Thursday, May 24, 2007

1st Impressions: The 2007 "Retro" Products.

With the success of 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter, it perhaps was inevitible that Topps and Upper Deck would try capitalize in 2007 with products that bear TA&G's resemblences. Well fear not, collectors. For Topps and UD are coming out with not one, not two, but three retro-themed products soon.

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter

Why mess with success? 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter is a virtual clone of the highly successful 2006 version. But, with a few new wrinkles.

The base set is unchanged at 350 cards and has the same design as the original 19th Century Allen & Ginter cards, with one notable exception. With the exception of the rookie cards, and the one-per-pack mini-parallels, all the base set cards will be horizontal, rather than vertical -- to distinguish them from the 2006 edition. And as with last year's A&G, the set will be interspercered with various non-baseball athletes and celebrities. Among those featured will be Bruce Lee, Dennis Rodman, Mia Hamm, and (my personal favorite) Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings.

All the other bells and whistles from last's years set are back. Each pack will contain the aforementioned mini parallel and one of 30 Dick Perez Sketches. In addition, each 24-pack box should yield two framed autogamers and an oversized N43 boxloader. Among the notable autogamers include a framed lock of George Washington's hair and a "paw-to-graph" of the 2007 Westminster Dog Show champion.

'07 TA&G will be out in late July. Six standard-sized cards and one mini-parallel per-pack; 24 packs and one oversized chiptopper per box. The MSRP is $5/pack, but expect to pay more.

2007 Upper Deck Goudey

Upper Deck is countering with Upper Deck Goudey. While not an exact clone of TA&G, UDG nonetheless, has TA&G's finger prints all over it.

The first 240 cards (40 of which will be short-printed) of the 288-card base set all have the design and appearance of the 1933 Goudey set. The remaining 48 cards (all of which are also short-printed) are in the style of the 1938 Goudey Heads-Up set. Each 24-pack box should yield six "Heads-Up" short-prints, and another six of the '33-style short-prints. In addition, each box should yield an autograph, a gamer, and a "Sports Royalty" card.

It's these Sports Royalty cards that give UDG it's TA&G feel, as they include (in addition to the usual crop of current baseball stars), such figures as Emmitt Smith, Tiger Woods, Gordie Howe, and future NBA draft pick Kevin Durant. I don't know if you know this or not, but in '07 UD Series 1, the 1989 Reprint inserts were to include cards of LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Sidney Crosby and Reggie Bush. However it appears -- probably due to licensing issues -- that all four of these cards were yanked. The sell sheet for this product shows the Gordie Howe Sports Royalty card with "Mr. Hockey" wearing a Red Wings jersey -- so maybe UD's worked those issues out.

There are also the usual "buyback" cards, and a pair of inserts based on the '41 Double Plays and the 34-36 Diamond Stars that you can pretty much forget about even collecting. Both the Double Play and Diamond Star inserts are numbered to only 15 copies each.

The street date for UD Goudey is August 10. Five cards per pack, 24 packs per box. The MSRP is $4/pack.

2007 Topps Turkey Red

Finally, there's the third (and hopefully final) installment of Topps' turkey of a retro set: Turkey Red. However this year's edition might actually be worth collecting. Among the 200 cards in the base set are 61 new Dick Perez portraits, and each box will have an oversized Dick Perez chiptopper.

Another thing '07 Turkey Red has going for it, is the "living set" gimmick has been scrapped. So the base set begins as a base set should, at card #1.

No word on either street date, or pack-and-box configuration.


Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to the Allen & Ginter issue. As of now I am not interested in the Upper Deck Goudey.

The George Washington "DNA" card is already being talked about. What dog breed won the dog show. I think it would be comical if that card turned out to be one of the most sought after. One good thing about it though is it should bring some more press to the hobby.

Bryan said...

I am a believer in the A&G set! I loved it last year and had hoped it would do well enough to become a regular. It is a set builders dream. Not as expensive or extensive as Heritage but not as easy as Series 1 & 2. Plus the cards are very classy.