Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Maybe hobby boxes are overrated

I received this snazzy Matt Kemp Chrome refractor from All The Way To The Backstop recently. But that's not the topic of this post.

It popped up in the middle of a whole mess of 2012 Allen & Ginter want list needs, which cut said list down quite nicely. Then Democratic Roadkill weighed in with his share and knocked the list down a few more notches.

A quick look at some cards from both guys:

With these cards from those two packages, I am down to needing 27 more cards for the set -- with another lot on the way.

Remember how long it took me to complete last year's set? Almost a full year.

Now, I haven't actually completed this year's A&G set yet, but the chances are fairly good that I will finish it off in less than a year's time. It's even possible that I'll complete it earlier than the previous three years, when the finish date was in November or December.

So what is the difference between this year and last year?

The only thing I can think of is I didn't buy a hobby box of Allen & Ginter this year.

Oooh, that's a dangerous place to go, right?

I'm not totally disparaging hobby boxes here, but here's another example that doesn't fall on the side of the hobby box ledger.

Duane of Roadkill also sent along a number of Dodger minis from 2012 A&G. Including all those pesky regular backs and A&G backs and full-bleed gold borders and black borders and etc., etc., etc., etc., make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.

Some more examples:

So with this bunch of Dodger minis, let's tally up the number of Dodger minis I've accumulated from each year that I have actively collected A&G.

2008: 29
2009: 19
2010: 13
2011: 10
2012: 19

I've already surpassed 2010 and 2011 and have equaled 2009.

As for 2008? That was the last year I did not buy a hobby box of Allen & Ginter.


There are probably a lot of reasons for this. But one of them is not that I'm buying more Allen & Ginter than previous years. I've probably purchased the same amount with the same dollar amount (having exact figures would be nice, right?)

The reasons could run from luck, to finding the right traders, to more people buying A&G this year, to people getting tired of minis. I don't know. There may or may not be one overriding reason.

But my goal each year with Allen & Ginter is to complete the set and to obtain as many Dodgers as I can. And if I'm doing a poorer job in those areas in years when I buy a hobby box than in other years, then why am I buying a hobby box? For guaranteed hits of players like Gaby Sanchez and Kurt Suzuki?

Perhaps it's me. Perhaps when I buy a hobby box, I get complacent and think my quest toward set completion is practically finished since I bought so many cards at once. Or perhaps it's the collation of A&G hobby boxes that force you to buy three or four (or maybe more) to complete a set.

I don't have any real answers. But one thing is clear:

If I finish this set before the year is out, and I end up with more Dodger minis than even in 2008, then there will be no hobby box in 2013 either.


  1. I doubt it's because more people buy Ginter - my feeling is that it's gone down in popularity in recent years (though I could be wrong).

    I wonder if there's an indirect effect here. If you don't buy a hobby box, maybe you have a bigger want list and people just hit it up earlier. Who knows. You are right about the boxes though - I've only been collecting non-flagship Topps boxes for 2011 and 2012. But if you consider all base cards equal (which I don't, but I'm going to just for this purpose) I feel like Allen & Ginter has given me the least bang for buck of any box I've bought. This year wasn't too bad for me - but last year was awful Like you said - jersey cards of Kurt Suzuki don't make anyone excited. They probably don't make Kurt Suzuki excited.

  2. For the minis, it's definitely true that the baseball minis are a LOT more common this year. I still haven't finished off my mini set - but I didn't even bother attempting the mini set last year given how rare they were. As for the rest of the set, I think the base set is nicer than last year's set but it's definitely lacking when compared to the days of 08 or 09.

  3. Why not just buy 4 Blaster Boxes (usually have 1:4 box hits) for the same price as a hobby box. But the Blaster Boxes give you an extra pack also. That is 4 extra packs (plus much more cards), and there is good chance you will still get your relic card.

  4. I'm too cheap to buy a hobby box. Eventually I'll just buy a hand collated set off of eBay for $25.

  5. I will probably be able to get you the rest of the base before the end of the year.....AND if u broke down the minis u need into the different styles..... I might be able to help with them even more.....or is that just me being a douche.....