Topps bounces back to basketball Notebook

MEMORABILIA

February 21, 1993|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Topps is making up for lost time.

It was out of the basketball card business from 1981-82 until this season.

In the meantime, Fleer (1986-87), NBA Hoops (1989-90), SkyBox (1990-91) and Upper Deck (1991-92) put out NBA cards. And a generation of players has arrived whose rookie cards were produced by a maker other than Topps, which had ruled alone from 1969-70.

Collectors who have wondered how Topps would have done basketball when Michael Jordan or Patrick Ewing was a rookie will have their answer in late March.

That's when Topps Archives Basketball, a 150-card set printed on Stadium Club-quality stock, should be available.

"The design of the cards will differ throughout the set," says Topps spokesman Timm Boyle. "It'll be the Topps baseball design from that year."

Topps first used the Archives name last year for a reprint-plus set of its 1953 baseball cards. It included most of the 1953 cards (where rights could be obtained from the players or their estates) as well as cards suggested by hindsight.

"Topps is not going to call these rookies cards," Boyle says. "It's rookie-year photography."

The set contains 139 cards of current NBA players plus an 11-card subset of the No. 1 draft picks from those "missing" years of 1981 through 1991.

Production will be limited to 10,000 cases of 24 boxes each, with 24 packs per box. Each pack will have 14 cards and a Stadium Club membership card. Once every 24 packs, the Stadium Club membership card is replaced by a mini Master Photo insert offer card. Master Photos are uncropped versions of Stadium Club cards.

In other Topps news, Stadium Club baseball will have 750 cards this year, down from last year's 900. The first series, of 300 cards, will be out in March.

More Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan is back, for what he says will be his final season, and Pacific Trading Cards is following Texas Express Series I and II with a 30-card Texas Express 27th Major League Season set. The new set features highlights of last season and comes in five-card packs.

NBA Hoops exchange deadline

Collectors have until March 31 to exchange their NBA Hoops Lottery Exchange Card for the set of 10 lottery draft picks, which includes Shaquille O'Neal.

SkyBox International says it will announce redemption totals and will not release additional sets. Collectors also can get the 10-card set through a second-chance drawing. Details are on Series 1 display boxes.

Ultra II in two sets

Fleer has decided to expand the premiere edition of Ultra hockey with a 200-card Series II in early March. It features rookies, traded players and veterans not in Series I and is essentially an update set in wax-pack format. There is also a 25-card insert set of NHL players from Europe. Cards of first-year players will have the "Ultra Rookie" logo.

Three cards of O'Neal are featured in NBA Ultra Series II in late March. This series also has rookies, traded players and vets not in the first series. There is a 20-card subset of top dunkers and insert sets honoring rookies, point guards and shot blockers. All packs have 14 cards.

Coming events

Through Oct. 31, exhibit on Rex Barney's 50-year sports career, with memorabilia from his Brooklyn Dodgers days, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539.

Today, card show to benefit Essex Girl Scout Troop 561, Essex Elks Lodge No. 1866 (1007 E. Hamburg Ave.), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., (410) 780-3037.

Tuesday, card show, North Point Plaza Flea Market, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., (410) 563-9032.

MA Saturday, card show to benefit PTSO, Bates Middle School (701

Chase Ave., Annapolis), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., (410) 268-4309 or (410) 266-8015.

Saturday, card show to benefit Rebel Athletic Booster Club, South Hagerstown High, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., (301) 791-1675.

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