Checking in on Allen & Ginter’s Newest Release
Allen & Ginter’s trading cards have long delighted fans with their eclectic blend of sports legends, global icons, and the unexpected. In 2023, the brand once again raised the bar, incorporating a vibrant mix of baseball legends, pop culture personalities, renowned musicians, award-winning comedians, and many other noteworthy figures, making it a must-have for baseball aficionados and cultural enthusiasts.
John Doldan, a Topps art director, sheds some light on the design inspiration for this year’s set. “We changed up this year’s design a bit from the standard Ginter-esque logotype at the card bottom,” he said. “Instead, we opted for a well-designed interlocking ‘A&G’ logo in the lower left corner.” This nod to the vintage aesthetic is not only a homage to Allen & Ginter card albums from the 1880s but also exudes a masonic symbolic vibe. Doldan elaborates that the “wood sticks lashed together was also a common element in designs of that era and made a nice vintage frame.”
Combining New & Old School
Jeremy Fullerton, baseball brand director, emphasized the uniqueness of this set, stating that it “builds upon Ginter’s history, both from the 1880s and the more current Topps iterations.” With the classic tobacco era ethos intact, it beautifully evolves to resonate with the freshness of 2023.
But Allen & Ginter isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s also about content. Its quirky themes have always been a major draw. Fullerton gives us a sneak peek into the “offbeat” with cards like Spotless Spans, celebrating impeccable periods in baseball, to TALON-ted, focusing on birds of prey with large talons. Another delightful surprise is World of Wonder, showcasing UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
On the baseball front, Doldan revealed, “The first Allen & Ginter cards from the late 1800s contained some beautiful artwork, not just of baseball figures but of pugilists, billiard players, oarsmen, and wrestlers, among others.” They’ve taken this classic approach and added contemporary twists, making each card a fascinating blend of old and new.
The 2023 set also introduces some innovative techniques. Both Doldan and Fullerton highlighted the “Foil Filagree parallel,” a nod to the turn-of-the-century design aesthetics, with an added touch of gold foil stamping to bring some modern glint. Doldan says, “In the 17 years we have been making Topps Allen and Ginter, we have never done this, so I’m interested to see what collectors think of it.”
Continuing a Legacy
When asked about his favorite card design from this set, Doldan said Music to Your Ears. He describes it as “quirky but a nice design showing various vintage musical instruments.” On the other hand, Fullerton is particularly excited about the A&G In Action Variations, where traditional player portraits are replaced with dynamic action images.
However, the underlying spirit of Allen & Ginter isn’t just about collectibles. Doldan views them as “something educational for all ages” due to the wide range of themes they explore, from towering global structures to international foods. Fullerton shares this sentiment, envisioning a future where the brand continues to evolve, incorporating more thrilling non-baseball talent alongside esteemed ballplayers.
In the world of trading cards, Allen & Ginter has successfully melded the charm of the past with the vibrancy of the present. Its 2023 set promises an unparalleled collection, ensuring it remains an iconic player in the card-collecting landscape for years to come.