The Beckett Blog

Stephen Strasburg Topps Heritage Card Creates National Frenzy by Tracy Hackler


BALTIMORE — The stampede was nearly heard across the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) on Thursday afternoon. Collectors, flippers and baseball fans ran to get on line for an exclusive Stephen Strasburg 2010 Topps Heritage card, which can only be found at the NSCC at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Security tried to keep collectors back, but at 1 p.m., they rushed the line to get one of 225 cards given out that day.

Topps will hand out 998 of the Strasburg Heritage cards (the first was sold on eBay as part of a charity auction) as part of a wrapper redemption program at the NSCC. Ten packs of any 2010 Topps baseball products worth more than .99 cents will net a collector one of the Strasburg cards – while supplies last.

While there are many who like to grab the cards for their own collection, the common idea on the show floor this week has been to throw the Strasburg Heritage card on eBay and try to make money.

“Moving it is a no-brainer,” said Wes Yee, a prospector from San Francisco attending his first National. “It’s a cool card, but I would rather have the money to spend on stuff I really want.”

The Strasburg card was an instant hit with collectors from the moment Topps announced the redemption program. Early eBay sales have the National exclusive card selling between $80-$100.

On Thursday’s opening day, national distributors were looking to buy the card.

Dave and Adam’s Card World initially had a sign at its booth stating it would pay $80 for the card, but eventually took it down. At the time, eBay sales for the card weren’t going for much higher than their offer.

Blowout Cards paid $60 for the card and picked up at least 20 through the first two days of the National. They are waiting to sell their cards based on market value.

“We had a number of requests for that card before the show,” said Blowout’s Co-Founder Chris Park. “We’re trying to pick up cards for as many people as we can.”

Strasburg, the Washington Nationals’ top draft pick last year, has ignited the baseball trading card world over the last two months. He made his Major League debut on June 8. That night, Topps released the first Rookie Card though its Million Card Giveaway website and company officials will insert his cards into its remaining 2010 products.

Strasburg’s cards have been arguably the most sought after cards in recent memory. Strasburg, who is scheduled to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, is 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings through nine starts.

It’s not only the 2010 Bowman Superfractor – a 1/1 that sold twice for $16,000 and $21,000, respectively – that has drawn national mainstream attention; any release he’s in has seen the benefit of his inclusion.

“We haven’t seen a cycle like this before,” said Topps Vice President/Sales John Buscaglia at a Topps panel discussion on Thursday evening. “Not even Albert Pujols and Ichiro [in 2001] were at this level.”

For the small number of vendors who are not selling vintage cards at the National, Strasburg seems to be name most requested, which is unsurprising considering the Nationals’ fan base isn’t too far from Baltimore.

However, the prices on 2010 Bowman were slightly out of some collectors’ price range.

“Some people were asking for more than what I could get for them online,” said Steve Bastardo of Sterling, Va. “I want one of these cards just to have it. I was coming here anyway, so I thought I would wait to see if I could pick one up before buying one on eBay.”

The Strasburg Heritage exclusive will be given out in small quantities during each of the next two days of the National, certainly with more collectors running to get cards. On Thursday, very few who lined up were shut out from getting a card. Roughly, 10 were turned away from the end of the line, but that won’t stop them from coming back.

“If I get here a little earlier tomorrow I think I’ll be OK,” said Jason Brown of High Point, N.C. “It seems that even though everyone rushed there was time to get the card.”

And you don’t need to be a Strasburg fan to want it.

“No, I’m a fan of money,” Brown said.

Susan Lulgjuraj is a sports journalist. She also blogs at A Cardboard Problem. You can also follow her on Twitter at @CardBandits.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’m just going to look longingly at the Jordan Zimmerman card in the 2010 Heritage set. It looks so much like the Strasburg, what’s the difference but $59.50?

Comment by anon

From what I heard the line around the corner where you sell the card was even longer.


Comment by themojohand

I hrard that an employee sold 100 at $40 each and thats why they were way short of the 225 that were supposed to be given out (we estimate only 125 despite the 225 posted)

Comment by Anonymous

[…] present in 2009. Their presence this year reflected a serious turnaround for the company. Topps also gave away 999 Stephen Strasburg promo cards, which were the talk of the show. Having a presence at the show is an absolute must for the a […]

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