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Diving into my Erling Haaland ‘The Grail’ Insert Card Saga- A Break Down of the Set

Every article I've ever written has been a direct result of something I experienced in the hobby, a moment that sparked a thought or a realization. It could be a card I stumbled upon, a podcast that caught my attention, or an event I attended. This article you're reading right now is no exception.

You see, my husband and I have this nerdy little game we play that revolves around trading cards. He loves sending me pictures of cards he comes across and throwing me questions like, "What do you think this card's rarity is?" or "What's your take on its value?" It's a peculiar form of entertainment, and let me tell you, it's our kind of romance. Nerdy? Absolutely. But, hey, it works for us.

Sure, there are moments when our estimations wildly differ, leading to good-natured debates about the intricacies of the trading card market. And then there are those instances when we're completely in sync, reveling in the satisfaction of our shared understanding of the hobby.

In the midst of our usual card banter, a recent moment stood out. My husband sent me a picture of a soccer card – a gem neither of us had encountered before. The allure of this card wasn't just its aesthetic appeal; neither of us had ever seen one before, setting off a wave of excitement. And so, our joint research mission began.

The card in question? The 4-of-9 Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) from the 2022-23 Chrome UEFA Club Competitions series, proudly encapsulated in a PSA 10 slab. As we dove into the depths of card databases and marketplaces, our findings signaled that this was indeed a somewhat valuable piece, even though it actually is not numbered but an SSP. Satisfied with ou discovery, we decided to go ahead with the trade and add this short print card to our collection.

Now, for many, that would be the end of the story. But not for me because at my core, I'm a set builder, and I thrive on challenges. This particular card, The Grail, is not just cool; it's a colossal challenge. It's a scattered puzzle, with the other eight cards making sporadic appearances in various Topps products throughout the past year and I had missed the train. The allure of the chase, the excitement of stumbling upon these rare gems, adds an extra layer of thrill to the collecting journey. Basically, this set laid out in front of me like a captivating novel, each card revealing a new chapter. 

The first card was released in late June. The1-of-9 Erling Haaland (FC Salzburg), originally labeled as "unannounced content" and aptly called "Chrome Bursting Onto the Scene (aka The Grail)” in 2022/23 UEFA Club Competitions. It was  initially devoid of a listed print run, but has since sparked speculation, it’s believed to have a limited run of 100. While one might assume acquiring such a treasure would be straightforward, the reality proves otherwise. The odds of uncovering this grail card were nothing short of daunting, standing at an astonishing 1 in 696 boxes.

Then my card, the 4-of-9 Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) along with a third card in the series 8-of-9 Erling Haaland (Manchester City) from the 2022-23 Chrome UEFA Club Competitions, released on June 29, 2023*. With two cards in the set and odds of 1 in 10,620 Hobby packs, there were then three cards available in nonsequential order. 

The 2-of-9 Erling Haaland (FC Salzburg) in the 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Museum Collection, gracing collections next with its release on July 24, 2023*. The solitary Grail card released in this product with odds of 1 in 204 boxes.

Two more were released in the 2022-23 Topps UCC Merlin series,on August 16, 2023*. 3-of-9 Erling Haaland (FC Salzburg) and 6-of-9 Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) These continuation inserts had odds set at 1 in 5,087 packs.

9-of-9 Erling Haaland (Manchester City) in the 2022-23 Topps Stadium Club Chrome UEFA Club Competitions was released on August 28, 2023* with no ratios.

The 7-of-9 Erling Haaland (Manchester City) in the 2022-23 Topps Finest Flashbacks UEFA Club Competitions was the second to last release on September 6, 2023*. It was not added to the checklist, leaving collectors in suspense also with no given ratios.

5-of-9 Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) in the 2022-23 Topps Finest UEFA Club Competitions arrives as the final installment of the set on September 20, 2023*. As a continuation insert with odds of 1 in 7,144 packs.

As I sit down to pen this article, I find myself basking in the glow of just receiving my cherished card in the mail. The thrill of holding it in my hands sparks a cascade of contemplation. Will I embark on the journey of chasing the entire set, each card a new chapter in this captivating tale? The ink on this narrative is still fresh, and the allure of whether I'll embark on the pursuit of the entire set hangs in the air. The research invested in unraveling the story behind my card has proven to be an enthralling journey in itself. A connoisseur of a good chase, I find immense joy in adding these intriguing pieces to my ever-growing collection. Will this particular card stand as a solitary sentinel or mark the inception of a comprehensive set? Only time will tell.

So, in the interim, here's to the discovery of that rare soccer card, the excitement of the trade, and the potential set-building journey that lies ahead. It's more than just cards.

*All release dates are approximate as there was some conflicting data


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