I picked up my first packs early this week, and I've been back twice since. Total, I've bought 12 of those $5 rack packs I can find at Target. I sorted the cards for the first time and I'm about 2/3 finished with the set (those of you doing the math know I have lots of extras). This was after all the previews and early reviews and such had hit. They didn't build a great amount of excitement. In fact, I was planning on just buying a couple packs for the fun of it. Now, I'm committed to hand collating the set (much more fun, but obviously more costly). And instead of buying the insert sets on eBay, I'm putting some of those together by hand as well. At least it gives me a set-building mission for this year's releases. (So far, Gypsy Queen is the only other full set I might go for.)
The rack packs contain 36 cards each. The top section contains mostly base, along with the ToppsTown card and usually (I had one pack without) a 60 Years of Topps card. The bottom section contains more base and a sampling of the other inserts - a Kimball Champions, Diamond Duos, Topps 60, and then one or two others. For $5, you're paying about 14 cents per card, much better than other packing methods. Granted, the chances of an autograph or relic are slim, but the Diamond Giveaway cards are inserted every other pack, if that floats your boat. And I got lucky - in my second group of 4 packs I pulled a Jason Heyward auto. These packs are great for set building/inserts without paying too much for the chance of the relics/autos. If you read my last post, you know that my first pack was a rack pack, and I still like them for what they should provide - lots of cards at a low price.
I received several of every type of insert included in these packs. One by one:
- Diamond Giveaway - I think I received only 4 in my 12 packs, but that's okay (I think the odds are 1:2). I didn't buy any Topps packs last year (had something else going on when they were released) so I didn't partake in the Million Card Giveaway. I'll redeem them sometime and let you know how it turns out. I get the feeling that these are more likely to be thrown away after redemption than ToppsTown.
- Speaking of ToppsTown, this year's card looks nice on the front. Sure, they're one per pack, but at least now it seems like a totally collectible set, if you're into it.
- Diamond Duos - I don't care much at all for insert sets with multiple players, unless they mean something. Some of the pairings mean nothing. How about highlighting the best pitcher/catcher duos in one series, and maybe the best shortstop/second base duos in the other? That'd be more fun for me. Or other players truly linked for a reason.
- Topps 60 - what's the point of this set? I like insert sets, even meaningless ones. I like the fun they bring. I like relics/autos too, but other than certain players, they're just another insert to me. The cards I pulled are a mix of older and way-too-recent - Nolan Ryan, Andre Dawson, and a recent ROY (can't remember who) were a few. Is this supposed to be the best 60 that Topps has ever had? Or maybe just the 60 "stars" they could get to sign or make relics from? Inserts need to mean something...
- Kimball Champions is a beautiful looking set, so I'll be putting that together. Nice that the checklist is on the back of every card.
- The Reproductions set is nice, in that there's a bit of history on the back, but so many of the sets have already been redone (T205, T206, etc) as full remakes, or featured in other reproduction/remake insert sets lately. I'm kind of iffy on liking this, but I'll be putting this set together too.
- The History of Topps set isn't really exciting, but because it contains information (I like reading!) and it's timed properly (on an anniversary) I like it. I'll collect this set too.
- The last insert set is the 60 Years of Topps (along with the variations). I pulled one of the "original backs" in my 12 packs, and it goes in my archives, but I like the regular inserts, because there's a little commentary to them. Originally I didn't think I'd like the set, but once I've seen it, I think I'll like it, so it gets added to the list as well.
Because I stuck with the rack packs, I didn't get any of the manufactured patch/glove cards, or the throwback cards printed on "real" cardboard. And of course, most of the relic/auto possibilities, or any 1/1s. But the previews of the glove cards don't make me want them. In fact, other than the UD Patch Collection from 2003, I'm really not interested in most manufactured patch types of cards.
But for a base set, this works. It provides kids with something relatively inexpensive to collect and a selection of inserts for them to chase. And it looks clean and fun. And isn't that all it's supposed to do?