You all know I'm an Allen & Ginter collector. That much has always been clear. I enjoy the old-fashion take on the hobby, the usually crazy or wonky non-sport inserts, and the MINIS. Oh, do I love me some minis. Along with the rare inserts, minis are what keeps Ginter fresh to me.
If I went to the store right now, and found some discounted Ginter, I would most likely pick it up even though I've already completed the base set and the full-sized inserts (well... almost). It's because of that one single mini card that is always guaranteed to fall out of every Ginter pack that I keep coming back. Each one is unique and different to me and offers something special, more so than your normal base card. Some people understand this and are right there with me. I know many others that could care less and simply think the mini is "just another parallel." Nay, nay I say.
Over the years of being a mini collector, there are some things I've learned about the hobby specifically related to minis:
- Minis are SO much easier to ship.
- Not only does this make trading far more cost effective; it also allows trades to get much bigger without having to resort to expensive priority mail boxes.
- Once one commits to collecting a substantial number of minis, there are solutions available to both store and display minis that aren't available for regular sized cards. Here's a couple examples:
- 15 pocket page vs. 9 pocket page? Yes please! 67% increased display efficiency!
- "Double storing" minis?!?! Even better! 100% increased storage efficiency! Note: I've found that this storage tactic really only works well (read: doesn't damage the minis) in monster boxes or the small, odd-shaped 100ct. or 150ct. boxes.
- I suppose I understand this. People don't want to have to find new ways to store cards, or they simple can't be bothered by different. That's fine. I have no gripes with you. It means more minis for me.
Today's story is about that last point, point number three. I first must give you one more piece of background information for those of you out of the "mini loop". I'm also feeling this list thing today, so we're going to give you the four main ways that I obtain my minis... in numbers.
- Opening product
- Obvious, you might think, but in this day and age there are many individuals that simply skip this step completely. I prefer to keep it the foundation of my collecting habits, simply because I enjoy the thrill, it gives me trade bait, and it keeps the hobby going.
- The necessary evil... I try to avoid this as much as humanly possible (**cough** says Bubba, the one with multiple scans waiting in the 'to blog' folder that came from COMC and EBay). There are simply better options available like:
- You guys are awesome. So many of my minis have come fellow bloggers, mini collectors, forum users, Zistle... the list goes on. I always enjoy seeking out new trading partners and trying to make their day. Everyone has a niche, and I do my best to find it and fill it with whatever I have available.
- Most mini collectors I know use this option the most. This option entails going to your favorite site and asking fellow collectors for their unwanted minis because... some people can't stand minis.
- This can be accomplished via buying or trading, but it almost always involves the other collector dumping almost every unwanted mini on me, usually at a discount.
One of my most common eBay searches is "[Insert Year] Ginter mini lot". This is my bargain bin search; you know, that dime box you find that doesn't really look that promising, but you flip through cards 100 at a time just to see if anything catches your eye. I don't bite very often.
I'm looking for a bargain. I'm looking for unique. I'm looking for someone like this who simply doesn't care for their minis and wants to dump them all. I usually get one of these such lots a year and sometimes I get lucky, sometimes not. The one above was alright; nothing to write home about, but it had a couple NNO minis and a Bazooka back (or whatever they call them this year).
No, this story is not about that listing. It is about a somewhat different and much bigger listing. My searching of "2016 Ginter mini lot" led me to a very unique item, featuring not 2016 Allen & Ginter, but the Topps online exclusive product 2016 Allen & Ginter X.
I purchased six boxes of Allen & Ginter X last year, which I honestly thought was fabulous. I originally thought the product was going to be unique to 2015 what with Ginter's "special" 10-year anniversary. Not the case! They released a very similar product again this year with a few changes. More lists!!! :D
- The guaranteed hits have been completely revamped
- Instead of 2 hits per box with a chance at an autograph, this year features only 1 hit, but the hit is a guaranteed autograph.
- Also of note is that the autograph is now unique to this online product. I believe they are mostly black minis with silver ink graphs.
- A lot of this might have to do with the fact that Topps messed up the Ginter SP ratio in general last year, but the bottom line is that short prints are again short prints in this version of the product (and that includes minis!).
- No more ad-back minis, no more silver minis. Just regular back black minis.
- You can no longer pull full-sized or mini inserts from this product
I think the real draw for many people would be that guaranteed, and admittedly very sharp looking, autograph. It happens to also be my main problem with the set and why I decided not to purchase any boxes this year. It essentially moved most of the value of the box to that one autograph you pull. I don't particularly like that. I prefer the minis I pull to hold value.
Last year's set had those hard to pull silver minis which drove some of the value. Oh those minis? They're kinda pricey now...
Last year, I didn't come even remotely close to putting together the Ginter X mini set since no one seemed to have any of the cards. Figuring this year would be the same, I decided that I didn't want to pursue this year's Ginter X set.
That's when I saw this listing.
I'll leave you with that little teaser. You'll find out more... whenever I feel like writing another essay. Thanks for reading!