I've become a big fan of A & G. I missed the first couple of years living in the middle of nowhere Alaska, but ended up picking up a couple of boxes of 2008 pretty cheap and started trying to put that set together. Missed 2009 and then hit 2010 hard. I was trying to be good last year with 2011 and ended up buying 3 boxes. But I did have great luck with my hits.
I'm an oddball lover so this set is great for me. There are a few of you out there that don't like it for the exact same reason. But as lover of history and mini's this is one of my favorite sets of the year. I've, ahem, borrowed some images from the sell sheet here so let's have a look.
Here's what the base is going to look like
The base set will be 350 again with the last 50 being short printed and this year Topps actually put the odds on the sell sheet. SP's will be 1:2 packs. I'm not sure if this was their insertion rate as previous years. I like the base design, simple yet ornate and I think they would look awesome signed.
There, of course, are mini parallel versions and parallels of the mini parallels.
Black bordered, A&G backed, no number(numbered to 50), A&G baseball back #d to 25, I guess this replaces the Bazooka backs, wood (#'d 1 of 1), printing plates, and cloth parallels numbered to 10 of 150 subjects.
Or course there will be the framed mini relics again.
Is it me or do the relics seem smaller?
They are also doing 1 of 1 DNA relics again. Creepy.
Each box is suppose to have 3 hits. Which could be a combination of relics, autos, original A&G buybacks, rip cards, and cut signatures. I heard some horror stories last year of whole cases having nothing but boxes with 3 relic cards. Yikes. Luckily I never personally saw one of those, but that would have sucked.
The buy back originals will be framed like the mini relics and autos, kinda like the 2002 T206 original buybacks were presented. There will also be redemptions for Lepidoptery cards, I'm guessing like the Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Insect cards. And books cards like this..
On card auto's like always.
Let's not forget the rip cards!
Inside could be an original painted card, high number 351-400 exclusive minis, or a redemption card for bats and other swag. I've gotten a rip card the last two years and both times I controlled myself and didn't rip'em and sold them off. While I would have loved to find out what was in there, those cards pretty much paid for the box.
Each hobby box also has a top loader like year past. Either a N43 or a Cabinet card.
Cabinet cards will come in different flavor's as well. Most likely you'll get a Baseball Highlight or Roller coaster card, which are the base level, 5 baseball, 5 roller coasters.
Now onto the inserts. These are just the inserts shown or mentioned on the sell sheet. Every year Topps usually puts in a couple surprise sets, like last years Ascent of Man and Fabulous Face Flocculence.
There are what I really like about A&G.
There are both mini and full size inserts to deal with here. Like last year's Hometown Heroes or the year before This Day in History the big insert set is What's in a Name? Don't understand it yet and it wasn't explained on the sell sheet.
I tend not to go after these sets. One because there large, this set will be 100 card, and two I'm just not interested in the cards.
However the next couple I am.
Another set that kinda interests me is this one...
There's also two sets not pictured on the sell sheet. One call You Have Got to be Kidding Me, unbelievable tales of history and Baseball Highlight Sketch, I'm assuming similar to years past. All of these sets will be inserted 1:10 packs.
There's also this interesting oddball advertised.
Of course similar to last years seed cards, no word on how many cards in this set, if there is more than one. But these will drop one per case!
Now the mini inserts.
First up is People of the Bible. I wonder if this is to balance last year's Ascent of Man - Darwin's theory set? Still looks cool and I'll probably be going after most of these mini sets. This set has 15 cards.
Man's Best Friend. I'm torn. I love dogs I'm just not sure if I want to try this one.
However one animal set I'm definitely going after is this one..
Another one I'm most likely going after as a history fan is this one..
20 cards in this one.
The other two sets mentioned but that did not have examples are Musical Masters and Culinary Curiosities. Both I think are self explanatory. The over all insertion rate for these mini's is listed at 1:5.
And before I get to some critic's don't forget about the Ginter code. I don't know if I missed it, but did anyone solve last years code?
Over all I like the base design. Topps has gone back to a great simple design with an art deco feel. And I think these cards would look great with an auto on them. I like how the simple border design was also used on the framed relics and autos. From years past it seems like they've kept that tropical border just changed the color scheme. As far as the hits, inserts, and mini's go. It's par for the course. There are some new elements with the Colony on a Card, but pretty much is the same tried and true offering. Lots of cool mini and full sized inserts to sate many different tastes. Plus Topps always adds a few surprises not on the sell sheet or checklist.