Friday, August 2, 2013

The Forgotten eTopps Cards!

Back when eTopps was all the rage in the early noughties, they released a card for Aussie Mariners prospect Chris Snelling. For those not familiar with them, eTopps cards ended up becoming a form of virtual speculation - you would buy the cards of rookies and stars, and have them transferred into your eTopps "portfolio" - but you would rarely ever get them physically into your hand. They were all "safely" stored away by Topps in a climate controlled warehouse, awaiting their assumed procession through multiple owners via online transactions for many years to come.

Chris Snelling 2003 eTopps #95 card front

Chris Snelling 2003 eTopps #95 card back

These eTopps cards were rather elusive for Australian collectors to obtain. Firstly - most eTopps owners never actually took physical possession of their cards - you had to pay extra to get the cards shipped to you, and the whole concept of eTopps was about the virtual ownership. The system wasn't really designed for you to physically take possession of the cards.

The second factor making it difficult for Australians to acquire these cards was that even if you did get an eTopps account and purchased these cards for yourself, eTopps refused to ship outside of North America.

On eBay the other day I noticed a bulk lot of Snelling's eTopps cards going cheaply, and realised that COMC's Mailbox program meant that I could order the cards and get them sent to my COMC Mailbox in the good ol' US of A. Hello Chris Snelling eTopps cards!.

First though I thought I'd check to see how much postage eTopps would charge to see if it was financially feasible. I dug out my eTopps login from many years ago, logged in, and discovered two things. The first, was that eTopps has shut down. Well, not shut down completely, but they haven't been issuing new cards for 18 months.

The second thing that was really surprising was that my eTopps account had a portfolio of 10 copies of Chris Snelling 's card in it already! Then it came back to me. I had managed to purchase a lot of Snelling's cards cheaply over 5 years ago. I'd planned to arrange with one of our American friends to get the cards shipped to him. Obviously that didn't happen. I'd obviously forgotten about the cards that I'd bought and they've been sitting there happily declining in value over the years. (Snelling's injury proneness meant he never lived up to the Hot Prospect tag.)

So, I've just arranged to get 5 copies of the card sent to COMC, and will then get them sent on to me, and I will have my Chris Snelling eTopps card in hand ... and a few more to trade!

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