Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2003 Topps Shoebox

2003 Topps Shoebox was similar to the Topps All-Time Fan Favorites but took the idea to a complete concept.

The cards were sold as a complete set and came in a box which was shaped like a shoebox. There were 12 8-card packs, 3 packs for each decade from the 1950s through the 1980s. Each pack came with a generous piece of gum in a plastic wrapper.

Inside the box were 4 bays, with the decades separated into separate bays. Sitting on top of the bays was a plastic holder with four original cards, one from each decade, inside. The cards are surrounded by a black frame such that you can see the front and back of the card. The frame is held together by screws. The holder is as long and wide as the box. There was the possibility of getting a rare card in this holder but the best card I got was a 1987 Tom Seaver card that I already had.

The frame is wrapped in tissue paper, so when you open the box, it's like you've opened an actual shoebox with brand new shoes in it.

The selection of cards is excellent. If you owned the originals of these cards it would be the a great baseball card collection.

Most of the cards are either reproductions of rookie cards or, at least, cards from early in a player's career. The reproductions are very good and except for the gold shield on the front and a little strip on the back which gives copyright info, they look like the original cards.

That being said, there are some quirks. Many player's rookie cards have them appearing with one or more other players.

Use the Mike Schmidt card as an example. Schmidt appears with Ron Cey and John Hilton on his rookie card. What Topps did for the Schmidt Shoebox card, is to take just the picture of Schmidt and make it into the whole card. This is the one thing about the set I don't like.

There are a number of cards from the 1960s and 1970s where they did this. In some cases, the small picture of the player doesn't enlarge well (especially if the original photo wasn't very good) and the Shoebox card looks a bit blurry.

Right now, a lot of these cards are being offered on eBay for about a dollar. I paid about $40 for the set when it was new. There are several complete sets, with unopened packs, selling in the $40-$50 range. These are pictured as opened boxes on the auction pages so I expect you won't find a great old card in the holder.

My set is missing a card (I don't remember which one) but I got a double. I'll have to look through these auctions to see if I can get my missing card. I've kept the whole set together, including the wrappers, the gum (still in their wrappers), the card holder, the cards and the tissue paper in the original box.

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