Pinnacle Brands and Upper Deck, best known for manufacturing trading cards for major team sports, are turning to auto racing.
Pinnacle has issued a 150-card set under its Select label. There will be three insert sets: gold-foil versions of the regular cards; 12 foil-textured cards of top cards; and 18 gold-foil cards featuring the talents of racing's top performers.
"Racing fans are going to get to own all the best technologies we have offered baseball, football and hockey fans," says Pinnacle's Ted Kreder. "Select is an established commodity, but we expect to reach a whole new group of collecting fans."
Upper Deck is also issuing a 150-card set, Motorsports. The set, due in late January, also has three insert sets: all 150 cards in a version with gold or silver replica signatures; holograms of Jeff Gordon and Sterling Marlin; and 10 Predictor cards, redeemable for a special version of the Predictor set if the driver wins a Winston Cup race.
"Stock car racing is the fastest-growing spectator sport in the country today, and we're tremendously excited to be involved in this uniquely American sport," says Upper Deck's Steve Mitgang.
Upper Deck is also offering racing memorabilia through Upper ++ Deck Authenticated. The most unusual item is the car Rusty Wallace drove in the inaugural Brickyard 400 -- autographed and delivered to the collector's door for $150,000. Collectors can get Wallace merchandise if they find instant win cards in their Motorsports packs.
In other racing card news, Classic is joining Finish Line Collectibles. Their first project is Finish Line by Classic, a 110-card basic racing card set due in mid-January. There will be insert sets featuring Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, top Busch Series drivers and top Winston Cup cars.
More Fleer NBA
Fleer's NBA Series Two updates Series One with 150 basic cards featuring rookies, free agents and traded players in their new uniforms. There are also 61 insert cards.
Wheaties goes silver
To help the NFL commemorate its 75th anniversary, Wheaties is introducing its first silver box. The package features Don Shula, Sammy Baugh, Dick Butkus, Walter Payton and Jerry Rice on the front. Side panels list NFL, AFL and Super Bowl champions, and the back illustrates great moments in NFL history.
Collector's Choice Two
Upper Deck's Collector's Choice basketball continues with a 210-card Series Two. There are also 210 insert cards featuring gold and silver facsimile signatures. Collectors who get "You Crash the Game" cards can redeem them for limited edition sets if the player pictured reaches a statistical milestone.
Topps has classic cards in "Baseball Cards of the Fifties" and "Baseball Cards of the Sixties" by Frank Slocum. The books, published by Simon and Schuster, include photos of nearly every Topps and Bowman card from those decades and have player indexes.
Starting Lineup '95
Kenner's Starting Lineup goes Hall of Fame for '95 with the Cooperstown Collection: Babe Ruth, Bob Feller, Rod Carew, Whitey Ford, Eddie Mathews, Harmon Killebrew and Bob Gibson. Starting Lineup Major League Baseball features 58 current major-leaguers, and Stadium Stars returns for its third season.
Coins for new NBA teams
The Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies won't be playing in the NBA until the 1995-96 season, but Enviromint has their commemorative medallions in silver ($29.95) and gold select ($49.95). Call (800) 299-MINT.
Saturday, Topps Beam Team laser show during Washington Bullets game and special Topps giveaway, USAir Arena, Landover.
Jan. 14-15, Bird Expo, with some proceeds to benefit Grant-a-Wish Foundation, Pikesville Armory, (expected signers include Al Kaline, Yogi Berra, Jeffrey Hammonds, Mike Mussina and Frank Howard), Jan. 14 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 15 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 574-4365.Jan. 20, sports card and memorabilia auction, Holiday Inn Timonium Plaza, 6:30 p.m., (410) 435-2495.
CARD OF THE WEEK
Classic's NFL Experience set has 110 cards plus five insert sets. The 28-card Throwbacks insert set is a real throwback -- no coating. Backs give a history of the franchise and why it chose that vintage uniform. (Shown is Marshall Faulk in a 1958 Baltimore Colts uniform.)