Saturday, December 01, 2018

Box Review: 2001 Topps Gold Label (Hobby)

I recently opened a box of 2001 Topps Gold Label as part of a group break.  While I didn't get to keep most of the cards (they went to the various group break participants), I did think that it might be worth keeping track of what I opened for another entry in my ongoing Box Review series of posts.

Before we get to the box contents, I should start by saying that I generally like Topps Gold Label (though I wasn't nearly as familiar with the 2001 set going into the box rip as I was with some of the earlier Gold Label sets).

The box I opened up was a hobby box which meant we got 24 packs with 5 cards per pack.  Furthermore, we should expect to pull a hit (seeded 1:24 packs).  While there are no inserts to speak of in the set (there is one true insert set but the cards are seeded at a staggering 1:224 packs so I'll ignore that), there are plenty of parallels.  In fact, the parallels are kind of the point of Topps Gold Label.

Each base card comes in three versions, Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3.  Each of those has a second, rarer Gold parallel version.  Furthermore, there are shortprinted rookie cards scattered about the base (all of which have the same parallel breakdowns except they are much, much rarer at each respective level).  It's a confusing mess to explain, but in practice it is pretty simple.

Basically, each pack will have either five Class 1 (common) cards or four Class 1 cards plus one rarer card.  It makes spotting the "special" card that much easier if nothing else.

Our box yielded a total of 105 Class 1 cards.  The base set itself only contains 115 Class 1 base cards so you'd expect that we should have almost entire base set.  Unfortunately, that didn't quite pan out because we pulled nine Class 1 duplicates (Albert Belle, Brad Fullmer, Juan Gonzalez, Jermaine Dye, Alex Rodriguez, Darin Erstad, Bobby Abreu, Mark McGwire, and Randy Johnson).  I was happy to see that we did pull the Barry Larkin Class 1 base card.

In the end, we landed 96 of the 115 Class 1 base cards plus the nine duplicates mentioned above.  For a small set, I guess that's not that bad.  It was good to see that we pulled some stars as duplicates and not just doubles of guys like Brad Fullmer or Jermaine Dye - nothing against those guys other than who wants more than one copy of their cards?!

Moving on the main star of the show here, the parallels!

The most common parallels in our box were the Class 2 parallels which makes sense since they are seeded 1:4 packs.  We ended up with a grand total of five Class 2 parallels rather than the expected six that the odds would suggest...however, I think I can explain the "missing" Class 2 parallel in a bit!  Our Class 2 parallels consisted of the following:

Nomar Garciaparra

J.T. Snow

Juan Gonzalez

Brian Giles

Jim Edmonds

Next up, the Class 3 parallels.

The Class 3 parallels are a much tougher pull as they are seeded 1:12 packs.  As expected, we did in fact pull two Class 3 parallels.

Pedro Martinez

Jose Cruz, Jr.

I must say, the Class 3 parallels look amazing - the silver background along with the dual images of the player really makes the cards pop!  When you open a pack up with a Class 3 parallel in it, you know you've just gotten something kind of special - and that's all you can really ask for out of a parallel set.  On the other hand, while the Class 2 parallels do seem to up the "shiny factor" a bit, they don't really look different enough from the Class 1 cards to feel special in any meaningful way.  I constantly had to flip the cards over to make sure I didn't miss a Class 2 parallel (the class is printed on the backside of the cards which is helpful).

There are 1-of-1 parallels in addition to the three classes but my box didn't have any of those in it so I won't worry about them (that's my general attitude on all 1-of-1 cards anyhow)!

Next, we pulled a number of gold parallels including three Class 1 golds (each is numbered out of 999).

Sean Casey

Carl Everett

Travis Lee
The Gold Parallels are unmistakable from the gold background - but also because they are serially numbered on the back of the card.  Like I said, the Class 1 golds are all numbered out of 999 and are seeded 1:8 packs so we were right on there.

The Class 2 golds are seeded 1:11 packs (and numbered out of 699).  We ended up with the expected two:

Charles Johnson

J.D. Drew

Finally, the Class 3 golds are seeded 1:26 packs (or a little rarer than one per box) and are numbered out of only 299.  We lucked out and did get a single Class 3 gold of Ivan Rodriguez.

The Class 3 golds are actually quite beautiful to hold!

That leaves us with only two more cards, the first is the relic of the box.

Seeded 1:54 packs, the Award Ceremony bat relics are actually rarer than I originally thought.  We lucked out I guess by getting one - and I'm glad we did because the relics are gorgeous!

Our relic was of Andres Galarraga, not the most exciting name on the checklist in my mind but since this box was for a group break I was happy to see the card go to someone who is a Rockies collector!

Finally, remember how I said it appeared we were shorted a Class 2 parallel?  Well, I think I know where ours went because we pulled a Class 2 rookie parallel of Brian Roberts.

What's the difference?  Well, first the cards are numbered out of 699 (unlike the regular Class 2 parallels which aren't numbered).  Second, the Class 2 Rookies are hard pulls as they are seeded 1:75 packs)!

Overall, I give the 2001 Topps Gold Label Baseball box the following rating:
Set design:  A-
Collation:  B
Opening Thrill:  A-
Overall:  A-

While we did pull a few duplicate base the cards, the base set is small enough that you should still get all the Class 1 cards if you open a pair of boxes.  Still, the set is big enough that there shouldn't actually be any duplicates (hence the lower collation rating).  Other than that though, I cannot complain about the box.  There were just enough parallels to keep each pack rip interesting.  Furthermore, hitting that gorgeous relic card was simply the icing on the cake.  I'd happily rip a box of 2001 Topps Gold Label for myself if I ever get the chance!


JayP said...

Looks like it was a fun break!

Fuji said...

Beautiful cards. Informative review. It's a shame that Topps missed the boat on Pujols and Ichiro rookie cards.

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