by Rich Klein
When I wrote about 2012 Inception football yesterday, I made mention of how Topps has developed a nice standard product line in baseball. They do some tinkering each year but most of the products are mainstays. One of those now seems to be Allen & Ginter. Topps has developed a nice following for this product which continues to be fairly similar year-to-year. The base set has 350 cards of which the last 50 are short prints. Collectors seem to like the mini cards and there are some interesting cards and insert sets that have nothing to do with baseball but are still fun because Topps always adds new personalities and autographs to the mix. The Ginter checklist is one collectors really look forward to seeing each year. One of the most hyped new autographs is that of Kate Upton, whose video of her dancing the Cat Daddy in a skimpy bikini almost shut down the Internet one day earlier this year (the previous link is rated PG-13).
All jocularity aside, Allen and Ginter is accessible at hobby shops and at retail stores like Target and Walmart. The hobby boxes have 24 packs with eight cards per pack and the box says you should look for any combination of Autograph, Relic, Printing Plates. RIP Cards and Book Cards which total three hits. As you will see, we got a slight surprise when opening our box.
The cards are modeled on the original 19th century Allen and Ginter design with the subject’s photo set against a white background and just his last name at the bottom. The back has information about the player in a very formal style.
When I first received my box, my local card store (Triple Cards in Plano. TX) mentioned about how he only ordered 10 cases down from the 15 cases of the previous year and he was going on about how much the hobby was suffering, how he was really disappointed that he reduced his order, etc. A couple of weeks later I went in to pick up some more supplies and he said he was now up to 13 cases gone through and would probably match the sales of the 2011 product. Meanwhile leading online retailers are between $85-90 per box.
Here’s what we pulled from our hobby box:
Base Cards: 128-- all different. That is slightly more than 40 percent of the base set. To complete a base set with perfect distribution that means a collector needs to purchase at least three hobby boxes.
N43 Box Topper: Mike Schmidt
SP's: We got 12 (or one every two packs):Adrian Gonzalez, Gio Gonzalez, Chase Headley, Kelly Johnson, Jhonny Peralta, Cal Ripken Jr. Ryan Roberts. Frank Robinson, Nolan Ryan, Anibal Sanchez, Adam Wainwright, Jayson Werth.
Minis: Jerry Bailey, Don Denkinger, Matt Dominguez, Alex Gordon, Corey Hart, Josh Johnson, Ara Parseghian, Colby Rasmus, Kurt Suzuki, Justin Verlander
Mini Allen And Ginter Back: Michael Bourn, Corey Hart, Michael Pineda, Martin Prado, Brian Wilson
Mini Black: Brad Peacock, Alex Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan, Jarrod Saltamacchia
Mini Culinary Curiosities: Kopi Luwak
Man's Best Friend Mini: Beagle
People of the Bible Mini: John the Baptist
World's Greatest Military Leaders: Alexander the Great
Highlight Sketches: Willie Mays, Matt Moore, Ryne Sandberg
Historical Turning Points: Allied Victory World War II, First Flight at Kitty Hawk, Fall of the Roman Empire
World's Tallest Buildings: Burf Khalifa, Empire State Building, Metlife Building
What's in a Name: Elvis Andrus, Aroldis Chapman, Prince Fielder, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Heyward, Minnie Minoso. Jose Reyes, Brooks Robinson, Willie Stargell, Mark Teixeira, B.J. Upton, Justin Verlander
Employee Relic (#d to 10): Tracy Dupre. When I pulled this card my first thought was why is Topps doing this? Eventually when I looked at this product and checked the Beckett OPG (which as an aside is really a terrific tool in writing these articles as well as very useful in other ways) none of the employee relic or autograph cards were included. Now I do not know if anyone cares about these cards but I do hope Topps provides Beckett a checklist so these cards can be included. I asked the owner of Triple Cards and he did not think he had heard of any of these cards pulled in the 13 cases he has sold through. The card pictured at left sold for $100 earlier this month. Several others have brought $80-90. It's unusual...but that's Ginter. Must have been fun for the company's employees to be involved.
Silk Relic (#d to 10) Nelson Cruz
In actuality, that is four hits out of this box which is one more than promised. That is quite the value for the current box price and you can see why the customers at Triple Cards keep on coming back to break more boxes. Right after issue, the autographed cards were selling for strong prices on eBay. Every time I think Topps is running out of steam with this product, the next year has some new twists to keep collectors interested. We’ll give a thumbs up to 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]