Topps NFT baseball cards, explained: What to know as trading card company enters crypto craze

Last week Topps announced it was going to become a publicly traded company again, with an initial valuation of $1.3 billion. 

Apparently the company has a shoebox full of mint 1952 Mickey Mantles in the vault, eh? Seriously, though, the move to go public is part of Topps’ expansion of collectible offerings. On Monday the company officially announced a new line of 1,986 NFTs that will go on sale April 20. 

We have come a long way from sorting baseball cards by team and wrapping them together with rubber bands, folks. So what does that mean and how can you collect? 

Let’s take a look. 

Why is Topps selling NFT baseball cards?

The world of sports collectibles is rapidly changing, and it was only a matter of time before Topps and Panini dove into the world of digital collectibles. Topps wasn’t the first company to sell baseball cards, but it is the company that has endured the longest; the 2021 season is the 70th consecutive year that Topps has produced baseball cards (as noted with a logo on the flagship set, which was released last month.) 

The NBA’s foray into the world of NFTs — you’ve probably heard of the Top Shot phenomenon — showed Topps and everyone else the appetite for these new collectibles is quite a bit ravenous.  

What is an NFT?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token.

A few weeks ago, Sporting News asked Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker, the first MLB player to release and sell an NFT — proceeds went to charity, btw — how he would describe an NFT. His answer: “The easiest way to explain this is like this: It’s digital art. It’s art that you can own and have for the rest of your life. It’s obviously not something you can get delivered or whatever. It’s a digital art thing you can buy online, and you can keep it online or you can sell it to someone else online.”

Here is a much more in-depth guide, and here’s a quick video explainer. 

What is cryptocurrency?

OK, so you buy NFTs using Cryptocurrency. So … what is Cryptocurrency? Let’s use the definition supplied by Nerd Wallet. 

“Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Many companies have issued their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the good or service that the company provides. Think of them as you would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

 

“Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across many computers that manages and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.”

How to buy Topps NFT cards

So, you want to take the plunge, to see what this is all about. First, go to the Topps page on the WAX website. Then, create an account (it’s officially called a WAX Cloud Wallet). You can connect to your Facebook account, your Google account or one of the other nine available options. Now you’ve started. You’ll be able to use your credit card to get started. 

Topps was running a promotion for the first 10,000 WAX Wallet accounts; they all received a Topps Opening Day NFT pack, but that was full by the time we first looked Monday morning. 

Topps is selling two types of packs. They will be available starting April 20. 

1. There will be 50,000 Standard packs, with six pre-minted cards/NFTs, at $5 per pack.
2. There will be 24,090 Premium packs, with 45 pre-minted cards/NFTs, at $100 per pack. 

What types of Topps NFT cards are available?

Like every tangible card set available now, there are base cards and there are parallels and there are special inserts. There are a total of seven that can be found in packs; some are Premium exclusive. 

Here are the odds listed on the website. 

For a Standard pack: 

Common: 78.11 percent
Uncommon: 16.67 percent
Rare: 4.17 percent
Super Rare: 0.83 percent
Epic: 0.22 percent

For a Premium pack

Common: 59.40 percent
Uncommon: 22.22 percent
Rare: 11.11 percent
Super Rare: 2.22 percent
Epic: 0.56 percent
Epic Exclusive (Limited to 70 or 76): 4.44 percent
Legendary Exclusive (1/1): 0.04 percent

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