One of the big changes that the Topps exclusive license was supposed to bring was a so called simplified market. The argument, or so it went at the time, was that the multiple manufacturer system was simply cranking out too many products for collectors to keep up with. I won't revisit the whole Topps' monopoly thing (though you can read my thoughts on it here and here). But I can say with absolute certainty that that very thing which eliminating manufacturers was supposed to stop now happens on a more frequent basis, despite what I would consider a more active hobby involvement than where I was in 2005 or 2006.
Take for example Gypsy Queen. The set apparently released recently, and I've seen a smattering of blog posts to that effect over the last few days.
The only problem with that? I barely have any of the cards from last year's Gypsy Queen.
My spreadsheet shows 20 card for last year's Gypsy Qyeen set. I have no idea how many cards are available, but between the numerous parallels, short prints, and inserts/relics, I'd imagine it's a number much larger than the 20 I have. And over half of that total have been added over the past two months at card shows. In fact, I believe all but the base set and a Neil Walker auto are recent additions.
And the strange thing is that doesn't really bother me. The 2011 Diamond Anniversary parallel set I still haven't finished off? Topps Gold team sets? Count me as downright agitated. Last year's Gold foil parallels? I shaln't rest until the team set is complete. But for someone who is at times too concerned with his total card count (9333 unique cards as of this writing) and has a serious addiction to otherwise unexciting colored bordered parallels, the Allen & Ginter and Gypsy Queen released just don't even appear on my radar.
I fully understand the fact that there are a lot of set collectors who go ga-ga over those releases every year. And honestly I don't see enough of the sets to say one way or another what constitutes a "good" year or bad year for the product. I'm not concerned about the set's overall composition, or how much "value" is in each box. All I care about is the dozen or so cards featuring guys in black and gold. And from one year to the next, I notice little change both in the card's overall look, the checklist, or the drabness of the parallels.
It's a bit of a one trick pony to me: take a short checklist comprised almost entirely of superstars and semistars, add some photoshop effects, and print it on some nice cardstock. Gotcha.
If I come across any 2013 Gypsy Queen Pirate cards at a show next
weekend, I will undoubtedly buy them. I'd be lying to say otherwise.
But it isn't a set I particularly take notice of, and it's not a set I
actively seek out. And when there are only a handful of released each
year in the current hobby landscape, the fact that one can go by without
even creating so much as a blip on the radar is kind of disappointing.