Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hey Stale Gum...Yes, I Still Like Gimmicks!!!

Question directed towards me from Chris Harris at Stale Gum (new website by the way) via twitter:

bdj610: What Do You Mean There Are More Lincolns in Cubs Cards??! http://goo.gl/fb/Mbty

stalegum: @bdj610 So, still like all these gimmick cards?

bdj610: @stalegum Absolutely! If I had the money, I'd go after them. If I come across one at a show, MINE! If not, I won't lose sleep without them.

Believe it or not, this is not the first time that Mr. Harris has asked me this question. Contrary to what you like to believe, the gimmick cards Topps has thrown into packs over the last few years:
  • 2005 Topps Boston Red Sox #368
  • 2006 Topps Alex Gordon #297 and the variations (cut outs, blanks, etc)
  • 2007 Topps Derek Jeter #40
  • 2007 Topps U&H Poley Walnuts
  • 2007 Topps U&H Jacoby Ellsbury #100
  • 2007 Topps Joba Chamberlain and his numerous "errors"
  • 2008 Topps Kazuo Uzuki #FS1
  • 2008 Topps Series II-Six (Fukudome, Yabuta, Ramirez, Gore, Schwarzanegger, Santana #661)
  • 2008 Topps U&H Fukudome, Bruce, and Longoria "upside down errors"
  • 2008 Topps U&H Sarah Palin "Beauty Queen Card"
  • 2009 Topps Barack Obama #44
  • 2010 Topps Yankees PITF and Cubs ABE SP's.
served a purpose and did exactly what they were intended to do: garner interest from people outside the hobby and, if anything, get attention from people who don't normally even THINK about cards. Guess what? It worked!!! Because even non collectors went after these cards like no tomorrow as soon as word spread. Of course many already have, or will, regret buying the cards, especially if they did so at astronomical prices (that demand vs. supply thing kinda sorta jacked up the prices on those cards); but the damage was done. And the Topps Company made money!!! Not on the cards themselves, but because people bought packs of their product searching for even one of them.

And what have these gimmicks done for established collectors? They've made us start looking at the base cards again. I mean REALLY LOOK at them, instead of just flipping through them until they find the relic/auto/insert card of the moment and pushing them aside. Topps has finally found a way to make us pay attention to the base cards again. How awesome is that???

I never said that I didn't like them (or at least these new ones), nor did I say I was totally frustrated and am giving up (isn't part of the fun in collecting cards the chase???). As I said on twitter, if I had the money, I'd be on eBay buying up the cards when the prices went down as I'm about as impatient as the next collector and would like to get my hands on every copy I can find. But I'm trying my best to show restraint and this year, and am choosing not to actively pursue them (okay...maybe the Yankee cards...and only when the prices go down!!!). Otherwise, you know what, I'm happy with the set I have so far, and am more than happy to continue hunting for the legends SP cards (and the Granderson) in 2010 and the remaining 19 cards I need for series 2.

Finally, back to twitter:

toppscards: Interesting, so it appears that a lot of people like the mystery behind the variations. Thanks for the feedback guys.

bdj610: @toppscards The variation cards are great IMO, and when done correctly, are worth chasing. That's all part of the fun in this Hobby!


JayBee Anama

P.S. The big Chicago Sun-Times show is this weekend (hooray!!!) and I get paid this week (double hooray!!!). So, I plan on making a couple of trips (Friday possibly, Saturday...DEFINITELY!!!) The mission: cut down the wantlist of SP cards, and maybe buy a cheap (if there is such a thing) 2009 Topps T206 set with SP's. You'll know it's me because I'll be the guy with a Topps baseball hat, carrying around a black Topps bag full of cards I'd like to get rid off (possibly trade...you never know). jba


Anonymous said...

REALLY LOOK - That sums it all up in a nut shell. Can you imagine how many people may have had the cards but did not notice. It makes Baseball Cards Relevant again. -John

nevermore said...

Nice rundown JayBee. I for one enjoy these variations. I am just waiting for prices to comedown before I go after the Yankee ones for my Yankee Topps sets.

It took over a month before the ABE SPs were discovered despite thousands of boxes of Topps being busted. Amazing!

Sharpe said...

If there were mysterious Brewer super short prints, I'd hunt them down.

As it is, seems to always be the biggest market teams (Yankes, Sox, Cubs) which makes it easy for me to say "those are stupid".

dayf said...

2005 Red Sox? What the heck was that?

Topps has killed its base set for eternity with all the gimmicks. It was barely hanging on to life after being bombarded with inserts for a decade, the gimmicks stuck the knife right in the heart and twisted. I'll miss you, relevant base set.....

RoofGod said...

I for the most part agree with you about the "gimmick" cards because they got me back into collecting (2007 Jeter). I stumbled across the card randomly online and found the blogosphere as a result and I for one am happy about that. I do think that they have begun to overdue it with the gimmick cards though. This is a situatiion where I think that the "less is more" approach will have better received results by the collecting community as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I'll go against the grain here. If someone starts talking variations, gimmicks and inserts, I make a quick excuse to be somewhere else fast. They are killing the base sets, but not any more than lazy action photography. Send real photographers down to spring training or wherever and get real photographs of players so you can actually see what they look like and that have character and, when appropriate, some tongue in cheek humor. Abe Lincoln is just silly and irrelevant - what's next J.C. and the 12?