73 years after the first and only set was released by Goudey Gum Co., Sport Kings cards are returning.
The original Sport Kings Gum series was released by the Goudey Gum Company in 1933 and 1934 and featured 48 athletes from a cross section of sports. In those days, a collector could open up a pack and receive a card depicting such legends as swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, football star Red Grange, boxer Max Baer, hockey icon Howie Morenz or the revered Babe Ruth. Highly prized by modern collectors, the original Sport Kings cards have taken on a mystique and rank among the most popular sets in the history of the hobby.
Canada’s Dr. Brian H. Price, who many collectors will recall as the man behind the return of the Parkhurst brand to the hockey card market in 1991, and the founder of In The Game trading cards, is responsible for putting together the upcoming Sportkings issue.
"As a longtime collector of sports cards and memorabilia, I have always been a fan of the original Sport Kings Gum set and I wanted to be able to continue the tradition for modern sports card enthusiasts and historians," said Price. "The time was right to undertake this project and I believe that the brand will appeal to a broad audience."
Price was able to secure the rights to the famous name (although the modern version will spell it all as one word) and began working on the project of reviving the concept. "It was a fairly long process because the trademark holder wanted to be sure that the tradition of the brand continued," Price told SportsCollectorsDaily.com. "I think my work reviving the Parkhurst brand in the ’90s helped me in getting the license."
Sportkings Series A will pay tribute to big names from a wide range of athletic pursuits and, according to the company "will maintain the integrity of the original release." Each base card features original work by sports artist Paul Madden and the roster includes baseball’s Roberto Clemente and Ted Williams, hockey’s Patrick Roy and Rocket Richard, football’s Troy Aikman and Bart Starr along with Mia Hamm-Soccer, Mark Spitz-Swimming, Greg Louganis-Diving, Hulk Hogan-Wrestling, Nigel Mansell-Motor Sports, to name a few.
Price says the selections for Series A were made based on the availability of athletes and memorabilia to produce the product. Collectors will provide input for series B by voting on the company’s website.
"Over the past 73 years, the number of athletes that were dominant in their respective sports gave us the daunting task of choosing which ones would be involved in the Series A of Sportkings," said Price. "More athletes will be included in future releases and it is my goal to offer collectors a diverse and original mix with every series."
Over the years, Price has caused debate in hobby circles for his landmark decision to cut up pieces of vintage hockey equipment for trading cards. Some of the Sportkings choices are sure to generate discussion among collectors, but Price feels that can be a positive thing.
"We will be providing collectors with pieces of sporting history with Sportkings and that is sure to raise some eyebrows," Price said. "There will be no photo-shoot memorabilia or redemptions in this product. Collectors have spoken loud and clear on these issues."
A premium trading card release, Sportkings Series A will be one of most limited products ever made. Each pack will contain seven cards; three base cards in the traditional card size format, one base card in the original Sport Kings Gum size, one Autograph Card insert and two additional Autograph or Memorabilia inserts.
Sportkings Series A will be released in October, 2007.
SPORT KINGS 2007 CHECKLIST
Series A Autograph Card Checklist
A-BB Beamon, Bob Track
A-BR Russell, Bill Basketball
A-BS To Be Determined Football
A-CY Yastrzemski, Carl Baseball
A-DC Carter, Don Bowling
A-DM Mattingly, Don Baseball
A-DW Wilkins, Dominique Basketball
A-DWA Waltrip, Darrell Motor Sports
A-EH Heiden, Eric Speed Skating
A-EK Knievel, Evel Daredevil
A-GL Louganis, Greg Diving
A-HH Hogan, Hulk Wrestling
A-JW Wooden, John Basketball
A-KK Kiraly, Karch Volleyball
A-LB Bird, Larry Basketball
A-LF Ferrigno, Lou Weightlifting
A-LH Holmes, Larry Boxing
A-MA Andretti, Mario Motor Sports
A-MB Brodeur, Martin Hockey
A-MH Hamm, Mia Soccer
A-MJ Johnson, Magic Basketball
A-ML Lemieux, Mario Hockey
A-MS Schmidt, Milt Hockey
A-MSP Spitz, Mark Swimming
A-NM Mansell, Nigel Motor Sports
A-NR Ryan, Nolan Baseball
A-PH Hellmuth, Phil Poker
A-PR Roy, Patrick Hockey
A-PRO To Be Determined Baseball
A-PS To Be Determined Skiing
A-RC To Be Determined Baseball
A-SM Musial, Stan Baseball
A-SRL Leonard, Sugar Ray Boxing
A-SY Young, Steve Football
A-TA Aikman, Troy Football
A-TD Dorsett, Tony Football
A-TS Seaver, Tom Baseball
A-TT Thomas, Thurman Football
FSA-FA Adu, Freddy Soccer
FSA-QJ Jackson, Quinton UFC
FSA-RB Bush, Reggie Football
*Subject to change before release