Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 Topps NOW Baseball Cards

You may have noticed these past few years that Topps has experimented with several modern ways to release baseball cards; virtually all of these methods relate to the internet, whether it be their semi-closed eTopps program, eBay Topps Vault store, or exclusive classic player reprint sets available only on the Topps website.

The cardmaker's newest baseball offering is a unique idea called "Topps NOW." Every day of the MLB season Topps will release one or two cards, each featuring a player (or team) that had a notable performance the day before. For example, the first card in the set features Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano, who struck out ten Cardinals and notched a win on April 3... The NOW card commemorating this feat was made available for purchase on the Topps website for 24 hours, on April 4 beginning at noon. Shortly after an offering closes, Topps announces the print run on their website and mails the cards out to the buyers (266 Liriano cards were printed, by the way). As of this writing, the program is still getting started and just twelve different cards have been released. 

Anyone with a Paypal account or credit/debit card can order a NOW card from the Topps website after registering. This same one-time registration also allows you to purchase any other products offered on the Topps website. One feature of this program is that you can order just the cards you want, assuming you do it during their 24-hour window. The website gives you the option of ordering one card for $9.99, five cards for $29.95, ten cards for $49.99 or twenty cards for $79.99; shipping is included in these prices.

Cards are the standard 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" size, and are printed on 16-point glossy card stock. Fronts feature borderless color photos that were taken the day of the actual event, with a line of text across the bottom that tells what the highlighted event is. Card backs are simple, with a paragraph detailing the event and any relevant backstory. 

My opinions are as follows: I think the cards are nice and a welcome addition to the hobby. These can be considered a new generation of oddball cards in an era where you no longer get them from the barber shop or a local patrolman. It may be unrealistic to complete a set of these, but Topps welcomes you to buy just the cards you want (and the quantities you want).

Regarding the potential value of the NOW cards, I think it's safe to say that many of these  will hover near their issue price for a while, and some will dip well below the issue price as time goes on. Even though a mere 266 Francisco Liriano NOW cards were printed, the supply may still outweigh the demand in today's age of the "super short print" card. The ones that have the most potential for a price increase are the rookies, which feature the appropriate "RC" logo on the fronts. Even though the rookie cards are being ordered in larger quantities by speculators -- 1,350 cards of Astros prospect Tyler White were printed -- I believe the rookies still hold the potential for the greatest price increases. Future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols has the distinction thus far of having the card with the lowest print run (244); even so, his NOW card may get lost in the shuffle of all the other limited cards a Pujols collector might chase these days.

I've been keeping an eye on the daily NOW releases, waiting to pull the trigger on a card that catches my interest. Today was that day. I finally settled on the twelfth card to be issued, which features Rangers rookie outfielder Nomar Mazara. Called up at just 20 years of age, Mazara went 3 for 4 with a home run in his Major League debut; I also noticed, several hours after I ordered the cards, that he went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored this evening... I have a feeling that he may edge out Tyler White and take the crown for the most NOW cards issued. (Update: yep, 1,427 Mazara cards were printed)

I probably won't be throwing tons of money at this set. There are still hundreds upon hundreds of oddball sets waiting to be added to the archives, and I'll continue to dedicate much of my spare time to tracking as many of them down as possible. Even so, I will look forward to my daily email from Topps, informing me of the new NOW cards that show up for sale (I would recommend that all collectors put themselves on the Topps email list, which informs you of all their current oddball releases). 

Heck, maybe maybe the profits I gain from these Nomar Mazara cards will help land me that 1980 TCMA Reading Phillies set I've had my eye on for years!

Click here to hunt for Topps NOW cards on eBay


  1. I really like the concept behind these cards and kind of can't wait until one pops up that fits into my collection. Perhaps it's just the shiny, newness of it all. Hopefully it's not all cards of Nomar, White and Trevor Story as we go along!

    1. On the back of card nine, they state, "...Story is currently on pace for 243 home runs for the 2016 season." I'll probably buy one of Story's cards when he hits number 200 sometime this August.