Topps Company Greatest Hits of Mistakes
The Topps Company has a long history of selling sports cards in the U.S. since the 1950’s. No card company has a more loyal following.
With such a long history of card making, mistakes will happen over the years.
What you won’t find on this page are printing errors, misprints, variations, card numbering issues and other stuff that has been covered and rehashed 100 times.
Topps Dump 300-500 Cases of ’52 set into Ocean
(1960) – Bleacher Report
In 1960 Sy Berger and his friend Woody Gelman dumped 300-500 cases of the original 1952 set into the Atlantic Ocean after poor sales.
Topps Owner Compares Game Used Cards to Drugs
(1998) – Sports Card Radio
Former Topps owner Arthur Shorin tells friends privately that game used cards were like a drug that would provide only a short-term boost to sales because it did not enhance the underlying product.
Fearing Topps would lose market share to Upper Deck, Topps jumped on the memorabilia card bandwagon. Both companies went on to spend $2-$5 million a year through 2006 on game used items without evidence it helped increase sales.
Topps takes $3.7 million loss on The Pit
(2006) – SEC
Topps acquired ThePit.com, a startup company for $5.7 million in cash in August 2001.
The undertaking was not successful and Topps unloaded the site to Naxcom in January 2006. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed, but Topps charged a $3.7 million after-tax loss on its books in connection with the sale.
Topps Uses Stadium Seats as Game Used
(2010) – Beckett
Topps confirms that six “game used” memorabilia cards in 2009 Tribute Baseball include pieces of stadium seat.
Collectors noticed and got Topps to promise not to pass stadium seats as game used memorabilia going forward.
Mark Ingram Photo
(2011) – Sports Card Radio
At the 2011 NFLPA Rookie Premiere, Mark Ingram tweeted a picture of him wearing what he said was 17 New Orleans Saints jerseys. The jerseys are used for event worn material cards throughout football card products.
The photo sparked discussion and controversy amongst collectors who had never seen a peak behind the curtain.
Lou Gehrig Fake Game Used Card
(2011) – Beckett
The two game-used memorabilia patches on a 2010 Topps Triple Threads Lou Gehrig Book Card appear to be from a modern Yankees jersey — not the old school stuff from Gehrig’s time.
Topps Takes Two Years to Redeem Golden Ticket
(2012) – Sports Card Radio
Twenty 24K gold infused baseball autographed by Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were available in 2012 Topps Series 1 Baseball.
After 2 1/2 years of feet dragging by Topps, collectors got their baseballs.
End of eTopps
(2012) – Wrigley Wax
Topps ends eTopps after over 10 years.
What helped kill the program was Topps had to redesign the website after a “renowned website integrator” failed at the first attempt.
Topps Fires Employee, Then Puts Him on Card
(2012) – Deadspin
In August 2012, Christopher Holmes was fired from his job at Topps of 17 years, one of many casualties of Michael Eisner’s restructuring. In September 2012 , the “American History Relics” were released, featuring Holmes as John Henry. Holmes sued for $4 million.
According to Deadspin, one former employee says Topps was “not the most diverse work environment,” and as such, Holmes was the go-to when the art department needed a black guy.
Dealer Tells FBI Card Companies Knowingly Buy Fake Jerseys
(2012) – NY Daily News
Sports memorabilia dealer Bradley Wells, who pled guilty to mail fraud in 2012, sold bogus game-used jerseys to all the prominent trading card manufacturers. Wells acknowledged he was involved in “dirtying up” jerseys and gloves to make them look game used.
In a stunning claim, Wells told the FBI Panini America, Upper Deck and Topps knew they were purchasing phony game-used jerseys to insert in trading cards.
Pitcher Blasts Topps for Picture
(2013) – Deadspin
In 2013 MLB Pitcher Daniel Hudson tweeted Topps:
“Thanks @toppscards for using a close up of me right after my elbow blew out! Card will be around forever as a reminder!”
The photo on the card comes just after Hudson tore his UCL in his right arm.
Employee Tests Sports Card Radio…. & Lost
(2013) – Sports Card Radio
Topps employee Mark Sapir sent a message to Sports Card Radio that read: “If I ever see you say anything negative about this company (Topps), especially on Twitter, I’ll cut you off for good.”
Never one to back down, Sports Card Radio amped up the heat on Topps & Sapir.
It culminated with an in person showdown at the 2013 Industry Summit where Sapir, hands shaking, approached @SportsCardNews looking to apologize. The bridge had been burnt and it was not accepted.
Sapir mysteriously left Topps just weeks after the encounter. Sports Card Radio was banned from the Industry Summit.
(2013) – Huggins & Scott
Tons of Superfractor and other low number parallel “test-proof” cards hit the market after uncut sheets were sold at auction house Huggins & Scott.
Topps said at the 2013 National Sports Collectors Convention that it was a legal matter but never followed up with collectors.
Topps Allen & Ginter Dumpster Dive
(2013) – Beckett
Topps hid wrapped 1/1 cards inside the top panel of some 2013 Allen & Ginter hobby boxes.
Many collectors didn’t notice until after they had thrown out the boxes, prompting some to literally go dumpster diving.
Topps Redemption Dump
(2013) – Sports Card Radio
Without notice Topps sent out 10,000 replacement autograph cards for people waiting on various redemption cards.
Some collectors weren’t thrilled they didn’t get an option to wait or pick a replacement for their card.
Collector Threatens Lawsuit at NSCC
(2013) – Twitter
In one of the greatest moments in National Sports Collectors Convention history, a collector began yelling out he was taking names for a class action lawsuit against Topps because of how they handled their wrapper redemption program at the show.
Collector yelling out “Who wants to sign up for class action lawsuit against Topps.” Not kidding. Fire is hot pic.twitter.com/DBu0o2DCyL
— Sports Card News (@SportsCardNews) August 2, 2013
Recycling Picture Choices
(2014) – Sports Card Radio
This type of photo recycling is nothing new for Topps and it even spans back to some vintage sets but things got real bad around 2014.
Wade Boggs GU Angels Card
(2014) – Twitter
Topps pulls a Panini. Wade Boggs card with an obvious Angles logo. Topps never responded.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 5, 2014
Topps Recall Tribute Set
(2015) – Sports Cards Uncensored
Topps says autographed cards in 2015 Topps Tribute Baseball are damaged due to UV contamination on the card and recalled the product.
Topps Botches Mike Piazza Autos
(2015) – Baseball Card Breakdown
Topps mixes up auto-stickers of Mike Piazza, the HOF catcher and Mike Piazza, the meager minor league pitcher.
Topps Website Hacked
(2016) – Sports Card Radio
Orders placed on Topps.com between July 30, 2016 – October 12, 2016 could have had information stolen by hackers. Including your name, address, email, phone number, full credit card details and more.
Cards in $25,000 Product Fall Apart
(2016) – Beckett
Cards from 2016 Topps Transcendent Baseball were falling apart. Maybe not a big deal, but it was the most expensive product Topps ever made at $25,000 per box.
Topps Mislabels Transcendent Party Cards
(2018) – Sports Card Radio
Several autographed cards that were inserted into the exclusive party packs at the 2017 Topps Transcendent Party were mislabeled as being 1-of-1.
Topps Tells BGS Don’t Grade These Cards
(2018) – Sports Card Radio
Beckett Grading Services (BGS) tells a collector that Topps told them not to grade strange cards found in a 2017 Bowman Draft Box.