Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cognac?? I think Topps just lost me....

Good Sunday morning all, hope that your weekend is going well so far and you're ready for Week 6 of the NFL season.  (Jaguars at Steelers, 1pm is what I'll be watching today).

I got the itch yesterday, yes the itch to rip a couple of packs open.  I grabbed a couple of rack packs of Topps update from this year, just to see what was going on.   I came across these two cards, and was not impressed:

Wine colored parallels

Now really, do collectors need this?  Don't get me wrong, I love a good parallel set, the diamond parallels I liked, but a second parallel set?  When I think of cognac, I think of this, not cards.  Mind you my distaste may have been tempered if there was a good whiskey parallel.  (Crown Royal anyone?) 

Actually, now that I think about it, this really is the 4th parallel set, because there are also black and gold serial numbered parallels.  Is Topps really running out of ideas in order to sell product?  I've defended the mother company all along while others bashed them, and then watched as others rejoiced when Panini got their MLBPA license.  I'm torn as to whether I should join them or not. 

Eighteen (18) percent of the cards I pulled out of these packs yesterday were inserts/parallels/minis/redemption cards.  I sat and pondered this for a minute.  Did this seem quite excessive?  Would I truly have to buy 18% more packs of cards in order to complete a set?   While thinking about this, I looked at one of the many piles of cards on my desk and saw the black bordered parallels from 2009 OPC baseball that I have for the Night Owl.  Those black bordered parallels come one a pack, and in a pack of 6 cards, that's 16.67% right there, before counting the inserts and retrospective cards that came with those packs, you're now probably closer to 20%.  OK then, so Topps isn't the only one to bombard us with inserts/parallels. 

So why am I upset all of a sudden at Topps?  I really don't know, I think a lot of it is the disappointment in seeing another colored parallel.  I honestly don't think that collectors needed this.  I would love to know if anyone out there is going after the cognac parallel set, because I would like to know 2 things:

  1. What really attracted them to this parallel?
  2. Do they know that the entire set of 990 cards is encompassed here?
I really am starting to think about what I want to do when next years products come out, because to be honest, I really can't keep going after all this product.  I may become like a lot of other collectors out there, and only complete one set, and then collect my Blue Jays from the others.  I've got a lot of other sets started that I may just work toward completing, such as 77 Topps, 09 OPC, and others.

Only time will tell.....

Thanks for reading, Robert 


  1. I was slightly interested in the coming of the new parallels (there are two - there's a nice looking blue /60 as well), except that the cognacs seem to be printed in about the same quantity (probably a little less) as the regular diamond parallels, so they show up 2-3x more in quantity per pack (if you look at my jumbo pack bust). I guess they thought that since people really liked the diamond sparkle parallels, they would like other color variations.

    I recently bought a bunch of Update cards on eBay (the really limited cards at least), and had a much more difficult time getting the Hope (blue) /60 parallels than the black /60 parallels, even though the blues show up 3x more frequently in packs. I think people are putting together the blues (they do look nice).

    Don't forget in addition to the diamond, black/60, blue/60, cognac, Walmart black, Target throwback, and gold, there are also silk /50, plates, platinum 1/1, gold canary 1/1, and real diamond 1/1 from the giveaway site. Did I forget any?

  2. You're right on there Ryan, I hadn't even thought about the others...pretty much overkill now that you've brought my memory back to these as well...thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. You did get them all Ryan but they did do something a little different. The Target and Wal-Mart parallels have been (thankfully) changed into a different parallel. Instead of the horrible Wal-Mart black, they have a blue border parallel (think Opening Day but a tad darker) and Target no longer has the throwback parallel, they have a (surprise!) red border parallel. I haven't seen the Wally blue but I did get a few reds and they look great. Overkill? Yes but at least some of them look cool. They did cut down on the inserts. You'll notice that there are only Topps 60, Diamond Duos (which are numbered the same as series 2, very confusing) and ToppsTown. I guess the parallels make up for the missing inserts.

  4. Ahh, great, well at least there's a bit of change, and sounds like for the better. I'm going to need copies of the Walmart and Target parallels for the type collection anyway.

    I'm glad that there's a reduction in the number of insert sets, although I'd rather see a reduction in the number of insert cards printed rather than less sets, which would make any given insert a bit tougher to pull and maybe add more value to them. (But then, buying a single rack pack or $9.99 box for each series meant I had almost everything I needed.)

  5. The percentage of inserts is consistent from last year and earlier series. Buy a blaster of Series 1 and those 8 card packs sometimes have 3 inserts. It just happens to be almost all parallels this time around. I actually like the look of the Cognac more than the regular diamond, but I'm in complete agreement that none of it needs to exist.
    It seems to be the way the hobby is trending. People don't care about inserts anymore (which is something I want to write about one of these days), but team and player collectors will buy countless parallels due to compulsion. That said, if you come across any cognacs of my players, let me know!

  6. I'd think player collectors would go after inserts too, and I know many more bloggers who put together insert sets than parallel sets. Parallels are just lazy, beyond maybe one easy, one difficult, and a single 1/1 (i.e. gold, black, platinum). I like the concept of a rainbow collection for one or two issues though - like Chrome and Finest.

  7. Sometimes it's good to get a rant off of your chest. The cognac's that I pulled kind of made me think of the "what's next" angle, and I expanded on it from there. But one thing is true, the days of collecting parallel sets from modern issues for me are likely over.

  8. I kind of like the parallels but do agree that there are too many. I would think (hope) that the diamond type of parallel would take the place of the gold/black/platinum parallels in 2012 but if I remember correctly on the sell sheets they talk of the golds and such. The diamond thing seems to be limited to this year for the 60th anniversary. If so, it is a little more forgivable even if excessive. Topps just needs to figure out what they want to do with their base set and unfortunately they feel it can't stand on its own two legs as a product and load it up with silly inserts/parallels/gimmicks for us to chase. Sure it produces sales but at what cost?

  9. Topps tries to give something for everyone in the flagship set, and I guess they do it - a good base set, inserts, parallels, hits, super-rare hits. If I remember the sell sheet/info right, the gold parallel will have the diamond effect (like the gold canary inserts), plus they're doing the platinum 1/1, black /61, silk /50, and a wood 1/1 (needs to be better than that - looks great).

  10. It's all too much and it gives me tired head. Maybe not as insightful as the other guys, but's it's one in the morning here.

  11. While I don't mind the excessive amount of parallels, they're not something I collect or plan on collecting. Like you, I'm always on a budget, so I just collect team sets. I start with the base cards and if I happen to get a parallel or two, then that's just a bonus. Beyond the base set, I don't go out of my way to get the different variations. I'll keep my eyes open for any on the cheap, or if I get any in trade, then I'll keep them, but it's not something I'd ever make a set out of.

    I agree with Ryan, I think they're just trying to do a bunch of different things to appeal to a wider audience. Some people might love shiny things while other people want retro/throwback cards.

    What I can't really defend is their distribution, sorting and quality control. Bent, busted corners, duplicates in the same pack, multiple packs of the exact same cards (A&G, I'm looking at you!). That's where Topps is losing me.

  12. When I was a kid, the only inserts we had was that crappy rock hard gum!
    But we chewed it, yes we did.
    Sure it cut our gums and made our mouths bleed, but by golly we chewed it anyway!
    And that's the way we liked it.

  13. Matt, I totally hear what you're saying here, it is getting a little too much (this coming from a parallel freak)

    Reivax, I remember those days too, shoving 3 or 4 pieces of the brick style gum in your mouth was par for the course.

    Thanks to all for reading and commenting.