Q&A: Did Topps Issue Boxes Of 1992 Stadium of Stars Cards?

Question: Hi!  I came across this odd card of Larry King.  It appears to be from 1992 Topps Stadium of Stars.  Did Topps issue boxes for this set?  What can you tell me about it?

Answer: No.  Topps did not issue these in the traditional box format.  The year was 1992, and the 13th National Sports Collectors Convention was being held in Atlanta, GA.  For the first time in it’s thirteen year existence, Topps decided to setup a booth.  Used as a promotional giveaway, Topps created a 13-card set entitled Stadium of Stars.

  • Bruce Jenner
  • John Wooden
  • Joan Lunden
  • Lou Holtz
  • Chris McCarron
  • Nick Charles
  • Larry King
  • Ann Meyers
  • LeRoy Neiman
  • Wilma Rudolph
  • Bob Costas
  • Nancy Lopez
  • Jim Beckett III

The exact number of cards handed out during the show is unknown.  Every celebrity on the checklist received (500) copies to hand out at their discretion.  Two jumbo-size cards were also printed for each individual.  One was given to the celebrity, and the other was autographed.  The signed version was auctioned off, and the money went to a specific charity chosen by that celebrity.

Topps sold 5,000 uncut sheets to dealers at the show.  From time to time one of those will popup.  I believe Jim Beckett III was a late addition and/or had to be obtained differently compared to the others.  You can find his single card on the secondary market, but its not pictured on any of the promotional material like the uncut sheet.  An oversize souvenir sheet featuring these cards is suppose to be floating around too.

A complete set is worth about $30-$50.

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Topps and Tiger

Tiger Woods has had his share of ups and downs over the last ten years.  Between his lady troubles, DUI arrest, and injuries, it certainly hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine.  It can be difficult for a normal person to go through all of that, and even worse for someone who is in the spotlight.  Some people would rollover and never be heard from again.  Tiger Woods actually worked through it, and has quite the comeback going right now.  Much better than any of his previous attempts at a comeback.  Not only is he making the cut in tournaments, he’s finishing reasonably high on the leaderboard.  Now ranked 88th in the world, he’s far from the Tiger Woods we use to know.  But still very entertaining to watch.  This recent comeback is stronger than others, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him win another tournament soon.

Even when Tiger was at his lowest, his cards didn’t take much of a hit.  He accomplished a lot in his golfing career before all the problems arose.  What issues he had were all external from the game, and really didn’t hurt what he already had under his belt.  It wasn’t like they found out he was taking steroids and they were coming for all of his trophies.  Something like that surely would have done him in.

Rookie cards of his continue to sell very well.  Autographs easily go for hundreds even thousands depending on the card.  In a world where plain one-colored relics are a dime a dozen, his hold up considerably strong.  In short, pulling a Tiger Woods rookie, autograph and/or relic is still worth bragging about.

When you think of Tiger Woods cards and memorabilia The Upper Deck Company first comes to mind.  Beginning in 2001, Upper Deck inked an exclusive deal with Tiger.  That deal continues to this day.  They never bailed on him like some other sponsors did.  Honestly, it would have taken a lot for Upper Deck to ditch him.  Upper Deck needs all the income they can get.  I haven’t seen a standalone golf product since 2014 Exquisite Collection.  Since then, golfers have been thrown into other Upper Deck sets like Goodwin Champions.

Before 2001, Tiger Woods cards were really hit or miss.  His 1996 Sports Illustrated for Kids card was and still is quite dominant.  Another would be his 1997-99 Grand Slam Ventures Masters Collection.  One product that I believe is drastically overlooked is the 1997 Topps Genuine Issue Tiger Woods Photos.  That’s correct.  Four years prior to his Upper Deck exclusive, Topps issued this small Tiger Woods-themed set after he won the 1997 Masters.

Its weird to see Tiger Woods pictured on a Topps product.  Topps isn’t known for it’s rich history with many golfers.  Over the years though Allen & Ginter has had it’s share including Arnold Palmer.  This set consists of six 8″ x 10″ photos.  Every pack has the same six pictures.  There are no autographs and/or relics to look for.

Here is the checklist:

  • #1 1996 US Amateur
  • #2 1997 USPGA Championship
  • #3 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open
  • #4 1997 USPGA Championship
  • #5 1997 Masters
  • #6 1997 US Open

Sealed packs range in price from $50-$75.

None of the photos have any type of design to them.  No borders or fancy coloring.  Just photographs.  In a strange way it kinda gives you a glimpse as to what a golf-focused Stadium Club set might have looked like.

Card of the Day: Bill Murray 1988 Salt Lake City Trappers Team Issue #29

Flashback Product of the Week: 1988 Salt Lake City Trappers Team Issue

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Minor League Baseball sets issued by teams today don’t carry much weight when it comes to the collecting world.  They’re drastically overproduced, and the players most likely already have cards in more in-demand products such as BowmanBowman ChromeBowman Draft, Bowman’s BestPro Debut, and Heritage MiLB.  I’m not saying there isn’t a market for them.  Today’s collectors just have more options.

During the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s is where you’ll find some of the more popular team issued sets.  Guys like Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., and even John Elway pictured in an Oneonta Yankees uniform all received Minor League Baseball cards predating their nationally issued rookies.  Depending on rarity and condition, these can be extremely valuable.

Baseball Cards Etc issued a team set in 1988 for the Salt Lake City Trappers.  Now they’re known as the Ogden Raptors.  At the time, actor Bill Murray owned five percent of the team.  It makes perfect sense that he received his own card.  His brother Brian is also featured on another card in the same set as well.  These two cards are literally the only reason why this set is continued to be talked about today.  None of the other players went on to have historic careers.

If you watched any of the World Series last year, you’d know what a huge baseball fan Bill Murray is.  He was rocking that t-shirt that said “I AIN’T AFRAID OF NO GOAT.”  The 1988 Salt Lake City Trappers team set is the first time Bill Murray was featured on cardboard.  It wouldn’t be his last though.  Over the years, other teams he’s been involved with have included him in their sets.  Here is a rundown of all the Bill Murray baseball cards you could add to your collection.

  • Bill Murray/Brian Murray 1988 Salt Lake City Trappers Team Issue #2
  • Bill Murray 1988 Salt Lake City Trappers Team Issue #29
  • Bill Murray 1989 Salt Lake City Trappers Team Issue #29
  • Bill Murray 1996 Butte Copper Kings Best #2
  • Bill Murray 1998 Charleston RiverDogs Grandstand #19
  • Bill Murray 2004 Brockton Rox #28
  • Bill Murray 2008 St. Paul Saints Team Issue #15
  • Bill Murray/Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Mayor 2012 Charleston RiverDogs Grandstand #36

Mr. Murray does have a handful of other cards from various entertainment products.  Leaf even made a cut signature of him in 2012 numbered to only (1).  Most collectors treat the card of him pictured alone from 1988 as his “rookie” card.  Three copies recently sold for $75 each.

I know one of these years we’re going to see Bill Murray show up in Allen & Ginter or Goodwin Champions.

Flashback Product of the Week: 1990 Topps Glossy Rookies Foil Test Issue

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Upper Deck set a new standard for card quality after they released their first set in 1989.  Collectors got a taste of what “premium” cards were like, and they weren’t about to turn back.  Other card companies had to figure out ways to amp-up their cards.  If not, they could’ve easily lost their fan base.  Adapt or die!

Topps wasn’t completely out of the loop when it came to making “premium” cards.  Long before Upper Deck arrived, Topps made Tiffany factory sets.  These mimicked the overall design of that year’s Topps set, but were printed on higher quality card stock.  To this day, it still amazes me what some collectors are willing to spend on a high-grade Tiffany base card of a star.  Even when its not a rookie.  But just switching to better stock for their normal sets wouldn’t be enough to compete.  It was time to bring on the foil.

1990 Topps Baseball is a poster child of the overproduction era.  Unless you’re talking about it’s Tiffany counterpart, Frank Thomas no-name rookie, or George Bush card, there isn’t much value to look for.  The base design is one of my all-time favorites though – lots of color!  While browsing through the grocery store in 1990, I bet many of you can remember spotting those 100-card bricks known as jumbo packs.  Inside each of those packs was a specially made Glossy Rookies card.  The set commemorates popular rookies from the previous season.  Most, if not all, the players have rookie cards in products from 1989.

In order to step-up their game, Topps tested some new printing techniques.  They took tons of regular Glossy Rookies and printed a foil stripe across the front.  You can find them in a variety of colors – blue, purple, green, red, silver, and gold.  The stripe can be in multiple locations as well.  One card may have it straight across the player’s face, while another could be near the bottom.  Multiple colors for each player can be found in many different positions.  Occasionally you’ll see cards with two stripes, but I’ve never seen one with two different colors.  Usually if there are two, the colors match.  If that isn’t enough, the asterisk variations carry over to these foil tests.  Every player in the Glossy Rookies set has a card with one and two asterisks on the back.  For those collectors who are obsessed with variations, this could be an endless battle when you throw everything together.  Ken Griffey, Jr. is the most popular foil test.  He’s worth about $10 to $20.

Looking back at what companies tested in order to stay relevant can be interesting.  The lessons Topps learned from this foil test issue were implemented in their Desert Shield and Stadium Club sets.

Topps To Issue Special Allen & Ginter & Gypsy Queen Cards For The ’15 NSCC

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There are a lot of promos flying around the National each year.  Almost everyone has something going on in the corporate area.  I think Topps does it the best though.  The best thing about the exclusive cards Topps gives out during the National is that they can be integrated into already existing products like Allen & Ginter and Gypsy Queen.  Here is what they have going on for 2015.

Can you believe that Allen & Ginter turns ten this year?  Topps has created special die-cut Allen & Ginter cards only available at the National.  For every sealed 2015 Allen & Ginter hobby box that is brought to the Topps booth and opened in front of a Topps representative, you’ll receive a pack.  This year Topps has randomly included autographs.

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Topps will also have a Gypsy Queen giveaway.  Topps will have 3-card packs that contain cards of Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa, and Byron Buxton in the 2015 Gypsy Queen design.  Look for parallels!!!  To get one of these packs, you need to open one sealed hobby box of the following 2014 or 2015 products listed below:

Baseball:

  • All 2015 Topps and Bowman hobby boxes (Opening Day does not count)

Football:

  • 2014 Bowman
  • 2014 Bowman Chrome
  • 2014 Bowman Sterling
  • 2014 Topps Chrome
  • 2014 Topps Chrome Mini
  • 2014 Topps Platinum
  • 2014 Topps Prime
  • 2014 Topps Supreme
  • 2014 Topps Finest
  • 2014 Topps Fire
  • 2014 Topps Jumbo HTA
  • 2014 Topps Museum Collection
  • 2014 Topps Triple Threads
  • 2014 Topps Valor
  • 2015 Bowman

Soccer:

  • 2015 MLS

UFC:

  • 2015 Topps UFC Knockout

Card of the Day: George Bush 1990 Topps USA White House Issue #USA1

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FYI – The 100 cards given to former President Bush (White House Issue) have a thick clear coating on the front, and the others do not.