Million Dollar Question -How Many Short Prints Is Too Many Short Prints??

Million Dollar Question  -How Many Short Prints Is Too Many Short Prints??

As a team and player collector, I don’t have the same worries that a set builder has.  Especially if said set builder is trying to put together a set of cards by starting with the most fun method – the ripping of packs.

Lately, as I have gotten into collecting more modern players I have started to have to deal with short prints.  And it is starting to bug me.  Especially the high volume of short prints that seem to be coming more and more common in the widely collected sets.

Between the 2014 Topps Heritage and 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen releases, both sets featured short print cards of Jose Fernandez.  And since I am building Miami Marlins team sets while also collecting singles of the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, I am needing to buy two of each Fernandez card that is featured in a Marlins team set.

That’s four total cards, four total needs – ALL Short Prints.

While still affordable (I have already made my purchases to get all of them) it did take the fun out of putting together the team set.  I could piece it together by hand after ripping through packs or I could buy the whole team set complete but pay more for the added SP’s or I could land in the middle and buy the team set minus the SP and then shop again for the SP another time.  And then buy another one so I could land the same card for my player collection.

I don’t know about you, but this drove me a little nuts.  It’s definitely more to keep track of and a lot more of a headache since my ultimate goal is to stay on top of these new releases while also sticking to my budget.

I don’t believe that I am alone on this as I am certainly not the only team and player collector out there having to deal with all of these extra Short Print cards being published.  Seriously, in a 350 card set, why do 50 have to be limited in production?  That’s a large percentage – 14%.

I’d rather see exclusive limited edition stuff put into today’s sets for the case breakers to go after than for 14% of a set to be part of a limited print run.

Please Topps, keep it fun!!!



5 responses to “Million Dollar Question -How Many Short Prints Is Too Many Short Prints??

  1. The image of a card collector is now a frustrated guy at a computer. This is more apt than I want to believe.

  2. Ah, short prints or a marking strategy. In the 60’s and early 70’s, Topps used the dreaded series. There wasn’t the internet or card shows to acquire what you needed to complete your set. My twin cousins who were Cincinnati Reds fans lived across town. When a new series was available in their neighborhood store I would mention to my parents we need to visit the cousins! I’d load-up on packs. They would do the same when a series they needed appeared at one my neighborhood stores. From my front porch, I could see three small mom and pop neighborhood stores. Card companies will always figure out a marketing strategy.

  3. Here’s the thing about Short Prints. They usually only involve the good players and teams. So would you rather have Jose Fernandez Short Prints? Or would you rather not have Jose Fernandez?

    Short Prints are maddening but, as a set builder, its kind of hard to have sympathy for team and player collectors. Team and player collectors can just go to eBay, pay a modest sum, and you’re done. To buy a full set on eBay, well, that’s very expensive and zero fun. Every year, I get closer and closer to completing Heritage (generally because every year I spend more and more). Two years ago, I was a couple dozen cards short. Last year, about 15. This year, I only need 9 more short prints. But the truth is I’ll probably never finish any of them. And that sucks. If all I needed was David Wright or Matt Harvey (as a Mets team collector, which I also am), I could get them easily enough. As a set builder, trying to complete the full set is too expensive and too much effort, no matter how determined I am when they hit the streets.

    But it is what it is. Collectors complaining won’t change it because it drives sales, which means profits. You can build a series of the flagship from a single jumbo box. You might end up a card or two short, but the odds are you’ll get the whole thing. Boom. You’re done. No need to buy any more flagship. But everybody buys flagship, so they make their profit that way. Heritage, Gypsy Queen, et. al. are niche products that appeal to smaller groups of collectors. Ergo, to reach your profit target, you need each of those collectors to buy more product. Hence Short Prints.

    • Stubby-
      Your comment is appreciated and very well put together. And while I can say that I agree with most of your thoughts on the topic, I would say that brands like Heritage and GQ could possibly pick up more steam and a larger set-building audience if the sets were truly ‘obtainable’. You yourself have not completed a Heritage set in three years but you have tried every year. Will you go for it again in 2015? How many other collectors simply drop out knowing that the task is not worth the effort or financial commitment?

      Thank you for participating.

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