2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Review

*All the good cards from this review (parallels, relics, autos, and the 1 of 1) will be given away to one lucky collector. This week’s question is: Which Topps product would you like to see put out to pasture and which would you like to see resurrected? Leave a comment with your name and Twitter handle or email so I can contact you immediately if you win. Best comment wins it all. We are looking for sincere responses, Topps is reading, so let them know exactly how you feel.*

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Here we go. This is what collecting is all about (to me). Since my return to writing for Wax Heaven, I’ve reviewed 2014 Finest, 2014 Tek, 2015 Museum Collection, and now, Gypsy Queen. With this product, I have for the first time considered bustin’ wax again. To me, this is the best Topps has had to offer this year, although I missed out on Tribute and only busted a few packs of Heritage.

Museum Collection was absolutely beautiful but at 20 cards for the high price range, didn’t offer me enough of what I needed and look for from a box break. Simply put, I’m not a gambler and enjoy base cards, great photography, parallels, and the like and walking away with 250 cards that don’t feel flimsy or look cheap is a wonderful change of pace.

For the record, I’ve busted about 100 products delivered directly from Topps, Upper Deck, Panini America, Tristar, and Leaf and this is the first time I have ever pulled a “one of one”. On my own, I’ve pulled several printing plates (never a Super, though). Believe it or not, the printing plate in this box is not going to affect the outcome of my review because I was already in love with Gypsy Queen from the start.

Lastly, out of the entire box, which yielded 250 cards … I didn’t pull a single Jose Canseco. Not a base card, not a parallel, not a mini, or even an autograph. This is a travesty and for that alone, Gypsy Queen should get a big, fat “F”. Shame on you, Topps.

I kid, I kid …

Design: A+

I thought Museum Collection had a perfect design but as far as it goes, Gypsy Queen is the best looking Topps product I’ve seen all year. Whatever image filters Topps is using for these photographs, they are working magic. I loved every single card I pulled, even no-name guys I’ve never even heard of. I can’t say the same for any other Topps baseball product this year or ever.

This is the most fun I’ve had with any baseball release ever, that didn’t feature Chrome and Refractors. In fact, Allen & Ginter pales in comparison to Gypsy Queen, in my humble opinion, and I could easily see myself buying a box or two of this product, which I can’t say about Museum Collection or any non-Chrome release. This is the box I would buy a former collector just to bring him back to the hobby.

Price: A-

Cardboard Connection’s Best Price finder has boxes of Gypsy Queen at just under $100. For 250 cards, 4 hits, and a handful of serial numbered cards, that’s not bad at all. In fact, I’d say it’s almost perfect. However, right now you’re going to have to work to find that price and hobby shops and card shows won’t come close to that at the moment. If these drop to $80-$85 range, jump on it!

Inserts/Hits/Parallels: A+

Would I call this a “loaded” box? No, not really. Perhaps if you compare it to any of my other Topps reviews. It’s still a mighty nice box and would rank right up there thanks to the printing plate and the Mike Stanton autographed relic. To me, the El Duque black mini is the hit of the box and is nothing short of B-A-D-A-S-S. Keep in mind, that’s coming from a Yankees hater.

Breakdown:
Steven Souza Jr. Cyan printing plate
Yordano Venture framed mini relic
Shelby Miller relic
Giancarlo Stanton Autographed relic
Matt Joyce autograph
Orlando Hernandez black mini #’d 4/5

Overall: A-

I hate to sound like a “shill” but this is Topps Company at its very best. I can’t imagine a better baseball product and while the upcoming 2015 Diamond Kings may ruffle a few feathers at Topps headquarters, with the MLB license and the card design team they have in place, I don’t see an end to the baseball monopoly any time soon.

Is Topps Company perfect, as it relates to baseball? Not even close. There are still way too many products per year, not enough return on investment, and way too many parallels to chase but as far as 2015 Gypsy Queen is concerned, this is a product that’s as close to perfect as we will get in 2015, even without me pulling a Jose Canseco card.

Categories: The Topps Company | Tags: | 22 Comments

Mike Tyson Got it Wrong

Leaf hit a grand slam with the Mike Tyson inscription autographs released a few years ago. Below is one of those cards, which is currently on eBay. As you can see, it refers to Mike Tyson’s first career loss to the unheralded, Buster Douglas.

That event was tragic for many reasons. For starters, it was the beginning of the end for Tyson, who was at the time the undefeated and undisputed Heavyweight Champion. His career never truly bounced back and his personal life only worsened. Not only did Mike lose his belts and aura of invincibility, he also lost millions in endorsements.

As for Buster Douglas, he ended up losing his very next fight after coming in fat and unprepared against a young and still ferocious, Evander Holyfield. He would never again reach anything close to what he accomplished that night in Toyko when he knocked out Mike Tyson.

Here’s the thing; the card signed by Mike reads, “Buster Douglas got the best of me.” Not true at all. Mike didn’t train and was on a diet of narcotics and prescription drugs. His lifestyle and addiction to women, plus his partying beat him that night. Not only that but he knocked down Buster late in the fight and the referee gave a slow count, which was somewhere between 12-14 seconds. Even at his worst, Mike defeated Buster Douglas.

This card comes from the genius hobby mind of Brian Gray of Leaf BUT it’s an insult to any true boxing fan, not to mention Mike Tyson supporter. It’s a neat autograph but not something I could ever give my backing to because simply put, Mike Tyson got it wrong.

Categories: Celebrity Drama, eBay Treasures | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Is This the Last Baseball Card I Buy in 2015?

Maybe.

This is a 2014 Topps Tier 1, on-card autograph numbered 087/299. Interestingly enough, the photo used on the card appears to be from the 1987 season meaning that my card is now a 1/1! Okay, I take that back. There’s no such thing as an eBay 1/1. It’s all BS.

Anyway, this card was won on eBay three weeks ago but wasn’t paid off until early last week and finally arrived today. As far as Topps cards go, it’s one of my least favorite as the design lacks a lot of pizazz and the thickness of the card, serial numbering, and on-card auto just doesn’t do much for me. However, for less than $15, it’s hard to pass up.

Last week my income tax check was deposited into my bank account. It was bigger than any I’ve ever received. I was driving around in a absolutely trashed 2001 Camaro for two years and with all that cash in my hand I had an option of picking up the iconic Jose Canseco Donruss Crusade (and many more goodies) or treat myself to something much more important, a new car.

In the end, I chose to put my collection on hold and got myself a brand new Chevy Camaro SS. Jose Canseco would be proud. So for now, this card joins my collection and is officially my 1,112th different card and unless I pull any base cards in upcoming Topps products, it may very well be the last one of the year. As much as I love collecting … I think I’d be okay with that. At least I’ll always have Wax Heaven.

Categories: The Topps Company | Tags: , | 9 Comments

The Winner of the Museum Collection Lot is …

I just want to thank everyone who participated in the 2015 Topps Museum giveaway. There will be many more giveaways thanks to Topps Company’s generous donations. Down the line, there may even be another card manufacturer joining the club which means two things: more reviews and more free cards to readers of Wax Heaven.

Stay tuned as I expect to have Gypsy Queen any day now. As for the grand prize, the winning comment goes to CK, which you can read below. If he doesn’t contact me within five days, we can split up the cards to the two runner-ups, ChuckNeo and Tony L. Thanks for reading and make sure to follow me on Twitter @WaxMorgue.

ck

Categories: The Hobby, The Topps Company | Tags: | 3 Comments

2015 Topps Museum Collection Review

To be eligible for all the cards featured in this review, leave a comment with your favorite and least favorite thing about Topps baseball cards. The winner will be chose at random and cards will be delivered at my expense.

For the very first time, I have the privilege of busting open a box of 2015 Topps Museum Collection, a product which wasn’t around during the final days of Wax Heaven. At just under $200 per box, it’s one of the only high-end products I have reviewed and easily one of my all-time favorites and while it did deliver one hell of a punch, I did have some concerns as a collector that I will discuss in my review.

Design: A+

Simply put, 2015 Museum Collection is Topps’ very best product of the year. Design-wise, it blows away their flagship, Heritage, Tribute, and the yet to be reviewed, Gypsy Queen. As far as the competition, so far it’s only 2015 Donruss Baseball and that too doesn’t stand a chance. When Topps is on their game, they are impossible to beat.

On a personal level, Museum Collection has put out some of the greatest Jose Canseco autographs I have ever seen, all on-card and all featuring new and different photographs per card, something that’s a rarity these days. It’s one of the reasons I love this year’s Museum Collection so much.

Price: C

Right now, boxes of Museum Collection will run you just under $200 dollars for 20 total cards. Don’t get me wrong, the cards look absolutely gorgeous, as does the design of the hits and even the parallels but at that price range we should be getting a product that features 100% on-card autographs and with at least 10-15 more cards, if not a chance for a bonus 5th hit every other box or something similar.

I’ve watched countless case breaks of this stuff on YouTube as well, which not only leaves me feeling quite envious, but a bit sad for those collectors as cases are running for big money right now and unless you’re an eBay expert with lots of time on your hands and extreme luck, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Game-used relics just don’t bring in the kind of money they used to.

Inserts/Hits/Parallels: B+

Here is where this product shines. Out of 20 cards, I pulled six serial numbered cards and 4 big hits. My favorite card was the Nomar Garciaparra autograph which looks amazing and happens to be on-card, plus is numbered to 59. I also pulled a three-piece relic/auto (sticker) numbered to 349, a 4-piece relic numbered to 99, and a jumbo relic. No patches in this box but that’s fine because I’m seeing them pulled quite frequently on YouTube and social media.

Overall: B

To me, Museum Collection absolutely blows away Topps’ Triple Threads line. Although it’s not as high-end as T.T, I would pick Museum Collection over that overrated product any day of the week. The design is magnificent, the cards are thick, and you’ll end up with four big hits and several serial numbered cards. As a collector, paying nearly $200 for a box of 20 cards is no longer reasonable to me but the high-end gamblers love this product and for a good reason.

For my own collecting needs, I will, when the time is right, start bringing in the several Jose Canseco cards into my collection when prices have come down a bit. Even if you can’t afford to bust boxes of new product or anything high-end, right now is the greatest time in the world to be a player collector thanks to eBay and other online sites that are helping so many fulfill their collecting needs.

 

Categories: The Topps Company | Tags: , | 16 Comments

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