2017 Topps Chrome Baseball || $1,000 Retail Exclusive ROI Experiment || Judge & Bellinger Are Welcome

2017 Topps Chrome Baseball || $1,000 Retail Exclusive ROI Experiment || Judge & Bellinger Are Welcome

Here we are again,  another exciting Topps Baseball product. Lots of exclusive retail content. Plenty of Wal-Marts in our area. Let’s play ball!

We were able to track down just over $1,000 in 2017 Topps Chrome Baseball Retail Boxes/Packs. Our job is to help you understand the reality of retail purchases — both in total ROI & comparisons to spending similar $$ in group breaks. Let’s dive in and see what happens.

The Scavenger Hunt

As expected with any good retail product, there is going to be a pursuit in order to acquire the goods. In my particular case the pursuit included 5 hours of Wal-Mart mapping, driving, and spending. I have ~10 Wal-Marts within 50miles of my office… so if I map it correctly I can  cover a lot of ground. Unfortunately, I’m also battling against other local collectors/hobbyists as well. I was only able to find 6 of the 10 Wal-Mart’s with any available inventory…the other 4 had already been “cleaned out.” Not a great feeling knowing that you lost the race to that particular Wal-Mart…but it makes it even more of a challenge.

Time spent: 5 Hours

Wal-Mart’s on list: 10

Hit Rate: 60%

Money Spent in 2017 Topps Chrome Retail: $1,050.


So there we have it; money has been spent, time has been invested, and the challenge has begun. Let’s see what $1,000 in retail buys you these days.

The Results

Let’s jump right into this. My boys and I flew threw these packs/boxes. We have 8 Mega’s, 20 Blaster Boxes, and 40 Rack Packs. This took us about an hour to rip through, evaluate, and sort. I’ll just show you some of the content..and get to my reactions afterwards.

These are some of the “hits” from the break. We obviously have massive stacks of color / refractors / and inserts. Here is a breakdown of what we pulled:

  • 11x Aaron Judge (including an Image Variation SSP + Pink Parallel)
  • 8x Cody Bellinger (2x Ref)
  • 11x Negative Refractors
  • 4x Photo Variation Refractors
  • 1x Orange (Matt Carpenter)
  • 6x Auto’s (1x Blue & 1x Refractor)

Parallel Breakdown:

  • 44x Prism Refractors
  • 85x  X-Fractors
  • 126x Pink refractor
  • 90x Base Refractors
  • 80x Sepia Refractors


Reactions to the Product

First off, I think 2017 Topps Baseball has been great. I thought the base Topps S1 was outstanding from design to inserts to checklist. So it only makes sense that I expect nothing less from Topps Chrome. Overall I am pretty impressed with the product….even if I only tasted the cards for the common people (cough cough – Retail).

Most impressed with:


  • The condition. I expected to have issues with condition (both from experience + rumors) but I had ZERO issues with my cards. Out of all my packs I’d say I had less than 5 cards that I’d consider less than “normal.”
  • The refractor mix. I’m usually not a fan of SO MANY different refractors. But this year I found myself very intrigued by the retail mix of refractors. The Pink exclusive is fine and the X-Fractors are BEAUTIFUL!
  • 1987 Insert. One of my favorite inserts of the past few years. With the refractor finish these are stunning cards.

What I was NOT impressed with:

  • Lack of Auto’sI’m the first to admit that expecting auto’s in retail is insanity. But, to only pull 6 auto’s from a $1k in retail boxes is a bit unacceptable. This basically equates to ONE AUTO per master “case” (at each store). For every $200~ you can expect an auto. Not exciting. 
  • Duplicates. Across the board I had duplicates. Just about every box was not “mixed” well and didn’t seem to provide the right amount of shuffling. Common problem…but more noticeable and annoying across 100’s of packs.

2017 Topps Chrome Ranking

Design 80%
Checklist 90%
Variety (Color, SP's, Auto) 75%
Value (Expected ROI) 80%
How likely to recommend? 97%

Return on Investment

My expectation was that I’d end up around a 75% overall ROI with this particular break. This will consider the extra 2 sets I’ll try to set-aside, all extra Royals hits, and any other cards used in giveaways.  But as you know, that’s not good enough here on BreakerCulture!

Day #1 Sales: $52.00

Day #2 Sales: $14.00

Day #3 Sales: $482.00 (Aaron Judge SSP)

Day #4 Sales: $117 (Pink Lot)

Day #5 Sales: $339

Day #6 Sales: $12

Day #7 Sales: $95

Day #8 Sales: $71

Total Sales (Final): $1,182

Running Net Profit: ($1,047 – $1,182) = +$135

There you have it. After fees I’ll have netted a slight positive ROI. I’ll have spent 4 hours listing & shipping. I’ll have kept about 30-35 Royals cards for the kids + given 2-3 nice Chrome cards away (for BreakerCulture giveaways). It’s hard to complain about this return and overall experience with 2017 Topps Chrome Retail.

There are two key lessons here:

#1 – Expect a 20-25% uplift for Topps + Bowman Chrome over other 2nd tier products (“Platinum”). Take advantage of this when listing BUY IT NOW’s and FIXED PRICE items. 

#2 – The retail “advantage” is the exclusive color/parallels. These added about 50% to my ROI…and I didn’t even hit a Bellinger. This should be factored in when you are considering retail vs hobby.

I’d argue that I had mediocre to poor luck on my break…and I still ended up net positive. This is a sign of a good product, good market, and a little bit of luck. 😉


Thanks for following – please add your comments below for any additional ideas/questions.

Administrator for BreakerCulture.com Big fan of strong families & hard work. Email: ty@breakerculture.com Twitter: @breakerculture

Notable Replies

  1. One thing worth noting is that I under “performed” on my Auto’s. In fact, I received 1 less than the odds lay out.

Continue the discussion forums.breakerculture.com


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