Gameplay Tip of the Day – Taking Advantage of Defined vs Unlimited Print Runs

I have gotten a lot of questions lately regarding the value of inserts that have no set production number and ones that have defined numbers of how many copies will be in circulation. A lot of times these things can be the prime determining factor in an insert’s value, and im going to do my best to explain how I look at it.

When each set or insert is released, Topps puts out an article in the news feed describing that new card. It is always in your best interest to read the article, every single time. It will talk about number of days in packs, potential print run, etc. Outside of sigs, which have extreme value regardless of print run, each insert’s article can increase or decrease demand. Sometimes on purpose.

Defined Print Run

Let me start out by saying that it is EXTREMELY rare that an insert wont satisfy its print run. If Topps says there will be 1000 of a card, you can bet that they will manufacture ways for the card to be pulled until the print run is complete. This means, you should enter into any pack buying or trading scenario knowing that the stated print run is how many copies the card will eventually end up with. Even if a card is sitting with a count of 113, and Topps said there would be 500 – trade like its a 500 card. Trust me.

This can be an advantage because it is that much easier to forecast final value. If an insert only has 100 copies, its automatically going to be more valuable than one that has 1000 copies – minus any sig vs non-sig situation.

Similarly, a card that has a high print run (1000+) is not going to be that valuable, especially after any reward for collecting a set is expired. If you just want the card, its better to wait if you dont have a lot to give.

Unlimited Print Run

If you are trying to determine the potential final value of an unlimited print run card, here are the elements I would look at. These things all impact the number of them that will be pulled, so take that into consideration.

  • Time in packs – huge consideration, especially if that time is long. If its short, you know more people will be left out in the cold. Cards that are in packs for a day will usually be EXTREMELY rare, a week not as much.
  • Pack cost – the higher the cost of the pack, the more rare it will be. Most Bunt users are not coin rich and will not be able to afford many of the packs.
  • Pack sales – unlimited print run cards will be decimated by a pack sale, which is evidenced by Kershaw POTW and the Black Pack sale that went on forever. Half price packs will make things more accessible to everyone, which will hurt value as more are pulled.
  • Cool factor – if the card is pretty cool, people will buy coins to get it. If it isnt cool, not only will the value drop, but the amount of people opening packs for that card will drop too.
  • Pack type – if an unlimited print run card is in all packs or just a specific pack, you know things will be different. The more available it is, the more it will be pulled, the more the value will drop.

These are just a handful of the things to consider, and I am not exaggerating. The amateur economists out there who can master this scouting are the ones that do the most with their coins and trading. You can tell that many users dont understand this, which can lead to a lot of issues. Familiarizing yourself will only serve to make this a better experience all around.

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