Good: mystery, intrigue, as oddly addictive as ever, Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg, decent pack price, thick card stock, best mini's in the business
Bad: some of the non-sports inclusions are tiresome, very little has changed, hit or miss boxes
Allen & Ginter returns for another year of mystery, intrigue, and oddities. Perhaps no product takes longer to unveil the mysteries sealed within it packs than Topps' yearly trip to the "state fair" of cards. I'm still not sure whether or not I actually ripped a box or dreamt that I did, that tends to happen when you pull a "Lord Of Olympus" relic containing pomegranate seeds.
At the end of the day, you either get Allen & Ginter or you don't get it at all. If you are looking for a product with mystery and plenty of non-sports inclusions, Allen & Ginter is for you. If you are a prospector or someone who is looking for a purely baseball product to rip, this probably isn't the product for you, although I do think you might be surprised by how delightfully intriguing Allen & Ginter can be.
The design of the base cards are flat, boring, and serve no purpose other than to cloak the infinitely more intriguing mini's and hits. As usual, no product provides collectors with a crisper and more visually appealing "mini card" than Allen & Ginter does. From the regular mini's to the mini parallels & inserts, there is no end to the allure of the A&G mini card.
Back is the standard Allen & Ginter plastic frame that house the auto's and relics. They are only as visually appealing as the value of the mini-card concealed within.
The first step to understanding an Allen & Ginter checklist is coming to grips with the fact that you will never understand an Allen & Ginter checklist. Knowing that, the checklist is interesting at times and loses you other times, but never ceases to be intriguing. A major bonus in this year's Allen & Ginter checklist are the presence of powerhouse hobby rookies Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg, both of which have an auto. Strasburg also has a mini, while Heyward has a base rookie, an insert, and a mini.
The great thing about Allen & Ginter is that the diverse checklist allows you to collect the product in a near infinite amount of ways. You can go as simple as building the base set or as complex as trying to complete the entire mini card set via the rip card. There's also an entire auto and relic set to pursue.
Allen & Ginter offers collectors a decent return on investment through it's auto's, odd-ball relics, rip cards, rare inserts, and mysterious parallels. The one problem is that Allen & Ginter is an "experience" driven product, meaning that people enjoy ripping it more than they enjoy patiently collecting it on a card to card basis on eBay.
Just remember, the value of Allen & Ginter is found in oddities, so getting an extremely weird card like the "Lord Of Olympus" pomegranate see relic means you might have struck gold. I recently sold the card on eBay for $212! I thought I would get around $40-$50 for it!
Whether you love or hate Allen & Ginter, there's no denying that it is insanely intriguing and interesting. One of my favorites parts about Allen & Ginter is ripping a box, then spending the next couple of days figuring out what I got. Allen & Ginter is the perfect change of pace product that packs plenty into a $100 hobby box.
Also, there is no greater dilema in sports cards than whether or not to "rip" the ever elusive "rip card". The "rip card" may be one of the 5 coolest pulls in any product in the hobby. If I had to explain what Allen & Ginter was about in two words, it would be "rip card".
In all honesty, I think this ended up being the best box of Allen & Ginter I've ever ripped. I received an extra hit, meaning that either the Silk or Lords Of Olympus Relic was the equivalent of a case hit.