Another group collaboration, this time on a review of 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen. Dan G. of www.sportsecurities.com and I went ahead and reviewed this product and decided to share our thoughts. Dan bought a bunch of packs while I searched the market for a few variations to give you an idea of some of this products base yield.
A couple of months ago I was flipping through my Beckett Monthly, and stumbled across a preview of 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball. Played out was my first response. My second thought was I can’t believe that they (Topps) have resurrected another dead set/name. And, at the time, my final thought was I’m not buying it. As a collector, I have seen an ever growing trend in the lack of creativity present in the current hobby. I felt that this new release was another example of the torpidity in the hobby. It seems that the card companies are OK with being stagnant and uncreative. A few weeks ago, I saw some retail packs of this product, and on an impulse, bought one. When I opened the pack at home, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t pull anything worth noting, but the base set was nice. It was so nice that I wanted more. So, I went out and bought a blaster box. What I like about this set is the neutral colors along with the canvas look. I feel that this combination makes theses cards pop. Additionally, the set isn’t overloaded with aged HOFers, and there are a few nice inserts with clean designs, the Sticky Fingers set being my favorite. At two per hobby box, the memorabilia cards look like any other set, but if they weren’t included, everyone would feel robbed after busting a box. Finally, the autos I didn’t get any. However, from what I have seen online and the checklist, I would characterize them along with the jersey cards. What I don’t like about this set is the eternal list of Topps parallels. Short prints, minis, mini SPs, red back, green back, copper back, gypsy back, black boarder, framed, and whatever else they throw into the box. Also the name blows Gypsy Queen. Call it something baseball related, instead of using an old dead tobacco brand. But in Topps’ defense, the name ties in nicely with the real gypsy queen autos. Yes, Topps inserted short printed autos of random gypsies who are all queens of something gypsy related. On a side note, I chose to buy a blaster box because of the Topps debacle that has infested this product along with many others. The advertised hit per hobby box ratio included two autographs and two relic cards, but most box breaks have been shorted an auto. Topps is making good on the error, but at $140+ a box, principle is a factor.
As it turns out, 2011 has turned out some interesting releases thus far. One in particular that has caught my eye is the 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen. As Topps continue to take precedence over the baseball market, its focus is still highly geared in the familiar direction of seemingly endless parallel’s, mini and SP variations, recycled ‘nostalgic’ designs from century and decades past, and yet again more game-used cards. However, this release caught my eye. Although this is a re-release of an old design, the cards actually look rather decent in-hand. Additionally, the parallels are many but simple which I respect. In an era that’s essentially an arms race for ‘most hits per box’, GQ hosts some fun parallel chases with practically the same design with varying material frames/colors. It took me a few weeks to secure what you see below but just to give you an idea of the number of variations, this is only some of what’s available.
I really enjoy the design of the base card. The last name first, first initial last is a nice touch and something I hope is not repeated into exhaustion in years to come. I say this because, with any new innovation, it’s common practice to over-use it in future releases. What I’m talking about here is the same over-use that condemns GU cards to $1 boxes at card shops across the country. I digress. The off-white bordering of the base card paired with the old style font of ‘Gypsy Queen’ presents a reminder of what use to be. The intricately painted-looking full action shots are clear and classy as they pop out at you in those framed borders. The Copper and Green framed variations you see above go the extra mile. There’s a bit of flake added into the borders on those variations so when manipulated by a light source, you see the card sparkle. This is a subtle but aesthetically pleasant touch. Further, the stamped text over the Copper and Green variations is another home run with this product. It’s almost the perfect combination of flash and droll.
With variations that range in at least the teens, if not more, building a rainbow of this product can present quite a challenge. Some variations are serial numbered from as many as 999 to as little as just 10 and the plates to 1. Whether your a veteran collector that seeks to dip your memories into the magical waters of century’s past, or a newbie collector looking to add a bit of class to your collection, I’d recommend enjoying a box of 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen.