Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Sad, Sad Tale Of Etopps

When I started this blog almost 3 years ago, I had some specific ideas of what the content would look like.  I expected to feature a very analytical, graph-heavy theme that would bring fact based insight to my many serious readers. 

Instead, you got Hot Dog Tournaments and Doon Discs.

In my defense, one of the subject areas I intended to mine for serious data-laden material every week, eTopps, two years ago vomited on itself and keeled over like a drunk wino sitting on the corner of a street wearing a clown costume and eating a bologna sandwich while....sorry, lost my train of thought.

In other words, eTopps is no more. 

Ok, I guess technically that is not accurate, since the website is still up and my cards are still in my portfolio.  (For those unfamiliar with eTopps, here is a link to the basics if you are interested).   I can still go and look at my cards, sell my cards on eBay, and trade my cards.  And if I wanted to, I could take delivery of my cards. 

That is where the problem lies.   To take delivery of my cards would cost an initial $12 charge PLUS an extra $1.75 charge per card.

I have over 600 cards that I've accumulated since eTopps came to be around 2001.  That's a shipping charge of over $1,000 to ship myself cards that have an average "worth" of about 60 cents each. 

Frankly, I'm a little bit screwed no matter what I do.  I'm certainly not spending a f*&#ing grand to have the cards shipped.  I guess I could start selling them individually on eBay, but after the fees per card, I'd wind up with nothing.  And I assume at some point, Topps completely pulls the plug on the eTopps site (just this month they shut down the message boards).  When/if they completely shut down, am I just SOL on whatever cards I have at the holding facility?

The main problem is that the bulk of my 600 cards make up complete sets (I've built complete sets of the 2002-2005 baseball editions).   I've got to think that combined with the low number print runs of some of the cards in these years, plus the fact that there can't have been many people building complete sets, that having a complete eTopps set is somewhat rare?  Won't that be just the kind of nitche thing that would be neat to show people 20 years from now?  I mean, as frustrated as I am about all this, in fairness, these cards are really pretty:

They are all refractors and all serial numbered.  And eTopps did some neat other sets, like this take on T-206 cards:

I'm thinking I will just suck it up and have my T-206 cards delivered, as well as a few other favorite cards, and then hold my breath and hope for some kind of palatable solution to present itself on the other cards.  It's too bad this program didn't work out, because these cards are pretty incredible.



The Lost Collector said...

Glad I took delivery of a few of mine back when the fees weren't so outrageous. It's a bummer that all your effort is probably going to go to waste.

Stubby said...

And its not as if you didn't pay for the cards in the first place (and they weren't cheap). I've got about 700 eTopps cards "in storage", myself. Thanks to your reminder, I just went over and "rescued" about 100 (at considerable shipping cost). In the end, I think it'll pay off. Print runs were low, many are not in circulation and may never be, some have been removed from their slabs, and these are not (current eBay values aside) 60 cent cards. They just aren't. Plus, one of mine I rescued was Matt Weiters and that eTopps is his ONLY Topps card ever. That's gotta be worth something, doncha think?

The Dutch Card Guy said...

Any Glavine, blyleven, kershaw, verlander, rizzo, sabathia or rivera ? If so i might be interested :-)

cynicalbuddha said...

I was lucky enough to get all my cards shipped to me, at least the ones that were available for shipping, back when you could use your performance points to do it. This was right after they announced the shut down. I know someone in the blogging world put out the APB on it way back when. I've got a couple hundred in a box somewhere. And your right while a lot of them aren't worth the snap down holder they come in, they are very pretty in hand.

mizerock said...

And now you cannot even list them on eBay? I hear that none of the people left there even understand what the eTopps program was, so maybe they don't even understand what a damaging act that was. "Fortunately" I shipped a bunch of my cards in-hand over the years. It seemed like a reckless move at the time, but it means that, even though I'm stuck with a massive & worthless port (and a few hundred unused reward points), I'll always have those real live cards to keep.