A Very Late 2014 Topps High Tek Review

When I returned to collecting, one of my biggest surprises while catching up was the return of Topps Tek, a brand from the late 90s that I was never too fond of. After watching about 20 box breaks on YouTube and even purchasing two cards from the set, I began to appreciate Tek’s return a little more. It wasn’t until I discovered the INSANE autograph checklist that I jumped on the Tek bandwagon.

I was fortunate enough to receive a review box from Topps. As has always been the case with Wax Heaven sponsored product, 100% of this box break will be given away to a collector. To be entered for the 2014 Topps High Tek contest, please tell us about your favorite Tek card of all time, from any of the years it was produced. I will start with my own in the comments section.

As for a Wax Heaven review, here we go!

Design: A

Below is a base card from Topps High Tek. As you can imagine, these cards have an “out of this world” feel and look to them. If you’re an “old school” set collector or feel like all cards should look like 1989 Topps and have sticks of gum inside packs, you may not enjoy Tek’s design. Some of these cards look really great but I can’t help feel that some older players feel out of place in High Tek, such as Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

The Diffractors are nice and I love that they come just one per box, as it brings back memories of 1993 Finest and that there was just one Refractor per box. It instantly gives the parallel you pull a little more value, in my opinion. I must say, though … for such an over the top product like High Tek, the Diffractors seem somewhat subdued this year.

High Tek base card

Price: B

This is a touchy subject here. I busted a box of Stadium Club last month and had an absolute blast looking through all the inserts, parallels, and autographs. It was the most fun I’ve had busting wax in a long time. While going through HIgh Tek’s box with just a single pack and 8 cards, I felt like an addict as I went through each card hoping somehow the break wouldn’t end. Unfortunately, it did.

For around $80 dollars online, you can buy boxes of High Tek. You can also find boxes of Finest for the same price with three autographs and tons of Refractors. I guess in the end it depends on the checklist. I didn’t know half of the players I pulled from Finest, as it’s been five years since I followed baseball but High Tek was full of big names and nothing but big names, past and present.

In the end, I personally prefer a product like Tek with a small number of cards and high possibility of a big hit I can make money back on over a product like Finest where I will end up with a lot of cards I don’t necessarily need or want. Every collector is different, though. Also, at $80 per box, I can safely buy more than a box at a time but that may not be an option for collectors on a budget.

High Tek Diffractor #’d to 50

Inserts/Parallels/Hits: B

With just 8 cards per box, you can’t expect much. After all, High Tek is low to mid-level high-end. In the box, provided by Topps, I pulled a Mike Napoli DIffractor #’d to 50 and a Brandon Phillips on-card autograph, which despite featuring great penmanship, isn’t worth a whole lot. That’s one problem some collectors may encounter with Tek, despite it’s brilliant auto checklist.

After watching countless breaks, I have noticed that unless you pull a big name autograph, chances of making your money back are pretty low. If you’re a box breaker, you know the risks involved. If you only open 1-2 products a year, a brand like Stadium Club is better suited for a return on investment, card wise. Heck, I’d even pick Stadium Club over my first Topps love, Finest.

In my opinion, a product like 2014 High Tek is best enjoyed by busting multiple boxes or even an entire case. Not only do your odds of pulling a big card improve but you won’t be left hoping and wishing there were more cards per box the way I did. In 1998, Tek offered 80 cards per box. I would love for Topps to meet collectors somewhere in the middle.

High Tek autograph

Overall: B+

I absolutely loved High Tek’s return thanks to one of the greatest autograph checklists of all time, not to mention on-card autos and fun parallels. Personally, I am reeping the benefits of collectors who busted tons of Tek by adding cards of my player, Jose Canseco, for next to nothing. I won a Canseco base for less than a dollar and a beautiful on-card autograph for just $13.

2014 High Tek is one product I would absolutely buy in case form only because one pack just doesn’t cut it for me. As much as I didn’t enjoy Tek’s original run, I do miss pulling 80 cards per box. Yes, these new cards are light years ahead in looks than the original Tek but I wouldn’t mind curbing a guaranteed autograph for an extra 2-3 packs.

Then again, Tek’s debut didn’t even offer certified autographs.

Categories: Free Baseball Cards, The Hobby, The Topps Company | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “A Very Late 2014 Topps High Tek Review

  1. To enter the contest, just leave a comment with your all-time favorite Tek card.

    Below is my favorite, an autograph parallel of Jose Canseco #’d to 10.

    Way, way out of my league financially but a man can dream.

  2. Great post & great review! I missed the original Tek releases during a hobby hiatus, but I absolutely loved the 2014 release. While I wasn’t able to crack open any of the boxes, I was able to pick off some of my PC guys for my collection, similar to how you did.

    Since I missed the original Tek releases, I’m going to have to pick a card from this year as my favorite. My favorite card this year is the Nomar Garciaparra autograph! Similar to Canseco, Garciaparra hasn’t been featured in a lot of products since his retirement until this past year. It’s nice to see this Red Sox ‘cult hero’ get some hobby love.

  3. I have to admit I am not familiar with Topps Tek at all. Out of my price range, but that Brandon Phillips sure looks sweet, so I’ll call that my favorite Tek card. 🙂

  4. I have a bunch of Tino’s (my main PC guy) from the 1998 and 1999 Tek sets. Remember, 1999 had A and B versions with home and away jerseys, plus a bunch of different designs/backgrounds. I’d say my favorite is my 1998 Tino Martinez Topps Tek Diffractor.

  5. Nate Baustad

    I was away from the hobby when the original Tek released, but I love the look of these cards and I will chose a favorite from 2014 as I’m not all that familiar with the original release. My favorite would have to be one of the amazing Sandy Koufax autographs I’ve seen online. Out of my price range too!

  6. Mike V.

    The Fernando autos from this year were a great addition.

  7. Mike B

    I love the Rick Asadoorian rookie cards! If he had only panned out, I could retire from his Tek cards

  8. Pretty much any of the Griffey cards from 1999, 2000 and 2014 releases but if I had to pick a specific card it would be down to two of the Griffey cards: 2000 ArchiTEK proof card without foil and the 2014 Large Shatter background (though I don’t own one).

  9. Slette

    My favorite card from Tek was the inclusion of the Omar Vizquel autographs. Not a favorite from an addition to the collection standpoint, but a favorite because as the lower numbered Vizquels showed up on eBay, it was awesome to watch two huge collectors of his slug it out over the cards. They were going for first ballot HOF’er type money, and it was fun to witness.

  10. The Josh Hamilton Rays RC was huge. He had a 1999 Topps traded RC but I think it was a 2000 Topps Tek card that I remember chasing!

  11. Chris Miller

    I am pretty late to the game but I just recently bought a few boxes and got some pretty nice hits. Only one was an auto which was a Jose Canseco base auto. The other bigs hits I got was Ken Griffey Jr. 39/50, Hank Aaron insert 43/50, Jose Abreu black and white 02/15 and Sandy Koufax 1/1 black printing press. I would love to put together a Yadier Molina rainbow. My favorite card I pulled is the Shattered variant of Yadier Molina. I plan to buy the rest of my local card shop’s boxes.

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