Friday, May 16, 2014

If Gypsy Queen looked like this, I might collect Gypsy Queen

Look at that card. Isn't it gorgeous?

Oh, sure, some of you might consider it boring. It's not boring. It's the opposite of boring. It's elegant. It's classic. It's simple in the most wonderful way.

Oh, and it's also Gypsy Queen.

Yeah, I'm calling a Gypsy Queen card "gorgeous".

I'll get to that.

This card was sent to me by JediJeff at 2 by 3 Heroes. Since I am going out of my way to avoid Gypsy Queen this year, I had no idea what it was. I looked it up and determined that it was an insert in the GQ set. It's called an N174 insert, and it's based on a set from 1888.

This, my fellow collectors, is what Gypsy Queen should be.

I know that would mean that we couldn't call it "Gypsy Queen," we'd have to call it "N174," and that's a horrible name if you're trying to get anyone to buy your product. But I don't care, man. Put away that box of ugly you've been throwing at us for four years now under the name of "Gypsy Queen" and pick up this gloriously understated design instead.

I enjoy cards that are marvelously simple. It's part of the reason I like oddballs and sets like 1967 Topps so much. Gypsy Queen is the opposite of simple. All those squiggly lines and old-looking designs that remind me of gargoyles and fog-obscured castles don't make me want to collect cards. They make me want to hurl myself off a cliff like some overwrought teenage girl in a Shakespearean play. It's waaaay too much.

While the above insert may be considered "drab" by some, all I see is an outstanding tribute to the late 19th century (and Mr. Kershaw, of course). If all of GQ's cards looked like this, well, I actually wouldn't try to complete the set. But I wouldn't be bagging on it so often that my readers want to tear their eyes out.

Anyway, great card.

Here are some others from Jeff:

This is probably the card that Jeff expected that I'd babble about more. But I'm a chameleon wrapped in a riddle -- or however that saying goes. Sure, it's the action variation of the 2014 Heritage Hyun-Jin Ryu card, and I'm very appreciative. But I shouldn't be giving intentional variations any more publicity. They're an annoying concept.

Two Podres. One I had already and one I didn't (guess!). Everytime I see a Podres card, I don't think of his 1955 World Series performance first or what an odd-looking fellow he was. I think of how amazing it is that a guy who came from a Northern New York Adirondack Park town became a major name in baseball.

This would mean something only to people who live or lived near Adirondack Park, I realize that. But I am one of those people, and trust me, it's amazing.

Last card and it's one of my favorites. Sure, I've got a number of 1977 Ron Cey cards already. I don't care. Send me more. They're all going in the binder.

Also, feel free to send me 2014 Gypsy Queen Dodgers. I know I've scared everyone off by ranting against the product, but I still remain a team completist, and I always find a place for the beautiful and the ugly.

After all I have a lot more cards of Joe Torre than Anna Kournikova.

Hmmm ... maybe I need to fix that.


  1. I, too, am one of those people. North Country rules.

  2. I love the Adirondacks of Northern New York. Beautiful area. Years back, I remember driving up there (we lived in the Utica area after we lived a bit outside of Cooperstown) and passing a restaurant in the middle of nowhere with a huge billboard down near the road that advertised "Worst Food in New York State" or something like that. And, let me tell you, that place was packed.

  3. The Podres' and the Cey all came from a nickel box. I figured you probably had them. I also figured if you knew I left those three cards in a nickel box, you would hunt me down. Rescuing them seemed the right thing to do.

  4. I felt the exact same way when I first saw Gypsy Queen. But since Topps doesn't recognize a good idea when it sees it, I just hope this is the final year for the Gypsy Queen line.

  5. If I were to describe the perfect card design... I'm pretty sure that "elegant", "classic", and "simple" are three of the words I'd use.

  6. Yes - I recently came across a huge stack of 2014 GQ in a mystery boc from my LCS and there were several of these N174 inserts in there. They are strikingly beautiful.