When 1998 Topps Gold Label hit the market, unless you were aware of the vague tip on how to differentiate the different classes, it was really hard to distinguish what was what. When Topps hooked it up with 1999 Topps Gold Label they accompanied it with an easy to notice Class identifier on the backs of each card, which was incredibly helpful.
I really like the concept behind this product. Any given player has three Class variations with each Class having three label color variations and finally a 1/1 for each of the three Classes of each of the three versions for a grand total of 18 possible variations to chase. To me, this makes for an exciting and challenging rainbow to complete. Granted, most of us collectors will never see our guys 1/1s but we do have realistic chances of obtaining the other 9 versions. Let's have a closer look at what we're up against here. Below, find title and Classes accompanied by odds of pulling that card. H = Hobby; R = Retail.
- Gold Label (base) - Class 1 (1:1); Class 2 (1:2); Class 3 (1:4)
- Black Label - Class 1 (1:8H / 1:12R); Class 2 (1:16H / 1:24R); Class 3 (1:32H / 1:48R)
- Red Label - Class 1 (1:118H / 1:148R); Class 2 (1:237H / 1:296R); Class 3 (1:473H / 1:591R)
- One to One - 1:1,200H / 1:1,600R (same odd regardless of class or label color)
Let's get a better perspective here. Based on market research, this product's stats are roughly as follows. I use the term roughly in a somewhat liberal manner given that outside of packaging, prices may vary.
- Box = 24 packs
- Pack = 5 cards
- Cards per box = 120
- Suggested Retail Price (SRP) = $70/box ? $3/pack
- Complete set = 100 cards
Let's keep going. Below find the hard data, how much money you're expected to put into pulling a particular card. To keep it simple, we'll focus specifically on Hobby prices per pack at a $3 SRP. Keep in mind that the numbers below will always be higher for Retail. Lastly, we'll look at how many packs and boxes you'd have to bust to find any Class from any Label and any particular player in said Class for each Label. Everything is depicted in the chart below. Let's see what we're up against.
- Class 1: (1:1 pack or 1:1 box) $3 for a Class 1; (1:20 packs or 1:1 box) $60 for a particular player
- Class 2: (1:2 packs or 1:1 box) $6 for a Class 2; (1:40 packs or 1:2 boxes) $120 for a particular player
- Class 3: (1:4 packs or 1:1 box) $12 for a Class 3; (1:80 packs or 1:4 boxes) $240 for a particular player
- Class 1: (1:8 packs or 1:1 box) $24 for a Class 1; (1:160 packs or 1:7 boxes) $480 for a particular player
- Class 2: (1:16 packs or 1:1 box) $48 for a Class 2; (1:320 packs or 1:14 boxes) $960 for a particular player
- Class 3: (1:32 packs or 1:2 boxes) $96 for a Class 3; (1:640 packs or 1:28 boxes) $1,920 for a particular player
- Class 1: (1:118 packs or 1:6 boxes) $354 for a Class 1; (1:2360 packs or 1:102 boxes) $7,080 for a particular player
- Class 2: (1:237 packs or 1:11 boxes) $711 for a Class 2; (1:4740 or 1:204 boxes) $14,220 for a particular player
- Class 3: (1:473 packs or 1:21 boxes) $1,419 for a Class 3; (1:9460 packs or 1:406 boxes) $28,380 for a particular player
One to One
- 1:1,200 packs or 1:51 boxes (same odd regardless of class or label color): $3600 for any Class; (1:24000 packs or 1:1029 boxes) $72,000 for any particular player (assuming none had been pulled)
Think about it, in order to pull a 1/1 of any particular player, you'd have to open over a thousand boxes of this stuff! I don't even know what a thousand boxes looks like. I can't even conceptualize that amount of boxes of 1999 Topps Gold Label, heck any product for that matter! It might take you weeks to open up all those boxes which would set you back a cool $72K! In today's economy, that's a good down payment on a nice little house!
As you can see, Topps Gold Label was an army strong release for its day. I hope my calculations will come in handy the next time you happen upon a Red Label or any Class from any Label for that matter from 1999 Topps Gold Label baseball. Good luck!