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Friday, July 22, 2011

State of the State Relics Address

Yesterday (earlier today?) I posted on relic history and where they stand today. I mentioned I have a major issue with them.
Yes, most of the relics today are boring, gray swatches. That bothers me, but it's almost expected (even if it's disappointing).

I forgot to mention yesterday about these dual, triple, and quad swatch cards that are so highly touted in high-end releases:
Granted, a card like this is always artificially numbered to a very low quantity, which will increase its value. But if I had a choice between the the card above and this one:
Assuming they were both of the same player and I wanted an autographed memorabilia card of that player, I would go with the dual swatch card here over the triple swatch. Why? That "triple" swatch is all from the same jersey, or at least that's what it appears to be. What good is a triple swatch if you just have three tiny pieces of the same jersey instead of one? I showed this image yesterday:
Six swatches - ridiculously crazy, really, but look at that: each swatch is from a different item. Even the cards from the Tools of the Trade set that have multiple jersey pieces in them have different colors. The same thing applies to patches:
You can look at that card and tell both patch pieces came from the same patch. Why do you need a dual patch card? Just make one larger patch piece.

Now, Ginter.

My final gripe today lies with what could have been a perfect opportunity with relic integration.

If you remember, in March I wrote a series of posts describing relics that could have been used in an Allen & Ginter set. For a refresher (or if you missed that post), see these posts: one, two, three, four, five.

I'll wait.

Okay, some of those ideas were tongue-in-cheek. But you have to admit, they were damn good ideas. Not Topps Monopoly good, but close.

Not this image again!
I recently listed all the actual relics used in these cards. Topps got two right based on my choices: concrete from the Statue of Liberty on the New York card., and a piece of wood from Oregon (a state whose economy relies heavily on the lumber trade). South Carolina contained a relic from the civil war, which I suggested, but they messed something else up.

When this set was announced, I was quite excited. Being numbered to 50, I expected to be able to pick them up for around $5 each, and put together a fun, unique set. Boy, was I wrong - these suckers are going for $50 or more. Are they worth that much?

Some of the states are combined, meaning a full set of 50 states is less than 50 cards. While this makes it easier to finish the set, I hope this was done only to make all the states to scale. Most likely, they aren't.

The relics chosen follow a trend: eleven cards have fabric, fourteen cards contain a piece of wood, seven contain brick or concrete, three contain dirt, and one possibly contains metal (the North Carolina/South Carolina card containing a civil war shotgun piece, which more likely contains wood).

Why didn't Topps take advantage of this opportunity to really create an exciting relic set? Given the nature of Allen & Ginter, a computer chip may be a bit out of place, but there were ways this set could have gone that would have been newsworthy.

Topps, if you're reading this blog, I would love to join your design team. You can even hire me as a part-time consultant and we can use Skype, to save costs. I have so many great inexpensive, interesting ideas that I'd love to share and see developed into real sets and even full issues. In fact, you don't have to pay me in cash. I'll work for cards. Okay, cash would be nice, too. We'll work something out.

Meanwhile, please work on improving the quality of relics. I think that's really what most of us want.


  1. When you get your cushy executive position at Topps, remember who got you there. That's right the first commenter!

    Nice post again, keep it up!

  2. I didn't comment on your last post, but I LOVE tools of the trade type cards for the same reason you do. I've never understood why they cut up a relic more than they have to. One piece = one gaps between or rotating one piece 90 degrees to make it look different. That's part of why I like chasing a master set of a guy who's only duals are with other players or from leaf certified materials, which is just like tools of the trade.

    A for the states...I like the idea but do not like the execution. Once I saw prices I said okay, that's crazy, maybe I'll just get the states I've been educated/lived in (Massachusetts, Ohio, Indiana). Ohio I like because it's a piece of roller coaster and coasters are HUGE in Ohio. But I have a huge beef with in WHY IS ALL OF NEW ENGLAND ONE PIECE? New Hampshire could've been granite...Vermont could've been something to do with maple, Maine could've been lobstah themed...all sorts of ideas. As a native Masshole I dislike it when people lump us all together like we're one mega state...hasn't been that way since the dawn of the USA Ginter, so way to go you buncha jerks.

    Moral of the story: Chasing Ohio, not chasing Mass (though the relic is cool), undecided on Indiana since I dunno what it is yet.