The premium card field is getting crowded.
Upper Deck's first set, in 1989, featured higher-quality card stock than the baseball-card norm, foil packaging and innovative photography. They also had a higher price and card backs with a clean look.
They were a hit with collectors of all ages.
Then came Leaf, Donruss' answer to Upper Deck, which made its debut in 1990.
Fleer is shipping its new Ultra line later this month.
Topps had been rumored for several months to be joining the premium market. The rumors are true. Topps' Stadium Club cards should be available next month.
Like other premium cards, these will be printed on better-quality card stock than Topps' regular line. Like Fleer Ultra, Stadium Club card fronts will be borderless.
Stadium Club cards will have horizontal as well as vertical formats. There will be two series of 300 each, and there will be football and hockey sets, too. They will be packaged in non-wax packs of 12, no factory sets.
Card backs are not run-of-the-mill Topps, either. They feature a reproduction of the player's first Topps card and Baseball Analysis & Reporting System (B.A.R.S.) statistics, which show a player's performance in certain situations. Standard stats from last season and career are also displayed.
As explained in the Spring 1991 issue of Topps Magazine, Stadium Club isn't just cards. The name also refers to something collectors can join. The membership fee, explained on a card inserted in each pack, entitles collectors to special sets and cards, a subscription to Topps Magazine and other goodies.
Topps' Canadian cousin, O-Pee-Chee, is planning a 132-card high-end set, called Premier like its premium hockey set. It is of limited production and will feature photographs from the current baseball season.
The newest place in town to find sports collectibles is the radio. Every Wednesday beginning at 11:15 p.m., Stan the Fan will devote part of his show on WCAO to collecting. His guest expert is Jay Finglass of Jay's Sports Connection. . . . Score's baseball factory sets are available, as are Upper Deck's high-number hockey cards. . . . Dealers are hearing rumors from customers that Upper Deck is tough to find because it has stopped production. Not true, says Gary Yosimura, an Upper Deck spokesman. He says the company is aware of some spot shortages of its products, but the company will be moving this summer, not going out of business. Upper Deck will begin moving into a more-modern plant next month and hopes to begin production of its inaugural football cards in July. Its move should be complete by August.
Score has a toll-free number for collectors to report what they suspect may be counterfeit copies of the company's cards. Callers to (800) 433-5266 (or 214-647-2728 in Texas and Canada) should tell the operator that they are reporting a counterfeit card, and they will be referred to a special investigative unit. . . . The Baseball Hall of Fame has authorized a series of silver commemorative coins the size of silver dollars to honor the 12 men to hit 500 home runs. The coins will be sold by subscription only. For more information, write: Cooperstown Commemoratives, P.O. Box 711, Main St., Cooperstown, N.Y. 13326. . . . Vintage baseball sheet music is on display through June in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress.
Saturday, baseball card show, North County High School, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Saturday, baseball card show, White Marsh Mall, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., 879-4651.
Sunday, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Sunday, baseball card show, Holiday Inn Columbia, Rtes. 1 and 175, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 740-3368.
May 25, baseball card show, Comfort Inn Airport, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.