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Topps Makes Major Changes To Redemption Cards In Positive Step For Collectors

topps redemption card

Over the last couple of years, Topps has made several changes related to redemption cards. Recently, Topps announced some additional changes that look to improve the redemption card experience for collectors.

But what was announced? Let’s explore what happens when Topps makes redemption announcements.

What are redemption cards?

Autographs are a big driver behind many of today’s sports card releases, offering some of the most sought-after hits and memorable and valuable collectibles. But sometimes the process of getting an on-card signature can hit a snag, and the cards aren’t ready to go into the product when packaged.

In this case, card manufacturers like Topps will include a “redemption card” in packs instead of the autographed card. In essence, the redemption card is an IOU. The collector who pulls the redemption card can mail it to the manufacturer and receive their autograph card when its available.

While nowhere near as exciting as pulling the autograph, the redemption card is better than nothing. In addition to the delayed gratification aspect, there are other issues with redemption cards.

One is that they have expiration dates, which is an issue if you’re opening older products. Imagine shelling out big money for a 5-year-old hobby box, and then pulling a redemption card of a top player…only to find that the redemption card expired 3 years ago.

Some manufacturers also have notable wait times to deliver redemptions, and some fans have been known to wait years for their autograph, or never receive it.  

So, from collectors perspective, redemption cards are considered somewhere between a necessary evil and a dissatisfier.

What did Topps announce?

  1. The number of outstanding redemptions Topps had in its possession has dropped from 70,000 one year ago to under 10,000.
  2. Redemption cards will now have a 10-year expiration date, not two years. This announcement is retroactive to 2021/2022 and 2022 products.
  3. Topps continues to progress in reducing the number of redemption cards in new products.
Topps Makes Redemption Announcements

What do these announcements mean?

We can all agree that Topps greatly reducing their backlog of redemptions can only be seen as a good thing. Nobody likes waiting forever for an autograph that should have been in a pack they opened.

The idea that Topps recognizes that redemption cards are a dissatisfier for collects and are working to reduce them is also a good thing, although the announcement provides no details on how much they have and will be reduced in the future, and if they could be eliminated.

The biggest news is the revelation that expiration dates will increase from a 2-years to a 10-years. The change should help alleviate a bit of the angst around redemptions, for sure. It should also help the resale value of products produced after 2021-22 that contain redemptions, as they will not expire for some time. This should also help any future release that contains key redemption cards.

Is this announcement a good thing for collectors?

Overall, this is all good news for collectors. There is some concern that to avoid redemptions Topps may just not include some autographs in products if they are not available in time for the release. There’s also the chance that more sticker autographs make their way into products, although Topps knows that fans prefer on-card autos.

Could we also see fewer autographs total in products, with more parallels and memorabilia cards that don’t require the coordination of an autograph signing session?

It’s all possible, but for now, the news is good.

What is the future of redemptions with Topps?

Hopefully, this announcement is another step in the reduction of redemption cards in the hobby. Could redemption cards become a forgotten negative of the hobby’s past, like gum and wax stains?

Redemptions may never go away completely, but we can all agree that fewer of them, redeemed more quickly, is a noble goal.

Final thoughts on Topps redemption card change

Topps announcement about redemptions has led to quite a bit of chatter online. Is it a good thing? I think so. Could it be a harbinger of sinister intentions in the future?

Sure, maybe. I tend to think that the simplest explanation is the most likely. Topps knows collectors don’t like redemption cards, so they’re looking to reduce them.

What’s your take on Topps Redemption Announcements?  Let us know what’s on your mind at card_lines on Twitter.

More Cardlines coverage of Topps baseball card news

Mike D.

Mike D

Mike D. has collected cards for over 35 years, since he bought his first pack of Topps at the corner store in 1987. His fandom,  collecting interests, and contributions to Cardlines center around baseball in general and the Baseball Hall of Fame specifically.

Mike's collecting focus is centered on graded cards, mostly rookie cards, of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers. Lately, he's been enjoying dabbling in graded minor league cards. A collector/investor with a "buy and hold" approach, Mike takes the long-term view with his collection.
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