Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Wal-Mart Chrome Strasburg: Not as scarce as you think.

All this week, The Hobby has been abuzz over the release of a new Topps Stephen Strasburg insert card. By now you've probably seen this card...

This is one of three "Wal-Mart Exclusive Chrome" cards available in specially marked "Value Boxes" that were released this week at Wal-Marts nationwide. What collectors may not realize, in their haste for STRASBURG-JO!!!!, is just how not scarce this and the other two cards in the set actually are.

73,150. That's how many copies of each Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Stephen Strasburg Wal-Mart Exclusive Chrome card were produced. Of course, the cards themselves are not serial-numbered. But, knowingly or unknowingly, Topps gave collectors a clue to their production based on another insert exclusive to the Wal-Mart Value Packs. Armed with this information, and a little algebra, collector's can easily hack the production figures for the Chrome Strasburg.

Collector's opening the six Topps Series Two packs included in each Value Pack may have noticed a new parallel. The "Copper" parallels are serial-numbered to 399 copies each and (according to the odds listed on the back of the wrapper) inserted into packs at the rate of 1:10. According to Topps, these Copper parallels are only available in Wal-Mart Value Packs. So, let's plug in some variables...

330 (number of cards in the second series set) * 399 (stated production figure of each Copper parallel) * 10 (stated insertion ratio) = 1,316,700

Topps produced an additional 1,316,700 Series Two packs for Wal-Mart. And since you get six of these packs in each Value Pack...

1,316,700 / 6 = 219,450

219,450: That's the number of Value Packs Topps made for Wal-Mart. And since you get one of three Wal-Mart Exclusive Chrome cards in each Value Pack...

219,450 / 3 = 73,150

There are 73,150 copies of each Ruth, Ripken, and Strasburg Chrome card.

In other words, if you pay more than $5 for any of these cards, you're a damned fool.

1 comment:

Spankee said...

Being a rocket scientist, I love the math breakdown. It satisfies my nerdly needs for the weekend. My question is where all the value boxes are. Assuming there are roughly like 4000 Walmart stores that might actually carry these
219,450/4000=54.8625 per store. I would doubt that each store is getting 50+ of these, so it makes you wonder how many outlets are available for these. I know kmart sometimes carries the Wal-Mart exclusive stuff, and I've found some older Wal-Mart stuff at random places like FYE.