A Guide To Topps Sapphire Releases

Topps has issued a wide variety of Sapphire products in recent years. They generally hold strong value. But with so many products, what offers the best value? We have the answers in our guide to Topps Sapphire releases

For years, the Topps sapphire inserts and parallels were among their most popular. As a result, they featured heavily in products such as Triple Threads. Since 2016, the company has released full Sapphire versions of some of its most popular products. The releases are often intended for Montgomery Club release, where the members quickly gobble them up. However, if by some miracle some boxes remain unclaimed, they are then made available to the unwashed masses on the Topps.com website.

What Is A Topps Sapphire Release

In nature, a sapphire is a precious gemstone that can be found in various appealing colors. Aside from blue, sapphires may be pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, or violet. However, they are most commonly found in different shaded of blue. A sapphire cannot be red because red corundum gems are called rubies.

Sapphire releases consist purely of the Topps version of a cracked ice parallel.

In 2016, Topps released its debut Topps Chrome Sapphire line, inspired by the famous gemstone. At first, the product appeared as a Topps Chrome factory set. However, it has found its place as a premium box-oriented release.

The great advantage of these releases is that they offer many relatively rare parallels of familiar and desirable cards.

The brand is particularly attractive in light of the lower value of base singles in current market conditions. In addition, many collectors are concerned regarding the effects of overprinting and grading. This shift of focus has led to a greater emphasis on cards with lower pop numbers, and the sapphire releases deliver in this regard.

Sapphire cards draw heavy inspiration from the gemstones (get a Shohei Ohtani Sapphire auto from eBay)

Guide To Topps Sapphire Releases Parallels

Each release has its own specific parallel list. However, they do have some aspects in common. For example, the rarest is invariably the Papradascha Superfractor, which is always a 1/1.

Here are the parallels you will typically find in a Topps Sapphire release:

  • Yellow Sapphire #/99
  • Green Sapphire #/75
  • Orange Sapphire #/25
  • Purple Sapphire #/10
  • Red Sapphire #/5
  • SuperFractor 1/1
  • Papradascha 1/1

How do you pronounce the last one? Similar to Papa Smurf? Maybe Pumpernickel? I have no idea. But regardless, those are good cards to get!

We don’t know how to pronounce it, but the Papradascha cards look great (get Bobby Witt Sapphire cards on eBay)

A Guide To Topps Sapphire Releases Value

The Sapphire releases have a unique aesthetic. Personally, I am a big fan of the look. Your decision to invest in Sapphire products will depend greatly on your preference in this regard.

But on a more objective level, how does the value of these releases hold up? Keep in mind that all cards are PSA 10 unless noted otherwise.

Topps Chrome Baseball Sapphire Edition

The first Sapphire product launched in 2016 as a factory set, for $1,500 a pop on the Montgomery Club. The release was limited to only 250 sets. They are now quite hard to find, but one is selling on eBay for $16,369.69.

The smaller and more familiar Topps Chrome Baseball Sapphire Edition first appeared in 2018. Priced at $199, it sold out as quickly as you would expect. The box was a great deal at that price, containing 3 autographs and 102 cards per box. The autos were limited to rookies. And of course, that year, the crop included: Ronald Acuna Jr., Shohei Ohtani, and Rafael Devers. The success of this release paved the way for the vast array of Sapphire releases available today.

The release has since been pared down somewhat, most notably in terms of autos. A 2021 Topps Chrome Baseball Sapphire Edition Box contains only one rookie auto and a mere 32 cards. But did the price go down due to the lower number of autos? Of course not. The 2021 price point for Montgomery Club members was $250, down from $300 the previous year.

So how does the value of these cards hold up?

Card Sapphire Version Chrome Version
2018 Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card $4,050 $197
2019 Vlad Guerrero Jr. Rookie Card $1,300 $214
2020 Luis Robert Rookie Card $242 $50

As you can see, the singles are far more valuable than their Chrome counterparts. However, they seem to command prices that are about 5 times bigger. In the case of the Shohei, it is significantly more.

What about wax?

2018 Topps Chrome Baseball Sapphire Edition Box $11,999
2019 Topps Chrome Baseball Sapphire Edition Box $1,099
2020 Topps Chrome Baseball Sapphire Edition Box $424

The 2018 box is a massive outlier here because it holds 3 autos. But the 2019 version sold initially for $50, so there is immense resale value here.

They may have cut the number of autos, but the Chrome Sapphire Baseball boxes are still a good hold (look for them on eBay)

Bowman Draft Sapphire

Inspired by the success of Topps Chrome Sapphire, the company first released Bowman Draft Sapphire in 2019 as a Montgomery Club exclusive product. Bowman Draft is the first release of MLB draft picks in their pro uniforms. The release also includes prospects further along in their professional development. However, the recent draft picks are the main attraction.

So how do the Sapphire versions compare with their less gemstone-oriented cousins? First, we looked at some of the strongest singles in this release. All cards are PSA 10s unless indicated otherwise.

Card Sapphire Version Chrome Version
2019 Bowman Draft Adley Rutschman Sapphire $213 $125
2020 Bowman Draft Spencer Torkelson $700 $245
2021 Blaze Jordan (raw) $35 $13

What about wax value? The cards come in small boxes with 32 cards. Unfortunately, the first editions of the release did not include any autos. This fact lowered the potential wax value of Topps Chrome Sapphire. However, the 2021 release rectifies this by including one auto per box. Therefore, we can expect the 2021 edition and future ones to hold value better.

Box Value
2019 Bowman Draft Sapphire $499
2020 Bowman Draft Sapphire $425

Bowman Chrome Sapphire Edition 

The Sapphire Bowman Draft was a big hit with collectors, selling out as quickly as Montgomery Club members could purchase them. So, in 2020, the company took the obvious step of releasing a Sapphire version of the main Bowman Chrome release.

How do singles from the series fare?

Card Sapphire Version Chrome Version
2020 Bowman Jasson Dominguez $540 $199
2021 Bowman Austin Martin (raw) $29 $2
A Jasson Dominguez Sapphire auto anyone? (get them on eBay)

Now for a look at wax. Topps did not repeat the past mistakes and included one auto per box from the get-go. Therefore, the value for these boxes is substantial.

Box Value
2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition $849
2021 Bowman Sapphire Edition $299

As you can see, these releases can accrue great value on the secondary market if there are desirable autos in them. And with good reason, the singles go at much higher prices than their regular chrome counterparts.

Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition UEFA Champions League Soccer Cards

Topps took its first steps into the Sapphire soccer market with its 2019-2020 UEFA Champions League release. The 32 card boxes were available on pre-sale for Montgomery Club members and also made available on the Topps UK site.

Those who picked the inaugural edition up for $80 were very glad they did. The boxes are now reselling on eBay for around $1,500. You can get the 2020-2021 version for about $900 on eBay. Since collectors spent $250 on the last release, their return on investment was not quite as high.

But how do the singles hold up?

Card Sapphire Version Chrome Version
2019-2020 Ansu Fati Rookie Card $460 $155
2019-2020 Erling Haaland Rookie Card $2001 $1,199

The Sapphire cards in this release perform at about two times the value of their Chrome base equivalents. It appears that the Sapphire effect works in soccer as well. However, it is notably less dramatic (for singles) than it is with baseball cards.

The Ansu Fati rookie cards are probably the main draw in 2019-2020 UCL Sapphire (look for Fati RCs from eBay)

Topps MLS Chrome Soccer Sapphire

The success of the Sapphire baseball releases saw Topps move the format into soccer. We may expect more releases of this type in soccer, considering that Topps will lose its baseball license in 2025. 2021 saw the release of the inaugural MLS version.

Since the market for MLS cards is smaller than baseball, the boxes were sold for only $100 to Montgomery Club members. Did they get a strong return on their investment?

Let’s see how the singles hold up:

Card Sapphire Version Chrome Version
2021 MLS Topps Ricardo Pepi (raw) $102 $25
2021 MLS Topps Caden Clark (raw) $29 $9

The boxes are doing quite well, considering they have not had time to age much and that MLS has limited popularity. You can pick them up for around $185-190 on eBay.

Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition Bundesliga Soccer Cards

Traditionally, the German soccer league does not command a massive amount of attention. But in recent years, the league has excelled at developing the next generation of soccer superstars. In particular, Borussia Dortmund has led the way. Just a few examples of players going through Dortmund on their way to superstardom include American superstar Christian Pulisic, Robert Lewandowski, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

However, more than anyone else, Erling Braut Haaland has captured the attention of card collectors. Due to the increased demand for Bundesliga rookies, it makes sense that Topps would release a Sapphire version of its German soccer cards.

Unlike most Sapphire releases, this one was intended for the European market. Therefore, it was carried by Topps UK and Topps Germany, rather than the Montgomery Club for roughly $240 (or their Euro and British Pound equivalents).

Even though the box was not obtainable in the US, it has a relatively reasonable resale price. You can currently pick one up on eBay for $400.

But is it worth the investment? First, let’s look at the value of some of the primary cards. Unfortunately, there are not too many graded cards from this series.

Card Sapphire Version Chrome Version
2020-2021 Jude Bellingham RC $395 $512 (Refractor)
2020-2021 Youssoufa Moukoko RC $513 $1,026

There aren’t many Bundesliga Chrome base PSA 10s out there, so I could not compare. So instead, I looked at the refractors. There is no doubt that a refractor is a better investment than a Sapphire base card, at least for the Bundesliga releases. But I do not doubt that a Sapphire base is significantly more valuable than a Bundesliga Chrome base card.

Garbage Pail Kids Sapphire Edition

The Montgomery Club first released a Sapphire edition of Garbage Pail Kids in 2020. It was a gamble to try the baseball card-oriented release on GPK, but it is fair to say that the release was successful. To me, it seems a bit strange to release the somewhat disgusting GPK designs in such a classy format. But collectors seem to disagree vehemently.

How much does the box sell for? You can currently get one for $575 on eBay.

Keep in mind that this high resale value comes despite some well-known problems with the release. Topps guaranteed that there would be 2 “hits” inside each box. However, many of the packages contained only one or even none.

A loving tribute to our first President? (look for GPK Sapphire cards on eBay)

Bottomline Of The Guide To Topps Sapphire Releases 

The numbers show clearly that the Sapphire factor adds a significant amount of value to cards. We can call this the Sapphire effect. Baseball cards from this series seem to be worth about five times as much as their chrome base counterparts. For soccer cards, the effect is more modest. However, it is still very significant.

While base cards are suffering in value, the Sapphire versions seem to be doing great. If so, they provide a strong alternative for non-auto base cards. You are almost guaranteed a dramatic price increase if you can get your hands on Sapphire releases for the Montgomery Club price.

The difference in price for singles is as dramatic as the wax. That means you can have an enjoyable Sapphire baseball rip without being overly concerned about the loss of value. However, the GPK and soccer releases are notably better performers in wax than in singles. SO if you get your hands on those, keep them in the closet for a while.

It is hard to say what the future holds for Sapphire releases. Topps will lose baseball in 2025 and will more than likely continue the releases for their remaining lines. However, we would not be remotely surprised if Fanatics came up with their own version. Before you dismiss it, remember that Panini Prizm started as a knock-off of Topps Chrome.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is a former history and political science professor at UCLA. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary. Shai also worked as a diplomat and journalist on three continents.