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.*

— — —

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.

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Categories: The Topps Company | Tags: | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Review

  1. Miles Schild

    I would live to see Topps Sterling come back, those are truly great looking cards. A set that I believe should be discontinued would be Topps Heritage. I’ve never been a fan of bringing back past years designs. Old sets should be one of a kind!

  2. I think that at least one and possibly two of the high-end sets — either Tribute, Triple Threads, Museum Collection, Five-Star, Dynasty, or Supreme — need to go. Oversaturation of high-end products equals lower demand and lower resale value for all, which is the entire point of those products. If you want exclusive products, then keep them exclusive and limit the number of products.

    I’d like to see the return of a real flagship set, issued at one time, with about 900 cards distributed equally across the teams with league leaders, highlights, and managers all included.

  3. Nate B

    I would like to see Triple Threads put out to pasture. That product was interesting for a time, but it’s shelf life seems to be over. I feel that there are too many high end products on the market with better designs and more impact on collectors to justify continuing to put out Triple Threads. Most of us have a limit on a budget for high end cards and I can’t imagine getting excited for Triple Threads anymore without a complete redesign of this product. I would rather see a new brand start from scratch like Topps Fire did with football.

    This may sound crazy, but a brand I would like to see resurrected is Topps Kids. I worry about the lack of kids in the hobby and I would like to see a product that would appeal to young people. I know that Opening Day appeals with its mascot cards and low price point, but I would like to see Topps go all in with a product aimed toward kids with a cartoony design and $.99-$1.99 price point. Make the set fun, sort of like a combination of their flagship brand with a non-gross Garbage Pail Kids. Also bring back the gum for this set. I know I would buy a product like this for my young boy and just let him have fun with it, as he is only 2 1/2 and doesn’t get the appeal of cards yet. They are so many fun direction they could go with this such as inserts using anime designs, randomly inserted flavors or gum that are more rare, mailing in backs for a bonus set of cards or exclusive cards. I would love to see them just have fun with a set like this and be a little goofy. After all, isn’t fun why we all got into cards in the first place?

  4. Offy

    I’ve got to agree that I wouldn’t mind seeing Triple Threads go. You see the same types of cards that used to be exclusive to Triple Threads show up in other products, so it’s not a special product any longer.

    What I would like to see Topps bring back is a basketball license. I know that there’s no way that is probably going to happen, but I just can’t stomach Panini products and want good basketball cards again. As far as something baseball goes, I’d love to see the little retail exclusive sets make a return. I know that they’ll never be worth anything, but as a kid it was great to be able to spend 2 or 3 dollars and get a set of all of the top stars in the league. It can’t all be about future value.

  5. Mike V

    Sterling should come back, or, at the very least, a product that has nothing but Hall of Fame players. The problem with Topps high end is that it’s watered down with mid-level players. And this even happened in the last iteration of Sterling in 2010. Most of the autos were great, but does anyone want to buy a $250 box of cards and get a Dustin Pedroia or Hanley Ramirez or Joey Votto or Jimmy Rollins auto? No, they don’t. And if the watering down is done to keep the price low then don’t water it down and charge $350 for the box. High end collectors are going to spend money on a good product. Hall of Famer product only!

    As far as retiring, dump Supreme. 2 hits of mostly mid to low level players for $100+? C’mon son.

  6. Andy

    Great review Mario.

    In terms of what should go Tier One gets my vote hands down. It’s just another set that panders to the high-end market, built specifically for hit chasers and flippers. I never feel that there’s a great deal of real thought that goes into it – borrowing gimmicks and ideas from other sets that do the same thing BUT much better. Hell, it doesn’t even have a base set which is both lazy and a complete travesty!! Please Topps… Put Tier One out of its misery!

    As for a set to bring back… I’d love to see the return of Topps Retired. I’ve often felt that retired ballplayers is an area of the Hobby that Topps doesn’t tend to concentrate on as much as say, prospects. We do get bigger retired stars and HOFers littered throughout the yearly releases (particularly in the retro themed sets like GQ, A&G and Heritage) but not a set that concentrates wholly on retired players. Surely this would be a bit of a novelty in these prospect and hit-driven times! Archives does it to an extent with the Fan Favourite autograph set but given some of the beautiful cards that Topps produces I think there’s place in the hobby for a premium set delivering some of those forgotten players of yesteryear! Make it happen Topps… You know you want to 🙂

    I think that’s me covered!

    Another great contest!!!

    Cheers, Andy (@TheCardboardWay)

  7. Sport Card Collectors

    I would like to see Inception go. I know many will not like me saying this but I am just not a fan. I think Topps puts out plenty of these “artsy” looking cards and I prefer just not seeing another brand out there with it. I specifically would remove it from football. The 00 jersey numbers are also awful. And chipping is a MAJOR concern also with the product. Almost every card I have from it has some form of chipping issues.

    Instead, let’s revive the awesomeness that is Bowmans Best. Great looking base cards, fun inserts. That was always a fan favorite when I was growing up.

    • Bowman’s Best comes back at the end of the season. 🙂

      • Sport Card Collectors

        Great news!

      • Sport Card Collectors

        Well, in that case, while we are reviving products, let’s see Topps Gallery make a return. And I will throw one more thing in there, it would be so EPIC to see the return of Topps Mystery Finest inserts and make them one per box with a much much tougher refractor parallel.

  8. I’d like to see a set like Tools Total come back..it was a challenge to get the set but at a price point where kids could start out in the hobby.

    And since there is a over abdunce of high end I would have to say Triple Threads should go

  9. What I’d like to see Topps bring back is a product aimed at the set builder. Whether that’s Topps Total, an existing set or a new one, just something that gets collectors excited to complete. Before hit-chasing was a thing, people of all ages bought packs to complete sets. The emphasis in that last sentence is “all ages”. Set building offers challenges and excitement for any level of collector. How do you build a product aimed at set building? Here are a few ideas:

    1) Focus on the base set. Make it interesting and make it big. Whether through cool design, interesting facts, or great photography, make the collector want to come back for more. Where Topps Total failed was that it just wasn’t “interesting” enough for collectors to want. It was a great idea but came out rather “bleh”.

    2) Avoid short prints. SP’s have their place in Heritage, A&G, GQ, etc, but they alienate a large section of the collecting population, those that don’t buy singles online. By making a large enough set (released in one series), there will inherently be a level of rarity. Part of what made collecting great in the 80’s was that you could buy so much of the same product throughout the summer and continue to find new cards because there were so many out there.

    3) Limit the gimmicks. Again, inserts and hits are important to the hobby, but there is room for at least one product that doesn’t emphasize them. This would surely drive cost down for Topps, allowing them to pass savings onto customer.

    4) Provide value. There’s a misconception out there that a pack needs to be $1 to be considered a great value. I disagree. I believe one way Topps can better provide value is through offering a product with an increased amount of cards in the pack. Give me 15 base cards for $1.50-$2 in a product like this and I’d be happy. Heck, offer 45 card rack packs or cello packs for $5.

    If you’ve browsed through to this point, please read the following. A product like this would be extremely successful for Topps for one reason… it eliminates the secondary market. By providing a product where it’s just as cheap for me to buy a pack and chase the cards as it is for me to go online and buy singles to finish the set, I’ll then spend more on packs for the thrill of the chase.

    I’m not suggesting Topps halt production on their current business model, I’m just suggesting they try something that worked well from 1952 to 1993, but hasn’t been tried since.

    What should Topps scrap? Ring Pops. Those things are messy.

  10. I usually love the Gypsy Queen brand, but for some reason, i really dislike the large swoop on the framing on the card on the top left corner. When looking at the card, the only thing that cones to mind is the card is cut off-center. To me, it lacks balance (the card is top heavy).

    There are many positives to this product though. I like the stock of the cards (these are great to get autographed). I love the filter used to give it the old look. On card autographs are the only way to go (will not buy sticker autograph cards any longer). The inserts are always great (even though there can be too many at times). And i think everyone loves the mini.

    As to the hits of the box (not specific to this box), 2 autographs are great. For $100, not too great. If it comes down to $70-$80 a box, it is worth it. The 2 relic hits are usually worthless, unless it has an autograph on it. I am all for the discontinuation of the dime size relic cards. They are box fillers and I would rather get an extra 20 cards to help complete a set. And most times, printing plates would not be considered a hit (they are not 1 of 1, as there are 4 plates of each, so they are really 1 of 4). You can usually pick them up for less then the price of a pack.

    Just some thought on the product.

    I won the football cards about a month back, but never received them. Not a big deal. If you want, you can sell or trade them for Canseco cards you need. Not an Eagles fan (that was the auto i won).

    @calicokid18 twitter

  11. Chris Miller

    I have not really bought many boxes of baseball because I end up buying more football than baseball but if I had to choose one to go away, it would probably be Supreme due to that fact I bought a box of Supreme and ended up with a cheap looking one piece jersey that you would expect from a retail store. That was the first and only box I ever got of Supreme so I could be wrong and it could be outstanding. But because of that box I never wanted to buy another one. As for a product they should revive I am not really sure since it had been a very long time since I collected baseball and I was not that big into it when I was younger. I would only buy random packs and get a lot of cards from various people who no longer wanted theirs. I really just hope they do not mess up High Tek this year. I really enjoyed last years.

  12. To pasture: Triple Threads, if for no other reason, the beyond-corny cut out sayings on each card. McGwire’s in 2014 had OutFoxx’d – I get it, but it doesn’t mean I think it’s clever. The endless amount of parallels don’t help either, it’s not quite as bad as the old Co-SIgners, but it’s not far off either. And for what a person pays for a box, it’s just not worth it.

    For what I would bring back, Bowman’s Best is coming back this year, which is cool, and Tek returned last year as well. I think that leaves me clamoring for Topps Gold Label to return – those cards were absolutely beautiful, and I loved seeing them as an insert in last year’s flagship release. They don’t need to have the parallels overdone, they don’t need random jersey pieces inserted, maybe just one auto a box with amazing photography and production, and I’m an absolute buyer.

  13. I thought bringing back Stadium Club was great, and for the most part the 2014 version was very well done. So that doesn’t count since they’ve already brought it back.

    For putting out to pasture:
    Personally, I think Topps Chrome is unnecessary and would be better served as a parallel insert to base Topps as opposed to a separate product. However, I realize that would never happen so I’ll go with Topps Archives. There are things I really like about Archives, but a lot of things I don’t think are done as well as they could be, and it’s trending away from the things I enjoy (the SP’s used to be retired “Fan Favorites”, now they’re not).

    For bringing back:
    I’m going outside of the box. I wish Topps would buy Upper Deck’s brand and bring back the Upper Deck base brand, using the 1989-1997 look and feel, and Upper Deck SP, which was great as well.

    • ChuckNeo, waaaaay outside the box and I like it!

    • Offy

      Topps did the Chrome as an insert thing in their final year with the basketball license. All of the cards, even the base Chrome, were serial numbered and they still do pretty well on the secondary market. I had a Derrick Rose gold /50 that sold for $80 right after his MVP season. The Chrome Blake Griffin rookies are some of his better cards from tnat year. I wouldn’t be opposed because you need something like three boxes of Chrome to come close to building a set. It’s a great seller for Topps though, so like you say, I don’t think that would ever happen.

      Topps purchasing the rights to Upper Deck’s old designs would be interesting especially after a certain Topps design showed up in Upper Deck because owned the O-Pee-Chee name.

  14. CK

    My two cents… I’m actually not a fan of GQ. I’m not crazy about the unusual border design and the usually large “Gypsy Queen” logo in the design. And the filter effect they use doesn’t work for me. But I’m probably in the minority as most people seem to like it. I will say that it seems like you can get some decent hits in the box and for a reasonable price, so there’s that.

    If Topps is listening, I’d really like it if they could bring back Archives like it was in ’01 and ’02, making it all about retired players. I think there may be rules by MLB that prohibit such a set nowadays, and that you have to have a certain percentage of active players in the set, which is why the product morphed into what it is now, but maybe there can be a workaround. Maybe make the active players more like an insert set, a la the prospects in Bowman.

    If Topps could do a retired-heavy Archives set, please reprint cards that we haven’t seen (much) before. Lets see a ’55, ’56 or ’57 Ted Williams, or a ’55, ’56 or ’57 Koufax. How about ’56 cards of Roberts and Ashburn from my Phillies? I know the ’52 Mays and ’84 Mattingly are iconic cards and I love them, but we have seen them a lot (Mays in Archives, Shoebox Collection, Mays reprint set; Mattingly in Archives, Through the Years, Shoebox, framed reprints, etc).

    Another set that I think would be cool would be a “Cards that Never Were” set. I know this has been explored a bit over recent years (eTopps, Lost Cards), but nothing too in depth. This set could fill in more of the blanks in the early years of the lost cards in the ’50s, and for later years it could be of cards predating an actual rookie card, or giving a player a last card with his full career stats on back. I know many bloggers create customs like this, so I think it would be great if Topps could do this, too. Make the cards look authentic: use accurate timeline photos for the beginning or end of a player’s career, keep the card designs of the particular year true to the originals, and please use real backs-don’t go with some write-up talking about “what could have been”; make it so it looks like this card really could have been issued with that particular set. Mario, since Jose did play in 1985, wouldn’t it be cool to see an ’85 Topps Traded Canseco?? Topps, I’m happy to work on a checklist if you would like. 🙂

  15. All great responses. Gonna have the contest wrapped up tomorrow. Been too busy with work, haven’t even been scouring eBay for Canseco stuff. 😦

  16. Sport Card Collectors

    One more last bring back product, let’s see Gold Label make a return. I know some 90’s products get revived and that should be one. Spectacular base cards.

    One more I might be ok with Topps taking away, opening day. Its like buying regular Topps, except watered down. I think they can take some of the opening day concepts, pull the corny Sp’s from Series 1 and add them in instead of those. I feel the price point betwen series 1 is low enough that losing opening day really wouldnt matter.

  17. i would love to see inception go just believe that product is an attempt and a fail for a higher end prospect product in which none of those cards really stand out or even look good. Just a plain design to me.
    The product I can’t wait for is Bowman Best, this product will be the most hyped up product in a while and believe it’s in topps hands to either deliver the quality that bowman best is known for or really bomb it bad

    Inc_ty

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