Topps set. However, my excitement immediately turned to dismay upon release. Why? Well, when I opened my very first buyback pack, I noticed that there was a gold foil stamp embossed on the card! Not only that, but at the time it was a player I needed for my 1959 Topps set that I had been working on for years.
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I was very frustrated at first but wanted to turn the situation into something positive. I ended up getting several of the stamped buyback cards and selling them on EBay. I was surprised that these cards sold for a little more than originals would even though all the cards I got were commons. I then simply bought the 1959 Topps cards I needed and about three years ago, I finished off completing the 1959 Topps set!

The reason why Topps stamps the buyback cards is to commemorate Topps Heritage’s 50th anniversary of the original Topps design. I have talked with a bunch of my card collecting buddies and not a single one of them prefers the stamped card over the original. I did have several friends say that they didn’t care if the card they received was an original or a stamped card as long as the card had value and could be tradable. Most of the people I talked to agree with me in that what Topps did to the original cards are desecrating. I have talked with Topps recently about this and Topps told me that people seem mixed on the issue. I believe that Topps’ perception is that it is pretty much 50/50 on what people prefer but after many years of talking to people about Topps Heritage, it is my opinion that about 75% would prefer unstamped, original cards while the other 25% simply do not have a preference.

However, I am beginning to have a change of heart after doing some extensive research on these stamped original cards. Which would you rather have? I have recently researched completed auction sales of these stamped cards versus unstamped cards to see if people would pay more for stamped or unstamped. After looking at completed auctions, I have been VERY surprised! I have found the following:

  • Unstamped Selling Price of 1963 Topps #2 Mickey Mantle League Leaders - $35.00
  • Stamped Selling Price of 1963 Topps #2 Mickey Mantle League Leaders - $69.99
  • Unstamped Selling Price of 1963 Topps #500 Harmon Killebrew - $50.00
  • Stamped Selling Price of 1963 Topps #500 Harmon Killebrew - $135.00
  • Unstamped Selling Price of 1963 Topps #537 Pete Rose - $400
  • Stamped Selling Price of 1963 Topps #537 Pete Rose - $800
  • Unstamped Selling Price of 1963 Topps commons - about $2 each
  • Stamped Selling Price of 1963 Topps commons - about $2 each
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    It should be noted that the unstamped selling prices are for cards that are around PSA 5 quality. Most of the buyback cards I have received from Topps would probably grade out around PSA 3 or 4 although I have had a few that were really nice. For me, I will always sell the stamped original cards I get from my cases and buy the cards I need for my sets. But after doing my research on the subject, I am not as upset by the fact that Topps stamps their cards. Since there are people out there that will shell out twice as much money for stamped cards than they would if they bought originals, then I will always put my stamped cards on the market.

    Based on value alone, I hope that Topps continues to stamp the original cards. Maybe I'll get a Mickey Mantle stamped card, sell it, and get two unstamped Mantles. If the stamped cards weren't as valuable as originals, I think Topps would do away with the stamp. However, the stamped cards are worth more than the unstamped cards. Topps is all about giving the collectors added value so with that in mind, I'm sure they will want to keep stamping. :0)

    So what are your thoughts? I would like to hear them! :0)

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    3 Responses to To Stamp Or Not To Stamp, That Is the Question!

    1. AdamE says:

      For my team sets I only use the unstamped. I have been chasing the stam thoughped ones for my Bill Virdon player collection. It surprised me how I went years without seeing a 59 Virdon buyback then three popped up on Ebay in a month. I’ve never seen a1960 Virdon buyback but I have seen multiple 61s and dozens of 63s.

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