2009 Topps Unique Baseball HobbyBox Price: $123
Good: Awesome design, great potential pulls, tons of rookie cards.
Bad: Price is a little steep, only 1 autograph per hobby box on average.
The Bottom Line: 2009 Topps Unique Baseball is a very nice addition to the Topps lineup. It breaks the mold by combining high stakes premium hits with high pack counts. Its wide assortment of rookie cards and lower tier inserts keep things interesting throughout the box, while the wealth of potential high end pulls adds a chase element that provides a pronounced level of excitement and anticipation that is along the same lines as Triple Threads.
The base cards look great and there are some pleasant surprises on the insert front as well. Upon opening my first pack of 2009 Topps Unique I promptly fell in love with the sleek, yet simple design of the base cards. The overall feel of the set is along the same lines as what I would envision Upper Deck Black being like if Upper Deck had gone a step father with it.
Topps Unique's inserts are also aesthetically pleasing, but the red parallels are a forgettable addition to the set that that sticks out like a sore thumb.
There are tons of cool high end pulls to be had from Topps Unique. The list of potential hits include every from bat barrels, to massive jersey patches, multi-patch autographs, and everything in between. The focus of the checklist is definitely on modern day players, but there are some all time greats represented in some of the higher tiered inserts.
The base set is extensive and the rookie card selection is deep. Every rookie card is serial numbered and Topps seeded plenty of them in each box.
In the way of higher end products, 2009 Topps Unique is really a great value. Whereas with other premium products you are typically limited to one or two packs per box, Topps Unique sports a robust 24 packs per hobby box. Equally impressive is that it does so without sacrificing much in the way of the chase card appeal that drives the demand for higher end baseball card products.
Even though the 3 hits I pulled were mediocre, I pulled enough good rookie and star cards that I really enjoyed the break. I have lots of solid new additions to make to my various player collections, which has never happened from breaking a box at this high a price point.
On the other hand if you do not collect any active players or you simply abhor the idea of pulling 100+ base cards, 2009 Topps Unique Baseball is a much more risky proposition. There are some awesome potential pulls, but the dropoff point is a bit more then similarly priced baseball card products. If I didn't collect so many players and really like the set's design, I would have been pretty upset with the 3 hits I pulled from my box which included a Rich Hill Autograph, a Hank Blalock jersey patch, and a Jose Reyes / David Wright dual game used memorabilia card.
The highlights of my box break: