My local card shop has a Facebook page. The owner announced on this page that he had free New Britain Rock Cats tickets for those who wanted them. I jumped at this, of course, as I've been dying to get to a game as of late. The game is this Sunday and they'll be playing the Harrisburg Senators. Should be a good time.
Well, it wouldn't be much of a post if I stopped there, would it?
I sent him a message asking if he had gotten in his Gypsy Queen yet. He said that it should be there any minute. I proceeded to ask him how much boxes were going for. His reply was "about $150ish". Ouch. That's about what they are now averaging online, scary, no? Well, yes it is but if the Christy Mathewson deal taught me anything, it is that bartering is good. Very good. So I checked out my stuff, rounded up some trade and headed on over to the shop. With the trade stuff, I managed to get the cost of the box and six packs down to a flat $100. That folks, I can work with. I had to get some of the set, my collecting itch doesn't go away when it gets itchy, so I had to think of something. Packs are selling for about $9 right now over there and boxes are $159. Here is what I ended up with:
Boy, the cardboard Gods must have been smiling upon me. My box contained the Youkilis and Ripken relics and the Freeman auto redemption. It also had the Pelfrey (leather parallel numbered 1/10 but its not really leather) and the Halladay sepia numbered 99/99 (this card is spoken for). Seems I was missing that second auto, so My UPC will be sent in for my second no name auto. The Freeman is on eBay right now due to them selling for a decent amount of money.
The packs had the Frank Robinson mini relic, the Markakis auto, and in the same pack was the Fukudome relic and Ruben Tejada mini cyan plate. This is only the second plate I've ever pulled and BOTH have been Mets (the first was a Jose Reyes from National Chicle).
I really like the set but due to cost I won't be finishing it up. I really don't think he will let me trade up for another box so it looks like this is it for boxes. He also informed me of a potential reason as to why this set is doing what it is.
He spoke with two different distributers and they both gave the same reason. Seems that when this set was solicited in December, orders and interest were low. So Topps printed less just to be cautious. Makes sense as to why they cut the set down by 100 cards last minute. So maybe I have been a bit harsh on Topps if this is the truth. Most dealers and collectors must have passed this off as 'just another retro set', and saw that might be hot last minute so now everyone is scrambling for product. Also if this is the case, this set will seemingly be always tough to find and expensive (card shop guy expected boxes to be around $200 next month), due to not much of it being out there. We will just have to see.