2022 Topps Sterling Review And Checklist


Historically, busting baseball packs has involved sorting through the less desirable (commons) in search of hits. But, of course, as we all know, some sets had more “hits” than others. But one baseball release bypasses all of that. Let’s learn more through our 2022 Topps Sterling review and checklist.

2022 Topps Sterling Release Date

The product is expected to be released on May 18, 2022.

 

2022 Topps Sterling Review And Checklist: History Of The Product

Triple patch autos are the jewel in the Sterling crown. Look for some on eBay. 

Topps Sterling has always been a premium product but has changed over time.

Topps Sterling debuted in November 2006 as Topps’ first foray into the premium market. Then, five-card hobby boxes came with an MSRP of $250. Over the next few years, Topps released Sterling in November or December. The MSRP and exact configuration of the offering varied slightly but were generally consistent in the “5 or 6 cards for $200-250” range, with a base set between 150-300 cards.

After 2010 Topps discontinued the Sterling brand. At least for a decade.

How about a Mickey Mantle game-used patch auto? Look for other Mantle autos on eBay. 

Topps Sterling: The Reintroduction

In 2020, Topps re-introduced and re-imagined the Sterling brand. The base set was no more. The number of cards per box went down. The price tag went up. The quality of the hits went nuts.

Only the Hits

Topps Sterling brings the idea of premium to the extreme. It’s a no commons and all hits release. Instead, Topps Sterling features only the hits, none of the less desirable, and a price tag that might cause you to make a double-take.

This premium product does reduce the collector/card producer relationship down to a simple gamble. Big price tag. Big hits. No commons. Oh, and a tiny number of cards.

2022 Topps Sterling Review And Checklist: Release Formats

Get 2021 Topps Sterling Baseball boxes on eBay. 

A box of 2022 Topps Sterling contains TWO packs (or “mini-boxes”). Each pack contains ONE card. Pre-order pricing puts the cost per box at around $1,000 per box, or $500 per card.

The two packs are “themed,” with “Theme A” packs containing 1 autographed relic card (#’d to 25 or less) and “Theme B” packs containing 1 autographed relic card OR one 1 Unique Relic or Auto Relic card (1/1).

  • 2 Packs per box.
  • 1 card per pack
  • 8 boxes per case
  • Pre-Order Pricing: ~$1,000/box

2022 Topps Sterling Review And Checklist: The Design

2022 Topps Sterling has a solid, reasonably clean design. The one thing that stands out is that many of the cards focus on the autograph, relic, or both, and less on the player. The cards only have a small photo of the player featured in some cases. That feels odd to some. However, when you’re talking about a card with multiple relics or autographs and relics on the card, it’s what you get.

2022 Topps Sterling Review And Checklist: Reviewing The Checklist

So, there is no base set in 2022 Topps Sterling. But what cards can collectors expect? Let’s take a look at a breakdown of the offering.

Sterling Seasons

Highlighting a season of greatness, cards feature on-card autographs and two relics. Numbered to 25.

Blue Parallel: Feature 3 relics / numbered 10

Red Parallel:  Feature 4 relics / numbered to 5

Silver Parallel – Featuring 5 relic pieces and numbered 1/1

Sterling Strikes

Top pitchers are highlighted here with on-card autographed relic cards. Numbered to 25.

Blue Parallel: Featuring 3 relics / numbered to 10

Red Parallel: Featuring 4 relics / numbered to 5

Silver Parallel: Featuring 5 relics / numbered 1/1

Sterling Swings

Featuring some of the top hitters in the game on cards containing 2 relics and an on-card autograph. Numbered to 25.

Blue Parallel:  Featuring 3 relics / numbered to 10

Red Parallel – Featuring 4 relics / numbered to 5

Silver Parallel:  Featuring 5 relics / numbered 1/1

Sterling Splendor Jumbo Patch Autographs

The biggest names are showcased in a big way with a jumbo patch and an on-card autograph. Numbered to 5. The RPAs in this series are first rate.

Red Parallel: Numbered to 3

Silver Parallel: Numbered 1/1

Look for more Shohei Ohtani patch autos on eBay.

Sterling Debuts

Several players from the 2022 rookie class get the big-league treatment with their first on-card autographed relic cards of the year. Numbered to 25.

Blue Parallel: Featuring 3 relics / numbered to 10

Red Parallel: Featuring 4 relics / numbered to 5

Silver Parallel: Featuring 5 relics / numbered 1/1

Sterling Sets Dual Autograph Relics

Players w/ a common theme are paired up and feature on-card autographs and game-used relic pieces. Numbered to 15.

Red Parallel: Featuring 4 relics (2 per player) / numbered to 5

Silver Parallel: Featuring 6 relics (3 per player) / numbered 1/1

Sterling Sets Triple Autograph Relics

Trios of top players are featured with on-card autographs and game-used relics. Numbered to 10.

Red Parallel: numbered to 5

Silver Parallel: numbered 1/1

Unique Relics

1/1 (2 per case)

Topps Sterling has some awesome Mike Trout relics. See what is up on eBay. 

Topps Sterling Jersey Letter Patch Cards

Oversized relics of the featured player’s jersey letter patches.

Topps Sterling Bat Knob Cards

Game-used bat knobs from some of the game’s greats.

Topps Sterling Autographed Bat Knob Cards

Game-used bat knob cards that feature on-card autographs

Topps Sterling Bat Nameplate Cards

Feature player names emblazoned on a game-used bat

Topps Sterling Autographed Bat Nameplate Cards

Feature player names emblazoned on a game-used bat with an on-card autograph

Topps Sterling Cut Signatures

Cut signatures of all-time greats from baseball, politics, and entertainment.

Legendary Relics

Highlighting Hall of Fame members and other legendary names with a trio of pieces of game-used memorabilia.

Legendary Cut Signature Relics

Vintage cut signatures alongside 2 game-used relics per card.

2022 Topps Sterling Review And Checklist: Guide To Value

The pulls are impressive, and the price tag is high. But how do unopened boxes of Topps Sterling hold their value?

Wax

Year Price
2020 Topps Sterling Wax Box $1,000 – $1,100
2021 Topps Sterling Wax Box $850
2022 Topps Sterling Wax Box $1,000 (pre-order)

A quick look at recent sales on eBay suggests that the boxes tend to hold their value well. However, the chances of a significant price increase on the secondary market aren’t great.

Singles

Buying 2022 Topps Sterling unopened boxes is a gamble, plain and simple. You might hit it big or get a great card that isn’t worth the $500 per card buy-in.

A quick look at recent sales of 2020 Topps Sterling singles shows some selling for over $500, including some selling for quite a bit more. For example, a 1/5 Mike Trout quad-relic, logo patch, and on-card autograph sold recently for over $2,000. Many 2020 Topps Sterling cards sell in the $50-$200 range, representing quite a loss compared to the buy-in price.

The story is the same with 2021 Topps Sterling. A Ronald Acuna Jr. GU bat knob card sold recently for $1,675. The 1/1 Roberto Clemente cut signature card, graded PSA 9, sold for a shocking $20,000. Those examples aside, many 2021 Topps Sterling singles sell in the $50-$200 range.

So, the potential for big returns, but with significant risk and a high buy-in!

How about this Acuna-Aaron double patch auto? Look for more Topps Sterling Baseball patch autos on eBay. 

Bottomline Of The 2022 Topps Sterling Review And Checklist

I have mixed feelings about 2022 Topps Sterling. In some ways, the offering represents the worst parts of the hobby. It features ridiculous prices and a gambling mentality and focuses on the “big hit” over the standard offering.

However, there is a market for these cards, and I can’t begrudge those looking to spend big money on a chance at an efficient hit with little “waste.” The hobby continues to change, and card companies will target products to the demand.

Mike D

Mike D

Mike D. has collected cards since he bought his first pack of Topps at the corner store in 1987. He has long been fascinated by the Baseball Hall of Fame, and of course cards of Hall of Famers, present and future.