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Box Break: 2017 Topps Legends of WWE (Hobby Exclusive)
Total cards: 60
Base set: 36 of 100
Silver parallels (serial numbered to 99): 2 (Trish Stratus, Brock Lesnar)
Blue parallels (serial numbered to 50): 1 (Haku)
Hits: 4 (Brutus Beefcake and Norman Smiley Autographs serial numbered to 199; Tatanka Bronze Autograph serial numbered to 99; Charlotte Flair Black Commemorative Retired Championship Belt Autograph serial numbered to 5)
Topps’ final WWE product of 2017, the hobby-exclusive Legends of WWE, was released in late November. Boxes are roughly $100, or twice the price of products like 2017 Topps WWE and 2017 Topps WWE Road to WrestleMania. Each Legends of WWE box delivers fewer packs and cards than the typical Topps WWE product, but at least twice the hits, which is what collectors are really looking for in a product like this.
Each 12-pack hobby box is broken into two mini-boxes, each of which promises two hits (four total hits per box). At least three of the hits are guaranteed to be autographs; the final hit could be a relic or another autograph.
The 100-card base set contains a variety of legends from different eras and territories, from Kerry Von Erich to Magnum TA to Steve Austin to Edge. There are multiple serial numbered parallels, from silvers numbered to 99 to reds numbered 1/1. Bronze parallels are unnumbered. There are two basic insert sets: the 20-card Legendary Bouts and the 22-card Retired Titles.
Most of the basic autographs in the set are on-card, with a few exceptions such as Undertaker, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. Commemorative Retired Championship Belt Autographs and Shirt Relic Autographs feature sticker autographs. Dual and Triple Signatures also use sticker autographs. There are also eight Tribute Cut Signature cards serial numbered 1/1: Bam Bam Bigelow, Big John Studd, Brian Pillman, British Bulldog, Kerry Von Erich, Miss Elizabeth, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Sherri Martel.
As previously mentioned, each hobby box is guaranteed to include four hits, at least three of which are guaranteed to be autographs. Unfortunately, the first three autographs in this box were somewhat groan inducing: Norman Smiley, Brutus Beefcake and Tatanka. Fortunately, the fourth hit saved the box: a Charlotte Flair Black Commemorative Retired Championship Belt Autograph serial numbered to just 5.
This box also included three serial numbered parallel cards, a few unnumbered bronze cards, 36 of the 100 base cards in the set and a handful of inserts.
There are 35 different autographs in the set featuring some huge names, including Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Goldberg, Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Sting and Brock Lesnar. There are also a lot of popular collector favorites, such as Ricky Steamboat, Ted Dibiase and William Regal. There are also plenty of “legends” that could have collectors gritting their teeth, such as Smiley, Albert and the Boogeyman.
One of the real draws to Legends of WWE is the quality of the signatures. In almost all sports, older athletes tend to take more pride in their signatures than rookies and younger stars, so collectors get better quality autographs. That’s absolutely true of the autographs in this set; look no further than the beautiful signatures of wrestlers like Beefcake, Steamboat and Hacksaw Duggan, for example.
The Dual and Triple Autographs were some of the coolest cards in 2017, with awesome combinations like Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, Undertaker and Kane, Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart, Larry Zbyszko and Bruno Sammartino, and Flair, Sting and Goldberg. The Autograph Shirt Relics have a really cool design and the commemorative belt cards look great with a signature added to them.
Overall, Topps did a nice job of introducing a mid-price product with Legends, especially for collectors who want more than what a basic $50 Topps box offers but aren’t quite willing to spend $200 on a box of Undisputed. Topps also left plenty of room for new signers if the company brings the product back again in 2018 or 2019.
The hobby box reviewed in this column was provided by Topps.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Collectors and Industry Insiders Share Thoughts on Top Cards of 2017
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.