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Production Runs - 70's vs. 80's vs. 90's vs now


Have actual production runs ever been released or leaked? I have read that Topps doubled its production every year between 1987 and 1990. But what does that mean? Are we talking a million of each card? More? Less? What about before the card boom? How many of each card were produced in the 70's? Any one care to speculate or have any solid information? How about now? Surely production has been cut way back, but how much?

Comments

  • In 87-93 you are probrobly in the range of 6-7 million of each card.
    Mike

  • CARDSANDCOINSCARDSANDCOINS Posts: 319 ✭✭✭
    I was told that 1995 Topps Baseball (the year after the strike) was about 600,000 of each card.
    Also 1984 Fleer Update Baseball, 1986 Fleer Basketball, 1992 Fleer Update Baseball and 1994 Fleer Update Baseball were about 50,000 of each card.
  • sschauer513sschauer513 Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Here's a rough guesstimate from 2009 topps set based on their stated odds on the pack now rounding is of course involved but would think these get you pretty close

    Here's the math the odds stated per pack on the hobby pack for a platinum 1/1 is 1:13,500 since there is 330 total platinum that makes 4,455,000 packs to get those odds. So there are 10 cards per pack 8 with a relic so go with 9 for an average = 4455000*9/330 = print run of 121,500 for each card with perfect collation and no SPs and nothing held back. Not sure what the odds are on the retail pack if the math still holds.

    Interesting the odds for gold numbered to 2009 1:7 works out to a print run of 126,567 but the odds of black /58 1:76 only works out to 39,672 so the odds are either wrong or that is the print run of hobby card vs retail since black are hobby only the same odds gets similar numbers for silks and plates also hobby only.
  • AricAric Posts: 764 ✭✭
    Good stuff guys. What do you think production levels were in the 70's? Does any one else have any boxes with stated odds laying around?
  • jeffcbayjeffcbay Posts: 8,618 ✭✭✭
    I don't think they stated any odds on boxes that old.
  • AricAric Posts: 764 ✭✭


    << <i>I don't think they stated any odds on boxes that old. >>



    Sorry, I meant stated odds for newer stuff. It would be interesting to see the production level for regular topps vs. chrome.
  • SidePocketSidePocket Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭
    1986 - 1989 maybe 10 million apiece?

    "Molon Labe"

  • AricAric Posts: 764 ✭✭
    Any one have any more information regarding production runs? Or maybe some past articles dealing with the subject. Thanks.
  • You are correct in that the production runs from '87 to '90 doubled each year--this was stated in "Tuff-Stuff" magazine two years ago. In that article "Tuff-Stuff" referred to this period as the "pathetic period of over-production". And I wholeheartedly agree. In '87 the hobby had gotten out of control. Everyone and the dog where selling baseball cards. Even my local barber had wax boxes from the big three next to register. We had four card shops alone just on a two-mile stretch of main st. back home. Adults all cross the nation were obtaining small-business licenses just so they could buy sealed cases. People where known to add a room addition just so they could store their case hoards. It is even said that an oil baron from the mid-west was buying cases by the boxcar full. Even the retailer "Higbees" still has a warehouse with rows of pallets each stacked with 20 or so cases of '89 product shrowded in shrinkwrap. Even with all that production Fleer in '87 couldn't keep up with retailer demand in baseball. Whatever the production runs were in the late '80s it must have been astronomical-and that includes '89 Upper Deck. For these reasons above coupled with the fact that most of the star rookies from this era were juiced has caused me to lose all interest in those years!!
    "You tell 'em I'm coming...and hell's coming with me"--Wyatt Earp
  • sfmays24sfmays24 Posts: 1,095
    Here's the correct info:

    70's... 100 million cards per year.
    80's... 1 Billion cards per year (per company)... 1988 Donruss-100 Billion cards.
    90's... 500-750 million cards per year.

    Mike
  • Companies aren't obligated to release production run's unless it's a selling point for them (i.e. Playoff Contenders AU/RC, Exquisite,etc.) So unless you crunch the numbers as above for odds, anyone's guess is as good as the next persons. With issues such as Ultimate Collection, Triple Threads, etc. where the cards are serial numbered, you'd be able to get the numbers you want. With basic issues, just go with the price point, with Topps and Bowman at the foundation, Chrome, Finest...etc... If you're talking about 70's cards, I suppose it would depend on what you are collecting. There isn't much unopened out there in vast quantity, similar to mid to late eighties and early nineties Topps. Most collectors didn't really collect for "investment" purposes either. To me anything from 1984-1992 was produced in the millions with very few exceptions. I hope my opinion helps you in some way.
  • AricAric Posts: 764 ✭✭
    Here is the production run for 2008 Topps Mayo Football.

    The odds on a hobby pack are slightlly different to make up for the difference in cards per pack. 6 for retail, 8 for hobby.

    There are 330 cards in the Mayo set. The Harvard mini parallel is numbered to 25. That means there are (330x25=)8250 total Harvard mini's. Pack odds on a retail pack say they are distributed 1:66 packs. If they were evenly distributed throughout the entire retail pack run that would mean there would be (8250x66=)544,000 retail packs. But since they were also evenly distributed in hobby packs at a rate of 1:50 packs, if they were distributed in only the hobby that would mean there would be (8250x50=)412,500 hobby packs. If there were half in retail and half in hobby, that means there are 272,000 retail packs of 6 and 206,000 hobby packs of 8.

    So....(272K x 6 = 1.6M) and (206K x 8 = 1.6M) . 1.6 million retail cards + 1.6 million hobby cards = 3.2 million cards total.

    3.2 million cards / 330 cards in set = about 10,000 of each card

    Furthermore, if there is one mini in each pack and there are 272K retail packs and 206K hobby packs. That would mean 478,000 total minis.

    478,000 / 330 cards in set = 1448 of each card. Since this doesn't take into account the ships, horses, and parallels. I'm thinking its probably closer to 1250 of each black back mini.
  • MorgothMorgoth Posts: 3,956 ✭✭✭
    One thing your leaving out is the complete sets they also sell. Doesn't apply to Topps Mayo but it does to the main topps set. But even factoring in factory sets to the amount printed, today's modern cards and complete sets are much more rare than 87-95 sets. Problem is nobody cares about base cards anymore.

    I believe a 2009 Topps complete set would be more rare than every Topps set from 1974 till 1995.
    Currently completing the following registry sets: Cardinal HOF's, 1961 Pittsburgh Pirates Team, 1972 Pittsburgh Pirates Team, 1980 Pittsburgh Pirates Team, Bill Mazeroski Master & Basic Sets, Roberto Clemente Master & Basic Sets, Willie Stargell Master & Basic Sets and Terry Bradshaw Basic Set


  • << <i>One thing your leaving out is the complete sets they also sell. Doesn't apply to Topps Mayo but it does to the main topps set. But even factoring in factory sets to the amount printed, today's modern cards and complete sets are much more rare than 87-95 sets. Problem is nobody cares about base cards anymore.

    I believe a 2009 Topps complete set would be more rare than every Topps set from 1974 till 1995. >>



    They may rarer in terms of quantity, but what about quality?
  • PowderedH2OPowderedH2O Posts: 2,472 ✭✭
    In just talking about the base cards, I think the 2009's are nicer than most of the sets in that 1974-1994 window. Better photos, better backs, better card stock. They certainly aren't ever going to be vintage, but I am not disappointed in the current Topps issue. I am disappointed that I can't afford to collect a set from the packs anymore. That was the fun part.
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  • frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 7,322 ✭✭✭
    In my opinion, the only reason a complete set from 1987 to 1992 are worth ANYTHING, is for people that collect a run of sets. I have a run of Topps sets from my birth year 1975 to present. If it wasn't for me collecting a run of sets, those sets would be in the garbage. But, to me, I have to have them. They are in an album just like my 1975 set.

    Shane

  • billwaltonsbeardbillwaltonsbeard Posts: 3,372 ✭✭✭
    Nothing beats the 1988 Topps set. The beautiful design, the abundance of high dollar RCs and the extreme scarcity make it one of the most desirable sets of the post war era.
  • AricAric Posts: 764 ✭✭
    You guys have brought up some very good points.

    Here's what we know:

    1986-1992: Production was in the millions/per card. How many millions is any ones guess.

    Mid-90's: Production begins to be cut, combined with the baseball strike and loss of interest. 1996 Topps production maybe around 600,000 (source??)

    2008 Topps football: around 125, 000 per card not counting factory sets

    2008 Topps Mayo: around 10,000 per card

    2009 Topps baseball: around 125,000 per card not counting factory sets

    Some more questions:

    When did production start to be increased from an increased interest in ball cards? I'm thinking between 1978-1982.

    Before this time, can we assume production was consistent? Say from 1955-1975. Not taking into account the different production runs in the different series.

    For football, was production shortened when they were competing with Philadelphia in the 60's?

    If any one has any more information to add, I would love to hear it as this subject greatly interests me.

    Also, if any one has any packs with odds from the early 00's you can pm them to me and I will crunch the numbers.




  • << <i>In my opinion, the only reason a complete set from 1987 to 1992 are worth ANYTHING, is for people that collect a run of sets. I have a run of Topps sets from my birth year 1975 to present. If it wasn't for me collecting a run of sets, those sets would be in the garbage. But, to me, I have to have them. They are in an album just like my 1975 set. >>



    This is not entirely true. The next time a 1991 Topps "master" set shows up on ebay, check out what it goes for.

    Those years have some of the rarest and most sought-after variations ever produced (1988 Topps Comstock Yellow, 1990 Upper Deck Mike Witt*, 1990 Fleer Dave Martinez, 1991 Topps Drabek etc).

    Sure 20 years from now, the price of a 1988 Topps factory set will probably be close to what it sells for now, but a master set with all variations included will go for much more and be far more desirable to Topps set collectors.

    Unfortunately Beckett (and even SCD sometimes) does not note and track the thousands of variations from these "junk" years. These sets that have long been cast off as worthless would get a second look if this info was correctly reported by the powers that be.

    *One just sold for over $600. Beckett lists at $10.
    My Error & Variation Blog

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  • EstilEstil Posts: 5,754 ✭✭✭


    << <i>In my opinion, the only reason a complete set from 1987 to 1992 are worth ANYTHING, is for people that collect a run of sets. I have a run of Topps sets from my birth year 1975 to present. If it wasn't for me collecting a run of sets, those sets would be in the garbage. But, to me, I have to have them. They are in an album just like my 1975 set. >>



    I have a run from 1974-2007 for Topps as well as other set runs. For example, I think 1991 Fleer is one of the worst, most boring sets EVER, but I still need it (and yes, in binder/pages) to make my run of 1981-95 Fleer (I'm also collecting the inserts; I need the 1993 sets especially) complete. Same goes with say, 1988 or 1992 Donruss, a couple other yawner sets (I only like the 1997 set and one card from 1998 to make that run complete). So I definetly know how you feel.
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  • bman90278bman90278 Posts: 3,461 ✭✭✭
    I believe Topps is still printing the late 80's and early 90's cards. image
  • frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 7,322 ✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>In my opinion, the only reason a complete set from 1987 to 1992 are worth ANYTHING, is for people that collect a run of sets. I have a run of Topps sets from my birth year 1975 to present. If it wasn't for me collecting a run of sets, those sets would be in the garbage. But, to me, I have to have them. They are in an album just like my 1975 set. >>



    This is not entirely true. The next time a 1991 Topps "master" set shows up on ebay, check out what it goes for.

    Those years have some of the rarest and most sought-after variations ever produced (1988 Topps Comstock Yellow, 1990 Upper Deck Mike Witt*, 1990 Fleer Dave Martinez, 1991 Topps Drabek etc).

    Sure 20 years from now, the price of a 1988 Topps factory set will probably be close to what it sells for now, but a master set with all variations included will go for much more and be far more desirable to Topps set collectors.

    Unfortunately Beckett (and even SCD sometimes) does not note and track the thousands of variations from these "junk" years. These sets that have long been cast off as worthless would get a second look if this info was correctly reported by the powers that be.

    *One just sold for over $600. Beckett lists at $10. >>




    I was just talking about base sets. Would you explain a 1991 Topps Master Set? Does that include the Desert Shield? What is 1988 Topps Comstock Yellow?

    Shane

  • gecko109gecko109 Posts: 8,368
    I was just talking about base sets. Would you explain a 1991 Topps Master Set? Does that include the Desert Shield? What is 1988 Topps Comstock Yellow?




    Its the 1988 Keith Comstock "white letters" variety. The Padres should be colored in blue, its plain white on the error card. I had 2 of them when I collected in highschool, was my favorite card. Brought one to school one day to show off. Made the mistake of holding it out in front of the football team's running back, to which he promptly lifted his hand and crushed the card. I actually cried. I was 14.
  • frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 7,322 ✭✭✭


    << <i>I was just talking about base sets. Would you explain a 1991 Topps Master Set? Does that include the Desert Shield? What is 1988 Topps Comstock Yellow?




    Its the 1988 Keith Comstock "white letters" variety. The Padres should be colored in blue, its plain white on the error card. I had 2 of them when I collected in highschool, was my favorite card. Brought one to school one day to show off. Made the mistake of holding it out in front of the football team's running back, to which he promptly lifted his hand and crushed the card. I actually cried. I was 14. >>



    Never heard of it. What is it worth these days?

    Edit to say - I just looked it up. Looks like it's worth $0.99.

    Shane

  • ndleondleo Posts: 3,424 ✭✭✭✭
    I think the 1986 Fleer Basketball print run was closer to 150-250K each rather than 50K each. I recall reading an article in Tuff Stuff or another hobby rag about the set. The info came from a former Fleer employee who worked on the set.

    The number that actually survived maybe less since a lot of the product was returned to Fleer by the retailers.
    Mike


  • << <i>

    << <i>I was just talking about base sets. Would you explain a 1991 Topps Master Set? Does that include the Desert Shield? What is 1988 Topps Comstock Yellow?




    Its the 1988 Keith Comstock "white letters" variety. The Padres should be colored in blue, its plain white on the error card. I had 2 of them when I collected in highschool, was my favorite card. Brought one to school one day to show off. Made the mistake of holding it out in front of the football team's running back, to which he promptly lifted his hand and crushed the card. I actually cried. I was 14. >>



    Never heard of it. What is it worth these days?

    Edit to say - I just looked it up. Looks like it's worth $0.99. >>



    A master set is a set with all the different errors and variations included. 1991 Topps in particular has over 200 different variations as well as a 255+ partial parallel set with a few of the variations being extremely difficult to find ( White border Drabek, Hoiles and Mark Whiten w/ hand in border).

    The 1988 Topps Comstock YELLOW has his name printed in yellow lettering on front (only found on the BLUE Padres version) and is a very tough variation to locate.
    My Error & Variation Blog

    Collecting Robin Ventura and Matt Luke.
  • gregmo32gregmo32 Posts: 2,690 ✭✭✭
    The Comstock was always very tough. I have one in a box somewhere. What does it typically sell for now?
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  • digicatdigicat Posts: 8,686 ✭✭


    << <i>In my opinion, the only reason a complete set from 1987 to 1992 are worth ANYTHING, is for people that collect a run of sets. I have a run of Topps sets from my birth year 1975 to present. If it wasn't for me collecting a run of sets, those sets would be in the garbage. But, to me, I have to have them. They are in an album just like my 1975 set. >>



    Nostalgia's the reason I still have my 87 - 92 sets. They bring back some cool childhood memories.
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