It starts in June when my 8th graders move on to high school and a few show their appreciation with them. Then at the end of July, there are always a handful of my 5th grade summer school kids who hook it up. In September, I receive anywhere from 1 to 7 gift cards for my birthday. But the big haul obviously takes place in December during the holiday season.
My students constantly see me drinking coffee, so a large percentage of the gift cards are for Starbucks. This leads to me buying more Starbucks. Which leads to more Starbucks gift cards. It's a vicious cycle. I'm not complaining though. I really can't function without my caffeine boost in the morning.
Sometimes I hit the jackpot and receive a Target gift card. It's hands down my favorite place to shop. Seriously... the store has just about every possible thing you could imagine.
Well everything except for 2017 Topps blasters.
Thanks a lot Aaron Judge! You single handedly helped boost our hobby's popularity in 2017 and because of that, I don't recall seeing a single Heritage, Bowman, Ginter, Gallery (yeah, I know these were a Walmart exclusive), or Stadium Club blaster in my area in 2017. And even the handful of flagship and Topps Bunt blasters I saw dried up must faster than normal.
So when I walked through the doors of my favorite store this past Sunday, I wasn't expecting much. In fact, I almost didn't bother checking the card aisle. But luckily I did, because I discovered the one thing I really, really wanted: a 2017 Topps factory set.
I wasn't looking for just any factory set. I wanted the one with the Derek Jeter relic card and to my surprise there were six or seven of them sitting on the top shelf of their trading card display.
Topps produced five different Jeter reprint relic cards available only at Target in specially marked boxes. I saw the rookie card relic back in August when I visited my parents, but don't think I've seen one since. I guess it was my lucky day, because there was only one left.
Normally, I'd never even think about dropping $59.99 for a factory set. But thanks to my current and former students, I didn't have to.
In addition to the Jeter relic, there was also a pack of 5 rookie image variation cards:
After comparing the two Judges, the card backs seem identical. But if you look closely under the card number, you'll notice the words "complete set". The regular card says the series number.
This set turned out to be the gift that kept on giving, because I was quickly reminded that Topps never collates their cards in their factory sets.
So Monday morning, I woke up and sorted the cards into stacks of hundreds, then tens, and about an hour later, I had a complete Series 1 and 2 baseball card set ready to be put into a binder... one day.
By the way, I didn't walk away with just this set. I also consolidated the stack of gift cards onto one gift card. So in addition to the factory set, I walked away with a $100 gift card plus I still had one of the original gift cards still sitting in my wallet.
So bring it on Topps. If I stumble across any of your 2018 Stadium Club or Archives blasters at my local Target... I'll be ready for you.
Okay... it's your turn.
If you could have a gift card (let's say $25), where would you want it from? What would you buy?
By the way, I also received two Amazon gift cards for Christmas (+ one that I received from a summer school student). It wasn't easy, but I miraculously found a way to spend all three of them on another Topps factory baseball set. However, I won't spoil the surprise until I actually have it in my possession.
Until then... happy Wednesday and sayonara!