Baseball cards and cold have a long history. From the rare-backed 1910 T206 Polar Bear Backs to Ice Refractors, to the old Beckett Hot and Cold lists. That trend continues in 2023 with the announcement of Frozen Fractors.
But what is a Frozen Fractor? What was announced and where? And what do we think?
Fanatics/Topps have announced a new parallel concept for 2023 products. These announcements were made at the 2023 Topps Industry Conference at Chase Field in Arizona. The conference ran from February 26th-28th. The major announcements came on the last day of the event and included the nuking of some popular releases, Retrofractors and Frozen Fractors.
You can read more about some of the other announcements in our article Major Topps Industry Conference News: The Good, The Bad, And The Weird.
Modern collectors should be very familiar with the concept of “manufactured scarcity”. In a hobby where values are controlled by basic supply and demand, old baseball cards are valuable because they are rare, especially in good condition.
Junk wax era cards are less valuable, because they were produced in massive quantities. Also, packs included pretty much all base cards, and all were produced in the same quantities (generally speaking). Inserts became popular because they were harder to pull than base cards.
Parallels are now a big part of the modern hobby. By significantly reducing the supply of certain cards, manufacturers can increase demand.
It makes for fun chases, cool hits, and some interesting value from packs. Of course, there can be too much of a good thing. The general consensus among serious collectors is that there may be too many 1/1s in the hobby, which keeps demand, and therefore prices, down. Something is only truly rare and desirable if it’s truly hard to find, so too much of a good thing is, well, not a good thing.
So, manufactured scarcity feels like something that’s a good thing, but that we need a little bit LESS of. So, what has Topps announced? More of it! And with a campy theme, to boot!
So, we know 1/1’s. Topps is now introducing 0/0s. These cards, which for math fans in the audience won’t make a lot of sense, will be called Frozen Fractors.
And another wrinkle…these 0/0 cards will be MORE plentiful than 1/1s, because there will be five copies of each. They’ll just be numbered with NEGATIVE numbers. So yes, -5/0, -4/0, and so on.
The cards themselves will probably look pretty cool, with a “frozen ice” design (as opposed to the unfrozen type of ice). Mock ups have not yet been released, but when they are we’ll bring you an update here at Cardlines.com.
Is the introduction of a new /5 parallel a bad thing? No, certainly not. In fact, if Topps nails the design with Frozen Fractors, I’m sure they’ll be a popular addition to their products. Of course, the introduction of a new /5 parallel isn’t exactly the kind of news that requires a big announcement. After all, specific parallels come and go from products all the time.
What I don’t like here, is the camp factor. 0/0. Negative numbers. Big announcement. It just feels kitschy in a way that is unnecessary. It’s not REALLY something new, and not really something different.
It’s just kind of, silly. Maybe there’s room for a little whimsy in the hobby, and my complaint is simply “old man yells at cloud” level fretting. Maybe I just should have taken more advanced math classes back in high school.
For what it’s worth. I do hope I’m wrong, and that Frozen Fractors excite collectors, bring more fans into the hobby, and generally prove popular. I just don’t get it. Darn clouds.
So, there you have it…Frozen Fractors are a new 0/5 parallel. But they’ll be numbered out of zero. They should look cool, if you can get past the campy numbering scheme. Have an opinion on the announcement of Frozen Fractors? Let us know on Twitter @card_lines.
In the meantime, in terms of my annoyance at the silliness of this new offering, perhaps I just need to “let it go”.
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