Nit picking a set off of lots, trades, and Ebay purchases does have some serious advantages. First, it's easy to assemble the base set for at least half of the cost of the hobby box. Second, you get to control the hits that you get to put in with your set. Being mainly focused on the Cardinals with some interest in a few other teams, I decided to make my first target for the Gypsy Queen set the autograph of utility player Matt Carpenter. The lesser known of the Carpenters on the Cardinals played a valuable role on last year's team as a rookie and has never had a certified autograph. So, here's the card:
2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Matt Carpenter Autograph
So, here's the problem with picking out single cards to target in a set. Most Topps sets now have a soft release date. Sure, Topps maintained that Gypsy Queen just released last Wednesday, but I also bought myself two blasters and put them in my Easter basket the Sunday before the product released. The release dates that Topps gives to retail and hobby stores have become more of a suggestion than an actual hard date. So, early last week before the official release there were only a few Matt Carpenter autographs floating around Ebay and COMC. Several ended north of $25 which is ridiculous given that Matt Carpenter is a 27 year old second year player with no starting job on the Cardinals.
When the product officially released last Wednesday the secondary market sites slowly started seeing an uptick in the number of Carpenter autographs. Luckily, the uptick in product available allowed the prices to slowly come down below $10 and I was available to pick up a copy of this card from super case breakers Brent and Becca. The important thing to remember as a collector, when a product first is released, to pick out the cards that you want from the product and stick to a price point. If you think the card should cost $20 and it is selling for twice that amount, chances are that in the long wrong you will be right and you will be able to get the card you want for the price you want.