There are five (well, six) different insert sets in 2009 Allen & Ginter. Three (four?) mini inserts and two (I think) normal sized inserts. Let's break 'em up into minis and normals and take a look at 'em all, shall we?
WORLD'S BIGGEST HOAXES, HOODWINKS AND BAMBOOZLES
This mini set consists of twenty cards featuring famous hoaxes and is found 1:12 packs. This is the set with the 'pulled' Bernie Madoff card, which wasn't so much a hoax as a felony. We'll see what happens with that one. Apart from that bit of bad taste, the rest of the set looks pretty fun although Topps mistook several criminal acts and outright frauds with a hoodwink. For example, The Cottingley Fairies is a somewhat ingenious hoodwink. The Piltdown Man was out and out fraud. The Turk was a pretty clever bamboozle, while DB Cooper was a criminal act. A fascinating and mysterious criminal act, but not a hoax, woodwink or bamboozle. Now, Spaghetti Trees, THAT'S a proper hoax! But the Runaway Bride was just plain stupid. Still, overall a pretty nifty set.
This is the mini set for all the history buffs out there. Forty cards feature a legendary figure from forty different nations. These are 1:12 as well, but there are twice as many as the hoaxes. There's a few people in there that everyone knows about like George Washington, Gandhi and Joan of Arc, but the really fascinating ones are lesser known. William Wallace you might be familiar with, but how about Haile Selassie? Mustafi Ataturk? Simon Bolivar? Marcus Garvey? These are all interesting people in their own right. The fun in collecting this set is just looking up the stories on all these people.
CREATURES OF LEGEND, MYTH AND TERROR
THIS is the mini set I want to collect. At 1:48 packs it's ain't gonna be easy but I'd rather have this mini set than the base set to be honest. I've always been fascinated by monsters and horrors and cryptozoological nightmares and this is FULL of em! I saw the Kraken card on eBay and it's AWESOME. The Invisible Man card is cute (and an awesome template for making custom cards) but the real fun stuff is the critters! Dragon! Grendel! Cerberus! Werewolf! (There! There wolf!) Sphinx! And my favorite... CHUPACABRA! My two time league winning fantasy football team (now defunct, alas) was named the Chupacabras and if I ever gear 'em back up I have have a trading card for my team.
INVENTIONS OF THE FUTURE
This is the stealth set we all knew was coming and which popped up in the Beckett break. I'll bet my Braves Binder that these have something to do with the Ginter code. Oh well, it's at least not as stupid as Team Orange.
Normal Sized Inserts:
Every year Topps makes this set that much harder to complete. These cards are this year's thick relic decoy cards that come one in every pack without a hit. That's cool and all, they're really nice looking cards. But why is there 75 of them?? The decoy set was 30 cards in 2006 and 2007, 50 cards with last year's 50 state theme and now 75. To put it in perspective, since there's 24 packs in a box and three hits guaranteed, that's 21 of these in a box. You buy three boxes and even with perfect collation (Ha! right) and you are still a dozen cards short of the set. I mean, good lord, it's getting so you have to bust half a case to have a chance anymore, you know? Oh well, here's the Braves in the pre-sell checklist:
Chipper Jones (United States)
Yunel Escobar (Cuba)
Jair Jurrjens (Curacao)
BASEBALL HIGHLIGHT SKETCH CARDS
Twenty-five cards make up this set which looks like Topps' answer to UD Masterpieces. I'm not sure of the name of the artist, but it's not Dick Perez. The checklist is very star studded and includes Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones. This seems to me to be analogous to the Greatest Victories set from last year, only without the non-baseball stuff. Hopefully they aren't too difficult to come by, this would be another really nice set to complete.
There might even be another insert set lurking, as Dangerous Sharks popped up out of nowhere last year along with Team Orange. I guess we'll just have to see...