|If you have
a question you'd like answered, either here on this
site, or personally, e-mail Heidi
All e-mails will be answered. All questions were written
or updated in November 2016.
in a meaningful way. Topps typically releases a "Hobby" and "Retail" version
of the same set that we carry (as well as sometimes a "Holiday" or "All-Star
Game" packaging, among others). The basic card set
is the same in each set. What varies is two-fold...the
packaging itself (color of box, players featured, etc.)
and possible bonuses that come with the set. The Hobby
and Retail sets (for the past 10 or so years) have each
had a DIFFERENT 5 card bonus pack. The hobby bonus pack
has been 5 random parallels from any of the cards featured
in the set (so, bonus packs can be different from each
other). The Retail bonus pack has been 5 rookies selected
by Topps for that year (so, each 5 card pack is the same).
answer got more difficult in 2006, when the
Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) changed
of what makes a rookie card a true rookie card (and added
a special Rookie card logo to each card falling within
their new guidelines as of that date). Topps' Bowman brand
historically featured many rookie players before their
major league debuts. Bowman scouts did a tremendous job
finding and featuring minor leaguers early on and producing
their first official rookie card in the Bowman set. The
rookie rules change in 2006 was multi-fold, and affected
the rookie classification of Bowman cards (among others).
The rules mandated that to be considered a true rookie
card, the player must be on the major league team's 40
man roster; so players now must be in the major league
to have an official rookie card. Bowman still features
the first cards of many MLB players. They just don't have
a true rookie classification. It's a confusing issue and
one not easily understood (or always agreed upon) by many
When in doubt, look up the card in a Beckett magazine.
True rookies should have an RC listed after their names.
difference varies by manufacturer. Generally speaking,
a RETAIL pack is one found at a mass merchandiser (Target,
Wal-mart, etc.) or convenience store (7-11, gas station,
etc.), while a HOBBY pack is found at a trading card store/hobby
shop (like ours!). Often, there is a different number of
cards per pack or packs per box in hobby vs. retail. Sometimes,
there is a hobby-only or retail-only insert set that you
can only get in one version. Still other times, the cards
themselves are different design-wise in hobby vs. retail
(different colored borders for example).
But the difference that seems to matter most to our
customers and what drives them into hobby shops is
often the markedly better odds of pulling "hits" (jerseys,
autos, etc.) from hobby packs (which is one of our
advantages being that we're a hobby store). Many of
our hobby boxes boast 3-4 hits per box, whereas the
corresponding retail box may not even guarantee one
hit. This also accounts for the cheaper retail pack
price in some cases (and why we carry certain retail
boxes in addition to our normal hobby). If you're curious
about the difference for a specific product, just ask
us. We usually know.
people get confused by this term. A relic card is synonymous
with a memorabilia card. For baseball, this could be
a card with a piece of the player's jersey, patch,
number, name, tag, MLB logo, button, bat or even dirt
from the field! For football, it could be a piece of
jersey, patch, number, name, tag, NFL logo, helmet,
shoulder pad, or game used pilon, goal post, or grass!
A "relic" is just a generic and all-encompassing
term for a piece of anything game-used.
worn" items are worn by a player, but not during
the course of a game. You mostly see event worn items
in the case of rookies. Because manufacturers want
to feature relic cards of rookies as soon as possible
(even before the rookies have been able to play in
their first pro game), they use "event worn" clothing
pieces (jerseys, patches, hats, etc.); often worn by
players at the rookie photo shoots.
of 2016, Panini secured an exclusive with the NFL.
All four major leagues have made exclusive deals with
manufacturers. Topps has an exclusive with MLB. Panini
has an exclusive with both the NFL and NBA. And Upper
Deck has an exclusive with the NHL. You'd be hard-pressed
to realize that only one manufacturer is serving each
market though, as each company produces many brands.
Topps, for example, produces regular Topps Series 1,
2 and Update; Bowman, Bowman Draft, and Bowman Chrome;
Heritage, Heritage High Number, and Heritage Minor
League; Allen & Ginter; Topps Chrome; and Gypsy
Queen (just to name a few) under their licensing agreement.
Each exclusive deal lasts a finite number of years,
at the end of which, other manufacturers could potentially
join the market (or try to negotiate their own exclusivity).