Topps Snafu… Deja-Vu?

Thanks to the guys over at the Blowout Cards Forums for spreading the word about yet another Topps “game-used” relic issue.

I want you all to take a close look at the “relic” swatch to the far right, on the card you see pictured below. Anything about that look fishy to you? Was polyester even around when Wagner was still playing? If they had it at all, I doubt it had little tiny holes in it that helped keep you cool. When Honus heard the term “wicking”, his first thought was probably had to do with candles, not apparel.

There is no way, no how that gray swatch comes from anything Honus Wagner ever wore to play the game of baseball. Does Topps even care? Considering this is happening AGAIN, in the wake of last year’s Tribute Babe Ruth “game-used” bat that is really a stadium seat which is really probably just a scrap of wood from the Home Depot dumpster, I’m going with “NO!, Topps does not care”.

This card comes from a pack that retails for right around $200. Would you pay $200 for a card like this?

Didn’t think so.

No, I don’t care what the language is on the back of this card. It’s unacceptable no matter what it says.


Here is where I got the photo, if you’re curious.

18 responses to “Topps Snafu… Deja-Vu?

  1. Topps should get the labeling right if they are going to continue to make “relic” cards, especially for high-end products.

    However, we’re at fault for wanting them in the first place. When you chop up a jersey, bat, or stadium seat to make a “relic” card, you’re destroying the relic to make a buck.

    A scrap of fabric just that – whether it was once worn by a Hall of Famer or a Little League player. A game-used jersey is a legitimate piece of history that could be authenticated by experts. A “relic” card leaves us at the mercy of their labeling.

    So here’s a thought – let’s kill the relic card concept once Topps finishes using their current stock of scraps and splinters. In the future, let’s have a “golden ticket” style redemption where a few lucky collectors get whole game-used jerseys and bats. It seems like it would be a lot cooler.

    • I like relics. If you want make a statement about a scrap of fabric just being a scrap of fabric then why does any artifact mater.

      There are plenty of cool relic cards out there, so throwing the concept away because of a pretty small number of issues is silly.

      The super redemption has come up before and as a card collector I have no interest in owning an entire bat or jersey. And all that does is limit the number of people that can enjoy the relic. A jersey can be turned into hundreds of relic cards, So the super redemption idea takes those cards out of hundreds of peoples hands and puts them into just one set of hands.

      Relic cards aren’t the issue, it’s the concern of authenticity that needs to be addressed.

  2. ryanmemorabilia

    That’s Crazy!!

    • But there is no way to verify authenticity once you chop up the jersey/bat/stadium seat. It’s just a piece of fabric or wood at that point, and you’re left to trust the card company’s claims about where it came from.

      Experts can offer opinions on a whole item, but not a piece of it (unless there’s a horrible mistake in materials.)

      As far as the one vs. many argument goes, most collectors don’t get excited about them anymore — unless they are made from an item that could be counted as a museum piece if left intact.

  3. All the more reason to go Panini.

    Short of Topps base I don’t see much of their products in my future.

  4. I’m declaring shenanigans!

  5. How upsetting! Another testimony to why I no longer collect relic cards. Be thankful that is not your card!


  6. I am guessing that Topps got a hold of a replica jersey of some sort and decided to “add value” to a card that did not need it.

    It is sad that even after the Babe Ruth “Game Used” fiasco and more recently the question on the Ruth and Gehrig autographs in their Topps Legendary Lineup monster frankencut book card you would think that Topps would double up on quality and customer service but they seem to actually be heading in the opposite direction.

  7. I guess Topps isn’t going to improve things until they are driven out of the business by lawsuits like Upper Deck mostly has been.

  8. Play at the Plate

    Am I shocked? No, not at all. Regardless of the labeling on the back, it smacks of deception. If they’ll do it with a high profile card like that, who’s to say any of the “relic” cards they put out are authentic? It’s so old. I’d rather have no relic cards than have Topps misrepresenting what is on the card.

  9. If a relic is just a swatch of fabric, an autograph is just some dude writing his name on a piece of paper.

    The way to stop this sort of thing is to stop buying cards altogether and stop giving Topps publicity. Until everyone does that, stuff like this won’t ever change. Don’t keep spending your money on cards all the while complaining about how crappy the hobby is.

  10. It will backfire on them. It always does.

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  14. The problem with the gray swatch on the right is that it doesn’t appear to be the correct fabric. If it were truly a Wagner-worn uniform, it would be wool. Let’s look at the following link together:

  15. It just points to the extent of how far the hobby has gone when you can’t even tell what ‘worn’ means anymore. It used to imply: on the player’s body, in a regularly scheduled season or post-season contest.

    Technically, since Honus did manage to live long enough to see the invention of the jet engine *and* polyester, it could mean that he indeed wore whatever that swatch came from, for some event. Even if that event happens to be playing shuffleboard on a cruise ship while holding a Bloody Mary in 1953.

    Once again, it’s an issue of provenance and relevance. How is anyone to really know that ridiculous remnant from a windbreaker was really Honus’, and when would he have worn it, honestly? Topps has included what looks like Mickey Mantle’s PJs in boxes of retail base product sets in the past, so what’s it to them to add more barely baseball related relics of a guy in a baseball context in a baseball product?

    On one hand, I do appreciate the ‘democratization’ of baseball memorabilia, in that it is at least possible (if not probable) for an average schmo to acquire a fraction of something that only rarefied air a-holes can usually pursue. However, I do land on the side that too much of a good thing is bad, and we’ve passed that point a long time ago with relic and cut auto cards. Now they are either meaningless and context-free, or they are destroying the last of a finite, endangered species of items remaining with actual history and meaning.

    Would it be okay if they decided to let people take a sliver off of the Liberty Bell or Plymouth Rock (like they used to do), or King Tut’s funerary mask? Of course not, despite how ‘democratic’ that may seem. Most of these items are not that meaningful, of course.

    However, I do shudder a little when I hear about a Josh Gibson, Shoeless Joe or other pre-1950 historical item gets pixelated out into cards. If that item is authentic and from playing days, that’s just tragic. In those cases, a few more people get a so-called piece of history, but those pieces no longer add up to any kind of meaningful whole for anyone.

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