I am not a fan of Leaf cards of late.  That being said, I actually like the idea behind Leaf’s latest release Best in Baseball.  The idea is simple, Leaf buys back a graded iconic card and packs it with a cut autograph.  The MSRP is $239.99 I believe, and here is a sample box break:

From the break, the dollar value per box is:

Box 1: PSA 10 Greg Maddux 1987 Donress (ebay value is 55-70), Ken Griffey Jr. Stone auto (ebay value 32).  Loss of $138

Box 2: PSA 8 1958 Mantle All Star (ebay value 208), Greg Maddux signed stone (ebay value 22). Loss of $10 not too bad!

Box 3: BGS 9.5 Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Blue Refractor #/150 (ebay value ~225), Hank Aaron cut auto (ebay value 60). Gain of $45.

Overall a loss of $103 not bad and the cards are really nice!

Here is the sell sheet that Topps is suing over:

Topps is suing because Leaf is using it’s cards to market an item.  Correct me if I’m wrong but Tri-Star did this for years, with their Chase for the  . . . blasters.  This isn’t even the first time Razor has done this, they have had a few of these repacked releases. I’m sorry but to me this is a non issue.  Leaf went out and bought all of these cards, it’s not like they went to Topps HQ and hi-jacked them.

To extrapolate this further, what’s the difference between this and you selling your graded Topps card on eBay? You own it, you want to sell it, you put a picture up, see where I’m going with this.  I hope that this gets thrown out of court and Topps gets reprimanded for another frivolous law suit.

What is your take on a) the product itself and b) the lawsuit?

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10 responses »

  1. Brian B says:

    Ok, so just to be totally sure, a signed STONE, like say…..A ROCK???? now a fancy, shiney, smooth 2′ X 3′ piece. Now this aint the rock on the wifes finger, but a white piece of rock, signed by Ken Griffey Jr. I must say I hit play, right away, didnt read your review or anything on the hits, but now going back to seeing my 1st Sweet Spot many a years ago, and thinking, “ok sure, peel the Sweet Spot off a ball and throw it in a card, with an autograph on it” pretty cool idea, but either my 45 years have caught up with me, 39 yrs of autograph collecting, the fact I do have a few off the cuff signed items, but a rock, and only $239.99 a pack, ok, gimme the Griffey Jr rock and the 58 Mantle All Star card, Im buying, but this 1 is NOT for me. I do admit, out of curiosity to see, hold, own 1, I am off to The Bay of E to get me one of dem deer signed rocks right now, Im gonna see what $50 shipping included can get me…..but really, A SIGNED ROCK????? Am I the only 1 who feels this way???? LOL

  2. Brian B says:

    Hate to double post, BUT, did Maddux sign 1000, Gwynn 900, and Griffey Jr the rest of the rocks. If Leaf actually went that route, I will go back a couple days ago to the 2012 Topps post, on COME ON GUYS, GIMME SOMETHING DIFFERENT….really, only 3 different signed rocks, Gwynn /900, $24.95 Buy it Now, free shipping, Im gonna wait….Where’s Tim Raines when you need him

  3. A.Hughes says:

    The lawsuit is a joke, but Topps knows that. They just want to force Leaf to spend money and have less of it to then put out product that reduces Topps market share.
    As for the cards, the Mantle alone is probably worth close to what you paid. PSA 8 for ’58 is not easy to find, and its a Mantle to boot.
    The Aaron and Griffey signatures are icing on the cake. The Maddux rookie, while cool, is a drink coaster. Everybody and his mother has a PSA 10 Maddux rookie. Trout? maybe in the next few years we’ll see if he pans out.

    • Jt says:

      Actually the lawsuit is far from a joke. I can think of 4 to 5 different claims that topps can put forth and should get to a jury- and i dont even practice commercial and ip law. It is not relevant to any claim i can think of how leaf came into possession of the cards. What is relevant is tje fact that they are using topps logo, product, and intellectual property to facilitate their advertising with out topps’s assent or permission.
      Not only is this not a frivilous lawsuit but topps should win and be granted an injuntion, but they should also get punitive damages and attorney fees. Leaf’s in house counsel ahould be fired and leaf should focus on settling this as quick as possible. Topps will crush them. Hell if topps hire a 3rd year lawstudent they will still crush them. And rightfully so.

  4. Corky says:

    The Topps/Leaf lawsuit is going to be interesting to see how it plays out. Being a graphic designer I have worked with copyrights, I have copyrighted designs and I have worked with copyrighted images and graphics both in personal projects as well as “Work for hire” projects. I actually just did a study and research paper recently on the copyright laws in comparison to public-domain and fair use laws in regards to artistic work.

    The problem that Topps will have is that Leaf is not advertising that they created the Topps product nor are they including the name Topps in any of the pre-sales information/copy. They even clearly state “Graded” and “Graded/Slabbed” and do not list any corporate names. Yes they do include images of the Topps cards (which may be a sticking point for Topps) but they purchased these cards on the secondary-market and as an end-user have the legal right to sell them as long as the product is represented properly. Think of this as you selling a Topps card on eBay, you can list Topps in the title and description and you can include an image of the card as long as you do not attempt to make claim to creating the design or create a new product and list it as a Topps creation.

    Also going against Topps is the inclusion of other designers products (showing that Leaf has considered other creations too), again these are after-market purchases and Leaf and Brian Gray are leagally allowed to include them in their product as long as they do not make claim to creating the cards.

    The only thing that may come out of this, on Topps side, would be the requirement that Leaf remove any images of Topps product from their sales materials but I would be floored if a judge issues an order halting Leaf from selling the product or removing Topps cards from the release. If anything harsher were to happen it would set precident that potentially could handcuff dealers, retailers and even people selling items on eBay or at auction. We would be at the mercy of Topps’ legal team, which could get as bad as an Orwellian society forcing us to request permission to list a Topps product for sale.

    As long as Leaf follows copyright laws I hope that this lawsuit just goes away.

    • Jt says:

      You may be correct on copyright laws, like i said i dont pactice ip or copyright. There are still viable claims based on tort and contract laws as well as equity and property.
      It would be interesting to see if topps products were found to be public domain. Personally my gut feeling is no but my opinion matters very little.
      A halt order (injunction) is not likely because the deed has already been done. In that situation money damages will be proper based on unjust enrichment. ( the damages argument would be super interesting- how do you quantify the amont that leaf benefitted from including the topps products)
      The point youade about handcuffing ebay sellers is rational but legally, not relevant. Ebay is a seconday seller market not a “retail” platform. So its not likely that this decision will impact ebay in any way. Practically speaking- it makes no sense for topps to go after ebay sellers. It just doesnt have enough benefit. The man power required plus the filing fee for the complaint far exceeds the value of any judgment topps can expext. In pa (where topps is located) the filing of a complaint is over 500 then add the time and energy fpr an attorney to draft it and thwn pay someone to serve it – your lookin at 3500. Not worth going after ebay sellers.

  5. JJ says:

    I think it is overshadowing the giveaway that topps has been doing over the past couple of years, your getting the cards graded and not having to wait, gives topps a run for the money, and it’s putting topps in the loophole of Leaf not having a licence but putting out product related to MLB.

  6. Michael says:

    I think thats a PSA 6 Mantle. even bigger loss now. Not sure about the rocks?

  7. Signed stones? I’m holding out for the set that offers authentic tiles from the clubhouse bathroom. “You see that urine stain? It’s either Nolan Ryan, or Jeff Juden’s.”

    It’s a cool idea though. Pulling a Mantle is amazing. My uncle bought that same card for my cousin when he was born.

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