Sunday, July 17, 2011

So I went to my last Houston area card show... and we splurged a bit... and an A&G rant...

So the wife and I headed out to the monthly card show here in Houston and since it was the last one I know we'd be going to for a while, we both got something we wanted... she picked up a hobby box of 2009 Americana and I grabbed a hobby box of Allen & Ginter, no wait A&G sucks this year and I'm not buying another box (I'll explain later), so I thought I'd try out Goodwin Champions! And I was glad I did. The base cards just look cool, the look of the painted cards and even with no licenses it doesn't look horrible. They do a great job and they got some good names to include in the set. Also, I'm really digging the Animal Kingdom patch set. Well, I got an amazing one, seeded 1:4,571 packs... the Western Gorilla. My relic and auto weren't fantastic but at least they are stars in their respective sports (unlike my A&G hits, yes I'm looking at you Derrek Lee, Ryan Dempster and Billy Butler). The die-cut cards are cool as well. I very well may pick up another hobby box or two of this product. Here's my hits...
That Gorilla patch may fetch me a couple hundred bucks on eBay if my research is correct. VERY cool cards, even if I had gotten one of the lesser seeded cards, these are how patches should be done. Natalie Gulbis is a popular women's golfer so I may be able to trade her card for a baseball relic I'd want, and the auto, well I had never heard of her before but apparently she's the first woman in the hockey Hall of Fame so maybe there's a hockey collector out there who'd want to trade for it.

Also, I grabbed a hobby jumbo pack of 2011 Topps to try and get a few cards I need and ended up getting the leather manu-patch from the box in my pack:
Definitely for trade.... And finally I picked up a card for my personal collection:
A very nice bright orange Nolan Ryan swatch! It's awesome and I've had my eye on this card on eBay for a while. I paid a bit more than I wanted for it in terms of trade, but I traded away two cards I've had for a long while and no one expressed interest in...

So, at this point, you  may be wondering why I am not going to buy more A&G, as I said I'd explain later... well, there are several of reasons. First of which is the way they distributed hits this year. In previous years, you generally got 2 relics and an auto and if you got a printing plate it was a bonus. From what I'm seeing this year, most boxes are 3 relics. You're lucky to get an auto at all, and printing plates, well I haven't seen or heard of someone pulling one yet but I am sure they have. To me, this is a sign that Topps believes we're suckers and will just keep buying box after box. Second, the relic subject list. It's a whopping 174 subjects long. That's ridiculous. There aren't 174 people I'd want a relic of, and again I'm looking at you Derrek Lee, Billy Butler and Ryan Dempster. There's no reason those three guys should be in the relic list at all. Relics should be limited to stars. I'd rather get 2 guaranteed hits and know they are STARS rather than roster fillers. Sure those three have had good games and a good year or two, but they will never threaten to even knock on the door of the HOF. Thirdly, the autographs... I've heard it may be as low as 3 autographs per CASE!!! That's ridiculously low when paying nearly $100 a box. Especially when that auto turns out to be Chris Sale, David DeJesus or even Brett Wallace. Even as an Astros fan, I'd want someone better than Brett Wallace (Hunter Pence wasn't available?). Fourth, the code. I was hopeful to participate this year, as each year it seemed pretty accessible to the common collector. However, with a 350 parallel code set, and one-per-case decoder cards, this code is now designed only for the rich; for those guys who Tribute and Triple Threads are already designed for, sorry but I don't have $10,000 to throw down on cases to get the cards needed to crack the code. Thanks for alienating me from the quest there Topps, fan un-friendly. Finally, the inserts... there are 74 (rough estimate) different ANNOUNCED insert sets this year. This means we as collectors end up with less base cards and more incomplete insert sets out of each box. Way too many!!! Which is Topps' way of getting us to buy more boxes. This all points to my final conclusion: Topps got greedy with A&G, ruined its quality and what drew collectors to it, and has killed its cash cow. Honestly, I won't buy another pack, box or blaster. And I was one of the biggest proponents of A&G, LOVED the set. Not this year, and if Topps doesn't learn something from this set then I don't know if I'll ever be back. I've read way more dissatisfied blog posts about this product than positive ones. I think that's a reflection of the quality of the product. Yes, there are some fabulous hits, but those seem more likely to be pulled by $10,000 case buyers than the average collector. So, I turn my attention now to Goodwin Champions instead. Sorry A&G, it was great while it lasted...

All my minis are for trade (including a "mexican hat" Flora mini), all my hits are for trade, and all my inserts are for trade. I'm going to try and finish the 165 base cards I need for the set but that will be it. If you're a super mini or insert collector, here's your chance to snatch up a nice little stack of minis or inserts. Anyways, I honestly hope you all had a better experience with A&G than I did this year...


  1. Hold that Granato for me. I've got a couple Astros hits coming in via ebay that will go your way.

  2. Are the Ramada shows being discontinued? Houston Sports Collectible's site is gone.

  3. I'm partially in agreement with you about A&G...I've been a huge fan for a long time, but opening my boxes this year it felt....wrong.

    I don't mind so much about the hits, because in my experience, I've pulled two autos in four years of opening boxes. I saw the odds on the wrapper, autos are 1:68 packs this year, in past years, they were 1:47 or around there.

    The thing that I didn't like was all the full size insert sets. I hated them all...because they were full size inserts in A&G. The non-sport inserts should only be mini-sized. The ships, and minds and ascent of man and even the hometown heroes were just cards getting in the way of my set collecting.

    I may reconsider my collecting pattern for A&G if this trend continues.

  4. 74 insert sets???? That's unbelievable!!!

  5. Ive been checking out the hits...lots of Dempster and Billy Butler. They are like Pagan and Gio Gonzalez in GQ.

  6. dude! two Royals slams in one post!! so there's me and maybe three other bloggers who want Billy jersey card and a DeJesus auto. it means I can get them REALLY cheap! I agree though. I want at least one of my hits to be an auto, it can't be that hard

  7. hey i like your auto and relic, i would like to have them both, also we were working on a trade for that cut, for some of the items you liked, maybe we could add those into the trade?