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How to approach 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter || The Do’s + Do Not’s

If you are a baseball card collector than you know that as the All-Star break passes us by we are on the cusp of Allen & Ginter releasing. This marks the half-way point in the baseball season and the collector season. It’s a monumental release that usually carries a lot of excitement and singles buying.

This year is absolutely no different and we have welcomed Allen & Ginter with arms wide open. But, our patience and excitement hasn’t exactly been rewarded by the folks over at Topps. We’ve seen some frustrating issues occurring around collation, missing wood mini’s, massive print-runs, and VERY poor resale value. The nostalgia of Allen & Ginter can cover a lot of typical product issues, but can it manage this years frustrations?

This ROI breakdown is divided into a couple of parts. First, In this post I’m going to explain how I typically like to manage Allen & Ginter and what I’ve found to work best over the years. I break to add to our personal collection and then cover costs with the rest…so that’s the lens I’m looking through. With Ginter you can very quickly miss the mark with resale if you don’t have a calculated approach, so I’ll breakdown how I look at it.

Second, I’ll give you a detailed look into the $’s for our Ginter break. We ended up purchasing 3 HOBBY cases of Ginter and spent a little less than $3,500. I‘ll give you all off the details around time spent, categories for sales, and what we learned during the first week. I’ll warn you now… it’s ugly. 😔

I decided to approach this ROI study from a lazy collector’s perspective. I didn’t pre-order any product. In fact, I purchased the day of + after release and mixed up purchased between local card shops + new online retailers. This definitely impacted my #’s…. but I wanted to get a true sense of how these costs/losses typically pan out for collectors.

While you are reading, please comment in the forums RIGHT HERE. We’d love to know your thoughts on the approach.


HOW TO APPROACH ALLEN & GINTER

The most important thing to remember with A&G is that no single hit will make/break your investment. Yes, of course there are big hits…but this product’s resale value is driven almost entirely by set collectors + single’s buyers. As you approach your reselling you’ll need to keep reminded yourself that quantity of sales is what will get you to the finish line. There are so many new wax breakers who freak out when they don’t hit a $1,000 card and they immediately start throwing everything up on eBay with a $1 starting price (and 3 day auctions)… this is the exact opposite way to sale more with A&G.

3 Things you must NOT do:

#1. Freak out when you don’t hit a monster.

I repeat. Do NOT freak out. If you take the time to break down the product and list the numerous valuable items that you have, it’ll work itself out. Of course those big hits will make things a lot easier (and more fun)…. But they aren’t the heartbeat of this product. This product is driven by the consistency of set collectors who will go to the ends of the earth to complete their common + rare sets…many of which they’ve collected since A&G’s inception.

The fun part of every A&G release is seeing folks freak out all over social media. This product didn’t have the “hits”, we weren’t getting “auto’s” as consistently, our relics are still “ugly single-color jersey’s.” Yeah… this is not what A&G is about. Get over it.

#2. Not sorting + manifesting

Look, I’m not a big advocate of set sorting and the hour’s of investment required. But you will absolutely be listing some lots/partial sets because that’s what buyers are wanting from this product. If you just snap a picture and don’t manifest what’s included you IMMEDIATELY slash your potential resale value. Take the 5-minutes to manifest your lots. You need to tell buyers exactly what they will be getting, never more important than with A&G.

For those looking for quick ways to manifest, check out this FORUM POSTfor a few suggestions. I’m a data nerd so I’ve worked hard to cut the time out of this.

#3. Not using correct nomenclature

Ginter is very specific. Folks are looking for “mini framed auto’s” & “Brooklyn / Bazooka mini’s” and “Full-Size Relics” etc…. Guessing at what these are called is not a good strategy. Be very aware of the nomenclature because it matters a whole lot. Don’t use the words “small”, “clear”, “chrome”, “error”, “poster”, etc… because those words don’t exist in the various forms of A&G cards.

#4. Ignoring the scarce items

Similar to the way Heritage plays itself out, Ginter is meant to be a little obscure. Each year you’ll find a little more intrigue around an element in the product. Maybe it’s the Glossy 1/1’s from last year, Woods from 2016, or the Glow in the Dark Mini’s from this year. You’ve got to been keenly aware of what those pieces are because if you open enough product it’s easy to have those nuances slip through the cracks.

#5. Not having a plan for RIP cards

Nothing is worse than having a few unripped RIP cards burning a whole in your binder. I’ve lost many hours of sleep laying in bed trying to decide if I should rip my RIP cards. It’s agonizing…especially when you don’t have a plan. So I made a plan and I’ve stuck to it the last few years. It’s simple.

If the RIP card will sell for OVER $100 unripped, I sell it. If it’s south of $100 I rip it.

That typically means any RIP #’d to 50 or less of a star player will NOT get ripped. Any double rip will NOT get ripped. Any RIP #’d to /75 of a TOP 5 player does not get ripped. Everything else I rip and enjoy. This allows me to enjoy approaching the RIP cards, protect the downside, and still provide me the opportunity to pull a whale.

A few practical steps to success:

#1: Pre-sort while you unpack.

At the very least you need to be sorting cards into Base, Inserts, + Mini’s while you open. This will save you much more time than you’ll realize and this year it’ll help you realize how good/bad your collation is going to be. (Some cases will have crush the odds with mini’s…and some will get totally destroyed)

#2: Sell sets. Sell partial sets. See manifested lots.

Singles are fun and all…but this is definitely a product that provides a lot of value with lots/sets/partial sets. In most products you’ll see a huge drop-off the minute you start listing lots/partial sets (in terms of avg $ per card)… but with Ginter (and Heritage + Archives) you can absolutely make good $ by selling lots. In fact, when you factor in the time saved by combining…. You’ll likely come out ahead.

#3: Don’t sell short.

I can’t stress this enough. Don’t short yourself. The second you post a .99 3-day auction you are increasing your chances of failure. All it takes is a few minutes of research and you’ll find that it’s a losing proposition. Of course, if you have a true SSP of a big name player you’ll see good results. But when you are listing you need your starting price to be somewhere between 15-35% off the price you think you’ll get. If you want to add a Buy It Now for the full price, even better.

#4. Don’t underestimate

Some of the hidden value in Ginter is in these three items.

  • Full-Sized Relics
  • Mini Relics
  • Mini SP’s (NNO, Brooklyn, Glow, A&G, Black’s)

It’s easy to push a few of those aside and think they aren’t worth your time. But the QTY you’ll receive will quickly add up to a decent chunk of the product value. Come up with a good strategy for listing those (lots/sets/teams/etc…) and move those items earlier in the process. You’ll be very impressed with how much $ those will bring in.


So there you have it. Those are some tips/tricks that I’ve learned from breaking 100’s of Allen & Ginter cases over the past decade. This is a very unique product that requires your full attention…and if you do it right, you’ll realize why it’s such a popular product!!

Before we go, we want to thank our sponsor for this insight – BATTLEFIELD BOX BREAKS. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Tyler and his the Battlefield Breaks Facebook Group, get over and check them out HERE:

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