Wednesday, December 19, 2012

30 Year Top 50: 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter

#19- When the 2006 Allen & Ginter set was released many people thought that it was going to be another in a long line of retro products that Topps seems to issue each year.  However, in its first year, the Allen & Ginter set ended up being one of the most popular sets of the past thirty years.  Unlike some products that are widely available on the shelves of hobby shops for weeks at a time, the Allen & Ginter packs and boxes were snapped up in bunches early and often which lead to steep prices.  Even today, boxes of 2006 Allen & Ginter sell easily for north of $200.

Why the craze over this product?  Non-baseball autographs which are, in 2012 the seventh year of Allen & Ginter, now commonplace with this product.  The 2006 set featured Leon Spinks, Bruce Jenner, Jennie Finch, Danica Patrick, John Wooden, Hulk Hogan, and Randy Couture among others.  Of course, there were also great baseball autographs.

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Chase Utley Autograph

Now, before some of you get excited about seeing non-baseball autographs you need to think about this:  In nine months of blog posts how many non-baseball cards have appeared on my page?  The answer is zero.  Honestly, if I had opened a pack of Allen & Ginter and found an autograph of one of the non-baseball personalities above it would have, at worst, ended up on Ebay.  It's not my thing as a card collector and probably never will be.  However, those cards are a huge reason this set is as popular as it is and also a huge factor in the successful run of Allen & Ginter sets for the Topps company.  

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Prince Fielder Autograph 

Back to baseball cards.  The autographs in this set, that are of baseball players, are great.  Really nice pinkish banner across the middle of the card for the player to sign.  I am not sure I've seen an unattractive Allen & Ginter autograph.  Some of the players in the set are harder players to find signatures of, like Chase Utley, while others are a little more common, like my Prince Fielder.  Even though a player might have a large inventory of autographs, the demand for the Allen & Ginter autographs from this set drive the cards a little bit higher.  

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Huston Street Autograph 

The set can be found for sale without buying a box, but it runs a lot higher than the normal Allen & Ginter set from more recent years.  The set, with short-prints, can easily run a collector $100.  The option of buying the set is cheaper than finding the packs, or buying the box, but if you would rather buy singles I have a few recommendations.  

First, there are many common autographs in this set which can be picked up for less then $20.  My Huston Street autograph above is a great looking autograph from an All-Star caliber player, but buying the single card saves you the expense of paying a premium for the non-baseball autographs in the set.  Besides, if you spent $200 on a box and your autograph was Huston Street you'd be completely disappointed.  If you trade another common autograph for one, or picked one up on Ebay or COMC, you'd probably not mind the cost.  

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Dick Perez Collection Albert Pujols

My final suggestion is to check out the insert sets.  The inset sets are smaller and more manageable to put together, but offer some of the same great aspects of the base set.  My favorite from the Allen & Ginter set is the Dick Perez Collection.  The set is only 30 cards and features the art work of renowned sports artist Dick Perez.  Love this Pujols card above.  

Like the 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter set?  Not in my Top 50 countdown is the 2006 Topps Turkey Red set.  This set is cut from the same retro mold as the 2006 Allen & Ginter set, but is a little bit more sane to collect.  The cards, like the Allen & Ginter, are based on an older issue of cards.  


2006 Topps Turkey Red Matt Holliday 

One of my favorite aspects of this set is the fact that the base cards have different colored borders.  Each base card is available in grey, white, red, and black.  The set also featured jersey cards and autographs.

2006 Topps Turkey Red Garrett Atkins Autograph  

The set also featured blankets.  Hmm.  Anyway, the best autograph is the set is the Mariano Rivera.  I don't own it, but I do own this awesome Garrett Atkins card.  The autographs are all on card, but the texture of the cards, a bit grainy, can cause some of the signatures to look a little bit fuzzy/bumpy.  The set as a whole is much cheaper than the Allen & Ginter set with complete sets selling for around $30.  





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