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Questions Arise From Seller Who Winds Up With Slew Of Superfractors

2023 bowman draft superfractor

There have been a few issues with Topps SuperFractors this year.

Earlier this year, in October, it came to light Topps had printed up to three copies of many of the SuperFractors in the 2023 Bowman Chrome release, which Fanatics subsequently rectified with a buyback.

Now a new problem has come to light from these highly sought-after cards.

This week, an eBay account listed an unrealistic number of the 2023 Bowman Draft Superfractors which had many collectors turning heads, and concerned with Fanatics and there was something nefarious afoot. But there are other theories as well.

Meanwhile, Fanatics has responded to the news by attributing the issue to a break in.

What do we know right now? We try to unravel it in our coverage of the new Topps SuperFractor Scandal.

Details of the New Topps SuperFractors Scandal

On December 17th, popular (and excellent) Twitter account @beisbolcardblog, run by Mario Alejandro, posted the following accusation:

“Last night, it was discovered that one @eBay user owns and was selling 12% of all @Topps 2023 Bowman Draft Superfractors. After a tweet analyzing the username “dfwcardshark,” the listings all vanished. Considering we have seen both backdoored and double 1/1 Superfractors in 2023 Topps products, this is something that @Fanatics must address immediately. Topps is on the verge of losing the trust of collectors. It’s not bad enough that 95% of collectors were priced out of the 2023 Bowman Draft; now #TheHobby has to worry about fakes and backdoored cards with each and every prominent release. Buying a raw Superfractor in 2023 is dangerous.”

The cards placed for sale by the eBay user dfwcardshark showed an incredible number of Topps 2023 Bowman Draft Superfractors. To make matters worse, there appear to have been several duplicates of these cards as well.

Of course, the big concern lies in the fact that Superfractor cards should be 1/1 cards.

Topps 2023 Bowman Draft product was released on December 12, 2023 with the first evidence that dfwcardshark had an unrealistically large number of cards from this release surfacing four days later.

That makes pulling over two dozen SuperFractors (at a rate of one per 16,000 a pack, no less) even less likely. It also makes buying them off people less likely.

What this account had in his possession

One of the best hobby accounts on Twitter, @cardpurchaser, released a video screenshot of what he found on the page. There were 24 listings under the SuperFractor category. Here is a complete list of what they were:

  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Charlee Soto SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Tommy Hawke SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Roman Anthony SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Luisangel Acuna SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Felnin Celesten SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Kevin Sim SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Ethan O’Donnell SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Jake DeLeo SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Quinn McDaniel SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Jace Bohrofen SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Zach Levenson SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Michael Carico SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Jaison Chourio SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Levi Wells SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Dyan Jorge SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Ryan Clifford SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Jonah Cox SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Jake Cunningham SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Luke Shliger SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Christian Knapczyk SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Nelson Rada SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Jett Williams SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Colson Montgomery SuperFractor 1/1
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Jonathan Mejia SuperFractor 1/1

There are no duplicates in this list, which appeared on the @cardpurchaser account. Other individuals added information to this account. Including that duplicates of the same card appeared on it.

For example, @idgaf_Nathan provided a link to an eBay auction of a further 2023 Bowman Chrome Dyan Jorge SuperFractor 1/1, aside from the one that appeared in the video @cardpurchaser posted.

However, this one looked different. Here, the 1/1 was on the back of the card. Meanwhile, in the card appearing in the video provided by @cardpurchaser, the 1/1 signifier was in the bottom left-handed corner.

The disparity would indicate that one of the cards was a misprint. All of the other cards in the set have the numbers on the front. This would imply that the one with the 1/1 on the back is the misprint error.

Initial fears Fanatics are at fault for “backdooring” cards

The odds of one individual pulling multiple SuperFractors from one product are not particularly high. There are, after all, only of these per 1:16,408 hobby packs. That is at least according to the odds published by Topps.

But having 12% of them, not to mention multiples of the same one (which should not exist in the first place), makes this all the more problematic.

Some in the hobby have accused Topps and Fanatics of backdooring cards to particular sellers. Thankfully, a few details have emerged mitigating against this conclusion.

It appears that the extra 1/1 versions that appeared in the eBay store of dfwcardshark were misprints. It seems unlikely that Fanatics would intentionally give those to anyone, as they are evidence of poor quality control and undermine the value of 1/1s.

In addition, there is reason to believe that the same source has Panini cards they shouldn’t have in their possession either.

Second, we don’t see why Topps would partner with this specific account and risk their reputation for it. It is not a particularly large or respected card sales account.

Their stats are pretty good, don’t get me wrong. Dfwcardshark has 100% feedback on 730 who left it out of 2,200 items sold. That is respectable.

So what could be going on?

It is unlikely the top brass at Topps is involved here. But perhaps a lower-level employee could be at fault.

Either they are getting paid off by the owner of the account who is friends with them, or both. It would be a straightforward (though risky) way to make some cash.

It is also possible these cards were taken illegally in one way or another. A break-in was reported at Panini in June of this year. The Panini-related cards may have reached the market that way. We are unaware of a similar event involving Fanatics, but it may not have been reported.

YouTube video

What about the card printers?

Another possible angle may involve the printers making the cards. An employee could always save the designs and create their copies. There have also been power plays involving the production of cards that may (or may not) be related.

Fanatics bought ownership of the manufacturer Panini was using in Texas, allegedly to muscle Panini out of the market. Could one of the companies be trying to take revenge on the other by leaking their cards or printing further copies?

The locations indicate that this is at least a possible connection. The dfw in Dfwcardshark, refers to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). The printer that both companies use is Cartamundi USA, which is located in southwest Dallas. Not too far from Fort Worth, either.

As of now, all we have are theories. We hope the hobby will soon get to the bottom of this.

Seller removes listings

Soon after this story emerged, the account swiped every sale. Although not at first. The account removed half of its 2023 Bowman Chrome SuperFractors for purchase. Then, all of them. Then, when other issues were found, it removed everything.

That is not usually what innocent accounts do. However, there was too much unexplained and suspicious activity to account for. Not only was there a whole bunch of Topps SuperFractors. But there was also further suspicious activity on this account.

An X account with the handle @Glea_Labs also posted a screenshot of several 2021 Panini Immaculate Collection Collegiate Jumbo 1/1 patch cards.

Granted, these cards are not several of the same SuperFractor. But one person is unlikely to have so many 1/1s from one release. There were also 28 Basketball Green Prizm /5 on the account.

Another user noted that the site had too many Panini Select Courtside Cards. These are a bit more easy to pull since they are out of /5. But its hard to argue the store has a concerning tendency to have a ton of powerful cards from specific releases.

Fanatics statement

So far, Fanatics has not responded for public comment. But according to a further Tweet from Mario Alejandro, Fanatics did reach out to him regarding the issue:

“Less than 5 minutes after I tweeted out that I had a source with direct connection to DFW, the @Fanatics CEO of Collectibles, @MikeMahan, called me directly to discuss the pending investigation. He and his staff have been working throughout the weekend, prioritizing this unfortunate event. Mike informed me that the Topps cards on DFW’s eBay account were STOLEN.

These cards are not fakes or customs but are incomplete Superfractors that did not pass quality inspections due to lamination issues and were set aside to be destroyed before being smuggled out of the facility.

There is a VERY limited amount of these cards, and collectors will not have to worry as none of the damaged/stolen cards made it into packs. They are also easily identifiable as the serial numbering was stamped on the back of the card instead of the front.

Furthermore, all grading companies have already been alerted by Fanatics and have agreed to not grade any of these stolen, incomplete Superfractors. Mike has PROMISED me that every single collector who purchased a stolen Topps card from DFW will be reimbursed by Fanatics and that the company will take stringent efforts to keep this from ever happening again. As one of Fanatics’ toughest critics, I commend them for stepping up to address the issue with us collectors.

So far, there has been no comment from @PaniniAmerica even though they are also dealing with stolen trading cards from DWF.”

Is the statement satisfactory?

Topps/Fanatics has not addressed this publicly. Instead, they have contacted the individual who brought the issue to their attention.

We would like to see an open and public statement on this matter. It should also address the clear link between this issue and the triple SuperFractors issue, which also involved the same type of cards from a different product.

The final word on the Topps SuperFractors scandal

We must salute Mario Alejandro for his incredible job uncovering this scandal and getting a response from Fanatics. Our hobby is consistently kept afloat by collectors and content creators/sleuths like him. He even managed to do some damage mitigation for Fanatics.

But will that be enough? Fanatics has yet to receive the rights to all the prominent sports. So far, they are only trying to manage baseball. And not to put too fine a point on it, they are not doing as well as could be hoped.

Though there have certainly been some improvements in how Topps has been managed, especially in terms of customer service and a prompt release schedule, there have also been problems in trust.

They all center around similar issues. There have been suspicions that the company is providing loaded boxes to celebrities. A lot of whispers that they are trying to cut out the local card stores and even the big retail stores by selling directly.

Now there are fears about backdooring 1/1 cards to preferred sellers. We aren’t saying any of this is true. But Fanatics is developing an image problem. It seems it is being sloppy with production and preferring certain actors to others in the hobby. Worse yet, it is not adequately addressing these problems.

Until the influx of Topps 1/1s can be explained and in more significant numbers than they should be found, collectors may have trouble trusting the numbers on limited cards and the odds on packs.

All of that will influence the value of cards. The real victims of this will be collectors who buy or pull low-numbered cards whose value may be questioned.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.

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