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It’s hard to believe it’s MLB playoffs and Topps Update season! In just a few months, collectors will be salivating at the thought of Spring Training and will be eager to get their hands on a Elly De La Cruz rookie card. That eagerness will stem from the fact that we’ve had a season to witness De La Cruz’s greatness, but also because, well, 2023 Update falls a bit short when it comes to rookies.
Not to fear, let’s focus on what’s in front of us—the best cards you can find in 2023 Topps Update. Please note, before we get going…buy with caution! It never fails, but when a product is first released, collectors are willing to pay more for singles then what those same cards might be worth down the road.
So, if a card is rare, that’s one thing, but just know that a base rookie, insert, or even high-numbered card’s value will come down back to earth in most cases.
(For example as I take a quick look here, a 2023 Topps Update Cal Ripken Jr. MVP Award Medallion Black /199 just sold for $39.95. Is it a cool card, sure. But looking back at similar commemorative/manufactured patches and medallions, a 2023 Pujols patch /199 solf dor $4.25 while an actual black bat relic from Ken Griffey Jr. sold for $20.)
Autos, Patches (and Medallions)
Let’s get the obvious category out of the way—with any modern product release, the auto is going to be king of the most valuable castle. As such, we have already seen a handful of autos and patches selling for hundreds of dollars:
- 2023 Topps Update Bobby Miller Red 1988 Topps Auto /25 $325
- 2023 Topps Update Spencer Strider All-Star Stitches Auto /25 $115
- 2023 Topps Update Eury Perez 1988 Topps Auto $75
- 2023 Topps Update Bobby Miller 1988 Topps Auto $74.99
- 2023 Topps Update Jose Altuve 1988 AS Auto $60
- 2023 Topps Update Shintaro Fujinami Auto $59.99
- 2023 Topps Update Julio Rodriguez All-Star Stitches $49.99
- 2023 Topps Update Michael Harris 1988 Topps Auto $49.95
- 2023 Topps Update Zach Neto 1988 Topps Auto $45
- 2023 Topps Update Darryl Strawberry 1988 Topps Auto $44.99
- 2023 Topps Update Lou Gehrig MVP Medallion Black /199 $40
And I know I mentioned medallions as generally not being worth a ton, but I need to make an exception because some players, like Kirby Puckett, could command a premium in less print quantities. For instance, this Kirby Puckett /75 sold for $49.99:
One card you don’t see on the list is the controversial “first stitch.”
Golden Image Variation SSPs
Sure, these Golden Image Variation SSPs don’t have the gusto they did when Topps first released them for Series 1 and had online retailers offering bounties for entire sets of them, but they are still cool, and hey SSP rules.
- 2023 Topps Update Francisco Alvarez RC Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $274.99
- 2023 Topps Update Josh Jung RC Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $250
- 2023 Topps Update Masataka Yoshida RC Golden Image Variation SSP $149.25
- 2023 Topps Update Blake Perkins RC Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $149.99
- 2023 Topps Update Stephen Straburg RC Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $139
- 2023 Topps Update Brett Wisely RC Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $125
- 2023 Topps Update Dylan Dodd RC Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $110
- 2023 Topps Update Aledmys Diaz Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $100
- 2023 Topps Update Jake Irvin Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $99.99
- 2023 Topps Update Oswald Peraza Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $$99.99
- 2023 Topps Update Garrett Stubbs Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $99.95
- 2023 Topps Update Sean Murphy Golden Mirror Image Variation SSP $90
From those prices, when in doubt, flip it over! Most image variations are easy to spot if you know what to look for (playfulness, street clothes, celebrations, dugout shots) but why chance it when you can simply turn your stack of cards over and look for this:
And as a reminder (as was the case for 2023 Topps Series 1 most valuable cards) each player on the checklist has a Golden Mirror Image variation. So, while you should always double check stars and rookies for big value, one can be sneaking by as a “common” player.
Rookie & Star Parallels
Especially in Topps Flagship releases that are printed in large quantities, the low-numbered parallels for stars and rookies are going to always be among some of the best cards in the set.
With 2023 Update, we are seeing that already.
- 2023 Topps Update Jordan Walker Independence Day /76 $90
- 2023 Topps Update Eury Perez Foil /199 $65
- 2023 Topps Update Michael Busch Black /72 $60
To clarify a point above, I mentioned the rookie card checklist was a bit lackluster. But then on the list of most valuable cards we see rookies from Jordan Walker, Josh Jung, and more. What gives?
Well, Topps has made it a habit to follow-up a player’s true rookie card with a “rookie debut” card in update. Thus, as is the case with this Jordan Walker, yes, the card has an “RC” shield, but also has the “Rookie Debut” designation. It’s for that reason that rookie debut cards are valued significantly less than a player’s true rookie from Topps flagship products.
Home Field Advantage (and Other) Inserts
While the Topps baseball version of Panini’s “Downtown” insert hasn’t lived up to the hyper of the ladder, Home Field Advantage Inserts consistently stand out as chase cards (as shown with 2023 Series 2’s best cards).
So, it’s no surprise to see early sales from Anthony Volpe, Greg Maddux, and others hovering around $80.
- 2023 Topps Update Home Field Advantage Anthony Volpe $87.98
- 2023 Topps Update Home Field Advantage Greg Maddux $79.99
- 2023 Topps Update Home Field Advantage Ozzie Smith $59.99
- 2023 Topps Black Gold Blue Gunnar Henderson /600 $45
As a quick note, while Home Field Advantage inserts are pretty obvious to some as being valuable, a sneaky insert that isn’t flash by any means but still packs the value punch is the “Heavy Lumber” insert set.
Back for another round in Update, Heavy Lumber cards have been among the most valuable from all releases of 2023 Topps:
- 2023 Topps Update Heavy Lumber Anthony Volpe $58
- 2023 Topps Update Heavy Lumber Don Mattingly $53