Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009 Topps Unique Box Break & Review

Last week I went to my local card shop, Sports Card Depot, in search of some Topps Unique packs to bust, so I could get a feel for what this product is really like. Trolling eBay, it's damn near impossible not to run into one of the jumbo swatches, either of the autographed, or regular varieties. The autographed ones are atrocious, and like I've said before, a product with an MSRP in the $100 range should NEVER, EVER, EVER use sticker autographs... EVER! But I digress, I arrived at the card shop to find 4 sealed boxes, and zero individual packs for sale. If the box wasn't a good deal, there's no way I would have ever forked over this much cash for a product that has such high letdown potential. I'm no dummy, I've checked out the forum breaks. Most of them suck, but for $90, I figured it would make a nice early Xmas gift to myself, and perhaps I would get lucky (ha!) and pull something kickass. I could have definitely done worse, but Topps couldn't have. This product is about as Unique as my nutsack.

Here's the wrapper, it's pretty plain, as you can see.
Initially, I was unimpressed with what lay before me. the box very closely resembles retail, with 2 stacks of 10 packs, and in general was pretty plain. After cracking the first pack, and taking a peek at the base cards, my first impression was not altered. Very unimpressive. That having been said, here are some base cards of the blogosphere's favorite players.

Each pack also includes one red parallel. These cards are a little thicker, and are all numbered to 1199. I guess that means the print run for this set is 1200? Here's one of the reds I pulled, Matt Holliday in his new and soon to be old digs.

And another of NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan. These cards are ok I guess, and since they're thicker they must serve as some sort of pack searching deterrent.

Along with #'d red parallels, there are also numbered rookies. These are essentially no different than the base cards, other than the serial numbering on the backside. All rookies are numbered to 2699, which is a number as arbitrary as it is high. Here, once again, is NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan. If you look real close you can see that the base cards have the last name displayed vertically in a slightly darker and shinier black than the background on the left side of the card.

As is to be expected, Topps Unique also delivers a few insert sets, and if anything, these are it's only saving grace. First up we have the "Alone at the Top" set, which in my opinion looks a heck of a lot better than the base set. Overall the concept is pretty bland, certainly not UNIQUE, but it was refreshing to pull a somewhat well-designed card from this box, after multiple packs of base cards.

Next up is the second out of the three insert varieties lurking in this box, the "Unparalleled Performances" set. Yawn. Apparently, A-Rod's douchebaggery is "unparalleled".

The last insert I am going to show you is also my favorite. "Unique Unis" is an interesting set, and the design is also refreshing after staring at a box of black base cards. I pulled 5 of these, and these 2 are my favorite.

I have to second what Jay from The Mojo Hand suggested. It would be MUCH more unique to have relic & patch cards in this set featuring throwback uniform swatches. That would have been awesome.... and UNIQUE. Hey, you asked for it Topps. Is this opposite day? If it isn't then Unique is surely a misnomer.

Ok, it's time for the hits. First up we have more parallels. Yay. My box yielded one copper, and one gold. The coppers are numbered to 99, and the golds to 25. Yawn. Again, what is exciting about this concept? The only thing that's unique about them is instead of being called bronze and gold, these inserts are actually called "Reserve" and "Select". There is also a "Unique" parallel which is a 1/1.

Each box (Hobby only product) is guaranteed to contain 2 game used cards, and one autograph. One of those game used cards is also guaranteed to be of the patch or jumbo variety. I pulled exactly what the box stated I would. No more. No less.

Joba has a nice signature. Even though it's a Yankee hit, it's hard to be disappointed by this one. It could have been a LOT worse.

This is one of the most boring patch cards I have ever seen. At least it's 3 color. This is probably a patch from 2006, which is the last time there was a market for Hank Blalock. I'd still take him on the O's right now, but that's not saying much.

You should obviously be able to tell by now that I am not impressed. This seems like a total throw away effort by Topps. If this isn't a sticker and patch dump, then clearly I don't know what is. Is it Unique to put swatches of teams that players no longer play for in a new set? No, Upper Deck has been doing it for years. I understand that Unique features photos of players in those outdated uniforms as well, but if the card should have been released in 2006, you should have released it in 2006. I'm starting to think that there are going to be a lot more sets of this caliber in our collective future, now that Topps is the only licensed game in town.


Ben Affleck.

It would have been lower if some of the inserts weren't well-designed, and nice. Let's be clear, we're talking about Gigli/Jersey Girl/Bounce Affleck here, and not Dazed & Confused/Mallrats/Chasing Amy Affleck. Everyone knows Ben Affleck is weak, and so is Topps Unique. Wow, unintentional rhyme. I really am a poet. All cards for trade, so come and gets 'em if you wants 'em.


  1. I my you nailed it on the Affleck. I was thinking more like the penciled in style from the Back Street boys, but Affleck is pretty damn close.



  2. I'd like the Hamilton and Blalock. I'll see what I've got to offer and email you early in the morning.

  3. Did you pull any Rays? I'll totally swap some O's for them if you did!

  4. I'm diggin those unique unis cards. Great idea for an insert set. If you're willing to trade the Joba auto, I'll make an offer if I get anything out of my x mas cards that would interest you

  5. i am putting together a bunch of orioles to send you and would love to have that manny bat chip card and any other dodgers you might want to send. please?