From 2011-2016, Allen & Ginter, Heritage, and Gypsy Queen were all some of my favorite sets because they had 3 things that many other Topps products did not have. Relics and box toppers. Obviously, Gypsy Queen doesn't do relics anymore, which, along with the other changes to the set have caused me to lose interest in it. Still, all 3 sets have box toppers that you can get with the hobby box itself, or better yet, at the card show.
The beautiful Bo Jackson box topper at the top of this post was an example of a box topper that I bought at the show a couple years ago. The box topper, which is from 2014 Allen & Ginter, cost me just $5, about $100 dollars less than buying a hobby box just to get it, and it was of Bo Jackson which is a very unique choice to go with the equally unique pink colored image.
A&G box toppers are relatively common at the card show I attend, and for years I've been acquiring some here and there, some without even asking for them. I recall making a pretty big purchase with a dealer a couple of years ago, and to thank me for the sale he gave me 2 unopened box toppers from 2013 Allen & Ginter. The 2 guys I got were Stephen Strasburg and David Wright. Strasburg is coming off a year where he finished 3rd in Cy Young voting while David Wright is, well, being David Wright. Still, the design of these 2013 box toppers intrigued me a lot as they are extremely different from the 2014 box topper of Bo, despite being just a year apart.
While we're on the topic of Allen & Ginter, I might as well show the box topper I got from my 2016 Allen & Ginter hobby box that I got for my birthday that same year. The guy I pulled was Albert Pujols, and I suppose the idea behind the set is to show their first A&G mini and their 2016 A&G mini to show how the player, as well as the set, has evolved. While the other box toppers have interesting designs, I admire how this box topper has an idea behind it, kind of a play on then & now. Pujols was definitely a good player to get, because of how much time (a decade, I believe) took place between the first mini and the 2016 mini.
Like I said before, Topps Heritage also does box toppers and Heritage is a set that has a few different box toppers in it. The most common one appears to be the ad panel that groups 3 cards together as one collectible panel card. I've never been a huge fan of these because I personally prefer the buybacks way more. The problems I have with these box toppers stem from the fact that the cards on the panel don't have anything in common (the fact that these 3 cards all feature NL West players is an extreme coincidence). The 3 cards included on the panels aren't 3 consecutive cards in the set, so I'm confused on how Topps decides who goes onto the panels.
However, I'll give Topps credit for making some improvements to the Heritage panels this year. As opposed to year's past, they put a newspaper headline on the back that featured a certain player's achievement from the previous season. I like how they at least gave the box topper a certain player, in this case, it's Anthony Rizzo, but I still don't know how any of these players relate to one another in terms of being on the panel together.
But my favorite box toppers of all-time are without a doubt the Gypsy Queen glassworks toppers. These chrome box toppers are the only possible thing that makes me want to buy Gypsy Queen hobby boxes, but I know I can find these online for about 10 bucks. They look very yellow when scanned, but if you've ever seen this in person, you know just how gorgeous they really are. Topps was somehow able to make them look even better in this year's set, which is certainly enough for me to buy one of a player I collect at some point this year.