Collectors Miss Out on 2012 Topps NSCC Sets

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Line at Topps Booth NSCC

2012 NSCC Show
Topps Wrapper Redemptions
Long line….of dealers….

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During the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention held in Baltimore, MD – August 1-5, one of the most popular promotions for collectors are the wrapper redemption programs that companies like Topps, Panini, and Upper Deck hold throughout the five day show. It’s an opportunity for collectors to purchase a box or some packs at the show, take it to the corresponding company booth, open them in the presence of a company employee and receive a special prize such as a pack or set of cards.

Topps had three types of wrapper redemption promotions going on at the NSCC.  Including one that involved their brand new 2012 Topps Mini Baseball card set. In addition, you could also open any three packs of 2012 Topps Football/Baseball and receive one card from the National exclusive 2012 Gypsy Queen 9-Card set. But quite possibly the most popular wrapper redemption program that Topps was offering were the 25 card 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball set where the cards were serial numbered #/499.  The set included big names such as Bryce Harper and Yu Darvish rookie cards. Topps had just 100 of these sets to give away each day. Several days after the show these 25 card sets were selling for around $50-$60 on eBay. Dealers at the show were selling 2012 Bowman Platinum baseball boxes for over $100 – many in the $108-125 range. It made for a great deal buying a Bowman Platinum box because if you were one of the 100 people who got one of these sets on each day, it made for great value.

2012 Bowman Platinum Bryce Harper /499

The main problem Topps had in distributing these wrapper redemption cards and sets was that the line at their booth to wait and obtain these cards was long and started before any VIP or paying customer was allowed into the building. This meant that dealers were the ones who were able to obtain these sets. On Saturday I personally counted 35 people standing in the Topps line for the wrapper redemption before the doors to the show even opened for VIP guests. VIP attendees were allowed in 30 min. before the general public each day. Part of the perk in buying a VIP pass to the NSCC show is being able to stand in line early to obtain these wrapper redemption cards. There were probably some VIP guests that were not able to get a Bowman Platinum redemption set because there were upwards of 40 dealers who got a set before they were allowed in.

Let’s take a look at some ways Topps could possibly improve upon their wrapper redemption program at the 2013 National Sports Collectors Convention that will be held in Chicago, Illinois.

First and foremost, VIP guests should be the very first people with the opportunity to obtain any kind of wrapper redemption set or cards. The fact that there were over 35 people already standing in line before a single VIP guest was allowed in would have irritated me if I had purchased the VIP package. Each person who attends the NSCC is given a special badge that they must wear around their neck when they enter the show. VIP, dealers, staff and media badges are clearly marked. It would have been very easy for the employees at Topps or any of the booths to distinguish what type of attendee was standing in their line. The line for the wrapper redemption should only start after the VIP guests have been allowed in. I personally do not think dealers should have the opportunity to obtain a wrapper redemption set or cards before VIP guests are allowed in. Besides, they are typically able to buy the packs and/or boxes necessary to redeem for the redemption at a lower cost than the average customer paying to get into the show. Perhaps Topps or any of the companies could produce a special set to either give or sell to dealers and then (the dealer) could do whatever they want with the set or cards including selling them or giving them away at the show.

Topps Booth at 2012 National Convention

One of the other problems with the line at the Topps booth was that it would move very slowly. Remember, you had to purchase an entire box of 2012 Bowman Platinum baseball in order to receive one of the special Platinum sets at the show. That means at the very least, employees at the Topps booth wanted to see you rip open each of the packs in the box. You didn’t have to open and go through each of the cards but at the very least you had to rip open each pack. Typically I only saw two Topps employees working this section of the booth each day.

One way for Topps to speed up the process of handing out the wrapper redemptions is getting more help at their booth. I know that personally I would be willing to stand for an hour each day and help Topps give out the sets to collectors. Free of charge. And I wouldn’t even promote my website while doing so. I honestly think it would be fun to see some product getting opened and also get an opportunity to talk to collectors.

Some other suggestions I got from Twitter followers were that you give out tickets to people standing in line and they are then able to come back when the line has died down and get a set or cards. This would help especially when they only have 100 sets to give away as was the case with the Bowman Platinum sets at the 2012 NSCC. Instead of standing in line why not pass out 100 tickets to those people so they can come back at a later time and enjoy the booth when it is less crowded. They may also be able to actually open the boxes or packs while at the booth instead of trying to go through them so quickly. Topps could even take this opportunity to get tweet pics to use on their favorite social media venue.


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