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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Should It End? Thoughts on 2020 Topps Gypsy Queen

This year's rendition of Gypsy Queen marks the line's 10th edition.
Do you remember 2011 Gypsy Queen?

After a lackluster response to National Chicle in 2010, many dealers weren't interested in stockpiling the next throwback issue. This resulted in a fairly limited print run overall.
However, the set was an instant hit. Scarcity played a part in the release, but the set had a decent design. Many collectors turned away from the bright colors of Chicle, but Gypsy Queen had earthy tones with an authentic-looking grainy filter to the images. The minis looked good and came in a few parallels, and there were full-size unique framed parallels as well.
On-card autographs didn't hurt, either. Memorabilia cards look nice, and the checklists for hits showed a lot of star power. The inserts were themed appropriately, even though they were simple themes - future stars, home run hitters, great-fielding outfielders. A super-limited set had fictitional gypsy queens.
2011 Gypsy Queen had something for almost everyone, looked great, and was tough to find.

As the years have gone by, the set has kept the same basic formula - minis, hits, and a few insert sets. But in recent years, Topps has been making the same changes as their other sets - image variations, an increase in gimmicky parallels, and arguably a less-appealing lineup for the hits.
What I really loved about early Gypsy Queen sets were the inserts. The gypsies only appeared in 2011 and 2012, but topical inserts lasted through 2016. In fact, the only insert set I haven't finished is the Basics of Baseball mini set, which is one of the best insert sets found in Gypsy Queen.
Do you remember that 2011 Gypsy Queen had mini versions of their inserts?

In 2017, Gypsy Queen moved away from inserts themed to the type of players in them. That was the first year of the Fortune Tellers, which are interesting but not themed. Now, there are Tarot of the Diamond, too. Nice... not themed.
So what are we left with in 2020? The tenth version of a throwback set, with none of the fun pieces that made 2011 so appealing.

I argue that Gypsy Queen has reached the end of its shelf life. Allen & Ginter will hit 15 this year, but A&G has variety - unique subjects found in the base set and inserts.
I like the GQ design enough, but it feels so uninspired after ten years of the same thing. Topps would need to go back to fun themed inserts to change my mind. You can keep Fortune Teller and Tarot, but bring back sets like Sticky Fingers and Moonshots.
Or retire the design and start new with another throwback design. (Yes, A&G's design is getting tiring, too; Topps could port this concept to a different old multi-sport set starting next year.)

American Caramel. Bazooka. Hostess. Exhibits would be cool for A&G. Diamond Stars, DeLong Gum. Zeenuts PCL. Have we had Old Judge? I don't remember seeing a full Old Judge set. Seriously, so many choices.

I just know that I'm bored with Gypsy Queen. Even Cardboard Connection doesn't know what to say about it. "Take another retro-inspired cardboard journey with MLB stars";  "Keeping to the standard format...". Yawn.

What do you think? Should this be the end of Gypsy Queen?

2020 Gypsy Queen images from Cardboard Connection.


  1. OK, I'm not the best person to be offering an opinion on this since I don't buy packs or boxes of cards. But... I'd be good with Gypsy Queen ending here. I agree with most of your points. The concept was good and original. But original doesn't mean that it has staying power. And to me, Gypsy Queen doesn't have any staying power.

    When I do buy cards, usually in quarter boxes at a local show, and I see Gypsy Queen, it is usually an automatic skip on by. They just don't grab me.

    That said, I imagine there are folks out there that love the set. More power to them, there's something for everyone I guess.

  2. It has definitely run its course. That's the way Topps rolls. Pump out stuff until they run it dry. If they were smart, they'd put GQ on a rotation where they release it once every five or six years that way it gives collectors enough time to start missing it. The same could be said for a bunch of their products... like Fire, Gold Label, A&G, Gallery, and Tek. But it won't happen, because they love shoving all of these products down our throats... but I'm done buying them. I'll pick up a complete set of one of these products every now and then if I really like the design... and maybe I'll grab a blaster from time to time. But the days of busting open boxes is a thing of the past.

  3. I'm not buying packs or boxes, either. So I guess none of our opinions count for much.

    Based on your comments, I think what Topps should do is retire GQ, and start a rotation. Turkey Red is popular this year, and that was an actual standalone product a few years ago, too.

    So, Gypsy Queen, Turkey Red, T206, T205, Cracker Jack, National Chicle (I liked it).

    And for Topps throwbacks, a rotation of: Laser, Tek, Bazooka/Kids/Big, DIII, Embossed, Stars, HD, Gold Label, Reserve. Some of those might be combined, kind of like Archives.

    It would certainly make things more interesting for everyone except the investors, who only care about hot rookie money.