Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Topps previews 2014 Gypsy Queen baseball
Posted Sep 6, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Sep 6, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Topps unveiled photo images and product information on Friday for its 2014 Gypsy Queen baseball set. If you enjoy retro-looking sets, then Gypsy Queen should be a nice challenge. The 2014 product will be released on April 9, and the fourth version of Gypsy Queen will offer 24 packs per hobby box, with 10 cards to a pack including a mini-card.
Topps is promising two autographs, a relic card and a mini relic card per hobby box, along with a box topper of 10 mini-cards from a special variation checklist of 100 cards. These box toppers could include 1/1 mini-cards embedded with pennies displaying the birth year of the player featured on the card.
As a coin collector (I collected Lincoln pennies as a kid) and a card collector, I have to scratch my head over these cards. I mean, sure, they are a novelty and sort of interesting, but there aren’t any truly valuable pennies since 1958, the final year of the “wheat” pennies. Embed a 1914-D penny into a card, or a 1909-S VDB, and then you’ve got something. But there are no active players with those birthdates, so these cards are novelties to me and nothing more.
Of more interest, to be honest, would be the mini box topper cards numbered to three that had player buttons embedded into the cards.
The set will total 350 cards, with 50 of them short-printed. Each base card will have 1/1 printing plate cards; 100 of them will have blue framed parallels, with an additional 100 silver parallel cards. The minis will have parallels, too: black (numbered to 199), sepia (50), wood (5) and 1/1 printing plates and leather. There also will be 150 clear mini cards and 150 graphite minis.
Gypsy Queen has some nice on-card autographs; I received a fabulous signature of Hall of Famer Billy Williams in the 2013 Gypsy Queen set. What will be different in the 2014 set will be autographs on parallel cards: red (numbered to 49), gold (25), green (10) and purple (1/1).
Another new addition will be the Hometown Flags subset. Each card will be numbered to five and will feature a manufactured patch of the featured player’s native country or home state. For more retro fun, another insert will be patterned after the classic N174 set from 1888. Debut All-Stars makes its debut with 15 cards commemorating players who excelled in their first All-Star Game appearance.
Inserts returning from the 2013 set include Dealing Aces, Collision at the Plate and Glove Stories.
For me, Gypsy Queen has been a consistently fun set to build. There’s something about a design that reminds you of a set that that was released more than a century ago, and with the new whistles and bells Topps is providing, next year’s set should be interesting, too.