Topps Company Greatest Hits of Mistakes

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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.

UPDATE: Topps Mistakes (Fanatics Era)

Panini America Scams & Mistakes

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.

Backdoor Superfractors
(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.

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.

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.

Topps Website Hacked… Again
(2019) – Sports Card Radio

Oops they did it again! The Topps website was hacked on November 19, 2018. 

Orders placed on their website from November 19, 2018 – January 9, 2019 may have resulted in hackers getting your name, address, telephone number, email, and credit/debit card information. 

Panini America Scams & Mistakes

About the author 


  • Will there ever be a class action lawsuit over eTopps? We can no longer sell them on eBay, unless we take ownership of the cards. Even though you can stuff about 100 cards into a Priority Flat Rate Box, the cheapest they will charge is $1.60 per card. Some cards are worth less than 50 cents now. to take possession of my collection, it will cost more than its worth to ship. I honestly think they should either ship all the cards out for free, or buy all out cards in port for the original issue price and then be forced to destroy the cards to make those that are already in hand more valuable.

  • I had a website fighting hobby fraud at the Corporate Level from 1997-2004. Many know me as “CARDCOP”. I never once caught Topps doing anything intentionally wrong until Michael Einder became their CEIO, then the FRAUD BECAME THE NORM AT TOPPS!

    Topps has been screwing up, committing INTENTIONAL FRAUD since 2010! I’m surprised Topps Duryea, PA employee theft didn’t make this list as it affected and caused tens of thousands of collectors to get WORTHLESS player (commons) autographs with low serial numbers (that Beckett has always overpriced) – many of them STICKER AUTOS THAT MOST COLLECTORS HATE as Redemption Replacements for STAR PLAYERS & MOSTLY ON CARD AUTOS AS WELL (briefly mentioned above, but not the HOW OR WHY which I’ve been fully aware of from Michael and another regular CS employee at Topps Customer Service since 2013).

    I was owed (38) Topps redemptions that had built up from 2010-2013. Eight of them were the last cards needed for a 2012 Allen & Ginter Relic Card set which I made for a terminally ill girl who bravely fought a rare/deadly case of Pulmonary Edema. First Michael tells me in 2013 “We finally received the full relic items and are in the process of making the cards now, so they should be sent out in 6-months or so.”. Six months later Michael changed that story completely. Then he said “We gave up on making those Relic cards so you’ll have to accept Replacements.”. Then even though I REFUSED to accept replacements,they sent me the WORST NFL Draft players (who never would play in the NFL and never did as absolute fact by now!) for these A&G Relic cards Beckett admitted that they mispriced. They had them priced at only $8.00 each in Beckett (the price of non-sport common Relics which is what ALL the Redemptions were).
    It was widely known in 2012 that the Lefty Kreh Relics (now deceased infamous sports fly fisherman) would be small hand-made FLIES by Lefty Kreh on his A&G Redemption SP Relic cards. I was owed TWO of those & got WORTHLESS NFL Autographs of players who never played in the NFL.

    So I complained and complained until they gave me over to Corporate @hole JOE KELLACHAN. He had all hyped up on the phone saying he was going to send me all kinds of great things. Then when he heard I do a lot of donations to hospitalized children, he offered to send a great deal of cards to add to my next donation too. This was all a bunch of FOOLS GOLD promises! The On Card AUTOS Kellachan promised to send me were ALL DAMAGED (likely cards returned to Topps for replacements!)!
    He promised to send TWO boxes of sealed 2015 A&G. He sends one box, and the top cover (with the rare hidden 1/1 cards) was creased badly in half, like a collector returned it after he realized there was no 1/1 card in the top.
    To add insult to injury, all the cards he sent for my donations were damaged, or were packs that were fully opened on one end and totally searched. I NEVER SAW SUCH A LAME DONATION BEFORE. I donate cards far better than this JUNK Kellachan sent me!!!

    Then in 2017, I ran into someone selling a Lefty Kreh 2012 A&G Relic card of Lefty Kreh on eBay??? The seller said Topps sent it to him as a replacement for something else he was owed! What the heck is going on here??? Michael (who still works for Topps Customer Service) told me they WERE NOT GOING TO MAKE THESE. I collect famous lefty items as I’m a lefty. This is why I was owed two, one for the sick girl’s MASTER Relic set and one for myself. That Kreh Relic card (that was not supposed to exist or was Michael lying?) sold for over $20.00 on eBay before his death.

    By 2015 Minerva was the new Supervisor of Customer Service after Topps had to fire EVERY Duryea, PA employee because it was proven that “MOST” employees were involved in stealing OUR Redemption & Replacement Autographs from 2010-2013 (which included many 2014 and 2015 autographs as Topps got autographs a full year in advance or more, to try to reduced Redemptions). WELL THAT TOTALLY BACKFIRED; NOW DIDN’T IT! So now Topps didn’t have ANY CORRECT Redemptions to send collectors from 2010-2015??? THIS WAS THE BIGGEST SCREW UP BY A CARD COMPANY BY FAR IN THE ENTIRE TIME I HAD BEEN COLLECTING STARTING IN EARLY 1987!

    How could Topps Security be so ineffective that Topps employees could basically just walk out with nearly every worthwhile redemption/replacement autograph for a FIVE YEAR PERIOD?!?!?! This had repercussions HURTING ONLY COLLECTORS for half a decade and went almost unnoticed because there was no combined effort to make this incident COMMON HOBBY KNOWLEDGE! It seemed that I was the only one in the hobby making any noize about this fiasco! Which I was used to from 1997-2004. But I thought many more collectors would have joined the fight to bring all the behind the scenes TRUTH to EVERY COLLECTOR especially when Beckett became totally useless by 2006 when Dr. Jim Beckett knew when to unload his empire, but he sold it to a bunch of MORONS (Beckett Media) who had no idea what they were doing!

    In fact I doubt most of you know that Beckett Media tried their best to resell the Beckett empire just three years after they bought it in 2008; with NO HOBBY INTEREST (mainly because Beckett Media had already BROKEN most of what was good about the original Beckett!). Thank goodness I at least fought with everything I had left and they fired Mike Olds who was more responsible for DESTROYING the old Beckett than anyone else. But the damage was done and there was no turning back for Beckett Media. They spent several years LOSING over a MILLION A YEAR and subscriptions plummeted (likely below 1985 levels).

    So this left an ENTIRE GENERATION without any Price Guide to educate them. Now look where the 20-30-year olds are. They buy and buy and in ten years almost everything they’ve been pushed to buy by Beckett Media will BE WORTHLESS. Nice job Beckett Media…

    If I didn’t become very physically disabled with THREE different severe Neurological diseases in late 2001, I would have fought and FIXED most of this. But I just couldn’t do it anymore, especially by 2004 when I had to give up my website http://www.cardcop.org (which was taken over by a loudmouth idiot who said he’d make my site better than I did). Well the way that site looks today is EXACTLY the way it looked in 2004 when that jackass bought it!

    If collectors BANNED TOGETHER they could fix every problem in this hobby. But for some reason that I’ll never understand; they just won’t do it and I’m physically unable to do much of anything anymore. I did what I could when I could causing TWO card companies committing fraud to go bankrupt, plus I interviewed anyone who was anyone in this hobby and worked as a Senior Manager for a big card company to bust them from within.

    It’s mentioned about that a seller of fake game-used items was known to be selling to card companies. Well I knew BRAD HORNE (busted in the FBI fake jersey sting) was selling fake jerseys to Playoff in 2001! I still have iron-clad original proof of that to this day. I provided copies of those documents to the Class Action suit against Bradley Horne.

    • HI, is there any help you can give me. I have a 1/1 Cut Autograph of a top Hall of Famer from pre 1900’s. It has been proven to be a fake autograph. I’m thinking of trying to find an attorney. I tried calling there customer service and they are purposely incoherent. I have also emailed them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

      • No lawyer will touch a card company if he knows anything about the hobby (and who doesn’t?). I know from personal experience when I caught the President Larry Blackwell and MUCH YOUNGER boyfriend of Playoff’s owner Ann Blake stealing thousands of $100.00+ Certified Autographs left over monthly to Dave & Adam’s Card World. Playoff’s owner hired me as the Manager Of Customer Service in May 2001. I was catching all kinds of fraud my 1st days there.
        After almost 6-months I was “downgraded” to an outside consultant because I kept verbally telling Larry Blackwell off for sneaking into MY DEPARTMENT & stealing cards! Then they arrested ME for his theft 2-weeks after I got back to my home state. It was dropped to a nothing misdemeanor from a 1st degree felony. But they took my entire personal card collection (going back to 1987) that was never returned!
        Their Manager Of Security (Renee Greenlee) investigated everything and all the proof was in my favor. So the owner fired the Manager of Security (her personal friend of ten years)??? Then she fired Larry Blackwell a few months later. That wound up in civil court (Tarrant County, TX- look it up). Blackwell vs Playoff or Playoff vs. Blackwell
        Every card company has many Millionaire backers. This is why no lawyer will touch a card company case. You can’t afford it (no offense) & neither can most lawyers.

        The only thing you can do is pick a lawyer who DOESN’T know anything about the hobby & hope for the best. That’s what I had to do and let me quickly sum, up what occurred. My lawyer was doing NOTHING. So I wrote the Judge directly after going back & forth (1,200 miles each way) to TX for court (8) times in 3-years and no one from Playoff ever showed up. The 2nd time the judge said “If you don’t show up next time I’m dropping all the charges.”. NO ONE SHOWED & no charges were dropped. Playoff PAID everyone off to do NOTHING to help me!

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