So, "White Whale" is a rare card you dream of tracking down and/or affording someday. And "Gray Whale" is a not-so-rare card you want, but haven't found it for the right price yet.
I figure a "ghost whale" is a card you would love for your collection, but you're not sure it even really exists. (Not to be confused with a "ghost card", which is a card you could have sworn you had in your collection, but it's not there when you look for it. [I think these are also sometimes called gremlin cards.])
Many ghost whales for me are short-term stop cards. Like Willie McCovey on the A's... I sure would love to have a real (not a custom) card picturing Stretch during his brief stint in Oaktown. But as far as I'm aware, no mass-produced cards of that nature exist. Maybe someday. But for now, it's a ghost whale.
Another ghost whale I was hoping would pop up someday was a refractor reprint of Tony Gwynn's 1983 Topps rookie card. Yeah, I know Topps have driven reprints into the ground, and generally speaking I'd be in favor of Topps putting a moratorium on putting out any more reprints for a long time. But a while back, I noticed that although I've got several reprints of the '83 Topps Gwynn, none of them were refractors. And as it's human nature to want that which you do not possess, I started really wanted a refractor reprint of it. Hey, it's the most iconic card of my favorite player.. I was curious to see that classic butt-shot with some rainbow shine on it. Looking around on eBay and COMC, I couldn't find one.**
Then a few days ago, Topps Cards That Never Were posted about a factory set of 2019 Topps that included some Target exclusive bonus refractor reprints, and one of them was Tony. I asked Jeremy if it was available for trade, and a week or so later it showed up in my mailbox. Looks great!
A card so nice, let's look at it twice!
**In working on this post, I found one sold-out on COMC that might also fit the bill.. 2014 Topps Chrome - All-time Rookie Reprints ..but that seems to be pretty rare (can't find one currently for sale) and I'm not positive it's a refractor.. might just be a regular chrome reprint.
A Brian Giles card was along for the ride in the PWE as well. Sweet!
Big thanks, Jeremy! I've sent you back a couple cards I hope you like.