Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wax Heaven Sample Pack: 2009 Topps Chrome

Last week, Mario from Wax Heaven, offered me a chance to review a "sample pack" of 2009 Topps Chrome. In agreeing to review this sample, I was to decide on the product itself and no other biased criteria. I can certainly call 'em like I see 'em, so the sample arrived today.

Let me tell you what this isn't. This isn't a traditional pack. This is just a sampling of random cards. Some base cards are included and a few different parallels and "hits" make up the sample pack. This is a broader selection of the set and can be reviewed more as the set instead of relying on the opening a single pack.

This should be a more honest view of the set itself, instead of the pure luck of the draw. So, I will base my review on those parameters.

The Base Cards

42 - Kosuke Fukudome
99 - John Smoltz
8 - Jason Giambi
47 - Evan Longoria
75 - Ryan Braun
87 - Derrek Lee
131 - Troy Glaus

The first thing that I noticed had nothing to do with the set. It had to do with the players. Two of the first three players (Smoltz and Giambi) are no longer on the teams depicted on the cards. Troy Glaus makes his 2009 debut with the Cardinals tonight because of injuries this year. All seven are recognizable names which is great for a product like this.

The players seem to "pop" more because of the chrome technology. The Topps Chrome sets almost always look sharp and this year is no exception. Even a boring card, like Smoltz, is enhanced by the chrome.

The Refractor Parallels
214 - Gordon Beckham
88 - Ichiro

Refractors are some of the hardest baseball cards to scan. You never really appreciate the subtle undertones of the process until you have a card in your hands. The same is true with this year's refractor parallels. Why mess with success?

The WBC Refractor Parallels
W48 - James Beresford (158/199)

I didn't receive a regular World Baseball Classic card for comparison, but I'll say that the chrome and refractor combination really makes these card stand out. The card feels similar to porcelain. The colors in the WBC logo really shine.

The Blue Refractor Parallels
68 - Jay Bruce (196/199)

Blue is always a great border color with refractors. It's usually something different than the base border color and it frames everything in a different light. While each card is limited to just 199 copies, this is still a very easy set to tackle.

The Gold Refractor Parallels
89 - Javier Vazquez (18/50)

The gold parallel is normally a given with Topps products. The gold border works, but not as well as it should. It is a step above the regular base set gold parallel. Only 50 copies of each card exist, making this parallel set a little harder to complete. Harder, but not impossible.

The Autographed Rookie Refractor Parallels
240 - Brian Duensing (001/499)
The autograph that I received in this "sample pack" looks pretty sharp. This is a refractor parallel numbered to 499 copies. While the sell sheets for the rookie autos show a possible sticker autograph, the one on this card looks to be on card. The rectangle surrounding the signature is actually part of the design on the card.

Based on the sample given to me, I would recommend this product. I would not, however, put it at the top of my list. For all of you shiny card connoisseurs, this product will give you your fix. For those of you who are indifferent to all things shiny, this set may disappoint. The value you would receive in a typical store bought pack will rarely match this sample, but that doesn't mean that you will never pull the hits. Just don't expect to pull them in every pack.

A set that improves on the 2009 Topps base set and has only a few parallels to chase is pretty decent in this day and age. I am impressed with the autograph that I have seen in person. The design is not overbearing and the simplicity makes that card look elegant.

Look for one or more possible contests giving away the majority of these cards, in the near future.


Bay Rat North West said...

If you feel dirty and wondering why send that Bruce blue border to my place and you will feel much better. Trust this Reds fan!

Wax Heaven said...

Thanks for the review. I knew you had to be the first when I found that Gordon Refractor.

wickedortega said...

Great review..... I need that WBC card.. If its up for trade please let me know! Thanks!

White Sox Cards said...


Consider it yours.

wickedortega, e-mail me about it.

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