For a long time, card count has dominated the way users value cards. The more rare a card is, typically the more value it has on the market. Now that we are getting our look at a great looking 2016 Inception set, we are also seeing serially numbered cards for the first time as well.
Serially numbered cards have existed on the physical side for more than two decades. This isnt actually the first time we have had serially numbered cards in digital either. Quidd has offered cards with specific edition based numbering since its beginning, and they do it in a much better way than Topps does it, even with this release.
How it Works
For Inception, Topps created a single “1/1” ten times for each inception patch auto. These individual cards have a specific number listed on the front that corresponds to a different serial number. Although the card is the only one with that numbering, it sells out as soon as it is pulled.
Although I think it was a risk to do this type of a setup, its actually a pretty interesting concept that I think needs to be used in a few different ways. As more and more of these “box” type sets come along, this is a great way to set the cards apart.
First of all, these cards are really cool looking, which helps bring value above and beyond the serial number. Inception is a fan favorite type of set, and to be honest it would work with or without a new type of gimmick like this.
Similarly, since all the cards are technically ‘1/1’ – it puts them in a place of prominence at the top of the sheet, regardless if there are 10 of them or just the one you manage to own.
It adds a layer of collectability to the cards knowing that you can own specific version of the card that isnt replicated by increasing card count.
What Doesnt Work
This was the opportunity to model this release even more like physical, and change the patches on all the cards. All the cards have the same patch, and it would be cool if Topps took the time to make each one unique.
The fact that they have to release all the cards as 1/1s is clunky, and it would be interesting if there were 10 different versions of the card, but you couldnt see the whole set on the sheet like they were all 1/1s. There has to be a way to do this with unique patches and unique serial numbers, but without showing all 1o on the sheet.
As more low numbered stuff continues to be released, would love to see them develop this in a similar way to what we are seeing with the physical side of the cards. Star Wars would serve to be a great vehicle to showcase rare cards with specific serial numbers.
Similarly, for the sports apps, would be cool to make the serial number of the jersey the player wears to be a special version, like Gold or some sort of variant.
These are the ideas that Topps needs to go to more and more frequently. Its been so much of the same for the last few years, this is a change that is welcome. Give us something special and use these gimmicks to add some pizzazz.
More commentary to come on the weekend within the apps, but this one caught my eye specifically.