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Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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Previewing the 2015 Allen & Ginter set

It’s hard to believe that Topps will put out its 10th edition of Allen & Ginter this summer.

I still find this one of the more intriguing sets every year, with its blend of sports icons, political figures, giants of history (and obscure ones, too) and a sprinkling of pop culture. Each year, I await the release of A&G; this year, that comes on July 22.

In the past week, Topps released information and images about the 2015 Allen & Ginter set. The base set, as usual, will have 350 cards. Fifty of those cards will be short prints; on average, they fall one in every two packs.

A hobby box will consist of 24 packs, with eight cards to a pack. There will be a mini-card in every pack (a parallel card for each of the base cards), and these parallels also will include cards with A&G logo backs, black bordered and 1/1 wood cards.

Topps is promising three hits per hobby box, drawing from autographs, relics, cut signatures or a rip card. For this year’s set, Topps will feature mini buyback cards, autos and 10th anniversary parallels. These cards will be stamped with a 10th anniversary logo.

Because of the short-printed cards, this set is difficult to put together. But it’s always a challenge.

Of the inserts, the one I am most eagerly waiting for is First Ladies. These will be cards depicting the wives of U.S. presidents.

I imagine the usual suspects will be included — Eleanor Roosevelt, Martha Washington, Mary Todd Lincoln, Jacqueline Kennedy, Barbara Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michelle Obama — but I am hoping Topps will include a card of Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison. She was the wife of our ninth president, William Henry Harrison, who died in office after 31 days in 1841. The appeal for me is that Anna is my wife’s ancestor; it would be kind of cool to have a sports card of your third cousin, seven generations removed.

Other mini inserts include Hoist the Black Flag; Magnates, Barons & Tycoons; Birds of Prey; Mythological Menaces; and A World Beneath our Feet.

The regular size inserts are also diverse. Ancient Armory will feature weapons used by warriors of the past. “Great Scott!” will honor the greatest discoveries in our history. Menagerie of the Mind will explore mythological creatures, while Starting Points will be a 100-card set that focuses on the debuts of current major-league stars.

What Once Would Be and What Once Was Believed are a pair of tongue-twisting names for inserts that examine ideas that fell from grace and expectations that may (or may not) have come to pass.

The hits will include the autograph and relic cards. I’ve always enjoyed those autos and relics that were mini-cards inside frames. Those have always been appealing to me.

Some of the other cards collectors who buy hobby boxes might find are box loader cabinet cards, which could have a 1/1 cabinet relic (jersey swatches with parts of the player’s name or number included) or a 1/1 cabinet book relic (same format as cabinet relics, but with a relic on each side of the book).

Exclusive Rip cards and 1/1 printing plates also will be scattered throughout hobby boxes.

I’ve always referred to the Allen & Ginter set as a midsummer night’s dream. That’s been a feeble attempt on my part to wax poetic, a la William Shakespeare, but when you collect A&G, all’s well that ends well.

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