One goal I have at any card show: Find one interesting non-sports card. I usually find more than one, but one of them takes the crown as most interesting. This one killed two birds with one stone as well.
Everyone loves Allen & Ginter. Well, most everyone. I usually love Allen & Ginter, but since it looks more like a Fleer product than something from the 1880's this year my passion has run a little cold. Metaphorically speaking, sure, I'll sleep with 2011 A&G -I'll even call her the next day - but no way in hell am I spending Christmas at her parents' house. I don't give a crap if it might be Nana's last Christmas, I got things to do. The one thing in that set that keeps drawing me back is the Ascent of Man insert set. Dang, that is a fiiiiine looking set. All them organisms... breeding and breeding and breeding some more... Natural Selection working it's sexy magic... ultimately ending up with over-evolved neurotic slobs obsessing over expensive images on flimsy card stock... Awww YEAH baby! That's the stuff right there. Maybe I can come over for coffee and dessert on Christmas Eve, baby... knock down some spiked egg nogs with Nana. Party a little bit. Does Nana swing?
The set is beautiful, the artwork is fantastic, the subject matter irritates my local school board, there is only one thing wrong with the 2011 Allen & Ginter Ascent of man set.
It's only 26 cards.
For the Math-impaired out there, that's one card short of filling up three pages. ONE STINKING CARD. It amazes and bewilders me that in an industry catering to collectors that there is not one soul in the entire company who ever thinks about these things. The entire reason there IS a collectible card industry is because collectors are obsessive-compulsive about their collections! We like things neat and orderly! Give us an insert set that fits neatly in pages! All we needed was one. more. card! Throw us a bone, people!
So I got my Ascent of Man cards in pages. A little too late actually, because all the cards I had for that set were unfortunately involved in a rather disastrous tea-related incident. I was able to contain the damage, some stickers ended up kinda warped and half of my 2011 Update Braves team set was lost. The Ascent of Man cards - while soaked - somehow ended up looking better in my eyes for some reason. While there was definite water - um - tea damage and there were slight stains on the back and the edges were all gnarled up, they still looked really good to me. That's true love right there. Even if I've de-friended 2011 A&G from Facebook, I've still got that old fossil Ascent of Man on my speed dial.
Now I have my freshly antiqued Ascent of Man set in pages, but I need something to stick in that 27th pocket. Why not a vintage card? See for yourself:
The perfect cap for a set about Evolution: a 1952 Topps Look N See card of Charles Darwin. I especially like the look on Charles' face. He seems to be thinking: "How did we end up evolving into douchebags in just 100 years?" (I've got an idea). Here's Charles all by his lonesome for your gawking pleasure:
Here's Chuck in all his creasy, scuffed, scribbled, beardy, gorilla goodness. Coincidentally, Thorzul just posted another specimen from this set recently. It's less scuffed and more screamy, but it's not as good as - well, no. It's way more awesome than this one. But it doesn't fill up my Ascent of Man set as well does it!
Ok, technical stuff. This is one of Topps' earliest Non-Sport sets and features a mish-mosh of famous people from Presidents to artists to military leaders to daredevils to scientists. There's even a Babe Ruth card in there for all you baseball nuts. The Rembrandt card is short printed for some reason. Artists always get short shrift. This mess on the back is the gimmick for the set, if you put some red 'paper' over the card you get to see what Chucky Evo was famous for. I haven't actually looked at it through some 3-D glasses (or just used a filter in Photoshop) but I'm certain that Charles was famous for that epic beard. He also inspired a Vonnegut novel too! So, bonus. Of course now I have to figure out what to do with the card from Collective Troll expressing wonder about our origins that used to be holding down the 27th spot in the pages. I still need 10 more cards for the set and it's gonna be hard to find 'em in pristine tea-soaked condition so I think it should be ok for a while.