Flood of Cal cards leaves a collector over his head

MEMORABILIA

February 11, 1996|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,SUN STAFF

Even Bill Haelig is boggled.

For the past 11 years, Haelig has compiled a checklist of Cal Ripken collectibles -- everything from cards to watches and magazine covers. But the plethora of insert sets and commemorative cards featuring Ripken that have been issued in 1995 and 1996 has him shaking his head.

"My problem is just keeping up with all the new issues," he says.

He says the sheer number of new cards, as well as the number that are listed by Beckett for $100 or more, has changed his collecting habits.

"I'm discriminating now," he says. "Before 1995, it was very easy to get one of every card without killing yourself. . . . The things that I'm picking up are the cards I can afford and the things that I won't have the opportunity to pick up five years from now."

Haelig reasons that many non-card items are more likely to hold their value than cards, and he has added lithographs, White Rose trucks and commemorative bats to his collection.

"[Wheaties boxes] were neat. You could afford to get a couple of them," he says. He puts Coca-Cola bottles in that category, too.

Haelig's collection dominates one room of his suburban Reading, Pa., home and has spread to space in other rooms.

"There's just so much [for sale]. Where do you draw the line?" he says.

"[Ripken's] whole career has paralleled the memorabilia market," Haelig says. "His career has peaked with the card market. . . . Fortunately, there are a lot of things out there if you collect Cal."

There are enough things out there that Haelig's checklist has grown to 44 pages. Interested collectors can obtain one by sending 14 32-cent stamps to Haelig at P.O. Box 409, Blandon, Pa. 19510.

All holograms

SPX NFL cards are Upper Deck's first all-Holoview set and its first set with die-cut edges. The 50-card set also features autographed insert cards of Dan Marino and Joe Montana and a 10-card insert set of potential Hall of Famers.

Classic Racing

Classic Racing Series I is getting a head start on the NASCAR season. The set, with 60 basic cards and insert sets, will be out in plenty of time for the Daytona 500.

Picture this

In one of the latest lithographs from Bill Goff Inc., the Colts are about to tie the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL championship game and send it into overtime. They are huddling just before Steve Myhra's field goal. "Yankee Stadium Gridiron" is 31 x 20 inches and costs $160 (unframed). Call (800) 321-GOFF.

Topps Hockey II

Topps' second series of NHL cards, to be shipped this week, has 175 basic cards and four insert sets.

Parkhurst on the Internet

Hockey card producer Parkhurst International has a Web site (http:www.parkie.com) that will allow collectors to communicate with it via e-mail. Information on old and new products will be available.

Coming events

Through March 31, "The Faces of Baseball," exhibit featuring more than 40 photographic portraits of baseball's most famous faces, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,(410) 727-1539.

Friday-next Sunday, card show, Hunt Valley Mall (I-83, exit 20A), mall hours, (410) 529-1624.

Friday-next Sunday, Tuff Stuff Winter Sports Classic Card Show (expected signers include Reggie Jackson and Joe Morgan), Exhibition Building, State Fairgrounds, Richmond, Va., (800) 899-8833.

Card of the week

NBA Hoops continues to focus on rookies (40) and updates (47) in Series 2's 150 basic cards. There are also six insert sets. Look for them Feb. 7. (Shown is Robert Pack, updated in his Washington Bullets uniform.)

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