When 2011 Topps Series 1 was first released I had two thoughts:
1) I like the base card design a lot.
2) What’s all this other crap?
“I should just wait for the factory sealed sets at the end of the year.
I’m sure I’ll pick up some Heritage and A&G (and honestly I’ll probably nab a couple packs of Topps base at the card shop despite my misgivings), but I’m certainly going to focus the vast majority of my hobby time on my Eddie Murray collection this summer.”
Uhh … whoops. I’ve made a liar out of myself and it’s time to come clean.
I have purchased more 2011 Topps Series 1 than any other card set in my life, except for 2:
• 1989 Fleer baseball (that wasn’t obvious enough?)
• 2010-11 Score hockey
But after ripping a ton of (mostly retail) packs, I have to amend my thoughts on several things.
First, I don’t think the insert bloat is NEARLY as bad as everyone made it out to be when Topps S1 was first released. Yes, there are a lot of inserts — including many that I don’t care anything about — but the balance of base to inserts is pretty solid. I’ve bought 2011 Topps in the form of hobby packs, HTA jumbo packs, retail packs, retail jumbo packs, retail hanger boxes and retail blasters, and the base-to-insert ratio is pretty good across the board. My initial fear when attempting to build the set (still 43 cards short … never build through retail) was that the alleged insert bloat would make completing the set far more difficult, but I’ve found that I still look forward to the various inserts in every pack.
I’ve also found that the hanger/cereal boxes are the best bang for your buck when buying Topps flagship, especially with HTA packs going for $17 or more. For $10 you get more cards than an HTA pack and a lot of the same perks, like a guaranteed Diamond Giveaway code card, a Platinum Diamond parallel, a Kimball Champions mini, a Ticket To ToppsTown, a Topps 60, etc. Granted, you’re far less likely to pull a “hit,” but when autographs are as tough to pull as they are in Topps flagship and most of the hits are manufactured leather plates, it’s really not worth the extra money. I’m sure others will disagree and they may have good reason, but that’s my take.
So as I prepare to pre-order a box of Series 2, consider this my apology to the Topps development team. But I still think Gypsy Queen is stupid.