As a kid, I always thought it was cool to hold onto weird things - movie theater tickets stubs, used stamps, cereal box toys, etc. Pack wrappers were no exception. I held onto every single pack that I could during my early collecting days. I had a whole brown lunch bag stuffed and banded down to keep all the packs from bursting out of the bag.
Well, as I sat there admiring the designs I noticed under the back flap the "No Purchase Necessary" terms. I remember sending in one envelope as a kid and getting a package back in the mail. I believe it was a card from Upper Deck. So I hopped to the interwebs to see if it was still a thing to do. From what little feedback I found, collectors in years past have given up on sending in NPNs. They can't justify using a 49 cent stamp for cards they may never come. Back when Upper Deck still produced baseball cards, they were apparently the best at sending back inserts to folks who mailed their stamped envelope with a 3x5 card and so on. Topps has a reputation for being the worst.
(For those of you who wonder why NPNs are on the back of card packs: card companies are required by law to "give" cards away for free since trading cards are considered a form of gambling due to the odds of "winning" inserts or hits from packs.)
Long story long, I decided to give it a go and see what luck I would have:
Over the course of this year, I mailed out a total of 10 envelopes: 7 to Topps and 3 to Panini. If I remember correctly, all of the drawings have already taken place. Here are the cards I received back in the mail:
2015 Panini USA Stars and Stripes Baseball Longevity Inserts
Coincidentally, I have the base versions of these exact cards from the ONE pack of USA Baseball I bought this year...
I haven't heard of either of these guys (I don't do a very good job of tracking up-and-comings or prospects), but I'll hold onto these cards for a while to see if the make it big in The Show.
2015 Diamond Kings "Also Known As" Insert - Reggie Jackson. These cards have a cool design and texture. I may consider going for the whole insert set.
2015 Bowman Chrome Bowman Scouts Top 100 Tyler Glasnow.I already shipped this one off to a die-hard Pirates fan. I don't know anything about Glasnow.
Well, there you have it. Panini came through with a 66% return rate and Topps with a miserly 14% return rate. And Panini shipped the cards out promptly after the drawing took place. Topps, you better step your game up!
Shoot me some feedback on your experiences with No Purchase Necessary redemptions.