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2018 Year In Revew | Top 6 Baseball Products of Year | From Ginter to Gypsy Queen | Products to Consider in 2019

What an unbelievable year. What started in February with the hype around Shohei Ohtani, to finishing the year on a high of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto, 2018 was certainly a banner year for baseball cards.  We may very well look back at this year’s releases in five years as the true golden-age, but that is several years from now.  As it currently stands, we are now just days away from a brand-new year with a whole bunch of new rookies potentially leaving their mark on the baseball card community.

Until that time though, let’s take a look back at what I feel were the best releases in 2018 along with products that have the most opportunity as we head into 2019.  For reference, due to the timing of its release, I consider 2018 Bowman Draft a 2019 product as there just isn’t enough time in this year to fully judge its performance.  It is looking strong though. But without further ado, let’s see who won and lost in 2018!

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Best Products

1. 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter X

  • Amount We Opened: 2 Cases / 24 Boxes
  • 2018 ROI Performance: +75.2% (after fees) / 1,446 Cards Sold / 2,010 Cards Remaining
  • 2019 Target Case Price: $840-$875 / Dangerous Territory: $950+
  • Recommended Sales Strategy: Listing out all base mini’s in an eBay variation listing.


Allen & Ginter X is a Topps.com exclusive product and unlike years past, Topps limited buyers to 48 boxes/4 cases when it launched in August.  I was at my sister’s wedding this year jamming the refresh button the morning of release to ensure that I didn’t miss the release due to it being one of my top performing releases in 2017.  I wanted to pick up more than two cases but had to stay disciplined and within my hobby budget!

The great part about this release is that all of the auto’s were numbered to /25 or less and you were guaranteed roughly eight Red /5 Mini’s and one to two Silver 1/1 Mini’s per case.  What other product guarantees you that assortment of low numbered hits for roughly $70 per box and at the same time is removed from the 2018 retail mark-up that we saw all year long?  This product stands proud in a crowded field of great releases!

Now if I were to give this product one neutral mark it is because the second-hand market isn’t as strong as you would think it would be.  Due to the fact that there are so many low numbered hits in such a small product run, they all hit at the same time on eBay.  This ultimately leads to a market that favors the buyer versus the seller but that should be expected in a product that delivers you so many low numbered hits.

Personally, I currently own over 35% of the Seattle Mariner /5 Red Mini’s and 50% of the 1/1’s and I would only be able to do that in this type of product.  It also helps that it is the Mariners, but that is a while other topic.

To make either your money back or turn a profit in Ginter X, you have to pick your spots and know where the hidden value is.  One of the most hidden value spots in this product are the black base mini’s.  They are not numbered but are limited and do sell well to player and team collectors.  I would never recommend selling them in a lot, only individually.  Same goes for the base cards. Complete sets don’t command that much interest, so unless you are able to put together a Master Set with SP’s, I would recommend selling the base as player/team lots or a you pick listing.

Overall though, Ginter X is an absolutely great product with a lower than normal buy-in cost that will typically leave you with a great stack of low numbered parallels and auto’s after you are done opening your shipment.  Please Topps, do not change this product in 2019!

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2. 2018 Topps Series 2

  • Amount We Opened: 3 Hobby Cases
  • 2018 ROI Performance: +24.6% (after fees) / 12,640 Cards Sold / 260 Cards Remaining
  • 2019 Target Case Price: $600 – $650 / Dangerous Territory: $750+
  • Recommended Sales Strategy: Do not toss the MLB codes that are included, there is good money in those


Topps Series 2, is where Acuna and Gleyber Torres burst onto the hobby scene in 2018.  Topps was able to include them as Short Prints, #699B & #700B, and you typically ended up with one of each of them per case.  We did luck into hitting three in one of our cases, but that was very atypical from what I was seeing out there.

The flagship purists out there did not like the inclusion of them in the set but from a value perspective, they were great additions.  Both of these cards started with high BIN prices, valleyed in the $25 range and while the Acuna has peaked again and maintained a $75 value, the Torres has stayed right there at $25.  Regardless though, knowing you have two cards before you open your case already at $100, is great value!

Outside of Acuna and Torres, the one thing you always have to keep in mind when it comes to a flagship release is the amount of work that it will take to open and then sort.  This is not a product where you go looking for the hits and forget everything else.  The value in flagship is in everything but the “hits.” Being able to sell sets, the parallels, insert sets, etc. is how you will turn a profit.  It is work but also one of the safest products to open if you are looking to make your money back.

A perfect example of this are the MLB 18 The Show codes that fall at 3 per hobby box. Most people would just toss them aside but at launch these were fetching $5 per card and a month later they were still selling at $4 per card.  If these are again included in 2019, please do not forget about these cards, they are valuable in quantity.

Overall though, this was another great flagship release and released right when Acuna and Torres were on fire within the hobby!  We personally can’t wait until the release of 2019 Series 1

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3. 2018 Topps Update Series

  • Amount We Opened: 13 Cases (12 Hobby / 1 Jumbo)
  • 2018 ROI Performance: (22%) / 28,267 Cards Sold / 26,573 cards remaining
    • Still projecting a 20%+ ROI as previously chronicled
  • 2019 Target Case Price: $575 – $600 / Dangerous Territory: $700
    • Very dependent on 2019 Rookies, possible reduction in target price
  • Recommended Sales Strategy: At release, sell the free Silver Packs


2018 Topps Update is what I consider the “perfect storm” product of 2018.  With the emergence of Juan Soto late in the year mixed with Acuna, Torres & Ohtani, this was and still is the product to open during these dreadful winter months.

While Acuna and Torres were in Series 2 they did not have any parallels, but they do in Update.  Same goes for Juan Soto with the ever important /67 Black Parallel RC and the new crowd favorite, /76 Independence Day Parallel. If you are able to pull a Soto Black or Independence Day Parallel, your case is paid for.  How many products out there can deliver that in the winter months?  On top of that, you have base and parallel cards from everything that happened in the second half of another great baseball season which helps you relive what happened just a few months ago.

In the world of autographs for Update Series, you had on-card and sticker auto’s of all of the key rookies and a good mix of veteran auto’s.  From the 1983 Topps parallel auto’s, to insert auto’s, Topps Update has everything a collector or breaker needs in it!  The hobby exclusive Red Auto’s were stunning as always and who doesn’t want a Clear Parallel of one of the Top 4 rookies!

If you can pick up a hobby case of Update in the low $500’s, I would high recommend it and please reference my earlier ROI post on what I view the true potential of a case of hobby Update is worth.

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Top 3 Opportunity Products

1. 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter

  • Amount We Opened: 3 Hobby Cases
  • 2018 ROI Performance: (30.5%) / 4,995 Cards Sold / 2,349 Cards Remaining
  • 2019 Target Case Price: $850 – $900 / Dangerous Territory: $1,000
  • Selling Strategy: Finding the Wood Mini’s!


Simply put, where are the 1/1 Wood Mini’s from this year’s release?  2018 Allen & Ginter was plagued with pack out issues from the start and it simply never recovered.  Mini cards that were supposed to be 1 per case, were hitting at 12+ a case, mini’s that were supposed to be abundant, were falling only 1-2 per case.  It was a nightmare for breakers as significant value was lost with all of the pack out issues.  This was one of my worst performing products in 2018.

Topps was even asked a question at The National Q&A about the Wood Mini’s and all they said is they guaranteed they were made and they are searching daily for them on eBay.  To this day, the only Wood Mini’s that have surfaced are the ones in RIP Cards but those are the EXT Mini’s, not the base mini cards.  More than likely the wood mini’s are all in 1-2 cases but at $1k a pop, it just simply isn’t worth the gamble to try to find them.  Someone will locate them, but in the meantime we are all left scratching our head as to how the company who packed out this product, could have messed up so badly.

Ginter is still a quality product and while interest is not as high as it once was, it will be a product that will be hard for me to pass on in 2019.  I will be looking for a better deal than I had in 2018 and with the potential weaker rookie class, that could help.  Proceed with caution on this release but definitely stay away from retail in 2019 until you see the odds.  Topps cranked the presses on Ginter retail and that is why you are still seeing it on the shelf in December, it is pretty much garbage!

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2. 2018 Topps Inception

  • Amount We Opened: 1 Hobby Case
  • 2018 ROI Performance: (48.4%) / 78 Cards Sold / 34 Cards Remaining
  • 2019 Target Case Price: $500 / Dangerous Territory: $700
  • Selling Strategy: Don’t Open This


Topps has messed around with the configuration of this product over the past few years, taking it from Bowman to an official Topps release but it just has not resonated with the baseball community.  It is the closest thing we have to an RPA(Rookie Patch Auto) football product and that just doesn’t really move the needle in the baseball world.

On top of that, you are looking at roughly $800 for a case and with it only being one pack with one auto per box, there just isn’t enough value to justify that price.  The two parallels in each box will sell, but not well enough.

Now at $500 a case with 16 boxes, I might jump back in, but that price won’t happen, so I will be sitting out this release in 2019.  If you are a team or player collector, wait for your cards to hit eBay and then scoop them up for a great price!  Just don’t get suckered into a case or group break at too high of a buy-in price.

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3. 2018 Topps Gypsy Queen

  • Amount We Opened: 2 Blaster Cases
  • 2018 ROI Performance: (17.3%) / 1,528 Sold / 270 Cards Remaining
  • 2019 Target Case Price: $700 / Dangerous Territory: $800
  • Selling Strategy: Don’t Overvalue Low Numbered Hits

TOP HIT >>> 

Gypsy Queen was a product that I took the retail route on as I am just not a fan of 10 box cases that cost the same as 12 box cases.  Also, retail early in 2018, presented some nice hidden value before Topps cranked the presses in the second half of the season.  It was a smart move on the part of Topps to capture more “new collectors” and that Target/Wal-Mart shopper, but for us who could exploit retail blaster cases, it made for a rough second half.

Getting back to Gypsy Queen itself, there just isn’t a demand for the cards.  Parallels or auto’s that are case hits or one every two to three cases, just don’t sell for much.  Yes, you will have the exception out there, but it is not the rule in this product.  They are great looking cards, they are fun to open, but tying to sell them is not fun.

This is another product that if it was a 10 box case that started at $6xx, I might be a buyer but when it starts at $800-$900 for presales, it is so incredibly easy to pass on.  You are just flushing money down the drain that could be used on Heritage!

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In closing, 2018 was an absolutely great year for baseball cards and I am eagerly awaiting the release of 2019 Series 1 at the end of January.  I can’t believe that another year has passed but it was certainly a great follow-up up year after Judge Mania in 2017.

I am interested in hearing what your best and most opportunistic products were in 2018.  We might be in agreement, we might be completely different.  Feel free to sound off and tell me how wrong or right I am on Twitter @CRT_Sportscards or by commenting below.

In addition, visit and bookmark CRT Sportscards on eBay — RIGHT HERE

I hope everyone has a great remaining few days of 2018 and a Happy New Year!


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