Trading Card Industry Expands into Football, Basketball, College
Jares, Joe, THE JOURNAL RECORD
For years a New York gum manufacturer called Topps was about the sole source of baseball, football and basketball cards for collectors. We nutcases would buy the packs, throw away the lousy bubblegum and carefully save the little pasteboards in shoeboxes, or in albums with plastic pages.
Because of court decisions, Topps and its subsidiary, Bowman, are currently the only outfits allowed to peddle gum with cards, or cards with gum, but there is lots of competition in the card end of things from Fleer, Donruss, Score and others, including a pricey outfit in Orange County, Upper Deck, which is new in baseball this year.
The PGA produced a set of cards depicting golfers in the late 1970s, but now the NFL has jumped into the market in a big way with its 440-card Pro Set, which, according to a spokesman at NFL Properties, includes 17 ex-Trojans and eight or nine ex-Bruins. That's out of 61 athletes from the two local schools on opening-day rosters.
``They made a mistake,'' said Jeff Goldstein of the Shortstop Sports Shop in Culver City, Calif., ``because they have a card out that is not licensed. That's the Refrigerator Perry card. He had not signed a contract for the reproduction of his card, but a few of them got out. They're carrying between $75 and $100 price tags for that one card alone.''
Also, says Goldstein, the commissioner Pete Rozelle card, part of the Pro Set, is proving almost impossible to find, and the cards in the boxes have not been shuffled well enough.
``I have one customer who is on his 11th box and he does not have a complete set yet,'' said Goldstein, ``and he does not have a Rozelle card. And not only did they not shuffle them, they put a lot of duplication into the sets.''
Never mind. NFL Properties is a first-class outfit. …