Saturday, April 21, 2012

The only pack of this I'll ever buy

I realize I have ragged on just about every product that Topps has put out so far this year. But it's just the way the cards have fallen (heh) in 2012. Topps base is OK, but design-wise it's a come down from the last three years. Heritage is simply luck of the draw. I don't happen to like the '63 look. But call me in two years and I'll be elated with Heritage.

But then there's Gypsy Queen. There's no luck at all here. I just plain don't like it.

Last year I found the base set insanely dull. The framed paper inserts were very nice, but I don't buy products for inserts (unless those inserts are '75-style minis).

This year, the base set is not quite as dull. But it is ugly, in a way that maybe only I think is ugly, but it's still ugly to me regardless. I will demonstrate with the first card out of the pack that I bought yesterday.

#22 - Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox

OK, agonizingly boring gray border, but that's not the issue.

The issue is with the flourishes along the border. I've never liked that stuff. I don't like "ornate," and that is definitely "ornate." It reminds me of old-style European architecture, and over-elaborate home decor, and spooky door knockers.

And these things:

Yes, gargoyles.

The Gypsy Queen design reminds me of gargoyles. It fits right into that overwrought, overdone, overimpressed with oneself, "ornate" mindset.

That and these things gave me nightmares as a kid.

Now, I know that there are a few of you who are saying, "Gargoyles! Awesome!"

Fine. You've found your card set.

But don't blame me when a gargoyle hunts you down in your sleep and kills you. Because it will.

But the set also reminds me of this:

Those overdone T-shirts. Super-ornate.

You find these in hip-hop designs, heavy metal designs and other stuff that I don't even know what it is. But they all have something in common. They're hideous, and I'd never wear them in a million years.

Again, there are probably people out there that are saying, "Hey! Those are the only shirts in my closet!"

Terrific. Have I got a card set for you.

But it's not for me.

So, now that all my hang-ups are out there, let's finish off the pack:

#157 - Nelson Cruz, Rangers

I'm told there are variations of some of the cards, including Cruz here. But you won't be able to figure it out until someone reveals the look of all the short-prints. (I happen to have seen the Cruz short-print and this ain't it). So nice of Topps to help the collector out here.

#244 - Roger Maris, Yankees

GQ has a habit of making the uniforms of the old-time players look as dirty as possible. And with lots and lots of wrinkles. It looks like that thing hasn't been washed for three weeks. Fire the equipment manager.

#257 - Ryne Sandberg, Cubs

The photo is cool (again, dirt seems to be a necessity in most GQ photos). But look at how much territory that the border takes up. It's too ugly to be doing that.

#247 - Paul Molitor, Brewers, mini

More dirt. And a strange accentuation on arm hair. It looks like he applied pine tar to his arm.

#MS-WM - Willie Mays, Giants, Moonshots insert

Wouldn't be a Night Owl pack without a Yankee and a Giant.

This is one of the insert sets in the set, with a mercifully colorful border. Again, there isn't much territory for the photo of Mays' very dirty looking uniform.

And that's the pack.

I have someone in mind for just about all of these cards, so they're all taken. And, just because I don't like it, doesn't mean I won't take the Dodgers, per usual.

That's important because I'm almost positive when I say I won't buy another pack of this. First, I don't get along with the look of it. Second, if you're selling 6 cards for $3.19, you better damn well be Allen & Ginter -- at least. Third, if GQ disappears off the shelves as quickly as it did last year, then I won't get a chance to buy more in the unlikely event I ever change my mind.

Sorry, GQ enthusiasts.

Over here, the Queen is dead.


  1. Meow!!! I love all the different views. I kinda like the product. I'm just about finished writing up my box break. I don't think you have to worry about it disappearing or skyrocketing in price like last year. Reports are they produced 3 times as much of this as last years. Oh and I hope you had that Molly in mind for me. And did you check and see if any of your cards were Photo SP's?

  2. "I'm told there are variations of some of the cards, including Cruz here. But you won't be able to figure it out until someone reveals the look of all the short-prints."

    Funny you should say that because I've done Complete Visual Checklists for the Base set and Mini set SP Photo Variations. I don't normally post links to my blog on other blogs, but I figured this might be of help to someone. It took a lot of time to put together, but it has already helped a lot of collectors so I feel pretty good about it.

    Base Set SPs -

    Mini Set SPs -

    Hope this helps.

  3. Yeah, I'm not a big fan, either. Since my budget is reduced, I'm glad I'm not that tempted.

  4. "The Gypsy Queen design reminds me of gargoyles."


    Oh wait, this set is hideous. And going to be as overproduced as 2007-8 Allen & Ginter. I'll wait.

  5. I agree with you, Greg, for the most part. But the Eddie Murray card I saw posted someplace looked pretty sweet to me. Maybe I'll just get that one.

  6. Are you gonna turn to 2012 Triple Play instead of GQ this year? :)

  7. Only two current players out of six cards? Bleah.

    If I want retired players, I'll buy vintage.

  8. I'm kind of down on the half assed Photoshop filter effect which you so eloquently disparaged. Yes, Masterpieces and Chicle were uneven but at least they were really art.

  9. Dayf has a great point on the card being overproduced. I kind of take an interest in trying to figure out production numbers when I can, because in my former life I was a math geek. You can basically figure out the production on GQ. Here's a comparison. You're gonna have to take my word on the math - but it's not that difficult to figure if you know the odds.

    Hobby Cases = 1,085
    Retail Case equivalents ~1,550

    Hobby Cases = 2,475
    Retail Case equivalents ~3,850

    So production in 2012 is basically about 2.5x what it was last year. And I'd expect them to increase the numbers - it's near impossible to find Gypsy Queen 2011 boxes for less than 175 bucks. I like the set, because I like these retro sets, so the potential "value proposition" that some people go for isn't what I'm looking for. But it does make me cringe a bit that I pre-ordered my box; if I waited, I probably could have waited and gotten for 75 bucks instead of 105 bucks.