Friday, May 1, 2015

Seriously... Who Doesn't Like Allen & Ginter Insert Sets???

Outside of working my butt off, I've been spending this last week putting together a comprehensive list of all the Allen & Ginter insert sets from the inaugural year of 2006 to now.  This is not to say that I didn't know them already (as they are all in my collection spreadsheet), or that this information can't be easily found elsewhere (through online checklists and the like), however, I wished to put something together that included odds for collector's who either have no clue about Allen & Ginter or simply want to know how hard it might be to collect the entire set of Creatures of Legend, Myth, and Terror because they pulled this really cool Kraken card... (hint: it's really tough)

Anyone I've talked to about my love for the Allen & Ginter sets has always brought up the inserts.  In my experience, these sets are what makes or breaks the brand for many people.  I haven't met many people that absolutely loathe the base card design, and many are absolutely willing to chase and collect that 350 card base set.  However, one simply doesn't just start breaking hobby boxes of Allen & Ginter like you would for many other Topps products.  It's expensive for what you get!  Let's compare this to the recently released Gypsy Queen.  Both sets have a similar price point and are nearly identical.  You get a mini in each, a bunch of base cards, and then an insert (or 2).  The only two differences are the guaranteed autographs and the all baseball focus in Gypsy Queen.  Granted, in Ginter there are arguably more hits that are out-of-this-world type WOW! hits, but in general, when you buy Allen & Ginter, you're forgoing hits for these unique inserts... and I love them.

Allen & Ginter currently has 85 different mini and regular sized insert sets.  They vary greatly in size and rarity, and... sigh, not ALL of them are as great as that Kraken up there.  I want to go over each of these inserts sets and I decided to order them in a very unique way.  Instead of doing them alphabetically, chronologically, randomly, or even in an arbitrary order of roughly how well Topps executed each set, I instead decided to order them by how hard the sets are to complete.  If you really need reasons here are a few:

  1. It's different.  I like different.
  2. It's the main reason I'm putting this thing together.  I like card odds and I enjoy researching them and helping other people think through them. (i.e. I'm really hoping this might be useful for some people)
  3. I'm starting with the "easy" sets, that way I know if I come across a set very early on that I haven't yet finished I can tell myself to get my butt in gear and get it done.
  4. I like math.  This used some math.  YAY!
Before I start I must give a couple caveats regarding how I came up with these numbers and also point out a few truths.  The first of which is that Topps gets obnoxiously secretive with this set.  Actually, it's quite possible that they're secretive with most sets the release, but for Ginter especially it seems as if there are always mystery inserts, hidden odds, retail only sets, ect.  I guess I don't mind it too much, as most of the "secret" sets tend to be very, very cool.  

The second point is that so far, of the 85 inserts sets Topps has released 3 of these sets in retail product only.  These sets would be 2010 Mini World's Biggest, 2013 Curious Cases, and 2014 Coincidence.  These 3 sets will not be included in these posts, though I will almost certainly do a one-shot detailing out these 3 sets (especially World's Biggest which happen's to be a huge head-scratcher).

Finally, since Topps hasn't ever released specific odds for some of these sets there will be a significant amount of educated guess-work regarding odds of some of the sets.  Most notably, for the last two years (and even this coming year), Topps has simply stated that the odds of pulling a mini insert is 1:5 packs (and 1:2 packs for full-sized inserts).  They do not go into any detail about specific insert sets.  I assumed (and will explain why on a later date) that the odds of pulling a card from a specific insert set are the same for any other given set (as opposed to having the odds of pulling any specific insert card be the same as any other insert card).  It's a subtle difference, but a huge one when it comes to odds-making.  The second type of sets that gave me trouble were obviously the mystery sets.  Except for fairly recently, where it is fairly well accepted and tested that these inserts fall 1 to a case, the odds of pulling these inserts were not very well known.  They certainly weren't guaranteed to fall one per case, but then there were some reports of individuals pulling MORE than one per case.  Who knows... I did a bit of research and came up with the best numbers I could for those pesky 2010 and 2011 mini inserts.  If you think you know better than me, than absolutely speak up!  I'd love for this to be as accurate as possible!

I thought I was actually going to write about one of the insert sets today, but this ended up going too long, so instead I'll leave you with a wonderful picture of Brian Wilson in one of my favorite insert sets (mostly because alliteration is awesome).  ...and no, I don't yet own this card. :(

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to your list. I've been working on most of the insert sets myself - it'll be interesting to hear your take on them!