Monday, April 14, 2014

Product Review: 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball Hobby Box

For the past couple of years this has been the product that I keep going back to. Topps Gypsy Queen is a very close version of another Allen and Ginter product but keeps to Baseball only specifics. 2014 Gypsy Queen is in for another great year in the hobby. 

The richness of the design and photography bring collectors back each year to complete the set. 300 cards deep with 50 SP's to collect is the continued standard for this product each year. New into the fold are 50 Reverse Negatives to hunt down. I'm not a fan of these in any product but I can only assume Topps was trying it out this year. Framed Parallel's are back with Blue numbered to 499, White (Retail) and Silver 1/1. 

One of the successes of Gypsy Queen are the Mini's. These of course are back and include Black, Red, Sepia, Wood, and Leather parallel's. These are always in high demand and tough to complete a full set. The Mini's also have 100 SP's to collect which are found in packs and Mini Box Toppers (Hobby Box only). 

A couple of new Mini Parallel's to hit this year are 151 Clear Mini Framed and Graphite (each 1/1) and Mini Birth Year Pennies (100 cards) all 1/1. Speaking of new editions, Topps also has introduced Around the Horn Pop-up Autographed Book cards, Dual and Triple Autographed Relics, Bat Barrels, Dual and Triple Button Relics, and Hometown Flag Patches. 

There is a lot of things jam packed into the 2014 edition of Gypsy Queen. Some say to keep things the way they are and continue with the "tradition" of the original release. Well this could be true for a couple of new items like the Hometown Flags and the Birth Pennies, but all in all Topps has produced another great product into our hobby to enjoy. 

Lets find out how we did in our box break;

Base Cards: 181 (0 doubles)
Base Card SP: 6 - Tanaka (RC), Boggs, Trout, Hunter, B. Hamilton (RC), S. Gray
Base Card Blue Paper Parallel: 2 - George Brett /499, Jonathan Schoop /499
Base Card Mini: 19
Base Card Mini SP: 1 - Hunter Pence
Base Card Black: 3 - Posey /150, Ziegler /150, J. Fernandez (SP) /150
Base Card Sepia: 1 - Willie Mays (SP) /50
Base Card Mini Box SP: 10 - Trout, Johnson, Fielder, Martinez, Goldschmidt, Sandoval, Smith, Ryan, Schmidt, Napoli
N174 Gypsy Queen: 6 - Jeter, Puig, Ruth, Rivera, Ripken, Jackson
Dealing Aces: 6 - Price, Bumgarner, Lee, Kershaw, Strasburg,Wainwright
Debut All-Stars: 4 - Longoria, Fielder, Harvey, Hernandez
Glove Stories: 4 - Jeter, Crawford, Puig, Gomez
Game Used: 2 - Zack Wheeler, Gio Gonzalez (Mini Framed)
Autographs: 2 - Jonathan Pettibone, Carlos Martinez
Printing Plate: 1 - Brandon Moss 1/1

Lets start with the basics. 2014 comes in with another great vintage design which brings to live each player in the 350 card set. Our box didn't have any doubles which provides some hope in completing a 300 card set without SP's in two boxes. The SP's are tough even at only 50, and with some of the big names included your sure to pay a bit to complete your set.
How can you not love Mini's? They really bring the old time cards into our recent products. Only 1 of our Mini SP's came from a pack with the rest being from the Mini Box. The Black and Sepia borders are great looking. Mini's will always be fun to collect and trade among collectors.
Inserts in Gypsy Queen are just as nice as the Base Cards. Plus depending on who you pull just as valuable. Glove Stories always have great shots of amazing plays and the newly added Debut All-Stars is a nice add of players in their rookie days at an All-Star game.  
Another new insert the N174 are pretty cool and provide an even stronger presence of vintage to the product. The feel and look of the Framed Base are pretty cool. Adding the serial numbering helps this insert in the secondary market and also gives a very strong collecting notion to collectors. Grabbing your favorite team or player would be the best way to go with these instead of the full set. 
If you love on-card autographs, this is a product for you. It doesn't matter who you pull or which team for some collectors looking for this in a product. Gypsy Queen again delivers the on-card autograph and it is nothing but great. Both players we pulled weren't the top of the checklist nor a team we collect, however being on-card these will keep their value over time compared to sticker autographs.  
This was definitely a Pitcher collect box, as our two Relics were also pitchers. Happy to pull the Wheeler for our PC and the Mini relic of Gio is a great presentation. Mini relics always do well and this year will be no different.
We managed to pull a printing plate out of our box for the second year in a row. This is always a treat and extra bonus you can find in a box. Printing plates don't have the same flare as they did when first introduced, but like anything if you pull the right one your in for some big returns.

Overall I'm very happy with the 2014 edition of Gypsy Queen. Another great looking set with lots to collect. It really has something for everyone that collects baseball. These hobby boxes can be a hit or miss and some might even consider this box to be a miss. Sure looking at just the Hits pulled I can see it, but when you combine that with 60% of the 300 card set pulled, the multiple inserts, the multiple Mini's and parallel Mini's this is a no brainer buy for a collector. If your looking for more out of this like one high end Autograph or Relic you should stay away. This product is strictly for set collectors and baseball nuts like myself to have a lot of fun ripping open the packs and enjoying the fullness of the product.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Memorabilia: 4/5
Autographs: 4.5/5
Parallels: 5/5
Inserts: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Product Review: 2014 Press Pass NASCAR Total Memorabilia

It's been a long time since a new product caught my eye like this one did. 2014 Press Pass Total Memorabilia is a high end NASCAR release that is sure to get the attention of all racing collectors. Press Pass has always brought some very cool designs and memorabilia to racing fans and this year is no different.

With being a high end product you are limited to only 5 packs per box with 9 cards per pack. The breakdown for the 45 cards you will find is 25 base cards, 5 base parallels, 5 NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaques, 5 Acceleration inserts and 5 Autograph or Memorabilia cards.

Each pack of this product is providing you some good value where you'll find 1 Autographed or Memorabilia card. With NASCAR memorabilia, there are always multi color or nice big pieces put into the cards which bring you that much closer to your favorite drivers.

The Base Card set is only 50 cards deep so you will need to crack open at least 2 boxes in order to collect it. This is the same for the Acceleration Inserts (only 10 in the set) and the NASCAR Plaques are 25 cards to collect.

Getting back to the Memorabilia of this product, each card is numbered with the highest being only /275 (Retail) /175 (Hobby) and the lowest being 1/1. The Autographs are even more scare than the Memorabilia as they are between /125 and /5 for the Rising Stars and between /10 to 1/1 for the 14 Veterans listed. The items listed for the memorabilia range from Hats, Gloves, Shoes, Shirt, Sheet Metal, Tires, Firesuit,  and Windshields.  That's a lot packed into trading cards, and all look pretty cool.

Another cool thing is only Tony Stewart Autographed Memorabilia cards are redemption's, everything else is live in packs. Press Pass has always been great about this on all NASCAR products.

You'll find boxes around the $100-$125 range which broken down is not too bad for a high end product that yields a hit per pack. Especially with the low serial numbered checklist this was an intriguing product from the start.

Lets find out how we did in our box break;

Base Cards: 20 (0 doubles)
Base Card Gold Parallels: 4 - Menard, Mears, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson Cup Champion (all /175)
Acceleration Insert: 4 - Edwards, Truex Jr., Earnhardt, Kyle Busch
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaques: 3 - Tim Flock, Fireball Roberts, Maurice Petty
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaques Holo Foil: 1 - Bill France Jr.
Total Memorabilia Dual-Gold: 2 - Trevor Bayne (Tire/Sheet Metal) /150, Kasey Kahne (Tire/Sheet Metal) /150
Total Memorabilia Quad-Melting: 2 - Martin Truex Jr. (Sheet Metal, Firesuit, Glove, Shoe) /25, Marcos Ambrose (Sheet Metal, Firesuit, Glove, Hat) /25
Clear Cuts Windshield Melting: Dale Earnhardt Jr. /25

This is a very strong and pretty awesome product overall. The base cards and parallels are nice with the foil technology however a couple of things noticed. On the front you'll notice it says "Since" near the bottom left of the card. The Right side was to say the year they joined Cup racing but that is missing. Might be a miss on all cards as every card I pulled was the same. Secondly, using this thin stock can cause some chipping around the foil area of the cards. Be careful pulling them out of the packs.
Both inserts, Acceleration and Plaques are basic looking and similar to other inserts found in Press Pass NASCAR products. Nothing too special on this ones and might have expected a little more from a high end product. Managed to pull only 1 Holo-Foil which was the France Plaque. 
The Dual-Gold memorabilia of Bayne and Kahne were good pulls. The Bayne Sheet Metal has some nice damage to it and Kahne's Tire has some wear on it. Also Kahne's serial number is his car #, small bonus on that one.
Both of our Quad-Melting cards had some great pieces included. The Truex card has multi-color Sheet Metal and Firesuit. Ambrose's pieces of Hat and Glove are both cool as they almost jump right out of the card at you. Both cards numbered out of only /25 and both providing low numbered card quality on the pieces they carry.
Last but not least is one of the thickest cards I've ever pulled in a break. The Earnhardt Windshield card is simply amazing. New this year to the Press Pass memorabilia pieces able to pull and yet again another cool piece. The Windshield in the card spans from the front to the back of the card and leaves little room for the outside layer of the card. 
Most of the cards since online have been clear but ours is the top black piece of the windshield which is pretty interesting. The scan and pictures don't really show the detail of the black on the windshield but in person it's a special piece of memorabilia.  

This is a very recommended product for all you NASCAR collectors. The Base Card designs are great and the Memorabilia cards can't get any better. We didn't pull an Autographed card but very happy with all of our 5 hits we came up with. our total cards from the box was 37 but this was due to the hard to pull Windshield card which is simply awesome. NASCAR products are different from other sports as your only dealing with 43 drivers and some rising stars. A much better chance of pulling your favorite driver or comparable driver that provides you great value. 

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Memorabilia: 5/5
Parallels: 4/5
Inserts: 3/5
Concept: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5