Baseballcardpedia says that there are 105,000 boxes of 2010 Chrome which is four times the quantity of the same product in 2009. This should make the building of a PC master set for a given player a lot tougher, but that didn’t seem to stop Josiah Karpenko who has officially crowned himself 2010 Topps’ daddy.
Card collectors have a lot to work with these days. It’s not like the ‘70’s when it was just the Topps base set (and a random Kellogg's set every now and then), or the 80’s when it grew to three brands’ base sets, or the ‘90’s when the market exploded and you suddenly had hundreds of base and insert sets. Even after the late-90’s/early-2000’s crunch there was still a ridiculous quantity of options afforded to card collectors via sub-brands from “the big three.”
Nobody collects every version of everything – there’s just too much out there. So everyone has their focus, and given the myriad options we all have we get to pick and choose what we collect: set-builders, rainbow-builders, player collectors, team collectors, condition/PSA 10 chasers, insert-builders, and even a few non-standard focuses like cards with photos of pitchers batting, cards that show players’ waving their hats, players with funny names, players named “T.J.” (I suspect that one’s uniquely mine), and everything in-between. No two collectors are exactly alike.
There’s even enough out there that you can have sub-focuses within your focus. Obviously I am primarily a player collector, but the sub-collections within my Griffey collection are things like Jr/Sr cards, Jr/Buhner bromance cards, Griffey cameos, one of every base card, Griffey master sets of certain brands I like, and throwback designs just to name a few.
Enter Josiah Karpenko whose focus everybody in the Griffey groups knows well: Griffey’s 2010 Topps sunset card. Like, every version of it. Josiah has been building a very respectable Griffey collection outside of the 2010’s, but all that seems to take a back seat to his 2010 master set focus.
|Josiah's 2010 Topps Super Collection|
I mean just look at this thing. I’m quite proud to have helped him, too - that used to be my 2015 Cardboard Icons Red Jumbo #/10. I got my hands on a full set and only wanted to keep a few of them, not including the 2010. It was an extremely rare case of selling a Griffey of which I only had one. I broke my own rule, but it was worth it to see all those 2010 cards together, albeit at Josiah’s house.
It’s not like I was going to attempt the master set – not once that Superfractor was spoken for, at least. Josiah is passionate about his impressive sub-collection.
So I’m going to turn it over to JK a lot in this post because the man has a knowledge and passion for these cards that few can match.
On to the cards:
|2010 Topps Chrome #28|
A note to my fellow card bloggers: get yourself a light box! They're like 15 bucks shipped and will up your game a ton.
I’m going to take a survey today: do you prefer your Chrome base cards with white borders or chrome ones? 2002 was the last year we got fully chromed-out base borders, and it’s a solid look. The refractors are fully-chromed out in 2010 though that has not always been the case. Just curious how everyone else feels about these. Please leave your preference in the comments below.
|2010 Topps Chrome #28 Refractor|
See? Chrome border for maximum refraction.
There was one lot in particular that turbo-charged my collection more than any other, and I almost balked at it. I think it ended up costing around two bucks per card, and the final price was around $180 – way more than I would normally spend. Price per card was everything to me back then, but this one was different in that they were all premium cards. The lot included every Tiffany from 1989-1991 (except the 1989 Topps Traded which I got later), a ton of ‘90’s inserts, mid-2000’s relics, a few short prints, and most of the 2010 Topps Chrome refractors you’re about to see (the ones that are mine, anyway). And every card came in a lovely, thick screw-down case. To this day it is the greatest lot I’ve ever won.
Anyway, this refractor and the four that follow all came from that one lot. Given the timing of that lot someone had been collecting actively not long before they decided to sell off all those cards for an average of two bucks a pop. Were the same lot to go up on eBay today it would probably hit four figures. So much of this hobby has become about timing…
|2010 Topps Chrome #28 X-fractor|
|2010 Topps Chrome #28 Purple |
|2010 Topps Chrome #28 Blue |
|Courtesy of Josiah Karpenko|
1:370 Hobby only. Oof.
|2010 Topps Chrome #28 Superfractor 1/1 |
(courtesy of Josiah Karpenko)
And finally 1:9265 Hobby only. Is this the first bonafide 1/1 we've ever had on the blog? I can think of several we've seen that are not quite as nice as this one, that's for sure. But a genuine Topps 1/1 base parallel? This does not happen a lot. Take it in...
Speaking of printing plates:
|2010 Topps Chrome #28 Printing Plate Cyan 1/1 |
& Yellow 1/1 (courtesy of Josiah Karpenko)
I wanted to know how one gets to this point with a single card, and Josiah was kind enough to give us the backstory:
I met a Griffey collector in NC who had all these. It was the first time I ever had anything close to an actual Topps Chrome rainbow.
When I bought those, the most I had ever spent on a baseball card was $80. The next highest purchase came when I found the gold for $100.
After that, I decided I could start buying other Griffey cards for around $100, but after 2 years, I still never paid more than $150 for a card. That changed when I found the red /25 and bought it for $250. At the time I thought I was overspending, but I had to have it.
All those $100-$150 cards are almost certainly selling for a lot more these days.
Just under a year later, the Superfractor finally surfaced. But it wasn't only the super, it was the entire rainbow from base chrome, to blue, to super. After negotiations couldn't make the seller budge from selling just the super, I had to make the decision to buy the entire rainbow from him even though I already had the rest in my collection. The biggest purchase I still have ever made solely to own one card was made and the Superfractor was added to my set.
Then after another year of searching and asking through multiple groups and friends, one seller was willing to part with 2 printing plates which was the final purchase in the collection.
...so far, right?
The cards such as silk /50, factory red /299, black /59, were all immediate buys once they surfaced for sale dating back 3 years. All that's remaining for the master set is the 4 Topps Printing Plates, 2 Topps Chrome Printing Plates, and the one I want most Topps Platinum 1/1.
So all Josiah needs to wrap this one up is SEVEN one-of-ones. If you happen to be the owner of any of those, reach out. I have a buyer...
I also asked Josiah for a little context as to why this card struck such a chord with him.
|I really did|
2010 being the very last year of his career, is also the last and only second time I ever got to see him play. My brother was called out of the stands the very first game of spring training to be the batboy for the Cincinnati Reds. Already being a Reds fan because of Griffey, I was able to go to multiple games with him as he was their batboy for 3 weeks. The last day he was there, they let him choose which team he would be there for, and it just so happened to be the Seattle Mariners. Seeing Griffey and Ichiro there was amazing. That year my brother and I bought so much 2010 Topps that I had many multiples, but always held onto one 2010 Topps #85 as it was the greatest year of baseball for me growing up. Those memories, Griffey's retirement, then having the opportunity to own the very last rainbow ever to exist of Griffey's career years made the hunt to finish it so much more enjoyable. But I couldn't settle for just the rainbow, the hunt became every single possible variation in existence that has that picture.
It is also the year that has the most Topps variations out of all sets from 1989-2010. So with the master set getting close to being complete, it's fun to sit back and know that the most ever to be in one collection, belongs to me.
There you have it. Let's have on more look at JK's drool-worthy assortment of 2010 Topps Griffeys: