Archive for Allen & Ginter

Pacquiao’s Topps Allen & Ginter cards packing a hell of a punch

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on July 20, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

It’s funny what joy an itsy bitsy piece of cardboard can bring to a grown man.

For more than a year I’ve been asking that someone, anyone create a Manny Pacquiao baseball card.  And finally, my wishes have been answered.

In March of 2010 I wrote this piece, practically begging Topps to include the Fighting Pride of the Phillippines in one of their sets.  AND FINALLY they’ve listened.  I hate to say I told you so but … oh who am I kidding?  We ALL knew that Pacquiao’s cards would pack a hell of a punch.

I am just glad that Topps wised up to the idea and got a deal done with Pacquiao to get his likeness into this annual set of sports champions.

The basic cards have been selling for $2-$5 on eBay, basic Minis have been grabbing $3-$8 and parallels of the minis usually fetch a few dollars more. And that’s on eBay.

I’m sure the cards will fetch a premium in the Phillippines, and other areas of the United States where Filipinos tend to congregate … like here in the Bay Area.

Daily City.  Milpitas. South San Francisco. Union City.  You know what the hell I am talking about.

But you wanna know where the gold is?  It’s in Pacquiao’s  signature.  His autographed card is selling for $750 to $1,000.  That’s about three times as much as I thought the cards would average.  For some reason, I do not think those prices will come down much, if at all.

Fear This Beard: Brian Wilson appears in unannounced “Flocculence” Ginter set

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

Topps Allen & Ginter is here.  Breaking News, right? The set certainly packs a punch with one of the highlights being any of the Manny Pacquiao cards.  But while everyone is hunting for Pacquiao — and now George Bush, as Topps announced earlier this week that they added the President to their set — another unannounced insert set has sprouted:  Fabulous Face Flocculence.

The set touts some of the greatest styles of facial hair.  And sure to be a hit is this Brian Wilson card dubbed “The Closer.”  I pulled this card from a few packs of Ginter earlier this week at my local hobby shop.  Pretty neat addition to the Ginter product, a card which will certainly pick up interest as more people become aware of its existence.  It is the only card to my knowledge that actually highlights Wilson’s growth.

The Wilson card itself appears to be a super short print in a insert set that appears to have one card fall in each case.  Good luck finding one.  I’m sure it’s tougher than finding a needle in a  haystack … or perhaps in Wilson’s beard.

Are Goodwin Champion minis underrated?

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

So the other day I completed a small trade for some minis from Topps Allen & Ginter, as well as UD Goodwin Champions. Among them were two black border parallels — a 2009 Allen & Ginter Albert Pujols and a 2009 Goodwin Joe Mauer. These two cards reminded me of a thought I had late last year — are Goodwin minis underrated?

Allen & Ginter gets a lot of love because people dig A&G with a passion. But what about Goodwin? Sure, it has been treated as an A&G knockoff, but truth is UD’s Goodwin line is a rendition of an old tobacco brand, just like Topps’ A&G.

The thing I like about the Goodwin cards is that there is a sense of realism about them. Aside from the cloudy background, UD used actual pictures on their cards, where as Topps’ ran the images through a filter on some photo editing software to get this artistic feel.

I suppose it’s a matter of taste; there really is no wrong answer as to which is better because they both are good-looking cards. I just think that Goodwin may not have gotten the credit it was due. Afterall, UD’s brand was cheaper and did have minis of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Alex Ovechkin and Smarty Jones last year — all of which look pretty damn cool if you ask me.

“Daddy … what’s that?”

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , on August 5, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

So this afternoon I sat down to sort some Allen & Ginter minis before placing them in binder pages and my 19-month-old daughter asks, “Daddy … what’s that?”

She hesitated for a second and exclaimed, “Ah … cards!”

Yes, baby. Cards.

The girl is not even 2 years old, but she knows what cards are. She’s seen me fumbling with these things for almost all of her life, and she has some flash cards in her room that she has nearly torn to shreds. My wife and I taught her the word “cards” a few months ago and now she knows what they are.

But this interaction led to another just a few seconds later.

She was curious as heck to see what was in the binder so I sat her on my lap and started showing her some cards from the UD Goodwin Champions mini set.

The first was Smarty Jones, which I explained is a championship race horse.

Second was Albert Pujols, who I described as one of the greatest players the game of baseball has ever seen.

By the time I got to the third card, that of Derek Jeter, her attention was diverted to the stack of empty pages that were stuffed in the front storage pocket. She wanted to play with them all, and thus ended the sorting session.

I guess it’s too early to teach her about my cards. Maybe we’ll just stick to hers and episodes of Little Einsteins for now.

Fishing for original Allen & Ginter

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

It gives me great pleasure to announce that I have finally obtained a trading card that is more than a century old. True, I own baseball cards that are now 100 years old. But in recent days, I have had an itch for an original 1880s Allen & Ginter card that I had to scratch. Problem: Damn near any baseball guy from the 1887 set will cost a pretty penny.

So I created my own solution: Buy an 1889 Allen & Ginter “50 Fish from American Waters.”

The card found me more than me finding it. I hit my card shop before work Tuesday in search of additional Helmar packs like the ones I wrote about yesterday. What I ended up finding — in addition to two more packs — was this 111-year-old trading card.

Granted fish are not baseball players, and the market for these cards is relatively scarce. Hell, I bet lots of people didn’t even know they existed. But I like this card … and the $3 price tag certain helped rush me to the register.

Now you probably don’t give a crap about some card showing a fish. It didn’t face King Kelly. But the card really is something to marvel at. The image shown here is more than just another picture of a fish. It’s actually a lithograph, and when you look at it under the right light, you can see there is a metallic finish to the once-bright colors.

And while the front is colorful, it is the dull, monotone back that really catches my attention. I love the font used for the Allen & Ginter logo — very Greek-esque — and I like the catch phrase “You will catch one in each box of ten cigarettes.”

I had a few choices for century-old cardboard (Non Allen & Ginter, mostly Old Mill and other tobacco brands) at prices less than $10. I could have bought cards featuring birds or actresses from the 19th century, but I actually like fish — fishing is actually one of my hobbies. And now that I’ve acquired this Pampano card, I find myself in a position where I will be fishing for more species from this wonderful set. Among the highest on my want list are probably the Sturgeon and the Striped Bass.

Playing the “What If” game with Allen & Ginter and Stephen Strasburg

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

By now you’re aware that the primary draws to 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter is indeed one of the two Stephen Strasburg cards. Obviously his autograph is THE pull right now as it is fetching in the neighborhood of $3,000. Crazy, I know. But Strasburg’s mini card is also what is drawing collectors to the product; they fetch $350+. As of the writing of this post, there were some 22 available on eBay and maybe another 20 or so that had already ended. And assuming that there are others that have been pulled and are being kept by collectors, it’s safe to say there are somewhere about 50 that have seen the light of day.

Now what’s interesting of course is that Topps says the Strasburg mini is not shortprinted. This begs the question: Then where the hell are they?

The question has been asked hundreds of times in recent weeks and no one has the answer. But they have to be out there somewhere, right? Cases upon cases of hobby product have been ripped and in the majority of instances, they have coughed up zero Strasburg cards. And with the product now live in retail stores, an even larger portion of the collecting market is busting this product like crazy looking for the Strasburgs. And of course they aren’t appearing here either.

But WHAT IF the collation of this product is so bad that there are blaster boxes of this product chock-full of Strasburg minis? Sounds crazy, right? But crazier things have happened with Topps and its retail-distributed products. Remember the guy who busted a 2009 Topps Heritage blaster and pulled 51 of the super short prints.

I badly want to stay away from this stuff, but the thought of what might be in those unopened blasters keeps drawing me closer to buying one every time I see them.

Topps could have smoked the competition two decades earlier

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Since the mid 1980s, Topps has been producing baseball cards in smaller sizes than their typical form. They’ve been marketed as mini or micro cards, sometimes sold in packs of 6 mini glossy cards for 25 cents, other times sold in entire set forms. Either way, their popularity was relatively mild compared to their full-size counter parts. But if Topps had made just a few adjustments to the measurements, the company could have smoked the competition a full two decades before everyone started making tobacco-era style cards.

Imagine the craze that might have ensued if the company had made 1991 Topps Micro set in the same dimensions as the T206 set. That 1991 set had arguably the best photography ever seen in a single Topps base release. And coupled with the nostalgic aesthetics of a near century-old set, that combination would have been a huge hit among collectors. Also consider that this was a time when many were still buzzing over the sale of the “Wayne Gretzky Honus Wagner” card.

On the flip side, if Topps had produced such cards during that era, we might not have Allen & Ginter or T205 in their current Topps incarnation. The hobby might have grown sick of the tobacco nostalgia.