Sports Card News, Reviews, and Box Breaks

2007 Topps Sterling Analysis

December 28th, 2007 by Alex

Here are some numbers on 2007 Topps Sterling Baseball. This is based on product info and checklists found in the Topps Sterling Sell Sheet. Now while the calculations that I came up with cannot be guaranteed to be 100% accurate, I am certain they are close enough to be useful for prospective buyers. This guide is for informational purposes only. So don’t blame me if you open 10 boxes based on this and get 10 Justin Morneau triple jersey cards…

By my estimates there are 19,143 boxes of Topps Sterling out there. I came up with this by using print runs and the checklists provided by Topps. I calcluated 19,143 “hits” and since its one hit per box thats where that number came from. There are 1900 letter patches (each 1/1) in the Mystery Packs which are supposed to run 1 in every 10 boxes. Based on that you get 19,000 boxes, so my number of 19,143 isn’t far off.

Here are the odds of getting each player:

Most Common - About 1 in 10 boxes

Mickey Mantle - 10%
Barry Bonds - 10%

Next Tier - About 1 in 21 boxes

Justin Morneau - 4.72%
David Wright - 4.71%

Uncommon - About 1 in 32 boxes

Bob Gibson - 3.21%
Alex Rodriguez - 3.19%
Albert Pujols - 3.18%
David Ortiz - 3.18%
Ichiro - 3.17%
Ryan Howard - 3.17%
Chien-Ming Wang - 3.15%
Johan Santana - 3.15%
Nolan Ryan - 3.15%
Tom Seaver - 3.15%
Manny Ramirez - 3.12%
Carl Yastrzemski - 3.10%
Mike Schmidt - 3.10%
Reggie Jackson - 3.10%
Ryne Sandberg - 3.10%
Stan Musial - 3.10 %
Tony Gwynn - 3.10%
Yogi Berra - 3.10%
Roger Clemens - 3.09%

Rarest - About 1 in 54 boxes

Ted Williams - 1.85%
Daisuke Matsuzaka - 1.84%
Hideki Matsui - 1.84%
Joe DiMaggio - 1.84%
Roberto Clemente - 1.84%
Roger Maris - 1.84%

Here is the Relic/Auto split for each player. For example, if you have an Albert Pujols Box, you have a 83.9% chance of getting a relic and 16.1% chance of getting an Auto.

Albert Pujols - 83.9% Relic, 16.1% Auto
Alex Rodriguez - 17.2% Relic, 82.8% Auto
Barry Bonds - 96.0% Relic, 4.0% Auto
Bob Gibson - 17.9% Relic, 82.1% Auto
Carl Yastrzemski - 16.8% Relic, 83.2% Auto
Chien-Ming Wang - 18.1% Relic, 81.9% Auto
Daisuke Matsuzaka - 100.0% Relic, 0.0% Auto
David Ortiz - 63.9% Relic, 36.1% Auto
David Wright - 17.2% Relic, 82.8% Auto
Hideki Matsui - 87.8% Relic, 12.2% Auto
Ichiro Suzuki - 100.0% Relic, 0.0% Auto
Joe Dimaggio - 97.2% Relic, 2.8% Auto
Johan Santana - 18.1% Relic, 81.9% Auto
Justin Morneau - 17.3% Relic, 82.7% Auto
Manny Ramirez - 17.6% Relic, 82.4% Auto
Mickey Mantle - 99.5% Relic, 0.5% Auto
Mike Schmidt - 27.9% Relic, 72.1% Auto
Nolan Ryan - 18.1% Relic, 81.9% Auto
Reggie Jackson - 16.8% Relic, 83.2% Auto
Roberto Clemente - 97.2% Relic, 2.8% Auto
Roger Clemens - 76.0% Relic, 24.0% Auto
Roger Maris - 97.2% Relic, 2.8% Auto
Ryan Howard - 18.3% Relic, 81.7% Auto
Ryne Sandberg - 16.8% Relic, 83.2% Auto
Stan Musial - 16.7% Relic, 83.3% Auto
Ted Williams - 97.2% Relic, 2.8% Auto
Tom Seaver - 18.1% Relic, 81.9% Auto
Tony Gwynn - 15.0% Relic, 85.0% Auto
Yogi Berra - 16.7% Relic, 83.3% Auto

Whew, thats a lot of numbers, but what does it all mean?

First and foremost: No Dice-K autos! No Ichiro autos! Dice-K is Upper Deck exclusive so that explains that. Might be the same case with Ichiro. If you get a Dice-K or Ichiro box you are not getting an auto.

Hideki Matsui, the other Japanese player in this product does have autos. However his box is one of the rarest (As rare as Clemente and DiMaggio), and the chance of getting an Autograph out of one is a paltry 12.2%.

Barry Bonds is one of the most common boxes but only 4% of them have autos. Expect a lot of triple and quad cards to hit Ebay really soon. Personally feelings aside (ahem… cheater), I think the Bonds box is one of the worst.

If you get a “bad” box like Justin Morneau, at least you have a really good shot at an Autograph. Even if the player on the box doesn’t get you too excited, you should have a good chance at pulling an autograph (About 80% chance), and at least a possibility of pulling a bat barrel or jumbo swatch. Good job by Topps on that one.

The Big Hits

Overall Chances of Getting a Jumbo Swatch, Jumbo Swatch Auto, Bat Barrel, or Cut Signature: 2.72% or 1 out of 37 boxes. Note that not all players have Jumbo Swatch or Bat Barrel cards. Mantle, Clemente, Maris, Williams, and DiMaggio are the only cut signatures.

Jumbo Swatch: 1.04% –Get it on eBay!
Jumbo Swatch Auto: 1.10% –Get it on eBay!
Bat Barrel: 0.31% –Get it on eBay!
Cut Signature: 0.26% –Get it on eBay!

Hmm… its actually easier to pull a Jumbo Swatch Auto than just a Jumbo Swatch. And yes I double and triple checked the numbers on this.

One of One’s

One of One relic/auto parallels: 1,693
One of One Bat Barrels: 60
One of One Cut Signatures: 50
One of One Letter patches (Mystery Pack): 1,900
One of One Base Card Parallel (Mystery Pack): 508
Total number of one of one’s = 4,211

According to Topps there’s a Letter patch and an additional one of one in every case, so you have roughly a 20% chance of getting a 1/1 (1 in every 5 boxes).

Mystery Packs

Cherry Wood Parallel (1/1) - 1.2%
Sterling Silver Parallel (1/1) - 1.2%
Gold Parallel (#’d to 9) - 10.9%
Burgundy Parallel (#’d to 14) -17.0%
White Suede Parallel (#’d to 50) - 60.6%
Letter Patch (1/1) - 9.1%

The mystery pack numbers are a little screwy because there seems to be more cards than mystery packs out there. If anyone can come up with an explanation that would be helpful.

Other Stuff

Chances of getting an active player: 51.5%
Chances of getting a HOFer: 48.6%

Chances of getting a hitter: 79.4%
Chances of getting a pitcher: 20.7%

Chances of getting an Asian Player: 10.0%

Chances of getting a steroids user: 13.1%

Chances of getting a Yankees Player: 31.2%
Chances of getting a Red Sox player: 13.1%

Best shot at a bat barrel: Alex Rodriguez (1.1%)
Best shot at a Jumbo Swatch: Hideki Matsui (5.7%)

If you have any questions leave me a comment and I’ll answer as best I can.

UPDATE 2007-01-06
Read even more: 2007 Topps Sterling Analysis - Part 2

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40 Responses to “2007 Topps Sterling Analysis”

  1. Halfbreed Says:

    Very nice analysis! This is the perfect breakdown of the product and this information would be fantastic to have during a case break.

    I do have to disagree on the Bonds being the worst box. The worst box by far is Justin Morneau. His auto relics are selling for around $23 while Bonds relics without an auto are selling for $40. We also need to consider that the Bonds base cards /250 sell in the $3 range while the Morneau base sell for .99

    Simply going by sale prices I would rank Morneau as the worst box to get followed by Johan Santana.

  2. benny Says:

    just one question. if there are 254 different base cards, each #d/250, wouldnt that equal out to 63,500 base cards which would divide out into 21,166(7) boxes produced?
    by your 19+k estimate that would account for 57,430 base cards. where would the shortage be?
    going by claimed mystery packs contents there would be 20,950 mystery packs so there might be a shortage of mystery packs for some reason? lol
    easy to get confused here but im steering it in the right direction and hope i helped.

  3. Alex Says:

    hey benny,
    Yeah i did run into that little problem making everything balance out…
    The way i did it was to count out all the “hits”. i figured if its one hit per box that would be a good way to get the total number of boxes. If you divided out the base cards you get way too many boxes, because there are for sure only 1900 letter patches (i say for sure because topps outright says so). I figure topps can just throw out some of the base cards… or give them away as promotions maybe? who knows. bottom line is i dont believe there can be more boxes than hits so thats why i went with the 19,143 and disregarded the surplus in base cards and mystery packs. any and all information is highly appreciated! this is still a work in progress and i’ll let you know if i change anything based on new information.

  4. 2007 Topps Sterling Case Break, What do you think of this product? - Page 2 - Sports Card Freaks Forums Says:

    […] Johan Santana #57, Thanks, great explanation. Very interesting information on Sterling here: The Card Blog 2007 Topps Sterling Analysis Box 4: 6 Boxes to go 1 box should be a Bonds 1 Box should be a Mantle at least 4 of the boxes […]

  5. Kabuki Says:

    Ichiro is actually an exclusive of Mills Creek Sports Exclusive in the state of Washington. I wonder why Ichiro did this when he would get better exposure from the two big companies….maybe to avoid being overexposed?

  6. Alan Says:

    My completely uninformed guess would be that the “extra” cards are what they use for the NPN program.

  7. David Says:

    wow, so about 8 of 10 arod boxes would yield an auto #/10 or less? that’s pretty good odds on an arod auto which has been selling fairly well. now, my question is in regards to the foldout autos vs his regular autos. how rare are they? i’ve only seen a very few copies on ebay and i was fortunate enough to pull one too

    thanks for any info


  8. benny Says:

    i totally forgot about npn. that has to be where the surplus will go.

  9. Alan Says:

    “Whew, thats a lot of numbers, but what does it all mean?”

    One thing it means is that those people paying $240 and up for an Ichiro box and $320 and up for a Daisuke Matsuzaka box haven’t read this blog. It’s certainly not criminal but it is so so so very wrong what’s happening with those boxes. And Topps is to blame !

  10. Matt Says:

    WOW !!!! Shit, I did NOT NOT NOT know that Matsuzaka had no autos !!! I bought a box of Matsuzaka from Ebay for 335 and got a 1/1 4-relic card….so I guess that’d be worth…maybe $450-$500 ? So I didn’t do bad at all, but if I got a quad relic out of ten…I assume it’d only be worth $150 or so and I would have gotten screwed. Phew…And I was gonna buy more Matsuzaka boxes too. Thank god I didn’t

    I wonder how Matsui’s prices will go, for example….The boxes are selling low but he’s one of the rare ones. His prices in general are not too high

  11. Aaron Says:


    Bravo! Finally a great blog….

  12. Boogy Says:

    I just opened a box and pulled an Alex Rodriquez Quad Relic Auto 2/10 and I got a Roy Halladay 1/1 Letter Patch from the mystery pack. How much do you think they are worth?

  13. Alex Says:

    Boogy: Nice box! The A-Rod should be around $150 - $200 depending on the jersey pieces. If it has pinstripes/patches it will be on the higher end. The Halladay also depends on what letter it is and how many colors. I would say $120 - $150. Maybe higher if its really nice looking.

  14. Cowtown_Raider Says:

    Hi guys,
    I know absolutely nothing about baseball cards, but a friend of mine (who knows nothing about the internet) has pulled a UD Black Roy Halladay Quad-patch signature card from a pack. It says it’s an authentic autograph certified by UD management. Says 1 of 1 so I assume that means one of a kind. I hear ebay dictates the price of cards, but any idea what it might be worth?

  15. superkat Says:

    Ok. I think it has been long enough to ask this question. Where is the checklist for all the cards that are in the 2007 Topps Sterling Baseball mystery packs. Has anyone seen it or know when Topps is going to publish it? I just want to know all the players that are in the mystery packs and how many cards of each player there are from the mystery packs. What’s the word on the street?

  16. Alex Says:

    Beckett has the checklist with print runs of the Mystery Pack Letter patches on their Online Price Guide. If you want to see it, sign up for an account (It’s free), and then go to My Collections under Collecting Tools. Hit the Add button and create a collection. Choose “Browse for a player by set or player name”. Then go to 2007, choose 2007 Topps Sterling and check “2007 Topps Sterling Letter Patch”. Hit next and that will give you the whole checklist with print runs.

  17. superkat Says:

    Thanks Alex….(Glad to know someone reads these things!!!)

  18. 2007 Topps Sterling Tony Gwynn x 2 Box Break From JBS - Page 2 - Blowout Cards Forums Says:

    […] Originally Posted by hockeyjunkie99 There are different %’s of autos depending on the player. Someone posted the %’s a while back. Maybe JBS can search for it….lol Here it is: There are 2 pages 2007 Topps Sterling Analysis | The Card Blog […]

  19. Case Break 6/10 07 Topps Sterling... - Page 2 - Blowout Cards Forums Says:

    […] 2007 Topps Sterling Analysis | The Card Blog […]

  20. Cardboard Mania proves me wrong « Hand Collated Says:

    […] up. According to, Upper Deck’s exclusive agreement covers autographed cards only. This post at the Card Blog seems to confirm that idea. So far, as far as I can find, Topps has yet to release […]

  21. dustin Says:

    hi guys i have this 1/1 letter and i don’t know how much it’s worth. I have a pic of the card above. How much do you guys think it’s worth? Also i saw someone say above that it matters what letter it is, what letters are good and what letters aren’t as good? thanks guys

  22. Alex Says:

    The good letters generally take up more space in the window, without too much of the letter being cut off. Of course multiple colors are also better. The worst possible letter you can get is probably a single color letter I, because its just a thin strip down the middle of the card. As to value of your card, I would guess that you could get around $100 for it on eBay.

  23. dustin Says:

    thank you alex for the information, i just picked up a clint barmes letter R in a trade. The R is black and white and is a very neat card. Im guessing i could get around 75 for it on ebay. Does that sound like a fair price?

  24. roscoe192 Says:

    Just so people know, I was fortunate enough to pull three matsui boxes from the many boxes I had purchased. However… none of the three had autos. 3x relic and two 5x relic. I tried to sell them on ebay for $50 or less several times with no intrest by anyone. Basically I am finding his non auto sterlings have no real value regardless of how hard it is to find his box. On the other hand I have only seen a handful of matsui autos they being his jumbo swatch pieces. So maybe his box is hard to find, but that does not matter when nobody wants whats inside of it. If your going with a far east player and want value stick with a chien-ming wang box.

  25. stefan Says:

    Hey, great analysis. I didn’t know about the Dice-K and Ichiro no signature deal. That’s kind of disappointing but I guess the rules are the rules. Since the new 2008 Sterling’s are coming up fast, any idea who the chosen players are going to be? I know the list is out for the “Geatest Players In History” but any idea for the players of now? Thanks.

  26. Ray Says:

    I just opened a box and the mystery was a 1/1 letter patch for Carlos Delgado. My player hit was Matsuzaka, I pulled a 5/10 six piece era patch. Not bad since I only paid $200 for the box on (I think the seller has more just search the site for 2007 topps sterling box and you will see one seller priced at $200).

  27. Boogy Says:

    Alex, will you be doing an analysis for the 2008 Topps Sterling? It would be great if you did because I am debating buying a case of it.

  28. 08 Topps Sterling checklist? - Blowout Cards Forums Says:

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