First look: 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter (updated)

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Mark your calendars, collectors — you know now precisely when you can get your Ginter on.

Topps released the basic set information and a full selection of preview images for the seventh installment of its most popular baseball card lines on Friday as it teased 2012 Allen & Ginter.

The tobacco card-styled set arrives on July 11 with eccentric autograph inclusions and always-anticipated mini cards that have been a prime drawing card in the product since its Topps revival in 2006.

Each 24-pack box will include three hits — a mix of autographs, Relics cuts, buybacks and Rip Cards. Oh and among this year’s notable signers? Arnold Palmer, Roger Federer, Bob Knight and Ken Griffey Jr. — but there are plenty more where that came from. (Keep reading.)

Each pack will include seven standard cards and one mini parallel or insert as has been tradition with the set, while a Ginter Code promo card will be included as an extra card in every sixth pack — so, yes, Codebusters, the challenge is back. The base set will include 350 cards — MLB vets and rookies along with a selection of “world’s champions” and public figures as has also been the norm. The final 50 cards will be short-printed and found in every other pack. Some of the notables on that part of the checklist include Ryan Howard, Cal Ripken Jr., Bob Gibson, Prince Fielder and Nolan Ryan.

The mini parallel lineup is unchanged — standard minis, Allen & Ginter backs, black-bordered, no-numbers, Woods, printing plates and cloth cards return. New this year is an Allen & Ginter Baseball Back, which is numbered to 25 and takes the place of the Bazooka backs.  Quantities remain the same as well with the no-numbers limited to 50, Woods and plates 1/1s and cloth limited to 10.


The always popular framed Relics return with more than 50 MLB players from the past and present to get, well, framed, while there also will be 10 DNA Relics from historical figures. Those will be 1/1s.

New will be Lepidoptery Cards — a card that has a pressed butterfly inside a shadowbox card (a redemption). They will only be found in hobby packs. The same goes for Allen & Ginter Book Cards (25 cards) that will pair players, autographs and Relics in booklet form. Lastly, the framed original buybacks will be inside packs, too. All 100 of those will be 1/1s.

For the hobby box-toppers, there will be N43s as usual — also with autographs, Relics and historic artifacts — along with  Cabinet cards focusing on baseball players’ highlights (Derek Jeter‘s 3,000th hit off David Price among them). Other cabinet sets include Rollercoasters (five notable rides), Cabinet Relics (10 MLB players) and 30 Currency of the World Relics, which will include coins from around the world embedded into the cards.


On the autograph side, more than 30 MLB players will be signing along with others who make the cut in the Ginter base set. The Cut Signatures set will consist of 20 1/1s — one Topps touted being mathematician John Nash.

Time for some notable autographs. Among the signers on the deep preliminary baseball checklist are Albert Pujols, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken Jr., Stan Musial, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Tony Gwynn, Don Mattingly, Prince Feidler, Al Kaline, Mike Trout and Michael Pineda — a list mixed with Hall of Famers, veterans and younger stars.

Among the world’s champions signers? Olympian Michael Phelps, Notre Dame legend Ara Parseghian, Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon of Harlem Globetrotters fame, Erin Andrews of ESPN, billiards star Ewa Mataya, broadcaster Greg Gumbel, golf star Colin Montgomerie, 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Rookie of the Year Kate Upton, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, women’s basketball star Swin Cash and boxing voice Michael Buffer to name a few. They, too, will have Relics.

Some of the MLB names on the Relic checklist include Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Jackie Robinson, Ichiro Suzuki, Pujols, Aaron, Griffey, Koufax, Mays and more.



Rip Cards will fall one per case once again with 30 1/1 Originals paintings found inside along with Red autographs (/10), 50 mini exclusives, 1/1 Wood minis and a new inclusion — Rip Card Reserves, which are redemptions for full pieces of signed memorabilia. Among the players on mini exclusives are Jeter, Roy Halladay, Griffey, Ryan, Koufax, Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg, Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro, Pujols and Mays to name a few.

Among the regular-size insert cards will be What’s in a Name? — a 100-card set focusing on MLB players — 20 Historical Turning Points (memorable moments, speeches and battles) and 15 You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me! cards that will note unbelievable stories from the past. Also to be found is a 10-card set of World’s Tallest Buildings, 25 Baseball Highlights Sketches and a one-per-case Colony in a Card — cards that include living organisms inside if you dare to tear and add water … think Sea Monkeys.

Over on the mini insert side, there are six inserts to be found — 15 People of the Bible (yep, David, Goliath, etc.), Man’s Best Friend (20 dog breeds), 20 of the World’s Greatest Military Leaders (think Julius Caesar, Napoleon, etc.), Giants of the Deep (15 whale breeds), 16 Musical Masters (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.) and 10 Culinary Curiosities (unusual delicacies).

Now that you know more about Ginter, let us know with the polls below — and in the comments.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

First impressions: 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter

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Historically speaking, are you an Allen & Ginter fan?

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Click on the images (twice) for a full-size, unobstructed view. (New, larger images have been attached since original posting.)

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


  1. Todd Warden
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Must say, I do like the border design MUCH better than I have for the past few years. I have always been a big fan of the set as a whole, but haven’t been too pleased with the card design since 2008.

  2. steve-o
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    ummmm……I thought it hadn’t changed, at all ?!?! It is like a lot of Topps products….close your eyes and point-then try and attach what name you think the item might be……(this is especially true of there football items-like Prime; Unrivaled; Five-Star .

    It is too bad….the companies (yes…..I mean you folks at Panini as well) do not listen to their consumers better. I know they cannot give in to all the ideas we the consumer might have out here, but maybe not so many parallels & massive color replicas in almost EVERY PRODUCT.

    Finally…..I would utilize the regular communication channels-but both companies mentioned above, dont seem to reply to ‘customer service’ contact links

    happy holidays…….Steve-O

  3. chrisolds
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Steve, do you want a Ginter set that looks like Chrome? If so, wouldn’t it be Chrome?

  4. steve-o
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Chris…….it was called ‘Allen & Ginter Gloosy”

  5. chrisolds
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Steve: What are you talking about? Adding a layer of gloss to a set is not exactly like printing it with etched plastic surfaces. In fact, it’s not even close!

  6. Posted December 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Even though Chrome is no longer printed on “etched plastic surfaces.”

  7. Posted December 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I am very excited to see this one, nice clean design. Want to see more images though and learn more about subsets and inserts. I thought last years set was truly awesome. I love the “secret” type inserts like Treasure cards and Faces cards from last year. I would love to see more retired baseball included. More dna cards! Loved floral cards too! That was a very cool idea and if it focuses on rare plants around the world I think it should stay! A true original I thought. Go Ginter 2012. Let me review the planned setlist LOL.

  8. Andrew
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I like this design ( from what I can tell from the one card). I just hope they ante up with autos of retired players as they did with the 2006 set (and as they do with GQ). Chris I’ve written a number of times about my love for A&G, my favorites being the inaugural 06 set and 2009 probably my all time favorite ( great colors and designs). 2012 looks like a return to that form. Not sure why all the hate from readers right out the gate…

  9. Andrew
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    BTW I was not a fan of the glossy edition either. Rather pointless and counterintuitive in my opinion. I’m a mini fan…

  10. cincy Scott
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    It is a good product but it is getting hard to tell which year the auto’s and game used cards came out.

  11. chrisolds
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Harris: Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. It *could* be if they wanted to …

  12. Kevin
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I like the base design, but there is A LOT more to this product than just that. For one how about a product that doesn’t include 40% redemptions? Also the rip cards are the big draw but topps has had major screw ups in 2 of the 5 years this product has hit. Topps knows this will sell, but it would be nice to reward collectors with a solid product a la 2006.

  13. Dan C.
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I must say I do love the design, it’s gotten better the last two years and this one looks very nice. But I’m refraining from buying Ginter this year. Four boxes purchased in the last 2 years, and I pulled 0 autographs, 0 numbered minis, 0 rare inserts (face flocculence, etc). I’ve seen breaks with 3 great hits in one box. If Topps spread the wealth a little then it might be worth buying, but I can’t justify spending 100 bucks on 3 $3 jersey cards and a bunch of minis and crummy inserts of ships and historical figures. I love the vintage-type products, but Ginter just isn’t worth the gamble.

  14. Corey
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Chris, does this mean what I think it may mean…Hammering Hank auto in Ginter?

  15. chrisolds
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Corey: We could hope so … but he does have quite a large sig these days. Might be better on a box-topper or larger cabinet card.

  16. Richard
    Posted December 24, 2011 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    I’d like to have a chance at the code. Too often by the time I’ve seen a box there has already been a case or two broken. I did manage to crack the first year, but way too late. And the later years, forget it.

    Rip cards are cool, but not a ton of variants. Variants kill value.
    Redemption cards are things to be avoided whenever possible.

  17. Shawn Campbell
    Posted December 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    am finished buying any of the Big 3’s products until they learn something about customer service and telling the truth, excuses from companies about why they “can’t control how cards are packed out” is a load of crap ,topps did just fine with heritage minors this year and then we were duped in with bowman chrome and i won’t mention sterling with “sticker auto’s” isn’t that the Bowman top tier product? stickers really? going to buy some NASCAR cards instead !

  18. Mark
    Posted December 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I like it–the boarder is understated, yet intricate and unique. I’ll be anxious to see what kind of insert sets we’ll get this year. It is hard not to like A&G because it has something for everyone. Take notes, Panini.

  19. Kevin
    Posted December 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Is this the same Steve O that moderated all the topps message boards for years?

  20. chrisolds
    Posted December 26, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Don’t think so.

  21. David Carrigan
    Posted December 28, 2011 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I wish all the sets that mimic tobacco card styles would use the “mini” as the basic card size instead of the larger new standard size.

  22. Andrew
    Posted December 29, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink


  23. Tyler Uccellini
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    For me, the backs of the cards are just as important as the front. Especially in a product like A&G where it traditionally has career stats, historical blurb etc. If the back of the Clemente just has info about the relic, then Im not really all that impressed. If it has certification, career stats/blurb then Im pretty excited about it. Just my two cents as the first place I go when a card is in my hand is to the back to look at stats.

  24. Corey
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I am afraid I will have zero money after next years ginter comes out. I want both the Grif auto and Clem bat…I want it ALL OF IT!!!!! Just those two items has made Ginter better than every year but 2006. I am Jazzed!!!

  25. Richard
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    So, it the Clemente “relic” going to be a piece of the bat, or will it be a generic
    “relic” that we are to take on faith that he had some connection with, however

    The COA has turned from certificate of authenticity to cover our a**es and guarantee
    little or nothing.

  26. chrisolds
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Richard: Perhaps they will use bat and jersey pieces this year like they did on several players’ cards in 2011? Rather than change the printing plates (added cost), they just said “memorabilia.”

    It’s not always a conspiracy.

  27. Richard
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    If you want to do that for a common player of today, go ahead.
    For players like Clemente as well as other significant players who have relatively
    little in the way of certified materials on the market, one would hope they would
    make the effort. The cost is not high enough to excuse this.

    Other brands have taken the effort to show a picture of the original item as well as
    some information about the item, like the date the game happened. People want to
    know if its a bat piece or a piece of the stadium wall and they will also pay a different
    price. In my case, I’ve stopped buying most memorabilia cards altogether when the
    statement feels vague. If you use lawyer language that translates to nothing is
    guaranteed it should not surprise you when the level of trust drops accordingly.

  28. chrisolds
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    When you’re designing across the board on a product, minimizing the small costs is very, very important. Why? Because small costs will add up fast.

    Do you have specific dated examples of that from the last couple of years? Few — if any — do them because, yep, it’s all added time and cost.

  29. kris
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    The black border looks great, that was my favorite part of gypsy queen!

  30. Johnny Hodge
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    The Clemente is awesome! Just what I asked for on my earlier post! More retired players (especially legends)! I cant wait to see what surprises are in store for this year’s set.

  31. jason
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I like the look of the cards, I just hope they don’t have all the redicules insert cards that they had last year.

  32. Justin
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I do love the look of the frame for the autos and mems. Much better then any year past. As for the design, its nice but its no better then any of the other years. They are all fairly similar.

  33. Don Sturm
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I usually like the design of the base cards, relics, autos, etc. and don’t mind parallel cards. However, I do hate getting cards of Pluto and the Eiffel Tower when I’d much much much rather have a card of a basbeall player instead.

  34. Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Just hope Topps put more baseball items in this than last year. Its been getting more and more non baseball every year. Non sports is fine, but when more than 1/2 the product is non sports, especially the mini inserts, it feels its not a baseball card set anymore and make busting a box or case a waste…80% baseball 20% non baseball would better!

  35. Posted January 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I like this set every year. Off-beat autos are cool (I got the spelling bee champ a few years ago). The weird inserts and minis are interesting year after year. I’ll probably bust a few boxes and hopefully get something interesting.

  36. Devan James
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I like this set alot (probably even more than any other). The only thing I do not like is the inclusion of redemption autos. I am still waiting on two from last years product. What is worse is that out of the four boxes I bought, these were my only two autos. On top of that I got two relics of two different a players.

  37. Andrew
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait. Totally sweet. Great auto mix of baseball players. Best design since 2009. I really am looking forward to this, thanks for sharing, Olds.

  38. Mark
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Wow, A&G looks amazing. Great insert sets too. Well done, Topps.

  39. steve-o
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I dont buy boxes anymore (just not cost effective…..for my collecting fun !!), but still keep tabs on the hobby and here is my two-cents worth…….From what I see here is a pretty good bang for the buck and just to compare to an item that use to be considered “top shelf”… we have Allen & Ginters and on the other side we have Bowman Sterling, I think that Ginters wins hands down & ya know why ?? CUZ FOR $200+ ON THE BOWMAN STERLING PRODUCT- YOU GET ALL THEM STICKER AUTO’s……ID BE P***** OFF, IF ID BOUGHT A BOX OF THAT !! Here at least…..seems a better deal

  40. chrisolds
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Steve-O: Bowman Sterling has had sticker autographs since its first year, 2004. Nothing has changed there. Ginter has had on-card sigs since 2006, too, but doesn’t deliver an auto in every box — just three chances at one. There’s also an immense SRP difference — Sterling is $300 a box, while Ginter is $100ish.

  41. Jim Falbo
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    I HAVE to have that Clemente Relic!

  42. Richard
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Chris, in 2004 Bowman sterling base autos were on card.

    The ones with materials had sticker.
    2005 and later were all sticker.

  43. chrisolds
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Correct. But there were stickers since Day 1! (I stopped after pulling a David Wright Refractor Relic in my first — and only — retail pack.)

  44. Bobby u
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    I think this box needs more baseball less non baseballcards.Who wants 40% of their cards to be a historical dissapointment!

  45. jaws75
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    i been a fan of allen ginter from the start, and can’t wait for new stuff but topps has to work on the redemptions. been waiting ten months for three of them and one is hope solo.. i think i will cut back on amount of boxes this year.

  46. Posted August 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I have opened over 60 packs and have not received any special signed or relic card at all!

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