So how many cards did Topps produce on the 30th Anniversary set? That question is never easy or straight forward to solve. In order to attempt to solve this riddle we need to look very closely at the clues in both the odds and the sell sheet. Some things to keep in mind for this post. 1) Topps doesn’t want the public to know exactly how much of each card was made. Why? No idea really, I think its dumb, but historically Topps only provides enough information to get close. 2) We need to make some assumptions. Those assumptions will be based on the clues we have, but still some guessing has to happen. 3) The odds never quite seem to come out completely equal. However we can round and get pretty close to how much was produced. 4) Topps changes what is printed from what the sell sheet says all the time. This will throw off all our numbers. 5) Keep in mind Topps historically holds back 5% of the print run to cover missing hits, damaged cards, and their No Purchase Necessary program. These numbers would include that 5%. With all that in mind let’s get started…(Warning lots of math coming up. If you don’t want to hear about the process skip to the bottom for the answer sheet!)
The first bit of info I want to know is how many cases/boxes/packs did Topps create for Hobby/Collector/Retail. We need to figure out how many packs Topps made for the entire print run. The only want to determine that is to look at the odds that all 3 pack types share that are the same. There are only two; Printing Plates 1:1516 and Gold Borders 1:72. We know there are 880 total Printing Plates in the set, 220 base cards X 4 Plates per card. (Or do we? The sell sheet is very confusing on this. It states “more than 540” plates which makes no sense unless they held a bunch of plates back. The sell sheet also alludes to the plates being from the “base set + inserts”. In that case there could be 980 plates, Base plus the 3 regular insert sets, but how about the other insert sets? There could be a ton of plates in this set depending on what Topps decided to do. Until other plates show up I’m going with 880 plates as our first assumption! You’ll see why in a bit.)
So if we go with 880 plates we have 880 X 758 = 667,040 Total Packs in the print run.
Wait a minute you say, “why did you use 758 when the odds are 1:1516.” Because the odds aren’t right, that’s why! (Assumption #2. Topps not only decided to confuse us on the numbering of the base set, but also on the odds. I believe the odds for the parallels are doubled from what is actual, here’s why. In looking at the pack odds closely is says “Base Sticker Parallels (A OR B):” Notice the “:” then goes on the have black, silver, gold, printing plate separated by “,”. Then there is a “;” before going on with the rest of the odds. I believe Topps is saying the odds of getting a Black Border are 1:4 for A OR B. Which really means 1:2 overall A AND B combined. This has to be true because all the parallels are falling at exactly half the pack odds in Retail, Hobby, and Collectors. Therefore I believe true printing plate odds are 1:758.
Let’s look at Gold Borders next. The odds on those is 1:72 across all three. We know there are 85 Gold Borders of each card made. (Assumption #3 here. I’m going to assume there are Gold Borders of only the base set. This is how Topps has been doing it for the last few series, and seems reasonable.)
So 220 Base Cards X 85 Each = 18,700 Total Gold cards in the run X 36 = 673,200 total packs in the print run. Pretty darn close to the plate pack numbers. That’s why I’m comfortable going with 880 printing plates made. (Now this whole thing can be royally screwed up if Printing Plates and/or Gold cards of something other than Base cards shows up. If that happens, just ignore this whole article.)
So we are going to go with 670,000 total packs in the print run. That’s in between the number above. Now let’s try to figure out how many packs from each Retail/Hobby/Collectors. Collector’s is the easiest to find out. We just need to look at the odds for things that are only found in Collector Boxes. Let’s start with Duel Autos. According to the sell sheet there are 40 total, with odds of 1:1017.
So 40 X 1017 = 40680 Total Collectors Packs.
Let’s check with some other Collector only items.
15 Total Triple Autos X 2712 Odds = 40680 Total Collectors Packs. Look at that a match!
450 Total Medallions x 92 Odds – 41400 Total Collectors Packs. Ugh that’s close but off.
384 Total Italian Stamps X 115 Odds = 44160 Total Collectors Packs. Even more off.
19 Total Pen Relics X 2543 Odds = 48317 Total Collectors Packs. Getting Colder…
So why don’t the numbers add up? Who knows? As I mentioned above the odds seldom add up exact. Topps could have changed the amount of cards made for the items above from what they said on the sell sheet. It happens all the time, and by the looks of things they may have removed “C” names this time. I’m going to go with 41,000 Total Collectors Packs.
Now let’s move to Hobby packs. We can figure out Hobby packs by looking at something only Hobby and Collector packs have, Die-Cut Sketches. The Sell Sheet says there are 500 total Die-Cut Sketches inserted in Hobby/Collectors boxes.
So 41000 Collector Packs / 144 Odds = 285 Total Die-Cut Sketches in Collector Boxes
500 – 285 = 215 Total Die-Cut Sketches in Hobby Packs
215 X 237 Hobby Odds = 50955 Total Hobby Packs, let’s just call that 51,000.
Moving onto Retail. The only other thing that Retail shares with Hobby/Collector packs that we know how many total cards is autographs. The sell sheet says there are 3000 total autographs.
41000 Collector Packs / 96 Odds = 427 Total Autos in Collector Packs
51000 Hobby Packs / 244 Odds = 209 Total Autos in Hobby Packs
3000 – 427 – 209 = 2364 Total Autos in Retail Packs
2364 X 244 Retail Odds = 576816 Total Retail Packs (This number means total 10 card packs. Which won’t be correct because some retail will be made of Jumbo packs, but the total number of autos in Retail would remain the same.
So we have 577,000 Retail Packs + 51,000 Hobby Packs + 41,000 Collector Packs = 669,000 Packs. That is darn close to what we came up when using Plate and Gold odds.
Here is what I believe to be the pack/box/case numbers for Hobby and Collector.
Hobby – 51,000 Hobby Packs or 2125 Hobby Boxes or 265 Hobby Cases
Collector – 41,000 Collector Packs or 1708 Collector Boxes or 231 Collector Cases
(Again I could be way off, lots of assumptions I mentioned above coupled with my minimal math skills, could mean bad news for my numbers. But I think these are a pretty good guess.)
What’s interesting about these numbers? I don’t think very much Hobby/Collector was printed. These could dry up within a few months. Retail? They printed a ton of it! It will be on store shelves for years.
Let me know what you think in the comments section.