At the end of last month, MLB award winners were announced, with Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Judge taking home the MVP awards in their respective leagues. Following this, Topps had an announcement of their own, a truly unique promotion that the collecting world has never really seen.
Effective immediately and in place until March 31, 2023, collectors could bring base cards of the two MVPs from 2022 Topps Chrome into their local card shops and receive $20 for each card in store credit. Parallels and numbered cards carry an even larger premium: $40 for refractors, $100 for cards serial numbered with more than 100 copies, and $200 for cards serial numbered with fewer than 100 copies. And for collectors who don’t live near a participating card shop, online retailers are participating as well, offering the same trade-in credit as brick and mortar stores.
The unique promotion harkens back to the days in the late 1990s where Topps made value guarantees for the price of a complete Bowman set, offering a set price on a complete set that was mailed to them and therefore ensuring that demand for the product would remain fairly robust. This promotion does the same for Topps. With collectors frustrated by missing rookie shortprints in 2022 Topps Chrome — a problem quickly remedied by way of bonus silver packs — the buyback program instantly buoyed sales of the flagship product. For collectors, cards that had a value of a dollar were suddenly sought after.
Perhaps no one wins more in this scenario than local card shops. Since Fanatics purchased Topps, there have been questions about how the direct-to-consumer company would help card shops. This first step is a huge one. While stores do have to front the money by way of providing store credit, this promotion does get customers into the store. Because the trade-in is for store credit, customers have to shop at that store, meaning they may buy something that’s been sitting on the shelf for some time.
Collectors seem enthused by this, with numerous hobby shops around the country reporting strong turnout. Rochester Sports Cards in Michigan had redeemed more than $5,000 worth of trade-ins by November 29. Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colorado also announced they had done over $5,000 worth by December 6.
Because the promotion was unannounced ahead of time, it also serves to keep people interested in products next season. Will people try to guess who the MVPs will be and hoard their Topps Chrome cards? What if the promotion next year is for Cy Young winners instead? What if the cards are from Topps Heritage and not Topps Chrome? There’s no shortage of ways Topps can parlay this successful promotion into future excitement.