This year will mark the eighth annual release of one of the hobby’s most anticipated products of the year: Topps Allen & Ginter. This product has a vintage feel along with eccentric elements thrown in to keep collectors a little bit off balance and yet on their toes at the same time. Patterned after the original Allen & Ginter cards of the late 1800’s, collectors can expect to find a nice mix of mini cards, relic cards, interesting insert sets, as well as a wide range of autograph selections. A & G has evolved over the years into a set known for its unusual and quirky offerings. Past releases have seen a DNA card with a strand of hair from President George Washington, an autograph card of the Invisible Man, and a relic card of the Loch Ness Monster just to name a few. When it comes to A & G, collectors should expect the unexpected.
Here are the individual set pages:
2013 Allen & Ginter Base Set
Mini Parallel Set
Black Border Mini's
A&G Back Mini's
No Number Mini's
Baseball Back Mini's
Wood 1/1 Mini's
Silk Cloth Cards
Double Rip Cards
Across the Years
One Little Corner
Palaces and Strongholds
Civilizations of Ages Past
The First Americans
Heavy Hangs the Head
Codes, Ciphers and Cryptographs
For 2013, A & G will offer the standard 350 card set that collectors are accustomed to. The first 300 cards feature mostly baseball players past and present while the last 50 cards are short prints. Considering that an average box contains 12 short print cards, it would take several boxes for a collector to have a complete set.
Inside every pack of A & G is a mini card. These cards are the same size as the tobacco cards of the early 1900’s. Each one of the 350 regular base cards has a corresponding regular mini card. Since mini cards are one per pack, it would be difficult for a collector to complete – even more so than the full-sized base set. In addition to the regular mini cards, there are several parallel mini cards for collectors to chase after. A & G back minis, which feature a logo on the back of the card, are about five times as tough to pull as regular minis. A & G black border minis are generally found 1 or 2 per box on average. No number minis, cards with no number on the back of the card, have a print run of 50 cards each and are tough pulls. A & G baseball backs are serially numbered to 25 copies each. Other mini cards with a print run of 10 or less are mini cloth cards, mini printing plates, and mini wood cards. Another added mini insert are extended minis. These cards are numbered 351-400 on the back and are exclusively found inside rip cards. Putting a set of these together is a very difficult challenge. Especially since some collectors do not rip their rip cards so the supply of the minis are very limited.
Allen & Ginter consists of several full sized inserts for collectors to collect. A master set is not complete unless you have the following inserts. Across the Years is a 100 card insert set that pairs a current MLB star with a famous person that shares their birthday. Collectors can expect to find 12 of these per hobby box. Another insert set that might be popular to collect are One Little Corner inserts. These cards are clear cards which will really standout in a collector’s collection. Palaces and Strongholds is a 20 card insert set showcasing some of the greatest castles and forts of the world. Martial Mastery is a 10 card insert set that highlights some of the greatest warrior’s the world has ever seen. Lastly, Civilizations of Ages Past feature civilizations that have come and gone over the years.
Mini inserts are also highly collectible among the A & G faithful. These inserts look great when presented in a notebook with plastic sheets that are specifically made for cards of this size. For 2013, there are six different mini inserts for collectors to clamor over. The First Americans feature 15 cards from Native American tribes. Inquiring Minds showcase 21 of the greatest minds the world has ever known. Heavy Hangs the Head is a 30 card mini insert set that depicts monarchs that have ruled their kingdoms. Codes, Ciphers, and Cryptographs is a 10 card insert set that expose some of the famous codes that the world has ever known. The Peacemakers insert set shows us ten activists whose mission is to restore and keep peace throughout the world. The last mini insert set is Famous Finds which highlights ten of the greatest archaeological digs in the history of the world.
Another big part of A & G, and this year is no exception, are relic cards. Relic cards have been discovered by collectors inside packs of A & G since the product line’s inception back in 2006. There are a few people out there who have complete sets of these relic cards which is a daunting task. Some relics are more limited than others and are simply hard to locate. The preliminary checklist boasts 138 mini relic cards for collectors to scramble after. These relics feature 100 baseball stars along with 38 non-baseball selections. Collectors can expect to find about two relic cards per hobby box on average. New for 2013 is the inclusion of full sized relics. These relic cards are similar to the mini cards but contain bigger relic pieces on full sized cards. There are 50 cards in this set.
It was mentioned earlier that A & G is known for being unusual and quirky. Here is the proof in the way of four more types of relics that someone can find inside packs of A & G. First, DNA Relic cards make a return. This year you can find a strand of hair from Alexander Hamilton and John F Kennedy. Also, mentioned on the official A & G sell sheet, there are Select Picks relics. These cards feature actual guitar picks used by the guitarist pictured on the card. Next, are Oddity Relics. Look for odd relic pieces such as a piece of the grassy knoll to a piece of a ticket from President Obama’s Inauguration. Lastly, there are creepy spider cards! These cards are called Arachnology cards and can be found as redemptions inside packs. The reason why they are redemption cards is because the cards themselves are made in an exquisite window-box style card with a full spider inside. These cards are numbered one of one and are similar to the butterfly cards that were in last year’s product – except scarier.
One of the major driving forces behind the success of Allen & Ginter is autograph cards. A & G has always had a great selection of autographs from baseball stars, retired baseball legends, other sport stars, and celebrities. Each box is guaranteed at least one mini autograph card inside a specially made frame. The preliminary checklist shows 119 subjects and is subject to change. Anticipated to be in this year’s autograph lineup include Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Axl Rose, Ziggy Marley, and Pele. Rookie sensation Yasel Puig will also be in this year’s autograph set. Every year the autographs in A & G have proven to be highly collectible by player collectors, team collectors, odd ball collectors, as well as set collectors. It seems there is always something for everyone which makes the autographs in A & G always in high demand.
If you ask collectors what their favorite element of A & G is, chances are they will respond by saying two words – “rip cards”. What exactly are rip cards? Rip cards were introduced to A & G back in 2006 which gave collectors an interesting dilemma. Collectors receiving one of these cards could keep the card as a collectible or rip the tag on the back of the card and expose the mini card that is embedded inside the card. The mini card could be one of several different inserts. For 2013, you could find a mini exclusive. The mini exclusive cards are numbered on the back 351-400. This is the most common find inside rip cards and depending on the player, these mini cards could sell for around $50-$100 each. Also inserted into rip cards are Artist’s Originals. These are mini pieces of original art drawn on a mini card and hand numbered one of one. You can also find special red autographs. Similar to regular autographs, but without the frame, these red autographs feature some of the subjects found in the regular autograph lineup and are hand numbered to just ten copies each. Also found inside rip cards are wood exclusives. These mini cards are made with a wood grain stock and are numbered one of one. These wood cards feature each one of the mini exclusives. The last type of insert you can find inside rip cards are called rip card reserves. A rip card reserve is a redemption card that collectors can submit to Topps in exchange for a prize such as a full autographed jersey or bat.
New for 2013 are the inclusions of double rip cards. These cards are exactly what you would expect. Collectors can rip both sides of the card and expose two hidden mini gems. Collectors can find any of the mini inserts found in rip cards plus they could also find a special one of a kind insert. There are fifty one of a kind inserts and each one is numbered 1/1.
Topps has acquired a collection of 100 Allen & Ginter original cards, framed them, and inserted them into packs of A & G. These cards are the actual cards that were produced back in the late 1800’s. Each frame is numbered one of one and these can only be found in hobby packs.
Another exciting feature of A & G is cut signature cards. These cards are very rare as only 20 exist. Collectors who pull one of these from a pack have something really special and valuable. Each cut signature is that of a famous politician or historical figure.
Collectors have always appreciated a little something extra in their boxes and Allen & Ginter delivers year after year in the way of box loaders. Box loaders are that little something special added inside boxes of A & G. People consider these box loaders as a little bonus prior to opening the packs. Box Loaders have many different forms this year. Box Loader inserts are a 15 card set and are one of the two most common box loaders to be found. The other most common box loader is Wonders of the World Cabinet Box Loaders. There are 21 different cabinet sized cards in this set. The box loader inserts can be found in the following formats: relics, autographs, and autographed relics. The Cabinet Box Loaders can be found in relic format as well as book relics. The book relics feature two full sized pieces of jersey or jersey numbers and each cabinet card is numbered one of one.
From the baseball collector to the person that likes something quirky and eccentric, Allen & Ginter delivers in a way that no other product does. With its cult-like following, A & G proves year-in and year-out to be a strong contender for the best product of the year to rip. 2013 Allen & Ginter streets August 7th and should be well received by collectors as it looks to be a strong seller once again this year.