Recently, “Sports Collectors Daily” offered a preview of the upcoming, July 2018 release of Topps’ Allen and Ginter set. Most of you are aware that Topps began issuing cards in the style of the 19th century Allen and Ginter tobacco cards in 2006. As with most modern card issues, there is a dizzying array of parallels, relics, autographs, original “buy backs” short prints, and subsets. I am enamored with the parallels and non-sports subsets that are issued in “tobacco size” (1-7/16 X 2-5/8).
It seems strange to mimic the style of tobacco cards while producing them in standard size. The traditional tobacco card format with an advertisement on the back is the logical size, thus my affinity for the parallel sets. Of course, the mini-parallels have numerous versions such as metal, cloth etc. I try to ignore these distinctions and just enjoy the cards.
Allen and Gintar provides a mixture of current and former players, not to mention subsets of other sports figures. For instance, in 2017, Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano could be pulled from packs.
I realize that “purists” may scoff at the idea of mixing non-sport cards with baseball. I say “pshaw” to this “fuddy-duddery.” The non-sport cards are interesting on a historical level and the quirky subject matter amusing. The 2018 set has the following mini subsets: “World’s Hottest Peppers,” “Indigenous Heroes,” “Postage Required” (maybe a Manama stamp is included), “Flags of Lost Nations” and “Folio of Fears.” The backs have narratives that explain the topics.
In 2016, Allen and Ginter produced 35 mini US Mayors. Seattle’s now former Mayor (sex scandal), Ed Murray, shows up along with many other big city leaders. Topps dropped the ball by not including Jeff Katz in this set. Come on, Topps! What is more apropos than including the Mayor of Cooperstown?
Other notable non-sport minis of personal interest include legendary Northwest high jacker, D.B. Cooper, in the 2011 “Mysterious Figures” set and the Sasquatch in the 2014 “Larger than Life.” By the way, all Northwest residents have encountered a Sasquatch at least once. I usually see one after having a few drinks. Coincidence?
The original Allen and Ginter tobacco cards of the 1880s often featured animals. Some card anthropomorphized the subject, while others depicted animals in nature. Topps has kept this tradition alive by creating such subsets as: 2011 “Man’s Best Friend,” 2016 “Ferocious Felines” and “Mascots of the Wild” and 2017 “Horse in the Race.”
If you haven’t purchased Allen and Ginter before, I encourage you to buy a few packs when they come out in July. I’m hoping the “The Folio of Fears” subset has a card depicting the fear of non-sports cards mixing with baseball- “nonludusbasisspheracardboardiaphobia.”
Mueller, Rich. “2018 Topps Allen and Ginter Baseball Cards Include Usual Quirkiness.” Sports Collectors Daily, Sports Collectors Daily, 13 Feb. 2018, www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/topps-allen-ginter-returns-for-2018/.
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