O's are in Florida, but hoops still hot with collectors

MEMORABILA

February 28, 1993|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Spring training is in full swing, but most Baltimore collectors remain in the grip of winter.

"It takes a few warm days for people here to realize it's spring training" and start asking for Orioles cards, says Don Bevans of All Star Cards in Baltimore.

He has seen strong demand for Upper Deck baseball cards, but it's NBA cards that are hot, especially NBA Hoops Series 2. "We've sold everything we could get our hands on," he says.

Bill Tanner at Baseball Card Outlet in Dundalk expects more collectors to be asking about baseball next month, but now "anything with Shaquille O'Neal on it seems to be hot."

"I've sold more basketball in the past month than in the past year," he says. His customers like SkyBox and Hoops and are awaiting the release of Fleer's Ultra Series II.

Since many of his customers are out-of-town students from Johns Hopkins, Carroll Williams, at Bud's Starting Lineup in Baltimore, generally sells a lot of NBA and NHL cards. O'Neal is popular, there, too. "I think he's about the hottest thing on the market," Williams says. He also notes that Charles Barkley's cards are rising in value. Other sought-after cards are NHL rookie Eric Lindros and non-sport cards.

At Robbie's First Base in Timonium, Robbie Davis is also experiencing the O'Neal phenomenon and says all second series NBA sets are selling well. Non-sport cards based on Marvel comic books are also popular, and he plans to begin selling comic books next month. He also reports the popular Eddie Murray and Edgar Martinez Donruss Elite are rare, but available.

Besides "anything with Shaquille O'Neal on it," what's hot at Baseball Unlimited in Baltimore, says Bob Fickus, are hobby boxes of Upper Deck baseball and NHL rookies Alexander Mogilny and Teemu Selanne.

John Curreri at Eastside Cards in Baltimore says his customers are mostly looking for O'Neal. Among baseball cards, Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey are sought-after.

According to Tom Blair at Jay's Sports Connection in Towson, the NBA All-Star Game raised interest in Mark Price's rookie card (1987-88 Fleer). Other NBA fans are buying up Hoops and SkyBox in search of O'Neal. Baseball is moving, especially Donruss second series, Fleer jumbos and Upper Deck hobby packs. Blair says three customers found Mark McGwire Donruss Elite cards last week and collectors are looking for Score Select insert cards of Cal Ripken (Superstar) and Mike Mussina (Diamond Ace).

NASCAR fans, unlike baseball fans, are collecting with the news. Sharon Knecht at Pit Stop Racing Souvenirs in Catonsville reports that people began buying Dale Jarrett merchandise after his Daytona 500 victory, "things I couldn't sell a lot of last year." However, collectors scooping up T-shirts, jackets, caps and die-cast cars, virtually ignored the 13-card Arena Trading Cards Jarrett-Joe Gibbs set. She says they sold well when she got them nine months ago. Knecht is expecting Finish Line NHRA cards as well as Maxx's Winston Cup cards.

Donruss Series 2

Brady Anderson fans will love Donruss Series 2. The Orioles outfielder is featured in two insert sets. He's the Orioles' Diamond King, and he's featured in a Spirit of the Game card sliding in headfirst. The card with him sliding is a gem. On the card front, he's sliding in as the ball dribbles away. On the back, the close-up shot shows him in safely and a headline screams "HEAD FIRST!" Series 2 has 396 cards. For the first time since 1981, Donruss will not produce factory sets.

Casting light on two sets

As a tie-in with an NBA laser animation show it is sponsoring, Topps is issuing two insert sets. The show, "Beams Above the Rim," has spawned the Beam Team. The cards are randomly inserted in Stadium Club Series II and Topps Series II. There are 21 Stadium Club cards featuring the league's top players and seven Topps cards featuring three players each.

Coming events

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

Saturday, card show, Holiday Inn Glen Burnie (I-695, Exit 3A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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