Once again, June brings us Series 2 of the Topps Flagship release. It picks up right where Series 1 left off, with cards 331-660. Many of the insert sets return from the first series, but some continue with numbering, while others reuse the same numbering. I still can’t see a good reason to do it that way, but they seem to keep it up year after year.
As things start to open up more and more, stadiums now allow full capacity, and people have other things to do with their money, it seems the card market is starting to cool a bit. There doesn’t seem to be a mad dash to throw everything in to cards. Will that make this release more accessible? It may be a while before we really know, especially with some retail outlets discontinuing cards in the stores for now.
A box advertises 10 packs with 46 cards per pack, including 1 autograph and 2 relic cards per jumbo box.
This is an interesting release, as it was delayed greatly from the original target date over the summer to December 30, just barely making it out during 2020. It took a bumpy route toward the end, too. A few weeks before release, Topps canceled the previous configuration, and opened up a new round of orders, for the final configuration.
When the release was first announced, it was going to be boxes of 24 packs with 7 cards per pack, as it has been in years past. This year, that was changed only a few weeks before release. While hobby boxes remained at the same price point with two autographs per box, they now included only 2 packs with 25 cards per pack. While it is nice not having as many packs to open, it feels like a lot of content is missing with so few cards in a box.
This release has long been delayed because of the pandemic. It was originally scheduled for July, I think, but many things from that period ended up being moved to later in the year. The end result of this delay is that a few of the people released back in April still find themselves in this release. It’s not that big a deal, but they do stand out a bit because of that.
This marks the return of this release after a five year hiatus. It hits a little bit different this year, as there wasn’t a planned “flagship” wrestling release to begin with. It doesn’t follow the previous format of using the baseball design for the cards this time. The design feels a little bit like Stadium Club to me, without the full bleed images.
We see another regular release during the great trading card boom. Recent releases seem to immediately shoot up in price. People are going to retail outlet and clearing the shelves to resell blaster boxes at three times the normal price online. Will that continue with Archives? That’s not clear, yet, but I suspect not. While Archives may contain some of the new rookies, the hits are primarily focused on retired players from years gone by.
It’s early, but so far, this release doesn’t seem to have the same bump. Is the bubble starting to slow down a bit? Or is this a one-off because it’s not rookie focused? Time will tell. It’s still difficult to find at retail, but that is often the case during the first week or release. Some people claim that no product being available is a great sign for the hobby, but I don’t think so. If you spend a few minutes online, it’s very clear that product is selling out because people are trying to resell it for an inflated price, rather than actually collect the product. That’s anything but good for the hobby. If product is not available, people are going to end up not buying any. After a few releases where someone can’t find any product to buy, why would they want to keep looking?
After about a two month delay due to the world wide pandemic, Topps brings us the second series of The Rise of Skywalker. There is quite the backup of releases right now, and it seems Topps is pushing to clear that backlog quickly. Unfortunately, that has led to some quality issues.
There have been reports of poor collation and missing hits. We didn’t see that here, but it seems to be a common complaint right now. We did see pack sizes vary between 18 cards and 3 in some cases in non-hit packs. Given the quality issues for recent releases like Topps Total, these seem entirely plausible.
This series features a 100 card base set, with a number of parallels, as well as inserts also coming in parallel versions. The box contains 24 packs with 8 cards per pack. A box advertises two hits per box, including one guaranteed autograph.