What's the difference between hobby and retail?

Hobby products are only allocated to hobby shops and local card shops through distributors and manufacturers directly. You won’t be able to find them in the trading card section or at the checkout aisle in big box retail stores. In general, the Hobby level of trading cards usually contains the best chances for high-level hits, autographs, and inserts. You’ll also find special releases of hobby products, including 1st Off The Line products, Sapphire products, Jumbo products, Super Jumbo products, HTA products, Choice products, among others.

2021 Topps Series 1 Hobby and Retail Boxes
2021 Topps Series 1 Hobby (left) and Retail (right) Boxes

Retail products are the packs and boxes available at big box retail stores. Retail products can come in a variety of configurations, including Blaster Boxes, Mega Boxes, Value Boxes, Retail Boxes, Multi-Packs, Value Packs, Cello Packs, Rack Packs, Retail Packs, Factory Sets, Hanger Boxes, among others.

Both Hobby releases and Retail releases can include exclusive inserts, autographs, and trading cards that cannot be found in other levels or configurations of releases. Not every card from a set can be found in every hobby or retail configuration, so it’s important to double check where you can find the card you’re chasing before you buy.