Saturday, July 12, 2014

Product Review: 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Hobby Box

Since 2006 the following of Allen & Ginter has increased, the 2014 edition will be no different. With two of the top rookies Abreu and Tanaka making their first appearance on the famous brand, the 2014 release is one of the highly anticipated products of the year.
Like every year, A&G try and bring you back to the modern very early day of baseball card collecting. A white card front with minimal design around the player featured continues for this year’s release. A little different each year the base cards still provide a nice clean look. 300 cards again make up the base set with an additional 50 being Short Printed.
Of course with Ginter, collectors love to build the Mini set. This again returns and will be an instant favorite with collectors. Same as the base set you’ll have to track down 350 cards with the final 50 being SP’s. Mini’s continue with parallel versions which can be found in A&G Backs, Black boarder, No Number, Flag Back, Cloth, Wood and Printing Plates. The latest edition to the mini’s which collectors will either love or hate will be the Metal Mini’s. They will be numbered and are printed on Metal Stock. Should be interesting seeing the first of these hit the market.

Inserts also play a part within this year’s release. The Pastime’s Pastime, Fields of Yore, Air Supremacy, The World’s Captains, and Natural Wonder’s help build the Base card inserts. Mini inserts include Larger than Life, Little Lions, Into the Unknown, Where Nature Ends, and World’s Deadliest Predators. All inserts are found in ratios starting at 1:2 packs.  

Rip Cards, Buybacks, Autographs, Printing Plates and Relics all are continuing with 3 of these found in each Hobby box. Autographs and Relics are found within Box Loaders, Regular Base Cards and Mini’s. With the checklist being anywhere from Baseball, Wrestling, and other prominent figures within sport and really within the world make up the sets of these two. Rip Cards are a lot of fun and can provide a major hit to your box if you manage to pull one of these.

With 24 packs per box and 8 cards per pack your chances of hitting something really special are harder than you might think. The checklist is large and Ginter is famous for the rarity pull of the SP’s in either Autograph or Relic pieces. However, collectors continue to come back and buy multiple boxes or a case of this very popular product.

This collector picks up at least 1 box per year, here is how we did on our break;

Base Cards: 139 (0 doubles) 
Base Card SP: 12 - Kinsler, Alvarez, Pence, Alonso, Phillips, Olt, Wacha, Johnson, Eckersley, Davis, Niekro, Butler 
Ginter Code Cards: 2
Base Mini: 10 Parker, Trumbo, Snoop Lion, Piazza, Briggs, Gonzalez, Harper, Gwynn, Killebrew, Granderson
Mini Black Border: 2 - Choo, Davidson
Mini A&G Back: 5 - Day, Price, Musial, Posey, Palmeiro
Mini A&G Back NNO: 1 - Sonny Gray /50
Mini A&G Red Back: 1 - Jenny Dell #'d 02/25
Mini Larger than Life: 1 - William Tell
Mini Where Nature Ends: 1 - Claude Monet
Mini Little Lions: 1 - Persian Cat
Mini Worlds' Deadliest Predators: 2 - Polar Bear, Great White Shark
Air Supremacy: 2 - B-17 Bomber, V-22 Osprey
Fields of Yore: 1 - Shea Stadium
Nature Wonders: 2 - Moeraki Boulders, Sailing Stones of Racetrack Playa
Festivals and Fairs: 3 - Holi Festival, Pingxi Lantern Festival, Dia De Los Muertos
Worlds Capitals: 4 - Rome, Buenos Aires, Taipei, Brasilia
Pastimes's Pastimes: 12 - Darvish, Reyes, Beltre, Dickey, Bautista, Strasburg, Harper, Gonzalez, Gehrig, Longoria, Myers, Price
Framed Relic: 1 - Matt Cain
Full Size Relics: 2 - Laura Phelps Sweatt, Michael Eisner
Box Loader: 1 - Statue of Liberty
Get into this review by looking at the base cards. This years design is another simple yet sophisticated card front which Ginter is famous for. The photography is great and the player lineup is again stellar. Mini's are everyone's favorite and every pack someone opens turns over to see if it's a parallel version of that card. We had a few including a Sonny Gray No Number and a Jenny Dell Red Back hand numbered to 25. One thing we noticed about the mini's was some were cut differently. Wider or taller than some, this lead to a couple of them being damaged a bit it seems during the packing process. These tended to be the base mini's in our box. 
Continuing with Mini's. The inserts this year are again non baseball related but have a coupe that are interesting. Not impressed with the Little Lions insert of cats. The World's Deadliest Predators is a cool set and intriguing to read the backs of these cards.  
 Base inserts have two new ones that I really enjoyed pulling and reading about. These were Fields of Yore and Natural Wonders. Love the ode to older stadiums of baseball history. Natural Wonders gives us a peak into things we might not have known within the world. Might even get you thinking of taking a trip to one of these places.
 Not a fan of the Festivals and Fairs but it does give us a look into the past and current celebrations around the world. Pastime's Pastimes seem to come in almost every pack. Being a 100 card set you'll even love it or hate it. The design of the cards are really nice though so if you can get by about it being an easy insert you'll be fine.
Our Box Topper this year was the Statue of Liberty. Its a nice over sized card of a famous landmark in the US. I was hopeful for a cabinet card or maybe a Glossy 1/1 again like last year but this is a good Topper to pull. 
I pulled three relics in our box. The first being the Matt Cain Framed mini. Same as years past the framed mini's are nice. This year they have Red or Grey borders. We also pulled a Phelps Sweatt Relic which for Ginter it's a common non-baseball pull. Common meaning your bound to pull one or two non-baseball hits in your box. The last Relic I liked a lot was the Micheal Eisner Tie relic. Its a pretty cool non-baseball relic to get and of a pretty famous person in our culture. I've seen some multi-colour and different design relic of his already on the secondary market which would have been even cooler, but I'm very happy with this relic.
Overall Topps has done another great job with Ginter. It is a love or hate it product for baseball fans and has become an even bigger hobby product for all over the years. You'll find collectors of Ginter to shell out lots of cash for those hard to find relics and autographs. Baseball collectors (like myself) still enjoy the product as it is and enjoy the baseball content inside. The downside to this years product is the Little Lions, although they might be a hit on the secondary market. A word of caution though, don't be surprised if your hits are three average players or all non-baseball. Ginter has a tendency to be a wide variety of hit and miss boxes. Boxes ranging around the $100-120 mark you'll find three hits (any variation of a Relic, Plates, Autos, Rip Cards, or Book Cards) a lot of history and fun. We'd recommend it for any Baseball collector and hobby enthusiast.  

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
Relics: 4/5
Design: 5/5
Parallels: 4/5
Inserts: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

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