Avoid Topps Through The Years Scams

August 14, 2021

With the release of Topps Through the Years, many have found themselves being fooled into believing they have pulled a valuable card. Unfortunately, these cards hold little value, but that hasn’t stopped people from marketing them as such. Some sellers on eBay are using the confusion to pull Topps Through the Years scams.

Here is the lowdown on what these cards are and how to avoid getting scammed.

What is Topps Through the Years?

Topps Through the Years is Topps’ most recent attempt at revisiting historical cards. They appear in 2021 Series 1 and Series 2 of Topps flagship cards. Since this is the 70th anniversary of the company making baseball cards, it’s logical to revisit some of their most iconic cards. However, this series has proven quite problematic.

The cards are reprints of classic cards with a Topps Through the Years border around the original card. Some of the original cards reprinted in the set are worth 10s of thousands, such as Mike Trout’s auto refractor 2009 Bowman.

Did you hit a Trout Bowman auto? No. You did not. (get Mike Trout cards on Amazon).

In addition to the base cards, there are five parallels available in this set. These are the blue, black, platinum, red, and gold parallels.

Why They Don’t Hold Much Value

While these cards feature some iconic and valuable cards, most in this set don’t hold much value. These cards are effectively reprinted cards within another card. And in such a mass-produced set, they are pretty common ones at that. Therefore, no value from the original card is being transferred over. Bottom line: like most reprints, cards from the Through the Years set are not worth much.

Collectors hate this series. We hope that Topps learns from the fallout and discontinues the series or similar future inserts.


Four of the five parallels featured in the set are numbered, being Black(/299), Platinum Anniversary(/70), Red(/10), and Gold(/1).

Some of these cards have the issue of being numbered twice. So, for example, a Hank Aaron card that was initially 5/5 will now also have the numbering of the relevant Through the Years parallels.

The numbering clouds the issue by trying to add rarity and value to these cards. We would avoid buying cards in this series even if they are very low numbered. It has a bad reputation.

Examples of Scams on eBay

You can find numerous examples of these cards being sold or put on sale for ridiculous prices on eBay. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the actual value of these cards, so they bid unusually high amounts for the cards.

For example, this Shohei Ohtani card sold for $365 with 14 bids, while this one sold for $182. Many similar listings usually claim that the cards are “super rare” and a “must for collectors to have.”

Shohei cards are definitely the most common in these scams (get an actual Ohtani patch auto on eBay).

Avoiding these Scams

If we are being generous, some eBay sellers may not know that Topps Through the Years cards are basically worthless. However, many of the sellers know the hobby well and are trying to make an easy buck.

Avoiding scams on eBay requires some background knowledge and due diligence. As you can see, these cards have distinctive borders and Topps Through the Years printed on the bottom of the front.

If the seller has posted a card claiming it is autographed, be sure to request pictures of the back if possible. This step can be important because Topps puts the disclaimer for Through the Years cards on the back.

In addition to this, many eBay sellers will claim a card is 1/1 because it is numbered. For this set, be sure to check that it is the gold parallel when sellers claim it is 1/1. If it is not, then the seller is attempting to scam you.

Bottomline On Topps Through The Years Scams

Anybody doing their due diligence will be able to avoid these scams from the Through the Years set. In addition, knowing about this set can prepare you for any heartbreak if you pull these cards.