Monday, February 27, 2012

Complete Set Chronicles: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter

I've already highlighted my complete 2008 Allen & Ginter set - now it is time to take a look at the 2011 Allen & Ginter set.  If you check the '08 set and compare it to the '11 set, you'll notice that the majority of the set set-up remains the same despite the three year difference.  There are still a majority of baseball players in the base set with a few "world's champions" thrown in for good measure.  Unlike the 2008 set, the 2011 set does not feature any landmarks, buildings, or other odd-ball things.  Only people are represented on the 350 base cards.


Carlos Gonzalez leads off the set which is a nice selection since he doesn't usually receive as much hobby love as players like Pujols, Jeter, or A-rod (the '08's recipient of the first card).  The 2011 Allen & Ginter cards' most noticeable design feature is the small box in the lower right corner with the team logo in front of the team color.


As with the majority of the Allen & Ginter sets, the first 300 base cards are regular cards while cards 301 - 350 are short prints.  Joe Mauer was given the honor of being the final card (and thus, final short print) in the 2011 set.

Card Design:

As noted above, the 2011 card design did feature team logos which was a first for Ginter.  In another twist, there wasn't a single non-baseball player short print in the set (which I also believe was a first).  Perhaps collectors complained too much about pulling a short print of a natural landmark?

Scattered throughout the set are a variety of horizontal cards, and as in years past, they are quite nice.  One of my personal favorites in the set is the Brandon Phillips card above.

The backs of the cards look virtually identical to previous years with the statistical numbers spelled out as usual.  Non-baseball players get a brief bio on the backs of their cards.


Speaking of the non-baseball players, Topps included one President in the base set (George W. Bush) and one card that featured two people (Prince Charming William and Katie Middleton).

Topps also included quite a few more female subjects, including the likes of Hope Solo, Heather Mitts, and the rather busty Jo Frost.  If Topps was going for more eye candy (for male collectors at least), I guess they succeeded (I showed off some of that eye candy in a previous theme week).


When you make another year of a set with as many followers as Allen & Ginter has, it is probably quite difficult to continually top your previous year's output.  That said, while I appreciate some of the small changes that Topps made, I also miss a few of the quirks of the previous years (landmarks and inanimate objects specifically).  I would say that it is a good base set, but definitely not a great base set (and nowhere near as good as the 2008 edition).  I give the set an 8.0 out of 10. 


Anonymous said...

This was my least favorite set out of the retro sets from 2011 - though I agree it's still cool alot of the extra things that they do with it. I liked the World's Mysterious Figures set.

I wonder if I'd have liked the earlier Ginter sets if I'd been collecting at the time - it seems like this wasn't their best effort.


hiflew said...

I liked that Carlos Gonzalez got card #1 here as well. It was really odd was that Rockies also got #2 (Wigginton) and #4 (Chacin).

CarGo was also card #1 in 2011 Opening Day. I wonder if there is a record for most #1s in a given year?

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