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Legends Focus of New Racing Set

by Paul Angilly
July 4, 2005

Card sets featuring retired legends, complete with event-used memorabilia and/or autograph cards are now a staple of the baseball card hobby, and to a lesser extent in the hockey, football and basketball card markets as well. Now Press Pass has made history the major focus of a NASCAR card set for the first time in a major issue with its 2005 Press Pass Legends offering, released last week.

The 50-card base set features, as Press Pass advertisements claim, "The past, present and future champions of NASCAR." The black-bordered cards feature a classy design front and back, with plenty of career highlights detailed, and are printed on premium 24-point stock.

The tentative checklist includes three subsets (plus a checklist card): NASCAR drivers - Bobby Allison, Davey Allison, Neil Bonnett, Dale Earnhardt, Ralph Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Alan Kulwicki, Fred Lorenzen, Marvin Panch, Benny Parsons, David Pearson, Lee Petty, Richard Petty, Tim Richmond, Curtis Turner, Rex White, Glen Wood, Cale Yarborough, Tiny Lund, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Terry Labonte, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne; champions - Dale Earnhardt, Alan Kulwicki, Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Rusty Wallace, Terry Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Benny Parsons, Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte; and racing families - the Pettys, the Allisons, the Earnhardts and the Labontes.

The high-end product ($6.99 suggested price per 5-card pack) delivers plenty of memorabilia and autographs. Each hobby box (12 per case) includes three mini boxes with six packs in each, with one autograph or dual race-used memorabilia card found in each mini box (one autograph and two memorabilia cards per master box) and at least one serial-numbered base card parallel per pack.

Featured inserts include "Historical Cuts," sequentially-numbered cards featuring authentic autographs cut from documents signed by deceased drivers including Dale Earnhardt, Davey Allison and Tim Richmond.

"Legends Autographs," found one per 18 packs, includes cards signed by 25 different drivers, such as Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and others.

"Press Pass Signature Series" includes cards autographed by drivers including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, sequentially numbered to their car number.

There are two different memorabilia insert sets: "Dual Threads," pairing race-used firesuits from two NASCAR stars, and "Threads & Treads," dual race-used firesuit and tire cards from nine drivers.

Base card parallels come in four levels: Blue, numbered to 1,300 with silver and blue foil stamping; Gold, numbered to 700 with silver and gold foil stamping; "Holo," numbered to 100 with silver and holofoil stamping; and "Solo," 1-of-1 cards featuring green foil stamping. "Press Pass Plates," the actual press plates used to create the cards, with only four plates made for each card side, are also randomly inserted.

Each box also contains a contest entry card which can be redeemed for a chance to win a rare 25x39-inch 50th anniversary lithograph signed by 34 of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers.

Other non-memorabilia inserts highlight the sport's history: "Greatest Moments" (1:12 packs) are embossed holofoil and foil cards that take a look back at key 12 events in NASCAR history; and "Heritage" (1:24 packs) is an embossed foil nine-card insert that tells the story of how NASCAR icons progressed to stardom.

Keon, other Whalers in Franchises update: In The Game has announced it is creating a 50-card update for its popular 2004-05 NHL Franchises series. Each set, available directly from the company for $39.95 plus shipping, will include cards numbered 451-500, plus either a game-used memorabilia or an autograph card. Some sets will include both a game-used memorabilia and an autograph card.

The checklist includes all-new cards featuring some of the greatest players in NHL history, including two cards depicting Hockey Hall-of-Famer Dave Keon, pictured as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Hartford Whalers. For the first time, Keon will also be featured on game-used memorabilia cards (all picturing him with the Maple Leafs). Keon also signed two different autograph cards for the series - one picturing him with the Whalers and the other with the Maple Leafs.

Other prominent players in the set are pictured with teams that collectors do not normally expect. For example, Billy Smith has a card as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, Darryl Sittler is shown with the Philadelphia Flyers and Tony Esposito can be seen during his short stint with the Montreal Canadiens.

Unlike the U.S. East edition of the set, the Hartford Whalers are well-represented in the update on both base and insert cards. The Whalers checklist includes base cards of Keon and Rick MacLeish, an "Original Sticks" memorabilia insert of Mark Howe and autographed cards from Andre Lacroix, Keon, John Garrett and Rick Ley.

Marvin Williams inks deal with Upper Deck: The Upper Deck Company announced last week prior to the 2005 NBA draft that it has signed NCAA champion Marvin Williams to his first professional trading card sponsorship deal.

The No. 2 overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks and a McDonald's and Parade All-America award winner, he reportedly has agreed to an exclusive agreement with Upper Deck which includes autographs, packaging and promotional rights. Upper Deck will also incorporate Williams into upcoming memorabilia products.

Williams will make his first appearance in Upper Deck's Rookie Debut set, due out in late August.

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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