Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Topps Gypsy Queen Retail, Hobby or None?

(I know, I know another Gypsy Queen post.)
I was looking forward to this product mainly because I got in on A Cardboard Problems group break.  I didn't do to bad.  I got 2 Prince Fielder Relics, the regular and framed mini, about 10 team sets, 4 paper framed cards, a bunch of minis, one black, and a few inserts. 
The Brewers team set consists of only 8 cards, I'm not sure if there are any SP Brewers cards, but from looking at the checklist I'm going to say no.  

So far I've opened 5 hobby,  10 card packs  and 5 retail rack packs, which consists of 3 retail, 6 card packs, and a bonus 3 card green framed pack and I also bought a  mini hobby bonus box out of a hobby box too.  So first lets do the math.

Just the pack math since I'm not shelling out 120+ bucks for a box of this. 

Hobby packs at both my LCS's are $6.00.
10 cards per pack = .60 per card, mini's, inserts, hits included.

Retail rack pack. Rack packs are $8.99, I've only found them at Target up here in Alaska so far.
3 Retail packs @6 cards per pack + 3 bonus framed card = 21 cards = .42 per card, mini's, inserts, hits, and bonus included.  Even if we take out the 3 bonus cards the per card average is .49, actually it's .499 so we should probably round up and just say .50 per card.  That's pretty pricey either way you look at it but retail offers you a slightly better deal especially when you figure in the 3 bonus cards.

Don't get me wrong I fully support buying cards at your LCS, but another reason to buy this product retail is the latest in Topps quality control fuck ups.  The missing auto.  This makes buying hobby packs even more of a waste of money when you consider that your odds of getting an on card auto went from 1:12 to 1:24.  As a matter of fact there are very few boxes I've seen opened, either on youtube or posted on forums or blogs that didn't have the missing auto.  So why would I blow 6 bucks a pack when the odds of me getting that auto hit doubled?  Now don't get me wrong, there are still some nice hits to be had in Gypsy Queen and the artist patch cards are hobby exclusives.  But Topps also includes some retail exclusives like the Sticky Fingers and Wall Climbers inserts and of course the bonus rack pack green framed cards.  Now the green framed cards aren't numbered like the copper framed ones, and I'm unsure if the copper are hobby only (as I found out they are not, read on).   

Now the 50 SP's in the set.  I just don't get it.  I mean I do, Topps wants to sell more cards and if you have short prints it means you need to open more packs to get them but all Topps really does here is shut out the casual set builder.  Not to mention the price point is awfully high for a casual set builder as well.  I'm glad Topps reduced the set by 100 cards but if they had just eliminated the 50 SP's the extra hundred wouldn't have been so bad and actually would have made for a nice set to build.  Why not add variants in the set.  This gives the completists something to chase and the casual set builder, which I consider myself, a chance at putting a great looking set together.  

Another thing is I don't understand why Topps just didn't lower the cost of the cases.  Again I do understand the main reason, money, or money in hand.  Topps already got there order money so why give it all back.  And it must have worked out to be cheaper to organize and mail out a replacement then just say hey knock 20 bucks off a box.   

So out of the 5 hobby packs I pulled one Auto or rather the one auto out of the box and out of my 5 retail rack packs I pulled one auto, one framed relic, one regular relic and two bronze paper framed cards and I also got 15 green paper framed cards in the bonus.

The Tomlin auto was my hobby hit.  Seems like all the box breaks I see have one of these cards in it.

The Byrd was my first retail hit.  Oddly enough in the same rack pack, I also got these two copper paper framed cards.

My relic hits...

Jayson Werth...

And the Wizard!!! Framed relic.  I really don't understand the need for two relic inserts.  I'm not sure what point they serve having a full sized card relic and then a framed mini relic in the set. 

Here is also a smattering of the Green Framed cards I got in the bonus packs.

Over all I'd have to say this is another Topps product that's better bought retail then hobby.  My reasoning is this, with the missing auto you need to buy full boxes to get the extra auto, the only real advantage with hobby is that packs have more cards so more base cards for the set, and there are a few hobby exclusives like the 1/1 artist patch cards and I think gypsy jewels (although they might not be hobby only), but the odds of hitting one of those is astronomical. The odds alone of hitting a Royal Crown jewels card is 1:6200 or so. That's about 1 in 25 cases With retail, you only get 6 cards per pack, of those one is the mini, at least one insert and most times two inserts, so you only get 3 base cards.  Now if you not interested in putting the set together it's even better.  Plus you get 2 other insert groups and 3 bonus green framed parallel cards. 

So this begs the question in my mind, with Panini and Upper Deck instituting programs aimed at helping LCS's, or at least in there mind trying to help LCS's, it seems Topps is doing the opposite.  Making retail packs the more desirable option, sending customers to Wal-Mart, Target and any other big box store that stocks trading cards. 

Of course you can say F U to Topps and just not buy any of this.  I really hate SP sets, like this and Heritage, and Topps Magic Football.  All great looking cards just a set collector's nightmare. 
Anywho most of these cards I put up on eBay already to help defray the cost of my addiction, but anything I have left over or doesn't sell  I'll offer up for trade later this week, save your Brewers parallels for me.


  1. Now THAT! Is a damn fine post about ball cards. Thanks man.

  2. My LCS really ain't all that good so I have to rely on the likes of Target and Walmart for my card fix. It does seem though you hit the nail on the head w/ buying retail over hobby w/ GQ. I'm wondering how long it'll be before we see some sort of value box w/ GQ hobby packs. They did it w/ A&G last year, Heritage this year so why not do it again w/ GQ.

  3. Thanks for the breakdown. Good analysis.

  4. Sandberg. Dawson. Byrd. You're toying with me.

  5. I'm not sure that Panini and Upper Deck's program are going to end up helping hobby shops in the long run. They will both still produce retail packs and blasters and if their program keeps prices higher on the hobby end then people will flock to the retail stores to pick up the cheaper retail cards from those sets as well.

    In the long run, I'd rather have Topps' products which increase in price due to interest in the product, supply and demand than anything artificially inflated by the other companies.