Sports trading cards are so popular that collectors can get them in unusual places (like restaurants) and non-traditional subjects (skateboarding and auto racing, for example).
Add the U.S. Postal Service and Olympic stamps to the list.
The USPS has produced a five-card set of cards depicting the 29-cent Olympic stamps that were issued this summer. The cards were on sale during the Labor Day weekend at the USPS booth at the Baltimore Philatelic Society's annual stamp show at the Hunt Valley Inn.
At $2.50 a set, they fall into the premium-card price category, but the cards are not serious competition for Upper Deck, Stadium Club or Fleer Ultra. Card stock is average and uncoated. Fronts depict the Olympic stamps on multi-color backgrounds with computer-generated waves, lines or dots and the name of the track or field event. Backs include a spot to place a copy of the stamp, a facsimile postmark showing the stamp's issue date, facts about the stamp and one item of stamp trivia (the best: "The amount of ink used in printing U.S. postage stamps would fill 1,760,000 average-size glasses of milk.").
Since the USPS is an Olympic sponsor, the choice of Olympics for cards is obvious. But why not cards of the famous Olympian stamps instead? With short biographies of the athletes, such cards would have been more like traditional trading cards and might have proved popular with non-stamp collectors. Instead, there are cards showing generic athletes.
These cards will be featured in the USPS's September philatelic catalog, available in post offices later this month, according to the Philatelic Center in Kansas City, Mo. Cards should be available at philatelic windows and in some post offices by the end of the month. The cards can be ordered by mail or phone from the Philatelic Center at (816) 455-4880. There is a $10 minimum order and a 50-cent postage and handling fee.
Also at the stamp show was the first convention of Sports Philatelists International (c/o Margaret Jones, 3715 Ashford-Dunwoody Road N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30319), an organization founded in 1962 and devoted to collectors of sports stamps and allied material. That meant that the show's exhibits were dominated by sports themes -- Olympics, hockey, golf, tennis.
Topps' Stadium Club Series II is out. According to spokesman Timm Boyle, Topps also will issue Stadium Club cards for football (late September) and hockey (late October), and the backs will feature miniature versions of the players' rookie cards as Stadium Club baseball cards do.
Today, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Today, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Sunday, baseball card show, Martin's Ballroom-Westminster (Routes 140 and 97), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Sept. 23, memorabilia auction, Turf Valley CC (must purchase ticket to 6:30 p.m. dinner to attend auction afterward), 771-9000.
Sept. 28, sports card and memorabilia festival, Baltimore Arena upper and lower concourse (admission by ticket to Baltimore Skipjacks-Washington Capitals doubleheader), 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., 727-0703.
Sept. 29, baseball card show, Glen Burnie Elks Hall, Severn (Stevenson and Quarterfield roads), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Oct. 6, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Oct. 6, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport (I-695, Exit 6A), .. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Oct. 13, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Oct. 19, baseball card show, White Marsh Mall, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 879-4651.
Oct. 20, baseball card show, Freedom District Fire Hall, Sykesville (Route 32 between I-70 and Route 26), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Nov. 3, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport (I-695, Exit 6A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Nov. 3, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 23, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Nov. 23-24, Cal Ripken Jr. Winterfest for Literacy, baseball card-memorabilia show-silent auction, Festival Hall, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Nov. 24, baseball card show, Martin's Ballroom-North Point (I-695, Exit 40S), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.