In what is becoming a fascinating social experiment inside the card collecting world, I present the Topps 582 Montgomery Club. What is the Montgomery Club you may ask? Good Question. Two months in, many members are still asking themselves that same question.
In November 2018, Topps announced a new exclusive club collectors could join for $199 which would guarantee them access to six products over the course of the next year as part of the membership fee. The name 582 Montgomery Club is derived from the Topps address in its early days in Brooklyn. The products will reflect long lost designs which were never utilized for one reason or another.
Now what are members going to receive?
First, there will be an introductory 25 card set with one autographed card. There would be two additional 20 card sets, and a 20-30 card set which will have an autograph that will be voted on by members. How exactly this process will work is to be determined. One “complete MLB set” with a special 582 Montgomery Club stamp is also part of the lineup. The assumption is this product will be in the 2019 Flagship design, however, there has been no official word on this. In addition there will be a MLB 20 sticker set. Finally, members were promised
Exclusive access to the 2018 Brooklyn Collection which is advertised as the highest-end product ever to be offered on topps.com (more on that in a bit).
Right out of the gate, collectors took to the message boards speculating on how limited membership would be. Would there only be 582 members? 1,000? 5,000? Despite only a handful of preliminary mock-ups posted in the marketing materials, and none directly tied to any of the specified products, some collectors jumped right in while others held out. After somewhere between 24 and 48 hours of availability, Topps closed the purchase window and the maximum number of members had been reached.
This was generally viewed as a positive sign for truly being a “limited” membership base. New members waited for an email which would welcome them to the club and begin to fill in some of the missing details. That email would never come. Anticipation built of a new 582 Montgomery Club section on topps.com, but that was nowhere to be seen. How about an indication of how soon after sign-up the introductory 25 card set would be shipped? Nope.
And so the social experiment began. Some unknown number of collectors, yours truly included, spent $199 on a product of which very few details were made available. Nobody actually knew what we would be getting, but what seems like a not insignificant number of people signed up.
I was comfortable with the price and in fact the mystery and speculation surrounding the “club” was part of the appeal for me. In my mind, for the cost of three or four hobby boxes of flagship, I’m getting in on the initial version of a new, unique, bundle of releases for the next year.
On December 3rd, some members received an email inviting them to sign up for the right to purchase one box(I got mine on the 4th, and some members never received the email), and one box only, of the 2018 Brooklyn Collection. The material showed photos of two designs, and you would receive five on-card autographs in the box at a cost of $1,000. You made your reservation by clicking on a link to a Google Doc. In my invitation there was no checklist, no release date, only a link to make my commitment to buy. That invitation would only be good till December 5th.
Before too long, we were able to uncover the checklist on topps.com which for some reason was not included in any of the communications members received. Each of the designs indicated there would be 50 subjects in each design, however if you counted the list of names in the actual checklist, one had 50, and one had 55. Interesting?
Also around this time some members received an “welcome” email saying the introductory set would ship in the next 3-4 weeks.
The product was not well received, and it seems from comments in online forums that few members were willing to fork over an additional $1,000 for five autographs from a suspect checklist. About a week later the product began shipping and as many speculated, it seemed to be tough to get back $1,000 in value from the cards they received.
Take a look at some of these eBay listings to see what is available and what they are selling for.
Based on the initial feedback, it’s hard to imagine Topps was able to sell all the boxes they had available to members, so now the question is what will they do with all the extras? It was advertised as being a 582 Montgomery Club exclusive, but does that mean forever, or that it would initially be available only to members and after that could be offered to the public or discounted to distributors, etc?
The Introductory Set
I finally received my introductory set between Christmas and New Years. Check out the “unboxing” video below!
I am actually very happy with this first set. The names are good. I mean, it’s got Soto, Acuna, and Ohtani plus a bunch of other superstars. My Auto was a Hall of Famer and was the first of his autos I have, and I liked it so much I’ve already put the set into my newly formed 582 Montgomery Club Binder.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I’ve now been a member for two months.
Am I still happy with my purchase? Yes
Could Topps have been better with their communication plan? Most definitely.
Hopefully, they learn from the feedback they’ve been given so far and increase the information available to members going forward.
Some joined the club for the potential to flip the exclusive cards for a profit. Others joined to have direct access to a unique and new product they can add to their collection. At this point I plan to keep all the membership contents for my own PC.
I’m hoping for some surprises along the way. How cool would it be to have an exclusive 582 Montgomery Club reception at this year’s National in Chicago? Or maybe open the opportunity for members to buy a box or two of Flagship, Bowman, or other popular releases directly from them instead of having to pay inflated distributor or hobby shop prices? There are tons of possibilities for Topps to make this club something truly unique and special. I hope future posts get to highlight some awesome collecting experiences.
Ok Topps, let’s start with more communication with members. You showed you have the ability to get us in, now show us you have the opportunity to wow us. Win us over to excitedly become paying members for life.
Here are my write-ups on the subsequent sets:
Set 2 was a sticker set, and came out in April.
Set 3 came out in June, and was inspired by a set of 1972 posters. It also included an autograph.
Set 4 was modeled after the 1951 Ringside Boxing set.
I’ve also been loving the Topps Living Set. I started a new section of the website highlighting the set, photo checklist, and stats. You can check it out here!