“Too rich for my blood.” That’s the overarching theme with this week’s list. Card collecting can be exactly as affordable as you want it to be. Some people go cheap, just appreciating the hobby and the occasional long-odds hit.
Others, however, spend some real cash. As we learned in our first Loupe survey, 25 percent of you drop more than $500 each month on cards. This article is for those people, as we rattle off the five high-end products that have us glued to our screens right now. Keep streaming those videos and keep uploading them to YouTube. We can’t get enough.
2020 Topps Sterling
There’s no finer place to start than with the newest kid on the block. After a 10-year break, Topps has brought back its premium Sterling line. Expect to pay out the nose for this one. It’s currently going for $900-$1000 per box on eBay, and each box contains two cards.
That’s right — the breakdown on Topps Sterling as about $500 per card. That’s because there’s some insane stuff to pull. Every card (except a few 1-of-1 relics) is autographed and has a minimum of two relics. Pretty much every card is a current superstar or Hall of Famer, too.
It’s incredibly high stakes and that’s what’s so fun. Plus, with nothing on the line, we get to marvel at every single card for the beautiful pull it is. They might not all be worth the $500 they cost, but every single one is incredible for anyone who appreciates sports cards.
2020 Bowman Sapphire
This product isn’t necessarily high-end, per se. But, it has wiggled its way into the upper echelons simply because of how hot it is right now.
Originally priced at a fairly reasonably $150 per box, 2020 Bowman Sapphire is currently going for more than $500 per box on eBay. That’s because of some of the monster prospects coming through the pipeline.
Let’s run through some of them. Luis Robert is one of the most highly-touted rookies in MLB. He smoked the first pitch in his major league first at-bat 11.58 MPH for a single. That would’ve tracked as the second hardest hit ball the White Sox had all of last season. Robert’s card is selling for about $250. Yankees mega prospect Jasson Dominguez looks like a Little Leaguer in his Bowman card, but showed up to training camp looking like a 17-year-old NFL linebacker. His card is selling for $350 to $400. Royals prospect Bobby Witt Jr. and his never-centered cards are going for about $100 each.
And those are all just base cards. Pull a numbered parallel or an auto and those numbers absolutely skyrocket.
2019-20 Panini National Treasures Basketball
National Treasures is a little old at this point — it released in the spring — but it’s as relevant as ever with the NBA on the cusp of starting back up.
However, this crop of rookies is one of the most fascinating in recent memory, so the allure of pulling high-end RPAs is absolutely mesmerizing. Zion, Ja, Herro, Coby, Cam Reddish — the list goes on and on. National Treasures has no shortage of relics and autographs, as they make up 8 of the 10 cards in every box. Also, there’s a 1-of-1 printing plate in each box which, while they don’t go for crazy money, are always a cool touch.
Be prepared to break into your piggybank for National Treasures, though. They originally launched at a suggested price of $700, but they’ve been going for about $4,000 per box. Ten cards for $4,000 — may the odds be in your favor.
2019-20 Upper Deck Engrained
Even though our survey indicated that not a ton of you collect hockey cards, we’re going to point out a cool set anytime it crosses our desk. Upper Deck’s Engrained qualifies.
The theme behind Engrained is wood. The base cards are manufactured to have an oak-like look, while the parallels mimic darker and richer woods like mahogany. The Carved in Time subset straight-up seem as though they’re made of wood.
The main attraction is the carbon fiber hockey stick relics that are all over Engrained. Finding game-used sticks (hopefully with an auto on it) is the big draw for this set. Some old-timer Hall of Famers have actual wood sticks (and those are probably the most coveted cards in all of Engrained) but it’s mostly about pulling carbon fiber from the superstars.
Engrained is priced at about $180 for 7 cards, so it’s far from the most ludicrous on this list. It makes for a fun break, though.
2020 Panini Prizm Draft Picks
There isn’t a ton of 2020 NFL product out there yet, and even less that qualifies as “high-end.” This will have to do while we wait for National Treasure Collegiate Treasures to launch.
Panini Prizms Draft Picks is a great set to watch because it has a ton of rookies, it isn’t shy about putting a ton of flashy parallels in the boxes, and there’s an autograph in every pack. With potential superstars like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and CeeDee Lamb ready to break onto the scene, it’s neat watching people hunt for their university-clothed rookie cards.
This isn’t a prohibitively expensive product but it’s not cheap either. It started around $180 per box, but now it has swelled to around $350. There are eight cards in a pack, and five packs in a box. More bank-breaking football cards will come along in due time. For now, Panini Prizm Draft Picks has our attention.