30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Old & Original... or just Old?

Oh yeah!

The year was 1991.  Terminator 2 was the movie to see.  Magic Johnson shocked the sports world with his special announcement.  Some guy on the street captured a few LAPD officers beating Rodney King on video.  Pearl Jam released its debut album.  The Cold War ends.  Debbie Trout gives birth to her son, Mike.

And Topps celebrates their 40th Anniversary by giving away a copy of every single regular issued baseball card from 1952 to 1990.  Although the higher value cards were issued as redemptions, most of the singles were randomly inserted into packs and the whole "buy back" craze began.

Back then I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to pull one of those "buy back" cards.  It didn't matter if I pulled a 1981 Mets team checklist or a 1988 Mike Aldrete.  The idea of pulling an old card out of a current pack was really cool.

But the question is...

Are you a fan of buy backs?

Obviously... the idea of pulling a 1956 Ted Williams is appealing.  I would even be excited to pull a 1985 Rollie Fingers.  But I'm starting to question whether or not I want to pull some random vintage common with a Topps Original stamp on it.

My recent flea market purchase of two 2015 Topps jumbo boxes added four vintage singles from the 70's to my collection.  At first I was pretty excited to see these sitting in the boxes.  The fact is... they're vintage cards.  But then I started thinking...

1973 Topps #457

Who the heck is John Strohmayer?  Never heard of the guy.  Well... at least he'll fit nicely into my Montreal Expos PC.

1974 Topps #437

Another Expo.  Another guy I've never heard of.

1976 Topps #77

Finally.  A name I recognize.  Unfortunately... the only reason I remember him is because he passed away a few years ago.

1977 Topps #196

Jackpot.  Winnah... winnah... chicken dinnah.  Len Randle is a baseball legend.  He's quite possibly the only guy to ever try this...

Anyways getting back to the point.  I'm sort of torn when it comes to "buy back" cards.  They're great conversation pieces and provide opportunities for bloggers suffering from writer's block.

Then again... at what point do these lose their luster?

I guess for now... I'll tip my cap to Topps.  But they might want to wait another twenty-four years before they insert "buy backs" into their products.  Otherwise they risk flooding the hobby with 1977 Topps Lenny Randles.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!


  1. I'm not a fan of the buybacks. It's bad enough Topps doesn't tell us their set checklists very far in advance and throw in "surprises" in the form of those stupid sparkle short prints and the like, but we have absolutely no idea which cards were bought back, how many of each card, etc.

    And, you know what? I'm not sure Topps knows either.

    That's as good a reason to stop as any.

  2. I love me a buy back. Anyone who hates them can send them to me.

  3. It's an excuse to recycle mostly common vintage / old-school cards, but I guess just because of the little itty-bitty Topps buyback stamp, it's makes it a little more unique pull out of a pack of 2015 Topps cards.

  4. I don't hate them, but rarely pursue them. Chris pulled one for me in the Series 1 break which was cool, but it was hard to get too excited about a base card with a 2015 Topps stamp on it.

    Maybe if they did something unique like Topps 206 did by framing the old T206 cards. A modern flair without compromising the integrity of the card.

  5. I don't think I feel either way towards buybacks but if they are included I would rather the company not add a stamp to the original card, it is like colorizing an old movie. It is the same old movie but adding color didn't make it better.

    Matthew has a good idea, add a frame or something but don't mark up the card.

  6. On the one hand I like them, because let's face it, getting an old card is fun. But like others before me, I'm not sold on the concept of stamping a vintage card...because it means one less vintage card is out there.

    Also, personally, I doubt they are actually bought, but have always been in possession of the card company. I have, in the past, offered to give both Topps and UD large quantities of cards covering their entire span of time...for free...and was refused.

  7. Don't think I have any buy backs.

  8. As someone old enough to have a box of 1973's from 1973 my answer is obvious. I do agree with those who have issues with the stamp. If Topps would get those cards signed by the player then they might be interesting. On the other hand a stamp on a 50 cent card is kind of a moot point. What if they issued a 1960 Whitey Ford with a stamp? Would that make you mad?

  9. In 1991 I pulled a 1960 Frank Robinson from a pack ,so I love buybacks.

  10. I would like them better if when I pull one, I can trade it for one of my 50+ player collection guys, some of which are obscure enough to be in there, but not heavily sought after...

  11. The only buy-back I have came in the form of a '59 Stu Miller. A friend sent it to me while I was chasing the '59s. I keep it in the binder at the back on the same sheet as my handful of '59 variations.

    I find them mildly interesting but kind of pointless at the same time.