Apr 5, 2014

Behold the Set Quest Completed: 2011 Gypsy Queen, 1-350!

One of the more elusive sets to try and collect of the past half-decade, 2011 Gypsy Queen.  It entered the scene with an altered checklist, name derision, and a style derived from the vintage appeal of the Ginters and Turkey Reds of the world.   It was the replacement for 2010 National Chicle, an artistic endeavor that did not connect with collectors.  Anyone remember the uproar of the Babe Ruth/Chipper Jones card?  Anyone still here from 2010? Bueller?

In any case, I first encountered Gypsy Queen at a card show in 2010, it was $10 per pack.....I did not buy any.  I first bought some at a Best Buy.  They were selling rack packs at the retail price; there's some green in there, I like green things....like green borders and 4 leaf clovers and ecto cooler....and that might not be the point.  I bought some rack packs and was pleasantly surprised by the cards within.  Thus, began the tracking obsession in the area for 2011 Gypsy Queen.

I went to more Targets than I could count over the next few months to get card fixes, but they were always out of it.  Once the hype had died down a little, and hobby boxes were still $189 per box at the leading online retailers, packs had appeared again at my local Target.  This is when I discovered they're always 2-3 months behind the release date for non-base Topps products.  I bought 10 packs, thinking that would satisfy me.

But I have always been a set collector at heart; this foray into team collecting and strange and novel and disconcerting....I wanted all of the Queen, every single last beige card in all their ordered, numbered glory.
I searched ebay daily for boxes....and finally found a retail box, 24 packs of treasure for a less than retail price.  Who wants a retail box anyway?  It came, I devoured and reveled in the wrappers as their contents spilled onto my table, self-sorting into decade piles.  The details will probably be revealed later.....if I ever find the scans.  Suffice to say, best box ever? It just may have been.....

The quest was now in sight.  Target graced me with another box, this time I bought the remaining 18 packs from the box and started jumping up and down with glee as I opened a pack, scanned the cards.....got it, got it, need it, got it, mini, need it.....and threw them with conviction into the gestating 800 count white cardboard box.

Then, the want list was created....each number was a blight upon my consciousness.  I would not be satisfied until the strikethrough function was used with gumption upon each number in the spreadsheet.  The internet would now be scoured. Sportslots and COMC became my wingmen, laying aside the distractions of other card collecting pursuits to hone in the 301-350 card range for a reasonable price.  Those other cards would have to wait, they were commons easily found (except for the David Wright for some reason).

One card show visit was all it took to laid waste to nearly all the checklist, 1-300 was complete, all the insert sets (of the non Gypsy Queen variety) were complete, all the Phillies minis were complete....all that stubbornly remained behind were 6 cards, 6 cards until immortality could be achieved.  Like Thor trying to find a way back to his realm, I was sensing the presence of Valhalla.....the end of a journey in which we could part ways being satisfied that everyone had benefited and all the warriors would be properly rewarded.

Shown below are the final 6 and what I did to obtain them.  There were no unnatural acts, but there was much rending of limbs as my metaphorical collecting hands reached further than they ever dreamed.
Hank Aaron #318: was obtained from a 50 cent box at a card show.  I pounced on that more quickly than a lion cub on a dragonfly.
Hisanori Takahashi #311: was obtained from COMC.
Babe Ruth #338 was obtained from COMC.
Freddie Freeman #335 was obtained from ebay.  This one was the most difficult to find.  I swear that I almost a hired a PI to track this one down.
Tommy Hanson #306 was obtained from ebay as well.  There's something about Braves cards, apparently.
Lastly, Miguel Cabrera #327 was obtained from COMC and I only had to sacrifice 1/6 of my lifespan to be able to hold it (that's how it is with shortprinted cards of triple crown winners).

And so ended the journey, the set quest is complete, the cards sit as a trophy to the concepts of noblility, honor, and righteousness.  All hail.....