Yup, I did it. If you check in every so often you probably saw that I got hooked on 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen a couple months back. Unfortunately, by the time I had gotten through a few rack packs and made the decision to go after the set, the product had disappeared from retail shelves pretty much everywhere. I was left with just over 100 cards out of the 350-card base set, a bunch of parallels, a decent stack of inserts and minis, and a choice. Throw the cards in a box and forget about them, try searching for some lots on eBay, or buy hobby.
Ultimately I decided that I just wasn't finished ripping Gypsy Queen wax yet and decided to go for a hobby box. I'm glad I did because since doing so prices have gone up even more and hobby boxes are now going for around $220. I think this is insane, and would never pick up a box of this stuff at that price. I paid $150 for my box, which included tax, plus I didn't have to pay shipping as I purchased it at the hobby shop. Normally I would never pay this much for a box of anything, in fact it's the most I've ever spent on a box. So how did I do? Would I feel buyer's remorse? I'm going to keep this post random and free-flowing, so without further introduction, here are some random cards from the box that I enjoyed:
First up we have the 10-card mini pack, exclusive to hobby boxes. These contain the regular minis that you find in hobby/retail, but you can also pull mini inserts, and mini variations with different photos. Here's a sampling of what I pulled:
Probably my favorite mini from the entire box. A great pull for me as a Nolan Ryan collector, these aren't easy to come by. I've seen them sell for anything from a couple of bucks to over $10 on eBay. A quick search turned up only one with a Buy-it-Now price of $16.99.
This one's up for trade if there are any Tigers or Cabrera collectors out there who are interested...
I'll part with this one as well...
Here's the one mini variation I pulled. As you can see the base card has a different photo of Hanley fielding:
Very nice. I don't know if I'll ever collect the entire mini set (although I'd like to), but for now I'm definitely going after the Red Sox.
How can you look at this card and say you don't care for Gypsy Queen? That wraps it up for the 10-card mini pack, here are some choice cuts from the rest of the box:
After a decent showing in 53 games with the Sox last season, Kalish has yet to crack the roster in 2011.
Another guy who hasn't played yet in 2011. Lars is in the unfortunate position of being behind Adrian Gonzalez in the depth chart at first base. I'm pretty sure he'll end up traded because of this, in fact he was slated to go in the Rich Harden deal before that fell through.
The Framed parallels are the highlight of the set in my opinion. I almost wish that I'd just purchased the entire 100-card Framed Paper set rather than a hobby box. I don't catch too many Pirates games, but this guy seems to have all the tools.
I pulled the Framed Paper version of this card in a retail pack, it's one of my favorite photos in the set.
Yeah, so I pulled one of these. What a waste of cardboard. Anybody wanna trade?
I guess this is a Hanley Ramirez hot box.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm partial to the Hall-of-Famers in the set.
My second Red Sox mini, this one is way cooler than the Youk.
A bit bummed that none of my first 3 framed paper parallels were retired players, but ultimately I'd like to collect the set and I did need Jimmy here.
My first hit is a Jason Castro auto. Wonderful. Looks like he suffered a serious knee injury at some point. Has not seen action in 2011. This one's on the trading block.
Ah, that's better...
A Frank Robinson fan would be very happy with this box. There are a couple more to come in this post.
Second hit was much better than the first. As an impressionable youth and huge baseball fan when Ripken broke the consecutive games played record, I've always had a soft spot for him. This is the second time I've pulled a Ripken relic.
Second Frank Robinson, this one numbered to 99. I'd trade this for the right offer, anyone have a Red Sox sepia they want to part with?
Third Frank Robinson. I know he spent a long time with the Reds but I always think of him as an Oriole.
Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. I think you get maybe 2 of these per box, so Hanson's a decent pull. Canuck, you can probably pry this one off me.
One last Robinson. That makes 5 in the box.
Lackey got torched pretty well again tonight against Cleveland. Thanks to his stellar year, the Sox had to trade a few prospects to Seattle for Erik Bedard at the deadline. The worst part is he's still got a couple seasons after this one at big money. Ugh.
The base to go along with the mini.
Another nice looking card, with what looks like some photographers with tripods in the background. The third hit of the box:
Hard not to be pleased with this card. After a pretty crummy auto my two relic cards were great.
Sweet, my final Framed Paper parallel and I finally got a Hall-of-Famer! The only time in recent memory where I was excited to pull a Mickey Mantle card out of a modern Topps product.
Jed's been on the DL for quite some time. He's going to be featured in a project that I have slated for this month.
This one's up for trade.
Along with the Ryan, my favorite mini in the box. I love the color and depth.
Well, that's about it. I guess this was your run of the mill box. I had a lot of fun ripping it. I went from 102/350 to 216/350 for the base set, so it was productive there. My two relics were awesome (even though my auto sucked), I love the mini Hall-of-Famers, and I have a healthy stack of trade bait/doubles. Nonetheless, I would've still felt as though it wasn't really worth the price of admission had it not been for one final card:
Yup, I pulled a Gypsy Queen auto. Technically I guess this is the second auto in the box, so I don't get to send my UPC code off to Topps saying that I was shorted. I was beyond bummed when I pulled this. This card is totally worthless in my opinion, I mean who even signs these, some Topps employee? So why did it save the box for me?
Wait until you see what I turned it into!
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