Last year Topps brought collectors Tier One Baseball for the first time. (See our review using this link) It was a 7 card offering with each box containing 3 base cards, 1 color base parallel, 1 Relic card and 2 Autograph cards. This year Topps has dropped all the base cards, leaving just the 3 hits. With current pricing ranging from about $135 and $150 a box, this year Tier One takes a jump in our review categories from Premium to Ultra Premium cards.
Not everyone gets the chance to open one of these types of boxes so we gave you the opportunity to open our box of Tier One... virtually. If you didn’t get a chance to do this virtual box break, use this link to get to it before you continue this review.
If you look at our post “How we review and classify cards,” by definition, collectors who go for an Ultra Premium box of cards should understand “these are "High Risk, High Reward" cards” and “not every box will be a winner.” After viewing a healthy amount of case breaks, the biggest hits of Tier One seem to be falling about 1 every 6 boxes, with one large case hit per 12 boxes, a nice ratio for ultra premium cards.
Sure, the 1/1 Yu Darvish Gold Ink Autograph went for $10,000 on eBay, Ken Griffey Jr’s went for $5,000 and with a strong checklist of star player autographs like Koufax, Aaron and Mays you would think the Autos would be the hot ticket items, but what is selling in the aftermarket for crazy amounts of money are the Bat Knobs. You can’t find one of any player going for less than $400. Roberto Clemente’s went for just north of $3,000.
In contrast, some of the other autos can be picked up in the after market for a few dollars and that is how the ‘high risk, high reward’ equation comes into play. So when you bust, you can bust big, at least from a monetary value standpoint. Still, this is well within reason for an Ultra Premium product.
Each box of Tier One Baseball contains 3 cards, two autographs and one relic card. Every fourth box contains an extra relic hit for a total of 4 cards.
As a change to our normal format, we will show you the cards from our box after the full review to maintain the surprise for those doing the virtual box break.
There are some nice design elements here that seem like a cross between Triple Threads and Tribute. The use of open space for the autographs works very well and feels familiar. I appreciate that Topps took the time to do a proper write up on the back of these cards. But, hands down, the Clear Reprint Rookie Card Autographs and Bat Knob Cards are the best of the bunch.
Quality and Variety of Players
As I said earlier, this is a strong checklist and the ratios are pretty similar between the rookies, young players and proven stars.
Thrill Seeking Fulfillment and Experience
In some ways this is like an amusement thrill ride where you wind up waiting close to an hour for a 90 second ride. For some, it is worth the wait and an experience to remember. For others, not so much. But make no mistake, there is much anticipation before the break, exactly what you want out of an Ultra Premium box.
Buyers Remorse or Speculator's Delight
With a full understanding of this product and the fact that even the Crowd Pleaser and On The Rise level hits are still desirable, at least from a player level if not a monetary one, collectors should be satisfied. Unless, of course, you are “one and done” and pull a rough box. That can be brutal but is part of the game. That is why, for those with deeper pockets, this is definitely a product to open by the sealed full 12 box case to pread the risk. That will guarantee a Top Tier Auto and a chance a Bat Knob, all of which could do better than the cost of the case.
Here are the cards from our box.
CC Sabathia Dual Game Used Relic #/50, Gordon Beckham On The rise Auto Redemption
Boog Powell Crowd Pleasers Auto #/399
4 1/2 out of 5
2012 Topps Tier One Baseball is short break but one with huge upside potential.
Review box provided by Topps
Review box provided by Topps