Going for Gold: Our Passion for the Topps F1 Lights Out Sets

Back in 2021, the first Topps Lights Out F1 set drew us into collecting. It is where, why and how we started... The design is clean, the colors vibrant, and the numbered variations comprehensible. Confident that our homeboy Max would soon be champion, we went all in.... 

We love clean design. The second set of Lights Out is good but not as strong or well designed as the first. Also, the card finish and overall quality is considerably lower. This does not apply to the 1/1 gold frames that look amazing for both sets. For both sets we were able to bring the Red Bull driver profiles and powertrain together....  crazy.

Selecting iconic cards. The first Lights Out set had only one Max card of 40 in total. This changed in the second set with four different Max cards as part of the 62-card set. We love the driver card as shown above but the helmet-featured history maker card, celebrating most wins and races for Red Bull, is definitely our favorite.... It surely is an iconic image.   

Future-proof set. Looking at the design of both years, comparing Max rainbows, the first Lights Out set does a better job in creating a colorful collection. The 2021 Lights Out series remains the best designed F1 card set to date in our opinion. It will stand the test of time in terms of appeal and value..... 

Doing the math. In the process of breaking open way more than 100 boxes of the 2021 Lights Out edition, we got drawn into a huge quest. We wanted to have all six numbered variations (/5, /10, /25, /50, /99) of all 40 different cards. This would give us the Ultimate Rainbow of 240 cards. This is outside of the non-numbered base cards and 1/1 gold frames. The second edition had two extra numbered variations: /15 and /149 dramatically increasing the total number of variations available: 10,600 in 2021 (37.4% /99 and up) and 26,598 in 2022 (58.0% /99 and up). With two parallels per box in 2022 it did make breaking more attractive but it also emphasizes the exclusivity of the first Lights Out set... By the way, we have 341 numbered cards in our shop. This is >3% of all numbered cards ever printed. :-)     

The missing trio. Imagine the frustration that after a year of chasing and immense help from the community, we got stuck at 237 of the 240 desired cards. Missing in action: Stroll Driver /10, Raikkonen World Champion /5 and Hamilton History Maker /5. The latter card is out there but not for sale. The first two might never have been printed..... Needless to say that an amazing reward will await anyone with the golden top for any of these three.

Massive grading exercise. The vast majority of cards that we acquired were bare. It took some courage to send over more than 200 cards of our rainbow to PSA to preserve our collection for the next generation. But the result has definitely been worth it... Overall, Lights Out 2021 cards grade very nicely where Lights Out 2022 are a nightmare.... As we speak, the final set of 2021 gold frames are leaving for California to get (re-)slabbed together with a couple of 2022 gold brothers and sisters...  

A collection of friends. So many people spread across the complete globe helped us to get these collections together. Two people played a very special role for us. They kickstarted our Lights Out collection and coached us into the hobby and business. Ashleigh Richard Dalestar provided us with his collection of gold frames and Marc Holden shared some unique Lights Out assets given to him by the designer of the cards. The original proof prints, including mistakes, that were hanging on the Topps wall are now nicely framed and at our homes. One day we will drink a beer (or cocktail for Ashleigh) together...   

Helmet prototype. With the proof prints of 2021 Lights Out we also received two original Topps prototypes used for quality control and promotional purposes we believe. The first is the most iconic photo of Hamilton with his helmet. As you can see no 1/1 has been printed on it. Strangely enough none of the three Hamilton gold plates ever surfaced, despite the huge weighing mistake Topps made, making this item even more unique. Luckily we do have a Topps Certificate of Authenticity....   

German 1/1 twins. Meet Vettel Gold 1/1 and Vettel Gold Prototype. There are not a lot of 1/1 cards of which there are two. Not sure if we should get the prototypes graded and authenticated or not. The Topps seal confirms the origin.... 

Going for gold. Recent breaks of 2022 Lights Out are very focused on hitting a gold frame. This was different in 2021 as the boxes could be weighed to find out if there was a 1/1 inside it. We spent days scouting for the 1/1s and ultimately got a lot of help from the community. Actually, the Max Beckett-graded gold frame was the first we were able to acquire from a friend in Germany. That sparked our appetite to find more.. Ultimately, we ended up with 23 of 40 gold frames plus the two prototypes. As soon as the last gold frames are back from PSA we will showcase the 23 full rainbows. 

Micro-collections. Many collections start by accident, luck or coincidence. You hit 3 out of 6 variations and decide to "rainbow" the card. An example in our case is Mick Schumacher. With a lot of luck and difficulty we were able to get both rookie gold frames in 2021. As a consequence we were eager to see if we could do the same in 2022. And we did.... largely because of the epic effort Glen Hammond put into the 2022 Lights Out series. Legend!

Early-day fans. We were passionate fans of Jos Verstappen back in the day. Naturally, we followed the rise of Max from the very very start. The combination of our belief that Max would be champion one day a with the excitement about the  Lights Out set created an unstoppable desire to own some essential historic pieces. These six gold frames reflect just that. The very first six gold frames ever produced of possibly one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time....     . 

Relevant links

Some more photos of our most recent additions to our Lights Out collection: