The Basics: What I opened: 1 Retail Box from Target
What I paid: $19.99
What I got:
· 36 out of 300 regular base cards (12% of the set)
· 4 short prints out of 50 (8% of the short prints) (#350 Kevin Youkilis, #319 Jason Giambi, #332 Dave Roberts, and #321 Wily Mo Pena)
· 1 unnumbered Fukudome regular sized rookie card (rare – rumor has it one per case?)
· 4 regular back mini cards
· 2 short printed regular back mini cards (#321 Wily Mo Pena and #302 Brad Lidge)
· 1 black bordered mini black card (#275 Nick Markakis)
· 4 different state cards (Louisiana – Jonathan Papelon, Iowa – Casey Blake, Rhode Island – Paul Konerko, and Maine – Tim Stauffer)
· 1 World Leaders mini insert – Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium)
Overall, I had decent box. The black bordered mini card is nice, if I were to try to collect one of the mini sets that would be the parallel version I would choose. They are rare, but so rare as to be super expensive (unlike the mini bazookas or no numbered minis). The Fukudome card was clearly the best card in the box, Beckett lists it at $50.00, meaning that one card was worth 2 and a half boxes! Of course, I doubt anyone would buy it from me for book price, but still, not bad.
The 2008 Allen & Ginter set is an extremely nice set overall. I decided to post a typical “retail” box breakdown on my blog but I have purchased quite a few different retail boxes as well as hobby packs in an effort to complete my own set. At this point, I am missing 25 of the 350 base cards (including short prints) and 6 of the state cards. If you happen to have some you’d be interesting in trading, please check out my want list at the end of the entry.
The 2008 Allen & Ginter set has a decent variety of inserts and parallels. Besides the ones mentioned above, there are also rare Deadliest Shark cards and rare Pioneers of Aviation cards. I have completed the Pioneers of Aviation set (as soon as the missing card arrives from the eBay auction I recently won) but I have only pulled a single shark card (and of course those sell for more). There is also a set featuring baseball icons (such as Cy Young, Pee Wee Reese, and Babe Ruth amongst others) and a set called Team Orange that appears to be extremely rare and full of fake guys (I don’t get it either). There are also a large number of relic and autographed cards – I’ve pulled a fair number of relics but no autographs so far from the set (which seems to be a common complaint from people). Finally, there are 1-of-1 relic cards including Abraham Lincoln and a Meteorite…it probably goes without saying that I haven’t even seen one of those cards let alone pulled one.
The rest of the insert sets are mediocre. I liked last years Flags of the Nations set but I don't really care about this year's World Leaders set.
I like the thick state cards (50 in all) - but I'm always happier to pull a relic instead of one of the states...It's hard to imagine a better "filler" set though - and it certainly beats getting a thick advertisement like Upper Deck likes to do.
The Bottom Line: I give the 2008 MLB Topps Allen & Ginter a 94/100.
Pros: I like the base cards (despite being similar to last year’s set). I like the eccentric mix of non-baseball personalities (and “other things” like Pluto and the Grand Canyon) thrown in. I like the relic cards and black-bordered minis. I like the Pioneers of Aviation subset because it is quirky. I like the short prints – enough to make collecting the set a challenge, but not so many (nor so rare) to drive prices up to impossible heights for the average collector.
Cons: I don’t get the Team Orange insert set – for how difficult they are to pull they are an immense disappointment (I’d much rather pull a shark or aviation card). It seems that the ration of relics to autographs is a bit too slanted – relics are easy to find but the autos are elusive. The Worlds Greatest Victory insert was a neat idea (the first person to crack the code gets to be on a 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter card) but you know that someone probably cracked it within a week or so of the products launch…rendering the inserts useless now.
Cards I need (and would like to trade for - leave a comment below or email me at ZfaZnZofZreZdsZ.ZaZucZtioZnZs@ZgZmZaiZl.cZoZm (just remove all the capital Z's in that email address) with a list of what you have a what you want for 'em.
2008 Allen & Ginter Needs: (Last updated 10/09/08 @ 1:49 AM EST)
3 Benjamin Franklin
20 Vladimir Guerrero
24 Bobby Jenks
49 Shane Victorino
57 Ben Sheets
63 Jacoby Ellsbury
83 Masahide Kobayashi
84 Bonnie Blair
87 Aaron Rowand
105 Jonathan Papelbon
118 Geovany Soto
124 Greg Maddux 131 Todd Helton 149 Freddy Sanchez 179 Hideki Matsui
210 Carlos Lee
226 Rich Hill
239 Brian Bannister
245 Carlos Guillen
292 Elijah Dukes
305 Randy Johnson
312 Brandon Wood
336 Allen Fisher
339 Jack Cust
341 Ty Wigginton
343 Benjie Molina
State Cards Needed:
US11 Shane Victorino
US12 Jason Schmidt
US16 Nate Robertson
US32 Alex Rodriguez
US35 Nick Swisher
US45 Daric Barton
I have a TON of extra 2008 Allen & Ginter cards (both regular and short prints) that I would be willing trade - as well as some 2008 Topps Heritage, 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes, and 2008 Upper Deck Goudey - send me a list and we'll see what we can do.