For the past decade Topps has relied heavily on retro products featuring designs originally used by manufacturers more than a century ago. While some sets like Allen & Ginter have become a staple of the Topps brand, other sets such as Topps 205 and Cracker Jack have vanished from the scene. When Topps launched Gypsy Queen in 2011, they did so with the intent of using another late nineteenth century issue to ride the coattails of the similarly themed Allen & Ginter. Now entering its third year, 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball has proved it has the staying power that earlier brands lacked, but still lacks the popularity of the above mentioned Allen & Ginter.
The addition Topps is most actively promoting involve button relics. While the 2013 issue introduced the button relic to the Gypsy Queen line, 2014 seeks to up the ante with dual an triple button cards featuring two three players respectively. Perhaps the most noteworthy addition will be the inclusion of a single button relic featuring an autograph.
The 300 card base checklist will draw from popular stars, and rookie, and retired players familiar throughout Topps brands. A further 50 cards will be short printed at the odds of 1-in-4 packs. What Topps has described as a ‘limited’ print run of variations will exist among both the base and short prints. 100 cards will have a numbered blue framed parallel, while a hobby-exclusive silver framed parallel will be a unique 1/1. Printing plates (1/1) for base and short printed cards will be inserted into hobby packs as well.
An insert set common throughout all retr0 products is a mini sized to correspond with the original issue, in this case 1 15/32″ x 2 11/16″ mimicking the size of the N175 Gypsy Queen issued in the late 1880s. Base minis of all 350 subjects will be found at the odds of 1 per pack with a chance at Black (#’d to 199) and Sepia (#’d to 50) parallels. Minis made from wood (#’d to 5) and leather (1/1) return along with new clear (1/1) and graphite (1/1) versions. In the mini-box will be variations of 1oo base cards arriving at the rate of 10 per box, with corresponding printing plates (1/1). A new min-box exclusive will be Birth-year Pennies (1/1) featuring 100 cards that will include a penny minted the year a player was born.
A new insert set featuring 15 subjects in a vintage feel called N174 Gypsy Queen will be introduced, though it bares little resemblance to the N174 Old Judge issue from 1887. 15 first time All-Stars will be included in a new insert set called Debut All-Stars, while 20 Dealing Aces and 10 Glove Stories insert cards return. The ‘Collisions at the Plate’ insert set has been dropped, apparently after an off-season rule change which has essentially banned base runners from plowing into catchers.
Printing plates for all insert cards will be a hobby exclusive.
Each hobby box should contain either a bat or uniform relic from one of 50 veteran or retired players. Black jumbo swatch (#’d to 25), new Gold jumbo swatch, and Silver jumbo swatch (1/1) parallels will be available. Each hobby box should also contain a mini relic, with Black (#’d to 10) and new Silver (#’d to 5) parallels. 50 players will be included on the hobby-exclusive art patch (1/1) checklist, which feature an original hand painted portrait in the original Gypsy Queen style along with a game used patch relic. 20 players will have bat barrels (1/1), and 100 players will be included in Hometown Flags (#’d to 5) featuring a commemorative flag patch from a player’s home state or country.
Each hobby box should also have two on-card autograph cards assembled from a checklist of 60 veterans, rookies, and retired stars. Topps has turned to its popular parallels from other brands and brought them to Gypsy Queen autographs with Red (#’d to 49), Gold (#’d to 25), Green (#’d to 10), and Purple (1/1). New Around the Horn Pop-up Book Autographs (#’d to 25) will include 10 players with what Topps describes as ‘exciting’ imagery reminiscent of a child’s pop-up storybook. 30 autographed minis (#’d to 10) will be exclusive to the mini-box.
While not guaranteed to be within a box, autographed relic cards will nevertheless be available in 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen. 20 autographed relics (#’d to 25), 15 dual autographed relics (#’d to 10) featuring two players, and 10 triple autographed relics (#’d to 5) featuring 3 autographs will be randomly inserted in packs. Lastly, Mini Auto Relic Books (#’d to 5) featuring an autograph patch and autograph of 15 possible players will be a mini-box exclusive.
2014 Topps Gypsy Queen is expected to hit shelves the second week of April. Case breakers are listing pre-sales for complete sets and you can also check out boxes and cases listed for pre-order on eBay here.