Lest you think I’m a Gypsy Queen hater, I enjoyed last years GQ offering, so much so that I’ve got last year’s set listed on my wantlist as “inquire” because I need so much of it and have so little to offer. It was something of a sleeper hit in 2011, a release that no one bought early on, but once it hit shelves grew in popularity and become harder and harder to find at a reasonable price.
I was somewhat hopeful that this year’s Gypsy Queen would draw me in again. I’ve reached wax saturation for base Topps and I’ve vowed not to keep buying packs of stuff I don’t need just to have something to open. That way when something is released that I actually want, I’ll have the excess cash to spend on it.
Anyhow, I liked the 2011 design, the inserts looked nice, the framed parallels were beautiful, and I was hoping that Topps would carry that forward into 2012. A secondary hope was that speculators this year would buy a lot early, causing Topps to ramp up production which would eventually lead to the price falling into more reasonable levels, or at least below the triple digits it stood at upon release.
So when I went to the local box store for a family outing last weekend, I was a bit disappointed at the lack of GQ blasters. A closer look turned up a box of retail packs though and a three pack rack pack lying next to it. I grabbed a pack from the box and the rack pack as well, for a total of four packs, and, fingers crossed, ripped into ’em.
Let me say right now that this set is as messed up as the Giants early season usage of Brandon Belt. Topps main concern here seems not with the player or making him identifiable, but rather making sure that you know this set is called Gypsy Queen. Look at that logo. It’s huge, and takes up 1/7 of the card. It’s definitely the eye catcher of the whole design, which is disappointing since I want my cards to be about the players and not the brand.
While most of the modern player cards are disappointing, the legends I pulled actually looked pretty good. Eddie Mathews looks good on this card because he’s closer to the era it’s trying to represent. Whatever process Topps uses to “age” the images of modern players is awful, and they don’t seem to care all that much about improving it. It’s a let down every time. The older photos look much more natural, and I really like this card. I wouldn’t mind chasing down more of the “legends,” but I’m not sure the set completist in me would let me.
I actually liked the inserts last year, and they went a long way towards making me want to build the whole set. This year? Meh. Again, the brand name is distracting, and this time it feels like it should be perforated so I can tear it off and enjoy the actual card. Without that logo it’s a much better design, but instead Topps seems intent on forcing the Gypsy Queen name on me anyway it can. It’s just an off-putting look.
I will give them kudos for something on the back of these, though. The design is nothing to write home about reallybut I did enjoy the “Superstar Similarity” bit on the back. So Braves fans, if you were hoping that Freddie Freeman career path would mirror that of Tino Martinez, Topps thinks he’s your man. But is Tino Martinez really a superstar?
If I put cards in binders, I’d put this set in backwards just so I could see this.
Here’s the only thing that saves the Gypsy, in my opinion – the framed parallels. This is one of the three framed cards that come as a bonus in the rack pack, and, just like last year, they are awesome. Putting together a set like this is a long and active endeavor, and I’m not at the place where I can spend the time to track them down. Maybe one day if I find them in a dime box somewhere, I’ll plunk some money down. But until then, it’s going to have to wait.
So, I guess for now I’m out on Gypsy Queen this year. More for you guys, I suppose.