I was very excited when my review box came in the mail from Topps because I had a ton of fun opening the case of
2011 Topps Gypsy Queen and was excited to get to open another one (and get to keep whatever cards of other teams I like).
I am going to show you the highlights of the box, plus let you know what I think of each insert set.
Hobby boxes contain 24 packs per box with 10 cards per pack. You are guaranteed 2 relics AND 2 autographs per hobby box. As per Topps press release before this product went live, there was a problem where many boxes only got 1 autograph so if you only got 1 auto you need to mail them your hobby box UPC code ASAP.
Base card total: 184
Base card duplicates: 0
Short prints (301-350): 6
I didn't scan the base cards, but I did scan the short prints to show you what the cards look like and which short prints were in the box.
Homerun Heroes (25 card set)
I like this insert set because it is short and sweet. There aren't a bunch of cards to chase and it looks nice and vintage-like. It's also hard to dislike a set that contains some of baseball's biggest sluggers.
Future Stars (20 card set)
This is a fun insert set for prospectors and rookie card collectors. It adds a little something different to the typical base cards you tend to see for rookies. Also, it's one of those cards that not every rookie will have making it cool if you collect one of the 20 guys featured in the set.
Great Ones (30 card set) Now this is great for some of the "old timers" who still collect cards of the players they grew up with, or people who like collecting the older players. I can imagine it gets boring when you collect a guy who hasn't played in 15+ years and there are like 2 cards a year of him. I would imagine it's cheaper, but not as much fun.
The Homerun Heroes, Future Stars, and Great Ones are 3 insert sets that actually offer something for everyone. You can find at least one card out of these 3 sets to love, or collect a full set. Plus, they would look sweet displayed in your binder.
Framed Paper /999 This may be my favorite part of the whole Gypsy Queen set. I absolutely love these framed paper cards. The border is a bronze/brownish type color and it is raised slightly. The border is more like the color of the infield dirt, which makes it super sweet looking on cards that have just the right color dirt. (Check out the Tim Lincecum card) These are gorgeous looking inserts and probably one of the best inserts of the year.
Gypsy While I am aware that the set is called, "Gypsy Queen" I find no need to have included actual gypsies in the set. No card collector really gives a hoot about pulling one of these. And furthermore who on Earth wants to get an auto of a gypsy? It's worth about as much as me signing a card. Jewel cards are a case hit = LAME. Again, worthless card. If this set is produced again in the future we can all do without the gypsies. Sorry, Oriana.
Mini (regular back) Mini cards... hard to find anything cooler than tiny baseball cards. They are fun size cards perfect to add a little something to any set. I am all for a mini version in every set, I like tiny cards. Actually I think I just like how they look in the binder sheets. Anyway, they are the same as the base version unless you get the variant from the box topper pack. The variant is a slightly lighter card with a different pose, which you will see in a little bit.
Mini (red backs)
Mini black parallels These are the "cooler" version of the mini cards, if you will. They are black cards, not serial numbered and very nice looking. I can't wait to get my mitts on the Cano, Martin and Pujols black mini's (hint hint if you have one I need please e-mail).
Mariano Sepia Mini /99 This is just plain awesome. It makes Mo look like he pitched 30 years ago. Sepia cards are a nice variant for baseball cards, but I think they work best on current players. A sepia mini of Babe Ruth just wouldn't have the same coolness to me. Sepia mini = happy MarieBay.
Mini's from the little bonus pack of mini cards.
The only way to get one of the insert set mini's is from the mini box topper pack. So you can definitely expect to pay more for these if one of your guys is in one of the sets.
Lighter mini variant exclusive to the mini pack.
Prince Fielder relic I'm honestly not a fan of the relic cards, but then again I never am. These look just like the base cards with a plain ol' swatch on 'em.
Josh Hamilton Framed Relic Love, love, love framed relic cards. I have no reason why I dislike regular ones but I am okay with the framed ones. Maybe because in the card is a tiny card with a swatch or bat piece, and I like tiny cards. Personally, what I think would have made the framed relics more awesome would be if there was another version (different color border), serial numbered, and a PATCH with more than one color. That would have made a great case hit instead of the lame jewel cards.
Josh Hamilton auto redemption Hooray it's Josh Hamilton, and boooooo there was only one auto and it was a redemption. The whole fun of this product was the promise of on card autographs in every box and then when you are jipped one auto and the other is a redemption it kinda sucks some of the fun out of it. But when it's Josh Hamilton I guess I can let it slide. (On hold for the Woodpecker.)
This definitely might be one of the most fun products so far this year. So here is my report card:
It gets an A from me based more on the framed paper cards than the base cards. The base cards are nice in that they look vintage and all that jazz, but the framed paper and the inserts steal the show and won me over. Mini cards? Yes, Topps has a winner here.
The value rating is reflected by the current price point of over $130 per hobby box currently. Not to say that you don't get a ton for the money (like 4 hits per box guaranteed) but with the way the economy is right now and people are trying to save money while still indulge in things they like the resellers are making it hard for the average person to afford to open a box of this set. If the price leveled out around $90 per box I would give it an A.
Why not an A? Well, the fact that the product was advertised for months to have 2 autographs per box and 24 hours prior to the product going live they announce an "oops, sorry we forgot one" press release.... Not cool. Maybe it's Quality Control, and not so much the quality category of the cards themselves. The cards themselves were great. I don't recall seeing a single damaged card in the case we opened or in this hobby box which is always nice. Again, the inserts are an added bonus for this category as well.
I know it doesn't average out, but the pricing is set by resellers not Topps so that grade isn't totally their fault. The quality issues, while yes there should have been 2 autographs the cards themselves were definitely on point and very nice looking. I did take a little something off for those issues.
The product offers a great range of extras, and inserts which make it a super fun box to break if you can afford one. If you can buy a retail blaster or rack pack at Target or Walmart and not a whole hobby box I can assure you that you will have a ton of fun with either option. Even retail packs have had autographs in them. This product has potential to throw you a hit in any version, plus with the autos on card those pesky pack searchers can't find them.