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New England Patriots Commemorative Cards Available

by Paul Angilly
February 8, 2005

It didn't take long for Upper Deck to offer some commemorative cards of this year's Super Bowl champion New England Patriots - in fact, the championship cards were available for purchase at the company's online store (www.upperdeckstore.com) within minutes after the conclusion of the game.

Long before the game even started, Upper Deck prepared commemorative cards for both teams. Immediately following the Patriots' victory, the company began production of the Super Bowl commemorative card, which includes the Super Bowl logo and photos of 12 players from the Patriots, with the print run limited to 5,000 copies (very similar to the Red Sox World Series championship cards the company made this past fall).

Still available are AFC and NFC championship cards for both the Patriots and Eagles, which have been available for the past two weeks. Both teams' cards measure 3 by 5 inches and feature 12 top players per team. The suggested retail price is $9.99 and production is limited to just 2,004 cards.

Also made available following the Super Bowl XXXIX game is a 50-card Super Bowl champions set that comes with a 3 by 5 inch commemorative oversized card. The box set includes 40 player cards from the Patriots, five season highlights cards, four Super Bowl memorable moments cards and one MVP card. SRP is $19.99.

All items are also available for pre-order via Beckett.com. The commemorative cards are scheduled to ship in mid-March.

A little history: Not surprisingly, the Super Bowl and its history has been a popular subject in football card sets for the past 33 years - since Topps first issued a Super Bowl card as part of its 1972 set (depicting the Dallas Cowboys' victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI).

That single card pictured a scene from the game (the Dallas Cowboys' Roger Staubach rolling out against the Miami Dolphins), with game statistics on the back. Cards for other 1971-72 playoff games were also included in that set.

Topps continued to issue similar Super Bowl cards (along with cards for many playoff games) through its 1991 set, which included a card for Super Bowl XXV.

Although Super Bowl cards are no longer a part of most base sets, there have been some nice insert sets in recent years honoring the annual media spectacle.

The 2004 Playoff Prestige set included an insert called "Super Bowl Heroes" which featured 10 players from Super Bowl XXXVIII - eight Patriots and two Panthers: Tom Brady, Deion Branch, Adam Vinatieri, Mike Vrabel, Antowain Smith, David Givens, Troy Brown, Kevin Faulk, Jake Delhomme and Muhsin Muhammad.

One of the most popular recent Super Bowl-related inserts was the 35-card "Ring of Honor" set in 2002 Topps, which included a card for every Super Bowl MVP through that year except for Super Bowl X MVP Lynn Swann, who has not appeared on a Topps card since 1977 (despite a successful career that lasted until 1982). Each of the 35 cards (with some players appearing more than once) was also available personally autographed.

That set was updated with a card of Super Bowl XXXVII MVP Dexter Jackson in the 2003 Topps set and a card of Super Bowl XXXVIII MVP Tom Brady in 2004 Topps. Both cards have autographed versions.

Also issued with the regular 2002 Topps football set was a series of 10 different cards picturing players from Super Bowl XXXVI (including Tom Brady, Antowain Smith, Troy Brown, Adam Vinatieri and Ty Law), each including a piece of the goal posts through which Vinatieri kicked his game-winning field goal. The Vinatieri card also came in an autographed version.

Another Super Bowl-related insert set from 2002 Topps set was a series of 10 "Super Tix Relics," featuring authentic game-used ticket stubs from Super Bowl XXXVI. The set includes cards of Tom Brady, Antowain Smith, Troy Brown and Ty Law.

Topps has continued its Super Bowl insert tradition with an assortment of relic and autographed cards in its 2004 base brand set. Included are new "Super Tix" cards, featuring 10 participants from last year's game along with pieces from authentic Super Bowl XXXVIII ticket stubs (including an autographed version for Tom Brady); "Game Breakers," picturing 10 players who scored touchdowns during the 2004 Super Bowl along with pieces of the end zone pylons; and a special Super Bowl MVP autographed Tom Brady card that includes a piece of game-used football.

Orlovsky "First Card" available: SAGE Collectibles recently made available the first nine cards in its 2005 First Cards series, and one of the players featured is former UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky.

The "First Cards" series is sold exclusively via beckett.com and the eBay auction site, with each card available for $9.95 plus approximately $3 for shipping. The set includes each player's very first officially licensed trading cards and each is sequentially hand-numbered to either 99 or 150 copies (there are 150 Orlovsky cards available). Although they can be ordered now, the cards will not ship until March 15.

Other players available are: Jason White (Oklahoma), Kyle Orton (Purdue), Derek Anderson (Oregon St.), Chris Rix (Florida St.), Ronnie Brown (Auburn), Anthony Davis (Wisconsin), Vernand Morency (Oklahoma St.) and Frank Gore (Miami).

Over the next few weeks, SAGE plans to announce additional installments of 2005's top rookies. All of the trading cards feature the player in his college uniform, and are licensed by the player and the Collegiate Licensing Company.

Expect additional Orlovsky cards to appear in the company's regular 2005 sets: SAGE Hit and SAGE Autographed, which ship in early April and early May respectively, and will contain the first authentic autographs and jersey cards of the top 2005 draftees.

About the author
Paul Angilly is a sports reporter for The Bristol Press in Connecticut, and has been collecting sports cards and memorabilia for 30 years. He is not a dealer, nor does he make a profit from buying and selling cards. His weekly sports card and memorabilia collecting column appears each week in The Bristol Press and several other daily newspapers in Connecticut.

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