by Rich Klein
Some sports card sets make perfect sense as to when they should be released. Topps Series 1 baseball should be issued as the first set of the baseball card season and it is now released just about as spring training is beginning. Other products may be released because of factors not usually thought of. Many times, card manufacturers put them out in the final weeks of a quarter so the quarterly report can look better to either the shareholders or to company officials.
And then there are sets which don’t really fit the mold. One type of issue that is tricky relates to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The facts indicate there is about a three week time frame in which the entire world is following the games (including the USA). In today’s fragmented world, becoming a major name for athletes outside the major sports is very difficult once the games are over. However, that is not impossible as Michael Phelps proved in 2008 when he won eight gold medals and became an international superstar.
Earlier this year Topps signed a contract with the US Olympic Committee to produce card set(s) to honor the 2012 Olympians. Recently, Topps released the 2012 US Olympic Team and Olympic Hopefuls product, with glossy cards featuring artist’s renderings of the athletes on the front with their name and sport on the bottom.
The back consists of biographical information and accomplishments. At my local card store in Texas, the owner had sold two cases at $68/50 in the first couple of weeks after release with a wide variety of collectors purchasing boxes. It’s definitely something a little different, but the timing is a bit unusual in that the London Olympics are still weeks away.
So how did we do from our box? Well, I misplaced one pack with what was probably a relic card so my results reflect one missing hit. Current on-line “retail pricing”of this product is in the $54-75 range.
Base Set: 100 of 100 Complete Set with 27 duplicates (always appreciated by set collectors)
Bronze Parallels: Nathan Adrian, Henry Cejudo, Missy Franklin,. Tyson Gay, Jonathan Horton, Lolo Jones, Ryan Clochte, Dannell Levya, Jessica Long, Misty May-Treanor, Tatyana McFadden, lashawn Merritt, Alex Meyer, Maya Moore. David Oliver, Michael Phelps. Aly Raisman, Sanya Richards-Ross, Todd Rogers, Hope Solo, Rebecca Soni, Arielle Martine Verhaaren, Brenda Villa, Abby Wambach.
Silver: Parallels: Juan Agudelo, tony Azavedo. Bryan Clay, Phil Dalhauuser, Conor Dwyer, Brady Ellison, Allyson Felix, Brendan Hansen, Shawn Johnson, Alex Morgan, Jerome Singleton, Jordyn Wieber.
Gold: Parallels: Juan Agudelo, Phil Dalhausser, Walter Dix, Brady Ellison, Conor Dwyer, Shawn Johnson, Alex Morgan.
Olympic History: 1968, 1972, 1976
Opening Ceremonies: 1912
Olympic Venues: Earls Court, Eton Manor
Olympic Sports: (These feature one athlete per sport): Carrie Johnson Canoeing, Taylor Pinney Cycling, Hope Solo Cycling, Brittany Viola Diving, Rau’shee Warren Boxing, Mariel Zagunis Fencing.
Olympic Commemorative Pin Relic: Gwen Jorgensen
Autographs: Missy Franklin
Autograph Silver (#d to 30) Nathan Adrian
Despite my little snafu about the missing pack which probably included a relic card this was still a nice break with two autographs and a complete set. A good break like that out of each box explains why this product has been a bit of a surprise hit long before the 2012 Games begin.
The only aspect I might think of improving this and other Olympic products even more is to include more autographs and relics from past Olympians. As a big boxing fan, I would love to get a product with autographs from Andre Ward (who is currently among the very best pound for pound fighters) as well as David Reid. I’m sure there are plenty of other Olympic medal winners who would be thrilled at earning a few dollars. To me, that would serve the same purpose as the great job Topps does in getting the retired players. Also, although I usually love drawings on cards, for this product I think Topps would have been better served using actual photographs.
Other than these reasonably minor concerns, 2012 Topps Olympic Team and Hopefuls is a perfect introduction to the stars of the 2012 Summer Games. You can see what’s available from this product on eBay by clicking here.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]