On August 7th, Topps released their eighth installment of what has become one of the most anticipated releases of the year – Allen & Ginter. This is one of my favorite products as I rushed out and bought three boxes at my local hobby store on “opening day”. In case you don’t know already, Allen & Ginter has morphed into a solid brand of cards featuring baseball players, retired greats, non-baseball players, famous objects, landmarks, and other interesting and unusual subjects. Some baseball collecting purists prefer to have their baseball cards be 100% related to baseball and that is OK. However, Allen & Ginter is not for everybody but it is for those who like baseball along with a bit of the odd and abnormal. Starting back in 2006, Allen & Ginter won over collectors with a solid autograph lineup and the introduction of rip cards. Rip cards provide collectors with an interesting dilemma. Collectors who get a rip card can either keep the card as is or they can rip the tab on the back of the card exposing the mini card inside. The mini card can be anything from an exclusive mini only found in rip cards, a mini painting of a baseball player, a red autograph serially numbered to 10, or other surprises such as a rip card reserve card, redeemable for a full sized piece of memorabilia. These rip cards have been a thriving part of Allen & Ginter’s success over the years. As popular as rip cards are, I am surprised that Topps has not used the concept of rip cards in their other brands. Although I didn’t get any spectacular pulls out of my three boxes, it was still fun to rip nonetheless. I couldn’t help to wonder what cards I would get if I was to open several cases of Allen & Ginter? Well, I know someone that did so I contacted him to find out what his great pulls were.
As most of you know, Brent Williams (better known as brentandbecca on Ebay and Twitter) is the #1 case breaker when it comes to volume. I have never seen anyone that opens more product than he does. He attributes his success to providing world-class customer service and has a lot of repeat customers because of this. He is also very knowledgable about new products and offers his opinions on Twitter quite often. So if you are not following him on Twitter, you need to do so. His handle is @brentandbecca.
Recently, I caught up with Brent about his huge 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter 32 case break. Yes, that’s right. Brent opened 32 cases of this product! For those keeping score at home, that’s 9,216 packs! When I found out about how many cases Brent was opening I began to wonder what cards would give him the biggest “wow factor”? Well, after days of ripping, sorting, listing, selling, and shipping...there are definitely some cards that make me go "wow"!
When I asked Brent for a top 10 for Allen & Ginter, he decided to provide it to me by doing a "best of" in different categories. He also wanted to do a Top 12 which I'm perfectly fine with although David Letterman might take exception. Brent states that after breaking 32 cases, the first handful of cases were hot. Then it died down for about 20 cases and then the last few were really hot! Hot? I think that is an understatement. Some of these cards are on fire! Without further adieu, here is a summary of Brent's 32 case rip...
Here are the Brent's best hits broken down by category yet still being ranked by "wow factor" along with his comments...
TEN TWELVE BIGGEST WOW FACTOR CARDS OUT OF BRENT’S 32 CASE BREAK!
12. Best SP Legends Game-Used: Lou Gehrig Framed & Hank Aaron Full-Size (tie)
"The Legends were beyond tough for me this year. Last year I almost made the entire relic set but this year I was only at 80% due to the Retired Players being so tough. These two were really the only two I hit and I dig them. Both are PC items for me. Personally, I enjoy the framed relics best, but can't pass up keeping Hammerin' Hank!"
11. Best Printing Plate: Bryce Harper 1/1 (Extended Mini Version)
"Although I did hit a Clemente plate and it did sell for more than Harper, this is my first Harper plate compared to having already hit 2 previous Clemente in other releases."
10. Best Single Rip Card: Derek Jeter 08/10
"The CAPTAIN! I hit many great Rip cards including Harper, but this one is just beautiful. Many rip cards could be on the top 20 in terms of biggest sellers, but there were many other cool hits this year."
9. Best Wood Mini: Troy Tulowitzki 1/1
"I have hit his wood mini before, and although I did hit Hockey Legend Mike Ritcher that also sold for the same $125, I am a baseball guy over hockey any day. I also hit an Alfonso Soriano."
8. Best Ripped Rip Card Content: Game-Used Full Item Redemption
"There were 50 of these redemptions inserted for unknown items and players. I ripped more rip cards than all previous years combined this year since the market was very soft on them this year unripped, and the content was increased. It paid off in a few instances like this one as it is bid up to $380 thus far. Would love to redeem it but the unknown factors caused me to just sell it and move on. Oh and as far as the other rip cards I opened, other than rip exclusive mini cards the only other rare item I pulled was a Bobby Bowden Red Ink Auto /10 (sold for $102)."
7. Best Double Rip Card: Mike Trout & Miguel Cabrera 4/5
"I pulled 5 doubles in my 32 cases, and while the Nolan Ryan / Stephen Strasburg is awesome, those two guys are from different eras, whereas as Trout and Cabrera were the best two players in baseball last year, and are continuing strong in 2013. Yet I wonder what is inside...Hmmmmm."
6. Best Baseball Autograph: Hank Aaron SP
"I did not hit any other SP autos that I know of. I hit at least two of every autograph I pulled except this one, and it was my only HOF auto. It sold for $325, which is great for a redemption. Last year I hit Hank's red Ink live in a pack...if this was red Ink, even a redemeption, it would still be mine."
5. Best Red Ink Autograph: Manny Machado /10
"The kid is playing great, and seeing that only a couple of my red inks barely are going for $100, this was my best one PLUS my first PC Auto of Manny I will have since I have always sold his autos, but not this red ink since I PC the red ink."
4. Best Non-Baseball Autograph: Pele SP
"I hit one and only one Pele. Other than his card at $379, the only other non-baseball autograph I had yield triple figures was Axl Rose. Last year there were several non-baseball autos that reached triple figures and many over $200 and $300 each, so while I was disappointed in the overall checklist of the non-baseball lineup compared to last (it was just a great checklist last year, so not knocking this year), the top end, being Pele, was huge. This is one of Ginter's best non-baseball selling autos to date. Now I just need a red one, even if it is rip card exclusive and unframed."
On Twitter, @MattsCardAct points out to Brent: "Your Pele auto is the only one I have seen that was accidently? put into a "Ginter originals" frame... interesting..." Could this be related to solving the Ginter Code or just a mistake by Topps? Time will tell...
3. Best Box Topper: Nelson Cruz 1/1 Nameplate Relic
"WOW! This card is a BEAST! Yes, I do realize it is Nelson Cruz, and yes it was bad timing, yet it sold for $600! In fact I had 3 offers at $500 or more which really surprised me. But there are only 10 players that have these and they command a premium. I could not believe I hit this. I have wanted to hit one since they began them in A&G. I also hit an over-sized Rivera Jersey /25 and a Fielder Auto /15. Had this been my top hit, I would be thrilled. I still have not hit an A&G cut signature or oddity relic in all of these years, but I can cross this off the list of pulls I wanted to hit."
2. Best Hit: Nolan Ryan / Yu Darvish 1/1 Dual Book Auto Patch Card
"DOUBLE WOW! In 2011 I was blessed to hit two book cards that were 1/1. A dual jumbo patch booklet and a dual jumbo patch auto booklet. I hit 2 of the 10 booklets made that year! I was not expecting another. This year there are only 7 book cards, and wow...what a card! It is the card from the sell sheet (although it is a redemption as I am sure it is quite thick). The card went to a private collector although I wanted to keep it so bad even being a redemption, and we all know about those. I just could not pass up his offer. This was my best pull, but is not #1 for obvious reasons."
The card Brent pulled was the redemption card. The book card, too thick to be inserted into a pack, was pictured in the official sell sheet so Brent sent me a picture of that to show you all as well.
1. Best Find / Best Surprise / Best Damaged Card: Marco Scutaro Hidden Box Lid Rip Glossy 1/1
"It was my best find and best surprise because it helped the box busting world. It was unknown that Topps added these, and yet after the product being live for 4 days, I came across one while cutting up box tops, and hence why I say best damaged card. The box knife cut the card in three places, although it remained intact, and sold for close to $50. Sure my second one I found, Mariano Rivera, a $394 sale, was amazing and great timing of a card, yet it was not the first one that in my opinion should go down as one of the best collecting tales of the past generation if not all of card history.
It was the first one found. Period. Had it not been found, would others have been? I don't know, unless Topps finally announced it to be, but then again, how many more would be thrown out? How many are still being thrown out due to much of the collecting world not being on social media every day of their lives? It led to many other searching their boxes in their trash or local recycling centers (already smashed up even). It was great fun, a nice surprise, and added value. The Rivera was the better card, but this was the better find. And while it is not my best pull ever or even in this break, it is the most important card I have ever pulled...Hands down!"
It should be noted that Topps did give us a subtle hint about the box lid rip cards that no one picked up on. Back on August 7th, Topps tweeted out the following:
"@toppscards: Happy Allen and Ginter's Day! Who is ready to "rip a cover" of Ginter today?"
Nice job Topps! We promise to play closer attention in the future.
So, it looks like Brent literally ripped a rip card! I can't believe Topps kept this a secret and it took four days until discovered by Brent.
I created a new category on the righthand section of my blog called "Brent's Case Breaks". There is where I will start storing my posts of Brent's case breaks of Topps baseball products and I plan to add more there if Brent lets me. Back in February 2013, I contacted Brent asking him what his best 10 cards out of 2013 Topps Series One were. Check out that section to find his best 10 cards out of 80 cases!
And so there you have it. For those who have always wondered what kind of cards to expect out of a 32 case break, now you know. However, although Brent did bust 32 cases, I think he had better than expected results, don't you think?