by Chris Harris
The seventh edition of Topps’ Allen & Ginter’s World Champions is scheduled for release in July, and collectors should notice one subtle change to the set’s checklist. The 350-card base set (with the final 50 cards short-printed) will feature noticeably fewer non-baseball subjects than ever before. 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter will be a little more mainstream if the preliminary information sent by the company is any indication.
While collectors can expect cards (and autographs) from the likes of Bobby Knight, Erin Andrews, and Roger Federer; cards of literary figures, planetary bodies, revolving doors, and other inanimate objects have been eliminated from the base set. In their place will be over two-dozen Hall of Famers and other retired players. This isn’t the first time Allen & Ginter has had such players, but it is the first time such a large number have appeared in the base set. And while Panini recently acquired the rights to players represented by CMG Worldwide, such Topps-exclusives as Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Hank Aaron will be included in the set.
Once again, each eight-card pack will yield one mini-sized parallel or insert. The usual tiers of mini-parallels will be coming back (“plain vanilla,” A&G Back, Black Bordered, No-Number, Wood, Framed Cloth, and Framed Mini Printing Plates). New for 2012, and replacing the Bazooka Backs, are “Baseball Backs.” Like the Bazooka Backs, the Baseball Backs will be serial-numbered to 25 copies.
Of course, the “weirdness” that has become the hallmark of this brand will still be around, it’s just been relegated to the multitude of insert sets. 2012 Allen & Ginter’s World Champions will feature a 10-card set of the “World’s Tallest Buildings” and mini-sized inserts of various breeds of dogs and whales, characters from The Bible, and Cabinet-sized cards of famous roller coasters.
New for 2012, are “Lepidoptery” cards – Hobby exclusive redemptions good for a card with a dead butterfly mounted into the card. Of course, the “creepy dead bug mounted onto a card” concept is nothing new – Upper Deck introduced in a couple of years ago in Goodwin Champions. The existence of these cards will probably be seen as Topps ripping-off Upper Deck but then again Goodwin Champions is nothing more than a rip-off of A&G, so turnabout is fair play.
For some collectors the main attraction of 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter are the three “hits” and one oversized box topper in every Hobby box. Framed “Relics,” framed autographs, framed cut signatures, original 19th Century Allen & Ginter cards, and the ever-controversial Rip Cards are among the “hits” Hobbyists can expect to find another batch of 15 N-43 and ten Cabinet style cards inserted as box toppers.
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter’s World Champions will be released the week of July 11. Each Hobby box will include 24 packs of eight cards and retail for $5/pack. Hobby boxes should go for around $90-$100.
Chris Harris writes the popular hobby blog Stale Gum.