Monday, September 24, 2012

Lunacy of the Topps 2012 Golden Giveaway


Was anybody else disconcerted that the odds of finding a “rare” Topps Golden Giveaway coin are 1:6,666? Couldn’t they have rounded that up to 1:6,670? Maybe Topps employees are closet Dodgers fans and they are trying to disparage Willie Mays by associating him with the mark of the beast?

I digress, but let’s proceed. Here are the stated odds for Topps Golden Giveaway winning codes:
  • Golden Moments Cards - 1:15
  • Gold Foil Golden Moments - 1:200
  • 1/1 Golden Moments Card - 1:20,000
  • 1/1 Topps 2012 Series 1 Base Card - 1:6,060
  • 1/1 Topps 2012 Series 2 Base Card - 1:6,060
  • Rare Coin - 1:6,666
The 1/1 Golden Moments Card (which include an actual piece of 14 karat gold!) are 1:20,000; because this is the smallest number of any insert, we will use it as our baseline for the analysis. Assuming perfect distribution, if you were to redeem 20,000 codes you would also receive:
  • 1333 - Golden Moments Cards
  • 100 - Gold Foil Golden Moments Cards
  • 3 - 1/1 Topps 2012 Series 1 Base Cards
  • 3 - 1/1 Topps 2012 Series 2 Base Cards
  • 3 - Rare Coins (rounded to nearest whole number)
Unfortunately, Topps will be charging shipping on all Non-Prize cards (the Golden Moments cards and their gold foil versions) at a rate of $2.92 for the first card $0.53 for all additional cards, so our prize horde from this analysis would costs $761.48 for Topps to ship out…lunacy.

But you say, “Hey, I don’t care, I just want to play the game for some trade bait!” Well, friend, based on the stated odds and the calculations above, for those 20,000 codes entered, one could expect 18,667 digital coins that are equivalent to…um, well, less than a pack of junk wax. Taking that a step further, 18,667/20,000 is also 14/15, which – surprise! – are the same odds of winning a Golden Moments Card (1:15).

Checking out the ‘bay, lots of Golden Giveaway codes are running anywhere from $1-$2 per code. Let’s pull the median, $1.50, and buy 15 codes – a grand sum of $22.50. We get the hits as expected, 14 digital coins and one Golden Moments card. Add that to the Topps shipping of $2.92 and we have just paid $25.42 for that one Golden Moments card.

Now go back to the ‘bay and look at the prices for recently completed listings for these special Golden Moments cards – how many have sold for more than $25.42? Lunacy, it abounds!

It seems there are suckers to be had out there, and why would we let this golden opportunity pass by? Golden Giveaway codes fall at 1:6 for hobby and retail packs, and 1:1 in HTA packs. Remember, the codes are in both Series 1 and 2 and the upcoming Update set. Of the three, right now, Series 1 is the weakest because of poor rookies and its time on the market. Blowout Cards has the lowest prices on Topps 2012 Series 1 hobby packs at the time of this post, and here’s an analysis of cost per code:
  • Hobby Box – $34.95/box (36 packs, 6 codes): $5.83/code
  • HTA Jumbo Box - $67/box (10 packs, 10 codes): $6.70/code
  • Retail Box (dacardwolrd) - $25.95/box (24 packs, 4 codes): $6.49/code
So should we all rush out and buy up the Topps Series 1 Hobby Boxes? If our sole motivation was Golden Giveaway codes then, yes, we should. I don’t recommend it.

Let’s speculate some more – you have $70 to spend and you can drop it on any of the three aforementioned boxes. What would be the best combination for recouping your costs? You could buy two Hobby Boxes for $70 and get a total of 12 codes and two guaranteed hits. Or you could buy one HTA Jumbo Box for $67 and get a total of 10 codes and three guaranteed hits. The tradeoff is very clear: you could choose (a) two extra codes or (b) one more hit and $3.

Because your codes are likely to sell for ~$1.50 on the ‘bay (and then you have your 12% ebay+PayPal fees, plus $.30 PayPal surcharge), you’ll never sell those two extra codes for as much as you would save when buying one HTA Jumbo Box, plus you’ll get an extra hit, to boot!

I have some more thoughts on the Golden Giveaway, such as the oddity that the 2012 Update Series Sell Sheet (.pdf download) includes the following promotion: “ONE-OF-ONE GOLD BASE SET PARALLEL: A parallel of the Topps Baseball Update Series base set with a piece of real gold embedded in the card! ONE OF ONE!” This parallel set is not mentioned on the official rules of the Golden Giveaway website, so I’m sure Topps will tweak the rules of the promotion around the launch. 

Again, lunacy.

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