Thursday, April 30, 2015

Five Years of Gypsy Queen

Let's take a look at the five year run of Gypsy Queen.  With the Cubs being in rebuilding mode that entire span, only one Cub has been in all five sets, Starlin Castro.

I'll use his cards to look at the designs over the years

The design from the first year was based on the original 1887 Gypsy Queen cards.


Starting in 2012, Topps had to come up with something that was reminiscent of the original design but also not a duplicate.  

They've settled into a template with the Gypsy Queen name on the card, plus some funky border design.  The odd thing with that is the originals had a very plain border, just a solid color.  But now we expect that a GQ border will have some weird design element. 

The colors of the border all seem to make use of a washed out color.  Its never a bright and bold color.  Instead, they use somethings soft and understated.

Players have never had a first name on the front of the card.  It's always their last name followed by their first initial.  Positions have never been listed.  We just get their name and team.  Most years the name had been in a box.

So in 11½ months you can expect another year of GQ, with the GQ name in a flourishing style, a soft colored border, and flowery design elements in the corners of the card.  You'll also get the players last name, first initial, and team name.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Another Gypsy Queen Variation

Yesterday I showed the GQ minis and they variations.  Today I've got the base set variations.

While the mini variations were easy to find, and cheap too, that was not true for the base set.

Javier Baez was the only Cub with a second card.  It was much hard to find and harder on the WW Wallet, too.  As of Monday night, there were just four sold on Ebay plus another active listing.  Compare that to the seven active listings for the mini variation plus another 13 that have been sold and you can see that the base is a harder pull.

I bought mine off of Ebay, sort of.  Brentandbecca listed one, but I emailed Brent and was able to make an off-line deal for the card.  He didn't have to pay the Ebay fees and I saved a few dollars.  Win Win.

Here's the variation.  All of the second photos show some sort of finger pointing or celebration.

Baez is celebrating a home run he hit against the Mets at Citi Field on August 18.


Here are both his base and the variation.


Now take another look at his two mini cards.  Why wasn't the celebration used on the mini card?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Gypsy Queen Minis

Several different brands have mini parallels, but Gypsy Queen is the only one that I collect.  Simple reason -- GQ came out after I had restarted my collection and I was able to get the minis right from the start.

Since the proportions of the mini cards are different from the base, the cropping on these is always a little tighter.  No biggie.





But the picture variations for the minis has gotten a little ridiculous.  That's a biggie.

Of the eight Cubs, five have a variation.  I suppose its nice that the variations aren't too hard to get.  It's just kind of a hassle to have to hunt so many more cards.

Here are the variations on the left, with the base mini on the right.






The Baez variation is the oddest.  All of the others have a completely different picture.  Baez just has a different crop.  Wonder why they did that?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cubs Cards From the Corner

Pat from Hot Corner Cards has been mailing goodies all over the blogosphere and I was the recent recipient of a Cubbie PWE.  Here's what he sent:

Big Daddy from 2001 archives.  I really like the 1972 pullover road unis with the centered number.  This Uniwatch article offers one reason why the numbers were centered.... a manufacturer's error.

1990 Baseball Card Magazine Mark Grace.  I love the fact that in 1990 a magazine could completely rip off a Topps design.  I've actually had these magazine retro cards on my radar for a while.  I've put together a checklist but haven't bought any of the cards.... yet.

This oddball is from a 1989 dice game.  The card lists no year, no company, and no licensing.  Walton was one of ten cards in this version of the game.  There was a bigger set from 1989 (with Mark Grace included) and another ten card set (with two Walton and two Dwight Smith cards).  You can read more about the sets here.

Three interesting cards.... thanks Pat!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Cubs 2015 Gypsy Queen Inserts

There are five insert sets in this year's Gypsy Queen that could have included a Cub.  They only made it into one of the five.

Walk-Off Cubs... I suppose you need to win some games to get a walk-off winner
Glove Cubs... Their only recent Gold Glove winner in now a Dodger, an Oklahoma City Dodger
Pillars of the Cubs... Anthony Rizzo, who does some great work with his foundation, would have been an appropriate addition to the checklist.
Laces Around the Cubs.... these are mostly the big names.  Kris Bryant next year?
The Queen's Throwbacks..TWO CUBS!!!  The Cubs wore throwbacks almost a dozen times last year, so there's no way to keep them out of this set.


But my, those are some ugly looking cards!

The Castro picture is from June 13 when the Phillies and Cubs threw back to 1964.

Rizzo is in the Chi-Fed uniform that the Cubs wore on Wrigley Field's 100th birthday, April 23, 2014.

The color pictures look awesome.

The monochrome Gypsy Queen cards do not look awesome.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 Gypsy Queen Cubs

Brentandbecca has delivered once again.  Hopefully this isn't the last time.  Ebay is making some changes for sellers that will affect Brent's bottom line in a negative way and he has been talking about getting out of the case busting game.  He's been awfully good for the hobby and I hope he finds a way to make it work for him.

We are now on year five of Gypsy Queen.  I said it five years ago, and I haven't really changed my mind, but....why do we need Gypsy Queen if we already have Allen & Ginter.  Isn't one old-time tobacco company set enough?

I guess not!

The Cubs were give eight players on the 350 player  checklist, which is a little below average.


Three of the Cubs are retired.  All three of these guys have been in Gypsy Queen multiple times.  Time for some new blood.  How about Ron Santo??  One little quibble with the Banks card:  the picture is from his time as a Cubs coach, not from his active player days.  It's probably from 1973, the first spring the Cubs wore the pullover jerseys and Ernie's final camp as a coach.


Here are the five active Cubs in this year's Gypsy Queen.  No surprises at all.  When the set was being put together a few months ago, these are all the guys you figured would be major contributors.

Javier Baez is the dud among the group.  He has returned after taking some time off due to the death of his sister.  He's gone to Arizona for a little work before he rejoins the AAA team in Iowa.  Hopefully he'll be able to get back on track.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Why Were These Made....Who Would Buy Them??

The resurrected Leaf brand has been around for a few years now.  They do their best with their unlicensed products.  But sometimes, I see what they've made and I'm just left scratching my head.

Case in point....these.

These are cut signature cards, 1 of 1.  I guess they get away with the logos since they are using cut materials.

But why on earth would anyone want to buy these two cards, especially at the BIN price of $89.99??

The autographs came from the Perez Steele postcard sets that were put out in the '80s and 90's. (read more about them here).  Anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 of each were made.  It seems like hundreds were autographed too.  You can pick up a signed card of either of these for $10 - $20 each.  Graded versions can be found for around $30.

So why would Leaf take perfectly good postcards and cut them up?  And why would anyone want to buy a cut up postcard when you could just as easily buy the real deal, at a lower price?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015 Museum Mr. Cub

The 2015 edition of Topps Museum came out in early April.  Each pack of five cards contains either a relic or an autograph.  A four-pack box nets you a Canvas Collection insert, a jumbo relic. a quad relic, an autograph, and an autographed relic.  And all that for the low-low price of $199.

Twenty cards for 200 bucks is not for me.  Cherry-picking for my player collection is more my speed.   Ernie Banks is the only pc guy on the 100 player checklist so I had a fairly easy task.

I picked up his base card and the blue parallel, which was /99.  I love the blue parallels when they are paired with a picture of the player in the Cubs home uniform.  All that blue looks fantastic!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sandberg Colla

No, Sandberg Colla is not a new soft drink.

Southern California photographer Barry Colla began releasing 12-card single player card sets in 1990.  His 1991 releases included Ryne Sandberg and I've got his twelve cards today.

There were 15,000 of the Sandberg sets made and they can be found today for a pretty reasonable price.  I think I paid about five bucks for mine.

The cards came in this nifty cardboard box. Mine got a bit mangled because the box is big enough to hold 20-25 cards.  With only 12 inside, there was too much empty space and the box got crushed a bit.  It wasn't a big deal since I won't be keeping the cards in the box anyway.


It's nice that all the pictures were taken at the Friendly Confines. It looks like the 10th and 11th cards have pictures from the Home Run Derby at the 1990 All-Star game at Wrigley Field.  Sandberg is batting but not wearing a helmet.  There are also a bunch of players in American League uniforms sitting along the wall.  

Sandberg actually won the derby that year, so yeah Ryno!