Over the last several months Gary Vaynerchuk has been making waves in the hobby. His passion for sports cards dates back to the 80’s, and he says they played a big role in the development of his love for that #fliplife. Topps partnered with him for a special “Entrepreneurial” focused insert set in 2019 Topps Series 2, and he was one of the non-sports celebrities in 2019 Topps Allen & Ginter. Little did we know, the partnership didn’t end there.
Just as the 2019 National Sports Collectors Convention was kicking off in Chicago, a special Topps collaboration set was announced. The Topps Direct 360 set was made available for collectors to purchase at the Topps booth for $20. Gary worked with Topps to hand select the 41 card checklist which is broken into four main subsets.
Here’s the promo video put out by Gary and Topps.
Let’s take a closer look at the set.
The Bowman by GaryVee subset contains 14 prospects including the first Bowman card of Boston prospect Jarred Duran and Luke Heyer! Jo Adell, Casey Mize, and Yordan Alvarez are a few other big names from this set.
The “Live Your Hobby” checklist features Mike Trout, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bryce Harper along with several others. These cards highlight each of the player’s hobbies, and the card backs tell about Gary’s thoughts on both the player and hobby. For example, on the back of Clayton Kershaw’s card it says, “I really admire Clayton for who he is as a human and the good he’s putting out into the world. He co-authored a book with his wife called “Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field you Find Yourself” where they talk about their faith and some of their humanitarian projects. Putting good energy into the world always pays off."
In the 10 card “Wine Pairings” set, Gary tells how he relates the player to a particular style of wine. For example, he compares Mookie Betts to Ribera Del Duero and the back of his card says, “Slick and silky smooth, rarely disappoints.” It’s an interesting connection to his personal history, but it’s probably my least favorite of the subsets.
Finally, the six players included in the “Card Hunting” set give us a glimpse into the players Gary was chasing back in the day. Don Mattingly, Frank Thomas, Darryl Strawberry, and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. are some of the names found in this set.
Here is my unboxing video where you can every card in the set!
The set was released in two formats.
The standard box set was available at the 2019 National, and then the following week it was available on topps.com. In addition, a special “Collector’s Edition” was available online with a retail price of $59.99 which guaranteed an autograph of one of 27 subjects, including Gary himself. Print runs have not yet been announced, but the figures should be released sometime in early September.
One of the more unique features of both set types were the “golden ticket” chase cards. These inserts were redeemable for a variety of special prizes and experiences. Lucky collectors could find cards giving them books or Topps Series 2 boxes autographed by Gary. In addition, some winners could find cards good for a group dinner or baseball game experience with Gary. This is the type of unique and creative twist that he brings to the industry. The first dinner experience redemption listed on eBay sold for several thousand dollars.
The value of these cards on the secondary market was strong out of the gate. Even while the sets were available on topps.com, the sets which were picked up at the National and were “in-hand” were selling on eBay for $50 each. Single cards consistently sold for $5-$10.
What do you think of these collaboration sets? This is the third one Topps has done, with Bryce Harper and Francisco Lindor partnering on the first two. I think it’s creative, and it is a pretty cool supplement to the normal release lineup.
Bowman By GaryVee
Luis Alexander Basabe
Live Your Hobby
Fernando Tatis Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Sr.