Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Preview

Ah so little to talk about. I thought I'd jump ahead about 5 months to the release of this years Allen and Ginter.  I didn't open nearly enough 2013 Ginter and I have a feeling that I won't open much 2014. Sad because it really is still my favorite release of the year. The sell sheets are already out so why not cut them up and disseminate.

Here's what the base cards will look like.  Nice, clean, typical style, and like most years will look great autographed.   The base set will be the same size at 350 cards with the last 50 being short printed.
We also get a slew of mini parallel cards.
These include the regular, A&G backed, Black border, No number back (#d to 50), Flag back (hand numbered to 25), 1/1 Wood, and new this year metal mini's! These will also be serial numbered, but Topps did not release a total. There will also be the mini printing plates and 150 cards will be featured as framed silk cards. The metal and wood cards I think are suppose to be rip card exclusives, but sometimes that's not always the case.

Framed silk mini
One of the reasons I love Allen and Ginter is the great mix of baseball stars, past and present, and the mix of other subjects thrown in. Being a guy who likes to do a few TTM's these bonus subject cards make great TTM material. I also love the mix of insert subjects featured, both on standard sized cards and the mini's.

Let's have a look at what we get this year. First up the full size insert cards.
Like years past, Topps has one large insert set. This has always been a baseball themed insert featuring interesting facts from players around the league.  This year the 100 card set features what the stars of MLB like to do when they're not playing baseball. Not a unique topic, but I doubt it's ever been featured on such a large scale. I usually don't bother with this insert and this year will be no different. Although the mock up looks good and these card would probably look pretty cool with a silver pen signature on them.
This years full size insert sets feature lots of history, both baseball and world, and it'll be interesting to see how many I attempt to complete.
First up is the small 10 card set of Fields of Yore featuring classic ball fields from days past. I think they probably could have squeeze a few more ball parks into the set. As a lover of history and baseball this will be a no brainer to put together.
Also in my collecting interests is the Air Supremacy set. This set will be a little larger 20 cards (that's what I'm talking about.) I'm a big fan of history and militaria, another set that will be going in the Ginter insert set binder for sure.

Topps also has a few other inserts set, but doesn't feature any preview for them. They include: A 10 card set called World Capitals, I think that one's pretty self-explanatory, another 10 card set featuring Festivals and Fairs from around the world, and one more 20 card set featuring Natural Wonders of the World, not to be confused with those really ugly Modern Wonders of the World cabinet cards from last year.

Topps only put in two examples of it's mini inserts.  First up is one I'm sure I will go after. As a biologist I do love the animal themed inserts. World's Deadliest Predators features 21? cards of, you guessed it, the World's Deadliest Predators!! Will man make the list?
We also get an explorer set. Hasn't this been done before? 15 cards looking at histories greatest explorers. Yep I'll probably go after this one too.
Also listed were the sets, Where Nature Ends, featuring 25 of histories greatest artists, Larger than Life, featuring 10 legendary and folk heroes, and Little Lions, featuring 15 cards of cats, since Topps already did dogs.

Of course there are always unsolicited inserts that pop up and I'm sure there will be some good ones this year too.

 There's always the box toppers to look for. Unfortunately Topps didn't put any examples in the sell sheets, but did have a long list of what to expect.

Topps boasts an all new style of the box toppers, I'm not sure what that means. But besides the normal stuff like the Monuments and Landmarks sets and oversized base cards, you can look for relics, autographs, cut autos, gigantic jersey relics, book relics, or a mini parallel pack, with red back parallels and possible redemptions for full sets of relics. These will be found one per case.  No word if the N43's are retired.

Like always we get a combination of three hits per box. In recent years that's meant a lot of boxes with three relics, which sucks.

Let's have a look at those relics.
Here's a mock up of the full size relic.
You get two varieties of framed relics. Topps claims on the sell sheet that you will get no more than one of each relic type, but it does state that there are three relic types, two framed and one full size, so it's very likely that there will be a lot of boxes with just relics again. There will also be Odd relics, featuring odd things, not sure what the means, DNA relics featuring hair (creepy) from historical features, Pop Star relics, featuring a relic and a stand-up image (interesting) Bone relics (like those insect cards Topps and Upper Deck put out, and most definatley a redemption), and original Allen and Ginter cards.
But if you're lucky enough to pull an auto here's the mock ups of this years autograph cards.
One of the saving graces of A&G is the on card autos and lets hope that doesn't change.
There will be the mix of active and retired baseball stars as well as at least 30 other signatures from various subjects, and of course the red ink hand numbered parallels and 50 book cards.

The biggest and best insert in the set is the rip card. The double rip card will be back again this year along with the single rip card, but wait inside the double rip cards there might be a mini rip card!! Insane a rip card within a rip card, and just what the hell is inside that?? A mini mini parallel, has the world gone crazy? Possibly a redemption for a full set of relic cards?? Waaaa?  Of course there's always something good inside these. Over the years I've pulled two of these rip cards and in both instances I've sold them off unripped and pretty much paid for my box of cards.  More than likely you'll get a high numbered mini, which is nice, but it's not a wood 1/1 parallel, a 1/1 exclusive mini, like that Famous Firsts below, an original artists sketch, or a red inked auto, but that's the name of the game for Rip cards.

Over all this year's offering won't blow you away with inventiveness or new concepts, it stays pretty true to the formula,  but Topps does introduce some new stuff this year and I'm sure some of the really cool super rare stuff will bring big bucks. I am interested to see what those metal mini's look like.  For me it's the unique inserts sets and just the over all beauty of the card design.  Some people are probably tired of Allen and Ginter, some would rather have Gypsy Queen or Archives, but for me this set, besides my base flagship set, is the one I look most forward too all year. And Topps has started following Panini's lead and leaking teaser photos of some of the cool insert cards. I hope that continues with Ginter because it sounds like there could be some really cool cards in this years set.

I'm also sure that people will be tearing apart their boxes looking for hidden goodies this year. Not that Topps is going to do that again, but once bitten.  Thoughts?


  1. Awesome cards, Fields of Lore look great, although did they jump on the Panini Pastime bandwagon ? Anyways, can't contain myself and need to open a few A&G boxes this year !!

  2. Always one of my favorite products to bust each year. Doing another big charity case break of it later on this year. Can't wait!

  3. Getting very excited for the release! I don;t rip boxes anymore and just buy singles but this set sparked a collectors passion back in 2010 and it's still going strong! I only collect the "mini's" so I am super excited to see the mini Rip Cards this year as well as the metal mini's, which I'm sure will be 1/1's. I had also heard of case boxloader packs that contain red bordered mini's? If that is true I will be stoked to see that color inclusion in the spectrum of mini parallels. Get ready everyone, it's almost Ginter TIme!