Know What To Flip: Topps Fire Burned Me

The retail trading card flip game has reached unprecedented levels. I thought a few guys waiting for the trading card vendor at Target in early June was the tip of the iceberg. It wasn’t, as there were 17 people (16 guys and one woman who appeared to be a mom on a mission) standing around the card section at a nearby Target store.

It seems everybody is trying to enter the trading card flip game. But, don’t get burned. Not every product can be flipped for product. I learned that the hard way a few years ago. Topps Fire burned me.


I preach about buying retail (at MSRP…not the secondary market price from flippers) on certain products. The reasons vary, but it is typically because you get a good bang for your buck out of a retail blaster. One reason I went retail only on products like Bowman and Topps Archives is because the hobby prices have ballooned to prices that are just ridiculous, and you’ll get destroyed (on average) on what you receive inside the packs of cards compared to the price you pay.

Disclaimer: Don’t ever expect to reach break even or especially profit off a box of cards. It’s a gamble opening packs of cards. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win…more often than not you will lose.


This post was written the week Topps Fire was released. I did not publish at the time because Fire was actually being sold for a decent profit in the first couple days. So, one week later I wanted to check in on pricing. As expected, it dropped. The blaster boxes are still selling for above MSRP at around $32 shipped, but as a seller let’s break it down to see what your net profit is at that price point.

Topps Fire Blaster MSRP$19.99
Tax (WI state tax is 5%)$1.00
Total Cost$20.99
Total Sale Shipped$32.00
Ebay Fees (11.5%)$3.68
PayPal Fees (2.9% + $0.30)$1.23
Shipping Cost (on average)$5.00
Net Sales$22.09

Is it really worth driving all over town, waiting for the card vendor, working to flip, packaging and shipping….for $1.10 in profit?


Flipping has been something I have enjoyed doing since my teenage years. Finding bargains to resell at profit. When you enter the flip game you’ll have your wins and you’ll have your losses.

Topps Fire is a Target exclusive baseball card product that has been hitting shelves this week. It’s a product that burned me in an effort to play the flip game a few years ago.

I’ve been in and out of the hobby since 1988, and continuously since about 2012 or 2013. I didn’t really get into the hobby deeply such as following market trends, reading blogs, following news, etc. until 2016 or 2017. Around this time I discovered there was a demand for a retail-only product called Topps Fire.

The hobby was much different three or four years ago, and you could find these baseball card releases much easier. So…I found some Fire, cleared the shelf, and then got burned.

What I learned was there just was not much demand for this product. More over, when I was able to up charge, any margin was negated by shipping and fees. Instead of breaking even, I decided to break the boxes. It was an underwhelming rip in terms of reselling. While there was not much demand for Topps Fire unopened…there was even less demand for the actual cards. Lesson learned.

Still, Topps Fire was a fun product to open…AS A COLLECTOR. In the ensuing years I have grabbed a few blasters to open for fun. When I stopped by my local Target store this week I saw that Topps Fire had been cleared off the shelf. Then, I saw this on my local Facebook Marketplace.

This aspiring flipper is trying to get $35 per blaster ($20 MSRP) and $135 ($70 MSRP) per hobby box. The hobby boxes include two autographs per box, and they are largely underwhelming. Autographs are also sticker autos, which carry far less weight in the hobby. In all honesty, I don’t buy these boxes at the $70 price tag, and would probably even stay away at $50.


Just because the hobby is super hot right now, does not mean every product is hot and can be flipped for twice what you paid. Before clearing shelves, do your homework. Know what you’re flipping, and don’t get burned by Topps Fire.

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