Topps Allen and Ginter is a series of retro themed baseball card sets produced and distributed by Topps. The cards are based on the original Allen and Ginter tobacco card sets of the 1880's.
Beginning in 2006, Topps Allen and Ginter became one of the annual Topps releases usually in the early part of the summer. The cards featured current and retired baseball players, historical figures, current celebrities, and the occasional landmark/planet. Each set had 300 base cards plus 50 short prints.
The first Topps Allen and Ginter baseball card set was released in July of 2006 with quite a flurry of anticipation. The retro-themed set was just another in line from Topps similar to 2003 Topps 205 Baseball or 2004 Topps Cracker Jack Baseball. The 350 card base set included 50 short prints, with an autograph and a game used insert set. Autographs and Game Used checklists included both baseball stars and some current/past celebrities (the inclusion of Danica Patrick was notable). But the real draw was the Rip Cards and the potential highly valuable card inserted inside a rip card. The other major innovation in this set was the 1/1 Wood Parallel which was also highly sought after when the set was released. Allen and Ginter won Beckett's Product of the Year in 2006.
Major Insert Sets
Each year, Allen and Ginter contained unique insert sets in mini size, standard size, and box loader size varieties. The subjects of the insert sets have included baseball players, fictional baseball players, national leaders, mythical animals, horses, and even villains/scoundrels from history. Although these insert sets are not consistent several types of inserts have been included every year.
Rip Cards were a unique invention for inclusion in Topps Allen and Ginter. Each card could be ripped open to reveal a second card inside, a rare red ink autograph, a shortprinted mini exclusive, a wood parallel, or an original A&G card. The cards have tremendous value on the secondary market when unripped. Originally, rip cards were inserted around 1 per case. Double Rip Cards were introduced in 2014.
The highest sought after parallel each year in Allen and Ginter are the Wood parallels. Each mini card is a 1/1.
Framed Mini Autographs / Framed Mini Relics
The concept of framing mini cards with autographs/gamed used mini's inside was something Topps had been doing for several years already in their other retro-tobacco themed sets (2002 Topps 206 Relics and 2003 Topps 205 Relics are examples). They continued this idea in Topps Allen and Ginter as both a autograph and game used set.
Framed Original Buybacks
Also inserted into packs were original A&G that were framed similar to the relic and autographed cards.
Allen and Ginter are also know for their box topper insert sets of slightly oversized cards, as well as low serial number autographs, and game used cards.