2017 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball Box Break & Review

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Easter weekend was spent in Bethany Beach.  I took a box of 2017 Gypsy Queen to break along on the trip.  While walking around, I did come across a card shop though.  As expected, the prices are very high given that its a tourist destination.  The shop I was in asks $5+ for single base cards from modern day products.  My money was better spent at D.B.’s Fries.

From the artistic design to the Portrait Art Patch OriginalsGypsy Queen has always been an entertaining product to break.  You’ll notice that box prices for 2017 are lower compared to previous years.  That drop in price comes with a cost.  Instead of (4) “hits” box breakers will only find (2).  Other aspects like the mini and framed paper parallels did not return either.  With that being said, 2017 Gypsy Queen still packs a punch and comes with a slew of great cards to hunt down.

This new configuration introduced us to the oversize Chrome-like box toppers called GlassWorks.  You get one of these per box, and they look really cool.  Gypsy Queen is not the typical product where you see many foil-based cards.  Certain collectors will find parallels of these box toppers which include Purple #’ed/150, Red #’ed/25, and Black #’ed/1.  On-card autograph versions also exist #’ed/25.

Rich and deep easily describes the base set which comes in at (320) cards.  The last (20) are of retired and/or Hall of Famers and are short prints.  Base parallels include:

  • Missing Blackplate
  • Missing Nameplate
  • Purple #’ed/250
  • Green #’ed/99 (retail)
  • Black & White #’ed/50
  • Green Back #’ed/50
  • Red #’ed/10
  • Black #’ed/1

Photo variations include:

  • Capless
  • Throwback Uniform
  • Card Back Content (Gum Ad)

Although it might be difficult to see for some people, Topps did use different codes on the card backs to distinguish between the photo variations.

  • Base – ends in #1904
  • Short Prints – ends in #1931
  • Capless – ends in #1937
  • Throwback Uniform – ends in #2100
  • Card Back Content (Gum Ad) – ends in #1886/1986

It was a surprise to see that the photo variations also have parallels.  This usually isn’t the case.  I was just thinking about this the other week.  You rarely see parallels of photo variations.

The high-end “hits” from Gypsy Queen have always been a joy to look at.  The Portrait Art Patch Originals continue to impress me each year.  You can see a complete gallery of these one-of-one masterpieces here.  Brian Kong and Monty Sheldon both collaborated on these for 2017.  One of these years I’d like to see these come in booklet form.  Having a hand-drawn piece on one side and a jumbo patch on the other would look awesome.

Here is what I pulled:


  • Adam Conley
  • Pat Venditte

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  • J.D. Martinez Auto/Patch Book #’ed/20

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  • Troy Tulowitzki Black Border #’ed/1
  • Jake Lamb Purple Border #’ed/250
  • David Robertson Missing Blackplate
  • Dansby Swanson RC Missing Blackplate
  • Max Scherzer Missing Nameplate

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Short Print

  • Jackie Robinson #308

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Photo Variation

  • Carlos Correa Capless #74

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  • Robinson Cano GlassWorks Box Topper
  • Dansby Swanson Fortune Teller
  • Gary Sanchez Fortune Teller
  • Jose Altuve Fortune Teller
  • Max Scherzer Fortune Teller
  • Robinson Cano Portrait Hand-Drawn Art Reproduction #1
  • Adam Jones Portrait Hand-Drawn Art Reproduction #2
  • Mark McGwire Portrait Hand-Drawn Art Reproduction #1

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Card of the Day: Marcus Stroman 2011 Topps Chrome USA Baseball Refractor

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2017 Topps Heritage Baseball Box Break & Review

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The year was 1968.  Adam West’s Batman television series came to an end, Robert F. Kennedy/Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated, and Denny McClain became the first pitcher since Dizzy Dean to win 30 or more games in a single season.  Baseball collectors were introduced to the 598-card, speckle-border, set known as 1968 Topps.  They may not have had Hall of Fame careers, but guys like Jerry Koosman and Ron Tompkins will forever be linked to Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench due to being pictured on the same rookie cards.

Topps is gradually working through their classic designs and applying them to the Heritage brand.  The 1968 design is up to the plate this year.  If you plan on building the base set, there are (500) total cards including (100) short prints.

Most base parallels are not serial numbered.  I like that as it adds a little mystery.  Obviously the print runs for each type of parallel were announced.

  • Blue Border (50) copies
  • Bright Yellow Backs (25) copies
  • Gray Backs (10) copies
  • Flip Stock (5) copies
  • Base Mini #’ed/100

Chrome parallels come in a variety of colors:

  • Chrome #’ed/999
  • Refractor #’ed/568
  • Blue Refractor #’ed/68
  • Gold Refractor #’ed/5
  • Superfractor #’ed/1
  • Purple Refractor

When it comes to the Blue, Gold, and Purple Refractors, you really need to look in order to see the color.  Its a good thing they’re serial numbered.  I could easily see someone mistaken one color for another.  For some reason those colors aren’t distinct this time around.  The speckle-border may not have shown up as much when those colors were added.  Perhaps that is why they kept the color so light.

Although Heritage is not the only product that contains photo variations, collectors seem to want them more.  Especially the rarer ones.  In a hobby dominated by autographs and relics, its awesome to see the amounts some people are willing to spend on these.  Luckily, all you need to do in order to spot them is check the code on the card backs.  Look carefully.  Those codes are tiny.

  • Color Swap ends in 74
  • Traded ends in 73
  • Throwback ends in 72
  • Action/Rookie ends in 71
  • Error ends in 70
  • Base SP (401-500) ends in 69
  • Base ends in 1867

I was pleasantly surprised to see how collectors responded to some of the box toppers.  Specifically the 3D cards and posters.  Anytime non-autographed and non-relic cards sell well is a positive in my book.

Heritage has a tremendous following.  A single hobby box can be loaded with stuff.  Topps gives you a lot more to look for than just your traditional “hit”.  I can’t wait to see how they handle the 1971 design.  1971 Topps is notorious for it’s all black borders.  It doesn’t take much for them to get damaged.

Here is what I pulled (Purple Refractor Hot Box):


  • Miguel Cabrera Clubhouse Collection Jersey

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Base Variation

  • Kris Bryant #500 Action Image

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Short Prints

  • Justin Upton #438
  • George Springer #432
  • Chris Sale #405
  • Mark Trumbo #461
  • Carlos Correa #430
  • Robinson Cano #422
  • Jason Kipnis #448
  • Giancarlo Stanton #401

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  • Baltimore Orioles Blue Border (50) copies
  • Freddie Freeman Chrome #’ed/999
  • Aaron Judge/Tyler Austin 2017 Rookie Stars Chrome Purple Refractor
  • David Dahl/Raimel Tapia 2017 Rookie Stars Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Manny Margot/Hunter Renfroe 2017 Rookie Stars Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Ian Kinsler Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Jose Altuve Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Christian Yelich Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Justin Verlander Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Aledmys Diaz Chrome Purple Refractor
  • David Ortiz Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Kenta Maeda Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Danny Duffy Chrome Purple Refractor
  • David Price Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Albert Almora Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Lucas Giolito Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Mike Trout Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Madison Bumgarner Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Jay Bruce Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Giancarlo Stanton Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Todd Frazier Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Corey Seager Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Yu Darvish Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Francisco Lindor Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Bryce Harper Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Aroldis Chapman Chrome Purple Refractor

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  • J.A. Happ/Carlos Correa – The Topps News/Tyler Chatwood Advertising Panel Box Topper
  • Aledmys Diaz 1968 Topps Game
  • Felix Hernandez 1968 Topps Game
  • Manuel Lee 1993 Rediscover Topps Bronze Buyback #488
  • Mickey Tettleton 1987 Rediscover Topps Bronze Buyback #649
  • Kyle Lohse 2012 Rediscover Topps Silver Buyback #26
  • David Holmberg 2014 Rediscover Topps Gold Buyback #242
  • Lou Brock/Jonathan Villar Then And Now #4
  • News Flashbacks 1968 – Ivy League Goes Co-Ed #13
  • News Flashbacks 1968 – Civil Rights Giant Slain #2
  • Baseball Flashbacks 1968 – Johnny Bench
  • Mookie Betts New Age Performers #3
  • Manny Machado New Age Performers #8

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’11 Leaf Metal Draft Auto Contest Winner Announced

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Congrats to dawgbones on being the lucky winner of the Ramon Morla 2011 Leaf Metal Draft Baseball Auto.  Once dawgbones sends me their mailing address, I will ship this card ASAP.  Thanks!

Flashback Product of the Week: 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Baseball

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Yep.  I’m off the reservation with this one.  By now you can clearly see this is not a box of baseball cards.  When Nintendo introduced the NES to the United States in 1985, Baseball was one of the first games you could play on it.  Despite not having an MLB license, Nintendo brought in actual Major League Baseball players to show off the game during the test market launch.  Many accredit Baseball as one of the main reasons why the NES was so successful, given the sport’s overall appeal.

Compared to baseball video games today, Baseball for the NES is basic.  Although there was no license, the initials of the teams are suppose to represent real teams from the Japanese Central League or American Major League.  Retro gaming is popular today.  NES collectors are willing to spend well into the hundreds of dollars for sealed games such as this.  Out of the box and used copies can easily be found for under $10.

While attending the National a few years ago, I remember seeing an autographed photo of Mike Tyson.  It wasn’t just any photograph though.  This was a screenshot from the NES game Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!!  That really caught my attention.

I would like to see more screenshots from classic sports video games worked into the sports memorabilia market.  Finding them in packs of cards would be even better.  Autographed cards featuring pixelated versions of your favorite players from the games you use to play would probably be a hit with collectors.  Heck, they don’t even need to be autographed.

Let us take this a step further.  What if you made a great play in a sports-based video game today, and could instantly order a trading card containing a shot of that play?  That would be sick.  Especially if they could get the athletes to sign them.  Perhaps even letting room on the card for the gamer to sign too.

We’ve seen cards and action figures come packaged with games, but I believe things could get even cooler.

2017 Topps Baseball Series 1 Box Break & Review

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And so it begins.

Teams are packing up the trucks.  Spring Training is upon us.  I’ve got a good feeling about my Phillies this year.  Lets hope when they head for Clearwater, FL they don’t leave the Phanatic behind.  Its going to be fun following Mickey Moniak’s progress down in the minors.  I also look forward to watching Tommy Joseph take over at first base.  Plus, John Kruk is joining the broadcast team.

The first baseball product of 2017 contains (350) total base cards.  When it comes to their flagship brand, Topps seems to keep moving away from that traditional border design.  The setup this year reminds me of graphics you would see in front of the player while watching T.V.  Topps has done the whole border-look for years, so this new design is refreshing.  Some of the most popular parallels you’ll find include:

  • Purple (Toys “R” Us exclusive)
  • Rainbow Foil
  • Negative
  • Gold #’ed/2017
  • Vintage Stock #’ed/99
  • Black #’ed/66
  • Mother’s Day Hot Pink #’ed/50
  • Father’s Day Powder Blue #’ed/50
  • Memorial Day Camo #’ed/25
  • Clear #’ed/10
  • Platinum #’ed/1
  • Printing Plate #’ed/1

Topps scaled back on the amount of parallels and photo variations that come per box this year.  There are no SP photo variations, just SSPs to watch for.  I’m glad to see this scale back, because one photo variation per box was getting to be too much.  The plain SPs barely held much more demand than a simple base card.  Just having the SSPs was the correct way to go for 2017.  They’re difficult to pull, but very rewarding when you find one.  Luckily Topps changed that little code on the back of the cards when it comes to base and SSP photo variations.  Base cards end in 1730, while the SSPs end in 1786.  Knowing this makes them a lot easier to spot.

Inserts are more than plentiful.  My favorites include ’87 Topps, Then & Now, and 5 Tool.  Many (not all) of them come with their share of parallels and autographs.  2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the classic 1987 Topps Baseball set.  Its nice to see that classic wood grain design again.  I like Then & Now because its always cool to see older cards pictured on newer ones.  5 Tool brought back artist Tyson Beck to put his fire-style to things.  One of these years I’d like to see Topps make relics and/or autographs of the First Pitch celebrities.

All year long we will be seeing Rediscover Topps buyback cards throughout various products.  Rediscover Topps foil rarities include Bronze, Silver, Gold, Blue, and Red.  Bronze is the most common while red is harder to come by.  Topps listened to collectors and didn’t print any foil on the older buybacks.

Topps NOW was a major success last year.  The 2017 set is already underway.  Ultimate Card Giveaway codes can land you a free Topps NOW card.  If you’re really lucky you might score a complete 2017 Topps NOW set.  I pulled one of these from my box, but the code didn’t unveil anything.  No free Topps NOW card for me.

Keep your eyes open for Topps NOW Golden Tickets.  These come with a specific date on them.  Redeeming this will get you every Topps NOW card made for that day.  Each card will come with a special gold stamp.

Even after you’ve pulled that one autograph or relic, its still exciting to open the rest of the packs.  Its so packed with goodies, you never know what you might find.

Here is what I pulled:


  • Robinson Cano Major League Material Jersey

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  • Kris Bryant #1 Cyan Printing Plate #’ed 1/1
  • Mookie Betts #161 Gold #’ed/2017
  • Fernando Rodney #292 Gold #’ed/2017
  • Keone Kela #22 Gold #’ed/2017
  • Adonis Garcia #129 Rainbow Foil
  • Raisel Iglesias #185 Rainbow Foil
  • Colin Rea #114 Rainbow Foil

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  • Greg Amsinger MLB Network #3
  • Chris Davis 2016 Rediscover Topps Buyback Gold Foil
  • Mel Hall 1987 Rediscover Topps Buyback Silver Foil
  • John Smiley 1988 Rediscover Topps Buyback Silver Foil
  • Al Nipper 1988 Rediscover Topps Buyback Bronze Foil
  • Ray Burris 1985 Rediscover Topps Buyback Bronze Foil
  • Ramon Martinez 1990 Rediscover Topps Buyback Bronze Foil
  • Roberto Clemente Rediscover Topps Promo
  • Nolan Ryan Rediscover Topps Promo
  • Jackie Robinson Rediscover Topps Promo
  • Ken Griffey, Jr. Rediscover Topps Promo
  • Don Mattingly Rediscover Topps Promo
  • David Price Then & Now #14
  • Carlos Correa Then & Now #18
  • Corey Seager Then & Now #19
  • Buster Posey Then & Now #7
  • Mase First Pitch #23
  • Keegan-Michael Key First Pitch #7
  • Stephen Colbert First Pitch #22
  • Brett Eldredge First Pitch #14
  • Deshauna Barber First Pitch #5
  • Ian Kinsler 5 Tool #27
  • Addison Russell 5 Tool #24
  • Eric Hosmer 5 Tool #9
  • Yoan Moncada 5 Tool #43
  • Matt Kemp 5 Tool #32
  • Addison Russell ’87 Topps #92
  • Frank Thomas ’87 Topps #21
  • Troy Tulowitzki ’87 Topps #41
  • Johnny Cueto ’87 Topps #95
  • Cal Ripken Jr. ’87 Topps #48
  • Aaron Judge ’87 Topps #58
  • Yoenis Cespedes ’87 Topps #24
  • Sonny Gray ’87 Topps #87
  • Hank Aaron ’87 Topps #56
  • Dansby Swanson Salute #75
  • Jose Peraza Salute #42
  • Hank Aaron Salute #98
  • Barry Larkin Salute #100
  • Kenta Maeda Salute #65
  • Yoenis Cespedes Salute #48
  • Giancarlo Stanton Salute #70
  • Corey Seager Salute #81
  • Carlos Correa Salute #84

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Card of the Day: John Montgomery Ward 1994 Upper Deck Baseball: The American Epic #10

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