Not having a Major League Baseball license hasn’t slowed Panini America’s desire to produce baseball cards. The company has had to get creative and there isn’t any doubt that its releases are aimed at those who understand and appreciate history. It’s been interesting to watch the company try to keep a footing in the sport where it made its mark as Donruss back in 1981. The much talked about 2012 Panini Golden Age Baseball will be the latest such product when it hits store shelves about a week before Christmas.
We’ve already chronicled the Titanic wood chip cards and Secretariat saddle cards that are more than just a little quirky. For all of its hybrid qualities (that will include signed cards from key figures in the Watergate scandal among other subjects), Golden Age is based on…well.. baseball. One of the insert sets that should warm the hearts of old time collectors is the just-announced Pop Ups that will feature a number of Hall of Famers, done in a sepia toned style.
Pop-ups aren’t new, of course. From Mecca Double Folders to the 1988 Donruss product, they’ve been done numerous times but many of the subjects here haven’t been featured that way before and the use of fresh photographs and the quality of the design seem solid. Golden Age Pop-Ups will fall two per box, on average. While most collectors eschew actually putting the pop-out feature to work, it’ll be tempting.
2012 Golden Age Baseball will also have memorabilia cards featuring the 1919 Black Sox, mini-pennants designed like the 1916 Ferguson Bakery issue and even original 1930s and 40s cards packed one per case (we assume they’ll be from Goudey, Diamond Stars and Play Ball issues). There are also 150 mini tobacco card parallels.
There are a few dozen different autograph subjects, again done in attractive blue Sharpie against a black and white photo. Again, though, it’s not your traditional baseball product with everyone from famous investigative reporters to I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden joining a smattering of ballplayers.
The base set is 150 cards with 25 single prints falling two per case.
Each box should have one autograph, one Museum Age memorabilia card, 24 mini parallels and a variety of other random inserts.
At $3 per six-card pack and 24 packs per box, it would seem fairly affordable and designed more for the collector who likes history than those looking to flip the contents at a profit.