|2014 Topps Archives #106|
Hi, I'm Jim. I've collected baseball cards since 1979, when I was a wee lad of six. Today, I own a complete run of Topps baseball card sets back to 1972 and my Dad and I spent twenty years hand-collating a beautiful 1956 Topps set. For the past five-plus years, I've written about the Phillies, their baseball cards and my family on my blog, The Phillies Room. (The blog you're visiting now.)
But enough about me. I wanted to write to you about my son, Doug, and to give you some free marketing research and key insights into his demographic - the pre-10-year-old male. You might be thinking that the pre-lawn mowing allowance money, pre-disposable income demographic isn't all that important to you, but it should be. My son Doug is seven years old right now, which is right around the same age at which I first got hooked on collecting. He is at a crucial age in terms of deciding whether or not to become a life-long collector, and of importance to you - a life-long customer.
About six months ago, I gave Doug some random Phillies baseball cards, which piqued his interest in learning more about the three-ring binders of complete baseball card sets in my collection. After a month or so of looking at his growing stack of cards, he decided he'd like to try and collect a complete set. Doug first decided to collect the 2014 Topps Opening Day set, which he recently completed with the help of some generous fellow baseball card bloggers. He also wanted to try and collect the 2014 Topps Archives set, which (as you already know) borrows designs from old Topps sets and places those designs on a modern baseball card with today's baseball stars. I also appreciate that there are some all-time greats sprinkled throughout the set, which gives Doug and I the opportunity to talk about Steve Carlton and Jackie Robinson, among others.
|2014 Topps Archives #31|
He made sure each card went into its proper slot, making sure to leave open spaces in the pages for those cards we still needed. If you're still reading this, you'll remember I promised free marketing research and key insights, so presented below is unaltered commentary from Doug as we opened, sorted and admired his new 2014 Topps Archives set-in-progress. Presented along with his commentary are a few items I respectfully submit for your consideration.
1. Short Prints
Let's get this out of the way first. Doug thought it was cool that there were 250 cards in a complete Topps Archives set. He thought it was awesome when he was filling up his pages and he'd have a run of five or six cards in a row. And then he was completely mystified as to why he only had three cards in the 200s. I explained that these cards were short-prints and that these cards were harder to find than the others. "Why?," he asked. "Don't they want you to be able to finish the whole set?"
Don't get me wrong, I understand the economics of why short prints are included in your sets. But other than your flagship set and Opening Day, do they have to be included in every other set? If it's absolutely necessary to have short prints in a set like Topps Archives, perhaps the short prints could be more limited within the set instead of comprising 20% of the complete set?
2. Insert Sets/Parallel Cards
When we were sorting the cards together, Doug came across cards that didn't have the same design (or in some cases, shape) that he was used to seeing. "What are these?," he asked. "These cards are weird." I explained that they were insert or chase cards and they weren't part of the actual set we were collecting. "So why are they in the pack if they're not part of the set?," he asked. Well, some people like to find these cards and some of these are really valuable. I told him that some collectors would rather have these "hits" than the actual cards in the set. "That's crazy," he said. "I'd rather they just give me the cards I need for my set."
|2014 Topps Archives|
1971-1972 Topps Hockey #71H-MT
3. Card "Numbering"
One of the insert cards that Doug found in his packs was a 1971-1972 Topps Hockey card of Mike Trout (one of his favorite players), borrowing the design of one of your vintage hockey sets. The card is numbered 71H-MT. When trying to put his new cards away, in order, he was again baffled. "Where's the number on the back of this card? What's this code doing here?"
I explained to Doug that "71H-MT" was actually the card's "number." Thinking I was trying to be funny, he responded, "C'mon! That's not a number, that's some sort of secret code. I wonder why they don't want us to be able to put these cards in order?"
I think I know the reason why this happens. Checklists are in constant flux until you push the button on the printer, and by using player's initials or other acronyms, you avoid the mess of having to pull a #3 or a #9 card from a set at the last minute. But just know this confuses the heck out of young and old collectors alike.
Please feel free to contact me with any follow-up questions, and we'd be happy to provide further research into your efforts. Doug will gladly accept payment in baseball cards.
A faithful collector,