ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Discussion: 2012 Topps Packs - What's the difference?

Updated on March 6, 2012

2012 Topps Series 1 Hobby Box

Hobby or Retail: What's the Difference??

For those of you out there who are confused on an annual basis about the product choices surrounding the Topps base set, this hub is for you. Topps offers their base product in a variety of ways, through a variety of distribution channels and at a variety of price ranges. This is great for Topps, but highly confusing to most collectors, especially people just entering the Hobby who want to start with the flagship Topps brand.

Let’s differentiate a few things right off the bat. Many people have asked me about Topps Opening Day. Topps Opening Day is it's own product. It is essentially an inexpensive, retail-only version of the Topps base set. It appears with an Opening Day logo on each card and the odds of hitting inserts, parallels and anything considered a "Hit" are very long. Opening Day is a starter product for kids which is great, but it isn't related to Topps Series 1.

There are two main channels of distribution for sportscards - Hobby and Retail.

Hobby packs/boxes are sold in your traditional brick-and-mortar baseball card store also known as a hobby store. A regular Hobby Box has 36 packs with 10 cards per pack. There are usually 2-3 inserts/parallels per pack and the cost per pack is $2.50. If you buy a hobby box, you are guaranteed a game-used or autograph card. There are also Hobby Jumbo packs which cost $10, come 10 to a box and contain 46 cards per pack (at least 4 of which are inserts/parallels). If you buy the whole box, you are guaranteed 3 game-used or autograph cards. The odds of getting other big hits goes way up when you buy the Jumbo packs.

Retail packs/boxes are sold in big-box type retail stores like K-Mart, Target and Wal-Mart. They can also be sold in any other retail store like Modells. Regular retail packs look like hobby packs however, they come 24 packs to a box, contain 12cards per pack and usually only have 1 insert per pack. There is no guarantee of finding a hit if you buy the whole box. Packs usually cost $2.

Retail packs/boxes come in a variety of sizes and price points. I'll try to define them all below though not every type of pack is available every year:

Rack Packs - usually found on a pegboard with 2 pockets these days. May be packaged with a special card and cost is $5.00

Cereal Boxes - The cereal box is like a retail jumbo pack but it doesn't have the better odds of a Jumbo pack for finding hits. These were issued in small boxes with 1 special card of a retired player for a few years. The cereal box retailed for $10.

Hanger Packs - These are usually found on a pegboard and they come boxed as well. The hanger pack is also essentially a retail Jumbo pack. It also does not have the same odds as the Hobby Jumbo pack though it can have a special card packaged in it. Some years they do, some years they don't. This year, there is a Giveaway card guaranteed in each hanger pack. Hanger packs retail for $9.99 but beware of Toys R' Us who charges $12.99 or $14.99 for these. It's the same product so do yourself a favor and go find sompelace else to buy them at.

Blaster Boxes - These are found on the shelf for $19.99 ($27.99 at Toys R' Us) and offer a hit in every box. They also might contain parallels based on where you bought the box. Target Blaster boxes have an extra pack of cards with a Black border, whereas Wal-Mart blaster boxes have a special pack with Red borders.

Retail Specialty Packages - Lately, Topps has been creating packages for the big-box retail stores that include a number of packs, guaranteed Giveaway cards and 3 specialty cards in the $14.99 range. While I don't like having more confusion added to the mix of pack types, this type of package really does satisfy a collector on a number of levels at a very affordable price. There are packs to open, guaranteed Giveaway cards and specialty cards which are always either retired players (think Mickay Mantle, Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken) or hot young stars/rookies (Bryce Harper, Starlin Castro and Mike Stanton). These are a good buy whenever you can find them.

For retail buyers, let me caution you that buying packs from the 24-pack box or the drop-down display case could be problematic. The packs could be searched by pack-feelers or just plain damaged since they aren't secured in any way. Since the Blaster boxes and package deals come with guarantees and are relatively secure, I would stick with those products.

Note that in retail products, buyers can choose from packs at $2 to blaster boxes at $20 or a full retail 24-pack box in the $40-$45 range. The Hobby buyer can choose from packs that are $2.50 or $10 with a Hobby 36 pack box in the $65 range and the Jumbo box in the $100 range. Topps has products at a wide range of price levles to satisfy any type of buyer. Smart marketing....

I hope you found this helpful. I will be reviewing 2012 Topps Series 1 within a day or so. I've had it since the day it came out but I'm still not sure how I feel about it... (not a good omen there).

If you have questions, please feel free to ask me.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)