Non-Sport & Entertainment Trading Card News from Non-Sport Update

A Brief History of Olympic Trading Cards [Updated]

Written By: Laura Inglis - Feb• 05•14

{Editor’s Note: The article below ran shortly before the 2012 Summer Olympics. The article has now been updated with the latest entry into the long list of Olympic and Olympic-inspired trading cards, Topps’ 2014 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team and Hopefuls}

It seems as if no matter what network you are watching, at some point during the televised Olympic coverage there will be a story about Olympic-related collectibles. Most of the time these stories focus on pins. You rarely, if ever, see any of these stories mention trading cards. Part of that may be because it’s not very often that licensed Olympic trading card sets are produced. There are plenty of NBA, MLB and multi-sport trading card sets that have Team USA cards in them, including Upper Deck’s Goodwin Champions and Topps’ American Heritage, but as far as sets that focus on the games themselves, there have been less than 10 sets produced. Just in time for this week’s Opening Ceremonies, here’s a brief history of what’s come so far:

Cassius Clay card from 1983 Topps set

Greatest Olympians (Topps, 1983) This 99-card included cards from sports legends such as Muhammad Ali, Jerry West, Cy Young, Bruce Jenner, Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens, George Foreman, Dorothy Hamil and Joe Frazier. You can find sets for around $20.

Cards from 1991 Impel Hall of Fame card set

U.S. Olympics Hall of Fame (Impel, 1991) This is a 90-card set that features many of the same athletes that were in the Topps’ release from 1993. Like many cards produced in the early 1990s this set was overproduced and you can find boxes for around $15 – $20 and sets for less than $10.

Card from 1992 Impel set

U.S. Olympicards: 1992 U.S. Olympic Hopefuls (Impel, 1992) This released attempted to capitalize on the excitement of the “Dream Team” and featured cards of Team USA basketball members in most of it’s advertising. This 110-card set didn’t just focus on basketball, other sports were represented as well, although it was released before the Olympics which is why the subtitle included “Hopefulls”. It was also the beginning of trend of including past Olympic stars as well as Olympic hopefuls in card sets. The main reason being that getting the cards in stores during the Olympics requires the cards be produced before the teams are finalized. Autograph cards were randomly inserted which made the set popular, although you can still find unopened boxes for under $30.

Greg Louganis card from Upper Deck 1996 set

US Olympic Champions OlympiCards (Upper Deck, 1996) This set contains 135 base card set plus 44 insert cards. Following the example of the 1992 Impel release, this set contained past Olympic stars as well as athletes who were hoping to make Team USA. Unopened boxes can be found for around $40.

Looney Tunes Olympic Cards

Looney Tunes OlympiCards (Upper Deck, 1996) There are only 45 cards in the base set for this release features Bugs and his pals as athletes in various Olympic sports. Boxes contain 36 packs with 8 cards per pack. There were also insert cards, unopened boxes can be found for under $30.

Card from 1996 Collect-A-Card set

Centennial Olympic Games (Collect-A-Card, 1996) This 120-card set is more historical and artsy and less athlete based. The fronts of most of the cards feature Olympic sites and posters while the backs list winners of various events such as as the 4 x 100 meter relay races. There are athletes such as Bart Conner and Wilma Rudolph pictured on some of the cards, but for the most part, there is much more poster art. This should be a popular set for those who enjoy Olympic History. Chase cards for this series include 20 pogs, 20 poster cards and 12 torch cards. There are 36 packs in a box and box prices range from $15 – $20. The 120 card base sets sell in the $8 – $15 range. Chase cards range from $5 – $10 each.

Tyson Gay patch card from Topps 2012 set

US Olympic Team and Hopefulls (Topps, 2012) Hobby boxes promise 3 hits (autograph or memorabilia cards) per box. This is a set filled with insert cards including autographs, relic cards, patch cards and stamps. You can currently find sets for around $10, hobby boxes close to $100, retail boxes $63 and blasters (8 packs) for $20. If any of the athletes have a recording breaking 2012, like Michael Phelps did in 2008, look for the prices to rise on this product.

London 2012 Olympics Official Sticker Collection (Panini, 2012) This collection focuses on the athletes from Great Britain. The set is made up of 250 base cards, 50 glitter foil cards, 40 super foil cards and 10 ultimate foil cards. Unlike the US release, this also includes athletes from the Paro Olympic games. In addition to the stickers, Panini also produced an album to go with the stickers. Unopened boxes can be found for around $60, you can find individual sticker packs for $2 – $3 each.

2014 Topps US Olympic and Paralympic Team and Hopefuls Memorabilia Card

2014 Topps US Olympic and Paralympic Team and Hopefuls Patch Card

US Olympic & Paralympic Team and Hopefuls (Topps, 2014) Similar to Topps 2012 release, each hobby box comes with 3 hits (one autograph and two memorabilia cards) per box. Blaster boxes (typically found at Target and Walmart stores) promise 1 hit per box. In addition to autographs from current Olympic athletes, there is also a US Olympic Champions subset which includes autographs from the likes of Peggy Fleming and Brian Boitano. Memorabilia cards include athlete-worn swatch cards, US Team Patch Cards, US Olympic Team 2014 Patch Cards, and US Olympic Team Logo Pins. Other inserts include Games of the XXII Winter Olympiad, Venues of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and Olympic Heritage.

In addition to the sets listed above, there have also been sets released for individual US Olympic sport teams. In 2000, there were Team USA sets produced for Volleyball, Table Tennis, Softball and Wrestling. When searching for Team USA baseball, be careful as there have been trading card sets produced for Team USA for the World Baseball Classic, not the Olympics. The US Womens Soccer team also has had trading card sets that are related to the World Cup and not the Olympics. There are other Olympic trading cards not covered here but our list covers most of the highest profile releases.

Enjoy the Opening Ceremony and the Games!

New Card Review: Garbage Pail Kids Valentine’s Day Cards

Written By: Harris Toser - Feb• 04•14

Valentine’s Day is nearly here. When you think of the holiday, you probably don’t think of Garbage Pail Kids or giving your sweetie a GPK-inspired greeting card  (and if you do, you know you’re kind of warped!). Appropriately enough, Topps is calling its Garbage Pail Kids Valentine’s Day Cards “anti” Valentine’s cards.

Garbage Pail Kids Valentine's Day Card

Garbage Pail Kids Valentine's Day Card

There are two different boxes of Garbage Pail Kids Valentine’s Day Cards. Each box contain 10 full-sized greeting cards with a suggested retail price of $19.99. The cards mostly reuse older GPK images with Valentine’s Day inspired greetings added such as “You’re The Only One I Love….More That Myself”. Though you get 10 cards per box, you get just five designs—like everything GPK, there is an “A” and “B” greeting card. The back of each card shows an image of the original GPK sticker with the “A” and “B” titles. If you like Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages art, you’ll love seeing the GPK images in the larger greeting card size.

It’s kind of a letdown that the inside of each card is identical, simply saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” with a couple of line drawings. On the plus side, the envelopes do carry a small drawing of Adam Bomb with a large GPK logo on the back. Boxes contain just 10 envelopes (no extra like some other boxed greeting card sets) so don’t make any mistakes!

So if you want to send the special person in your life something a bit different, even if that special someone is yourself, you better get a move on it. Garbage Pail Kids Valentine’s Day can be ordered direct from Topps: GPK Greeting Cards.

Garbage Pail Kids Valentine's Day Cards boxes

Topps’ Garbage Pail Kids Valentine’s Day Cards “A” and “B” boxes

Garbage Pail Kids Valentine's Day Cards sample inside

The inside greeting of Topps’ Garbage Pail Kids Valentine’s Day Cards

Garbage Pail Kids Valentine's Day Cards sample back

A sample back of Topps’ Garbage Pail Kids Valentine’s Day Cards

Mars Attacks: First Born

Written By: Harris Toser - Feb• 03•14

Mars Attacks: First Born

In May, IDW is launching its next wave of Mars Attacks themed comic books. Mars Attacks: First Born tells the story of the aftereffects of a Martian invasion. In a devastated neighborhood, a few survivors try to rebuild their lives. One of those survivors is an infant Martian, left behind in the attacks. Was she left behind on accident? Or as part of a more nefarious plan? As IDW asks: “Does nature versus nurture apply to horrible invaders from Mars? These are some of the themes being explored in this series. Also: giant bugs.”

First Born will be a four-issue series written by Chris Ryall (Chief Creative Officer and Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing) from a story created by Ryall and artist Sam Kieth. The books will feature art and covers by Keith. While some of the recent IDW Mars Attacks comics included promotional trading cards, Mars Attacks: First Born will not, according to our source at IDW.

Ryall and Keith are no strangers to both Mars Attacks and trading cards. Ryall has worked on some of the previous IDW Mars Attacks books while Sam Keith’s The Maxx had its own trading card series produced by Topps in 1993 and Topps’ Mars Attacks: Invasion series from last year featured a card with art by Keith.

“This series is a multi-tiered love letter,” said series writer and IDW Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall. “Every page shows not only the love Sam and I have for Mars Attacks, but also wild science-fiction tales from the past, the sorts of things Wally Wood drew in the pages of Weird Science-Fantasy and other EC comics.”

“Sam has been a friend to Topps for more than 20 years, and we’re happy to see him finally put his stamp on Mars Attacks,” says Adam Levine, Topps’ Head of Outbound Licensing. “His wild style and one-of-a-kind sense of storytelling will no doubt bring a fresh take to our classic Martians.”

Mars Attacks: First Born

2014 Entertainment Trading Card Preview – Television Cards

Written By: Harris Toser - Jan• 31•14

Grimm Season Two Collector CardsYesterday, we presented a gallery of preview images for cards coming in 2014. We looked at art, comic, and fantasy cards. Today, we do the same for television-based card sets.

Many of the hottest shows currently on network and cable TV are represented here….The Walking Dead, Grimm, Game of Thrones, and more. For fans of these shows, this should be a great year.

Remember—be sure to pick-up a copy of the Feb/Mar ’14 issue of Non-Sport Update for details on all of these series and many more images of the series coming in 2014 including some series not shown here.