I love 2013 Topps Five Star. It looks and feels like, well, a five star product. And with the cheapest of boxes going for $320 – I would expect nothing less. For those unfamiliar with the product, each box has only 6 cards which works out to about $53 per card (when they first came out, boxes ran closer to $500 which would put each card at a whopping $83 a piece). The 6 cards include: 1 Autographed Book Card or Silver Signatures Card, 2 Autographs, 1 Autographed Patch Card or Additional Autograph, 1 Jumbo Relic or Ultra-Premium Relic, and 1 Base Card. (NOTE: My scanner has not done proper justice to these cards)
Most autographs are numbered /333 or /368 while the 100-card base set cards are numbered /75 which has led some to point out their relative rarity. 7,500 total base cards may seem like a lot, but several single cards in the past have been serial numbered higher than 7,500. However, the base cards are still among the least expensive on the second-hand market (alongside R.A. Dickey autographs and most relic cards).
When Five Star came out I was really curious about the buzz. Cardboard Connection calls it an “ultra high-end baseball card.” Some blogs even called it the highest-end baseball card product to date. So I took to eBay and ordered a Larry Doby base card for under $8. When I finally received it a few things struck me: the thickness of the card (about 180-pt), the beauty of the design, and the surprisingly (but not unnaturally) vibrant colors on a player who last took the field in 1959.
I was amazed with the quality I was getting on a card I paid less than $8 for. I had a realization that perhaps the $20 I was putting into each blaster box of everything from NBA Hoops to Panini Prestige Football to Gypsy Queen were better spent on cards like this. My collecting was ridiculously unfocused and nearly a year into collecting it was time to stick to something I really liked and wanted. So I decided I would collect all 100 base cards in 2013 Topps Five Star. Now here I am writing this post with 19 cards in hand, and an additional 6 in the mail – and I still haven’t paid as much as a single box costs. I’ve paid as low as $3.99 (including shipping) for a card and as high as $36.oo (Babe Ruth) with most falling somewhere around the $8-15 range.
This is an incredibly rewarding way of collecting and I am enjoying building this set quite literally one card at a time off eBay (except for that one time I sold out and got an irresistibly-priced 4-card lot). Every week I have a great mailday or two, and it feels good to have focused my collecting some. Nearly every card has arrived in a penny sleeve and top-loader so storage hasn’t been an issue – but since this is such a nice set to look at I wish there was a way to display them as well. I am open to any and all suggestions! Also, would anyone happen to know if it would be worth it to a) use magnetic holders instead of top-loaders or b) get this set graded eventually? Oh, and if you have any cards in the set I don’t have let me know and we can try to work out a trade. I keep an updated checklist here. Thanks!