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8 cards per pack/24 packs per box

By the box:

Box 1:
Short Prints: 12
National Pride: 24
Highlight Sketches: 4
Ginter Code parallels: 2
Relics: 3
Minis: 12
Allen & Ginter back minis: 5
Black-bordered minis: 3
National Heroes: 2
World’s Greatest Hoaxes: 2

Box 2:
Short Prints: 11
National Pride: 24
Highlight Sketches: 3
Ginter Code parallels: 2
Relics: 4
Minis: 11
Allen & Ginter back minis: 5
Black-bordered minis: 3
National Heroes: 2
World’s Greatest Hoaxes: 2
Non-printed number, hand-numbered minis: 1

Box 3:
Short Prints: 13
National Pride: 24
Highlight Sketches: 4
Ginter Code parallels: 2
Relics: 3
Minis: 13
Allen & Ginter back minis: 4
Black-bordered minis: 2
National Heroes: 2
World’s Greatest Hoaxes: 2
Bazooka back, hand-numbered minis: 1

Base set (1-300) completion: 233 of 300 (78%)
Short-print set (301-350) completion: 21 of 50 (42%)

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Impressions

That is some remarkably bad collation. I still can’t quite comprehend how three hobby boxes, all of which yielding 120+ base cards each, somehow failed to produce an entire base set of 300. With last year’s product, I was only two base cards short of a full set with only two hobby boxes. To make matters worse, look at the SP collation. My three boxes yielded 36 short prints. A whopping 15 of them were doubles. FIFTEEN short print doubles. So instead of being nearly 2/3 of the way complete with the SPs, I’m only halfway through. Fortunately, trading the extras will make easy work of completing the remainder.

But the trouble lies in how much extra work it’ll take to complete the set this year. Bad collation has guaranteed a much larger number of trades to complete the 09 set. With the 08 set, I was able to finish shortly after acquiring my boxes. This year, much more effort will go into it. Is this intentional on the part of Topps? Make collation purposefully bad, thus forcing consumers to buy more product? I don’t know, but I sure wouldn’t be surprised either.

As for the positives, well, it’s Allen & Ginter, so we all know why everyone fawns over this product. A nice touch this year was the elimination of the thick decoy cards that had been used as Dick Perez sketches in the past and the USA set last year. Should make for easier storage in boxes and binders. I also like the selection of mini subsets this year. The National Heroes, I feel, is a much more thoughtful subset than the National Pride subset. Likewise with the World’s Greatest Hoaxes. As a self-professed history buff, I absolutely love inserts such as these.

It was unfortunate, however, that bad collation not only ruined the set-building progress, but also failed to yield any of the Future Inventions or Extinct Animals minis.

Equally frustrating are the rising prices for hobby boxes. I assume they are, anyway. My usual source, starting with Heritage, increased his selling prices well above previous norms — Heritage was $80 a box, up from $65 a year before, and now Ginter was $92 a box, up from $85 a year before. I assume this means Topps is increasing their wholesale prices, which again, squeezes the consumer further.

My source also received his stock late, meaning I could’ve taken advantage of Blowout Cards’ lower online prices and had boxes delivered earlier. As much as I prefer to support local business, if local business can’t beat online business both in price and in and timeliness, what choice do I have but to go online?

I can’t complain about the cards themselves. It’s A & G, so we all know what we’re getting. And as always, Topps stays faithful to the original. No one does retro better than Topps, and I say this even as I eagerly await Upper Deck’s Goodwin Champions.

4 Comments

  1. Hey, I can’t agree more with you and I figure I might end up writing something dedicated solely to the cluster-fuck that was Ginter’s collation:

    6 Boxes = 281 of 300 Cards with doubles of almost everything including some cards with 5 or 6. David Ortiz wins with 8 total cards.

    301-350 = 43/50 cards, with doubles and triples.

    The kicker, which I angrily sent back to Topps was..

    My first three boxes were all shorted a hit, and contained the exact same combo of 1 Nate McLouth Jersey card and 1 Matt Holliday Bat, i think.

    300 Dollars yielded… 2 different hits.

    • Seriously. Not that I care that much for the hits, but McLouth/Holliday x 3 is ridiculous. And it’s even harder to believe that after six boxes you were still short 19 cards of a base set!

      • Yup, I actually think that I received three almost identical boxes. I have a 500 card box full (they’re in penny sleeves, I haven’t counted yet) of duplicates just from the base set.

        It’s not even like I can cheaply complete another set, because most of the duplicates are x2, x3 or x4.

        I don’t even know how topps could make this right. I just hope this wasn’t the case for the entire production run, because there’s no way you should ever have to purchase more than 6 boxes to complete the base set.

  2. Somehow I’ve wound up with four of the Sitting Bull SPs – the collation is pretty terrible; I opened three boxes and was still about 80 cards short of the base set. I hit up Sportlots to fill my holes, but am really bummed I had so many gaps after those boxes, as well as a few blasters.


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