What Kind Of Profit Can I Expect From Selling Topps Baseball Cases?

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Lots of people think about setting up a card store, especially with how easy it is to setup an eBay account or online website these days. With Panini & Upper Deck limiting the number of 'authorized' online sellers, and in some cases delaying products release for 1 week (so hobby shops get a window to sell) selling Topps products seems to be the entry method for new sellers.

While I wouldn't call this list 'official' (whatever that means) -- I would say that it gives you a good idea what the cases are selling for over/above a standard wholesale/distributor price. Keep in mind, this is a year end (December 2011) snapshot of prices. It's easily possible that these cases/boxes sold for more (or less) when the product went live.

Another thing to keep in mind - this is profit before fees & taxes. When I was selling stuff on eBay - fees can be 20% or more off the top. That drastically reduces your profits and enhances losses.

 
   
  Hobby Box Cases Profit/Loss
Per Case
2011 Bowman Bryce Harper 2011 Bowman Baseball - 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $636
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $695

The addition of Bryce Harper Autographs didn't
explode the hobby box price - but check out how
well the Jumbo Cases are selling below.
+ $59
2011 Bowman Brandon Belt Superfractor Autograph Card

2011 Bowman Jumbo Baseball
- 8 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $696
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $1,075

As you can see - you could have done fairly well
on each case of the Jumbos ... so hopefully you
bought plenty of jumbos and stayed away from Hobby

+ $379
2011 Bowman Chrome Baseball Card

2011 Bowman Chrome Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $660
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $640

Usually not the best set - as it comes out after
all the initial excitement of the 'new prospects'
but potentially a strong seller in some years.

$20
2011 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Tevor Bauer Card

2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $630
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $625

This set really hasn't caught fire in the last several
years - mainly because the prospects/rookies have
several cards by the time this comes out.

$5
2011 Bowman Platinum Albert Pujols Card

2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $915
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $815

Waters down the "Bowman" brand a bit - but
it probably sells pretty well at retail. Hobby
box cases would have burned you $100 per.

$100
2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Manny Pacquiao Autograph Card

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $865
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $840

About what you expect from Allen & Ginter, as it's
a strong seller - but usually lacks the prospects or
big time hits to make a huge profit.

$25
2011 Topps Chrome Zach Britton Autograph Variation #216

2011 Topps Chrome Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $660
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $720

Dealers probably stayed away a little this year
considering how bad 2010 went. However, you
could chop out a small win per case if you're lucky.

+ $60
2011 Topps Finest Freddie Freeman Autograph Card

2011 Topps Finest Baseball
- 8 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $637
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $560

Seems like the change from Manufactured Patch
autographs might have hurt this set - as I remember
it selling better in the past. Who knows about 2012.

$77
2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Albert Pujols Base Card

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball
- 10 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $870
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $1,900

Probably the biggest surprise of the year. Rarely
does a 'new' release from Topps does well, but
this one really took off - and you could have made $

+ $1,030
2011 Topps Heritage Josh Hamilton Card

2011 Topps Heritage Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $630
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $973

Probably 2nd on the list (behind Series 1) as the most
consistent money makers when it comes to Topps. The
solid set-collector fan base makes this a good seller.

+ $343
2011 Topps Heritage Minor Leagues Dakota Watts Autograph Card

2011 Topps Heritage Minor Leagues Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $630
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $500

A 'new' product, that as you can see was the same
price as regular Heritage. That won't fly next year
when the pre-orders come up for dealers.

$130
2011 Topps Lineage Freddie Freeman Card

2011 Topps Lineage Baseball
- 10 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $824
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $530

Big time flop - just lacked the content to get dealers
and collectors excited about the product. At it's current
price, it might not be a bad buy for a collector.

$294
2011 Topps Marquee Joe DiMaggio Card

2011 Topps Marquee Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $1,735
December Low Price On eBay: $750

This is why I'm not in this business. To be a 'leader'
you need to stock it all - and you'd be getting crushed
almost 1 Grand per case on this. Ouch!

$985
2011 Topps Pro Debut Brandon Belt Card

2011 Topps Pro Debut Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $630
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $525

Another weak year for this set. Just waters down
the prospect cards again..without anything really
new. They could do more with this set, but don't.

$105
2011 Topps Series 1 Derek Jeter Diamond

2011 Topps Series 1 Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $552
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $970

If you pick 1 set from this list to try to re-sell in 2012
choose this one. Consistently a winner long after it's
sold out at hobby/retail stores.

+ $418
2011 Topps Series 1 Aaron Hill Gold Card

2011 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Baseball
- 6 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $465
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $920

Again, year after year - Topps Series 1 is the most
consistent seller after is sells out across the country.
There are no sure $$ bets, but this set is close.

+ $455
2011 Topps Series 2 Josh Hamilton Base Card

2011 Topps Series 2 Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $550
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $498

Usually doesn't do as well as Series 1 - and most of
the times your profits get eaten up in this set. Lacks
the depth and excitement of Series 1.

$52
2011 Topps Series 2 Sparkle Card Variation

2011 Topps Series 2 Jumbo Baseball
- 6 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $464
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $500

If you have to stock this product - you might as well
go for the jumbos. They probably sell better in the
shop after they dry up at other outlets.

$36
2011 Topps Tier 1 Baseball Paul O'Neill Crowd Pleasers Autograph Card 2011 Topps Tier One Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $868
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $946

Solid product - but risky for a dealer at the case price
and this could have easily turned out like Marquee.
However, nice cards & solid content keeps it in the $.

+ $78
2011 Topps Tribute Albert Pujols Triple Relic Autograph Card

2011 Topps Tribute Baseball
- 8 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $1,735
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $3,680

This set CRUSHED IT! If you just bought this and
Gypsy Queen - you'd have a new car ... We'll see
if Tribute can re-peat this next season.

+ $1,945
2011 Topps Triple Threads Ryan Braun Base Card

2011 Topps Triple Threads Baseball
- 18 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $2,795
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $1,810

If there was 1 set on here that you should stay
away from year after year - it's this set. Not that
the cards aren't nice ... just never sells well.

$985
2011 Topps Update Series David Price Jumbo All-Star Jersey Patch Card

2011 Topps Update Series Baseball
- 12 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $550
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $570

Somewhat of a surprise winner this year - as this
usually sells as well as Series 2. But the All-Star
content helps it stand out, and the Next60 were new.

+ $20
2011 Topps Update Series Julio Teheran Next 60 Autograph Card

2011 Topps Update Series Jumbo Baseball
- 6 Box Hobby Case
Original Distributor Case Price: $465
December 2011 Low Price On eBay: $530

Again, you see enough 'new' stuff in this to help it
sell better than Series 2 these days. Problem is,
after fees - you're probably loosing $.

+ $65

As you can see, it's tough to make money. Thinking you can pick the winners/losers from this list and pre-order for 2012 is like saying you can do the same in the Stock Market, or Sports Betting...and in both cases you have more data than selling Topps Baseball boxes. I do point out some winners (Series 1 & Heritage) but even these sets have flopped many times.

Also, as a dealer standpoint, you want to 'stock everything' ... and as you can see, that can lead to some big loses. They essentially wipe out your gains from the more collectible sets. I would recommend trying to build up a 'pre-order' base of customers, as the cases that are selling for a loss in December probably sold for a profit on pre-order before release. You might not make as much on Tribute or Gypsy Queen - but you'll loose less on the weaker product. Also you can order extra stock of Series 1, Heritage or Bowman Jumbos if you think they'll do well after they go live (and maybe limit the pre-orders on these sets).

Related Reading
2012 Topps/Bowman Profit & Loss Summary
Wholesale Sports Card Distributor List FAQ About Opening A Sports Card Store