Topps publicist Clay Luraschi says XFL collector cards will feature juiced-up graphics and, I quote here, "smash-mouth" action photography. (Oh, please, Clay.)
"When it comes to producing explosive, edge-of-your-seat entertainment, nobody does it better than the folks at the WWF," said Ira Friedman, Topps vice president for publishing. "Add to the equation the prime-time exposure and promotional support from NBC and it's no surprise we're thrilled with this opportunity."
With all due respect to the enthusiasm pouring out of Topps' offices in New York, I can't help conjure up images of USFL football cards, Senior League baseball cards and countless other "hot" ideas that never captured the fancy of collectors. Even wrestling cards, as hot as that "sport" has been, have never captured much mainstream collector interest. The biggest problem that Topps (and the XFL) will have to overcome is, "Who are these guys?"
Despite suspicions to the contrary, we are told that the XFL will be 100 percent competitive sport. The inaugural season will kick off on Feb. 3 and will conclude with the championship game on April 21. XFL games will be televised nationally on NBC, UPN and TNN. For the complete XFL schedule, see www.XFL.com.
NEW KRAUSE HOOPS GUIDE
The fourth edition of Krause Publications' Standard Catalog of Basketball Cards is available. The new book features 25,000 more prices and 100 new sets from last year's edition. More than 125,000 cards are priced and illustrated with more than 1,500 photographs. In all, 900 sets from the top manufacturers from 1948 to present are represented, each with a short explanation as to its roots, quirks and reason for being. There is also a guide to certified and autographed cards.
In addition to the NBA, sets featuring the WNBA, CBA, regional offerings, Olympic, international, college and even high school issues are included. There also is a section on figurines.
The 345-page book lists for $21.95. For more information or to order a catalog, call Krause at 1-800-258-0929.
GENUINE NBA DEBUTS
Fleer Genuine NBA 2000-01, reputedly one of the most highly anticipated basketball trading card sets of the year, is a debut product that premieres a new line of Fleer merchandise, Fleer Genuine Memorabilia.
These new Fleer memorabilia items (signed and unsigned) will be available through a redemption program. Some of the debut pieces available are a signed Vince Carter Toronto Raptors jersey, a 2000-01 Hoops Hot Prospects uncut card sheet signed by Carter, and a complete set of Fleer Genuine Rookies (30 cards numbered to 1,500). The items featured in Fleer Genuine NBA are only the start.
Even though this might be pushing the envelope just a bit, with Main Man, collectors can now own a piece of Carter's high school court, from Mainland High in Daytona Beach, Fla. (This reminds me of the infatuation that Michael Jordan collectors have with his high school memorabilia.) Fleer gives collectors the added thrill of pulling a Signed Main Man card featuring Carter's signature in addition to the court. There are 15 hand-numbered Main Man autographs that should command awe-inspiring prices on the open market.
Genuine NBA is focused on Carter once again with Northern Flights, an insert featuring a swatch of the Raptors home court during his rookie campaign. Also available are Signed Northern Flights cards, which once again feature Carter's signature along with a swatch of the floor. Signed Northern Flight cards are numbered to 150.
In addition to Genuine NBA's Carter collections, Genuine Coverage PLUS also is included. This new spin to Fleer's popular game-worn program features numbered game-worn jersey cards (numbered to 200). This lineup includes Carter, Lamar Odom, Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson and many more.
Autographics, the hobby's longest-running and most successful autograph program, also is included in Genuine; Carter, Odom, Jerry Stackhouse, Steve Smith and Keith Van Horn are just a few of the stars collectors will find.
The basic set of Fleer Genuine NBA consists of 130 cards, which includes 100 veterans and 30 Genuine Upside rookies numbered to 1,500. Genuine NBA also includes plenty of die-cut insert sets.
Fleer Genuine NBA 2000-01, released late last month, is priced at $5.99 for a five-card pack.
SEIDMAN BOXING CALENDAR
Seidman Productions Inc. has issued its 10th annual boxing calendar. As usual, it is a limited-edition, 12-month adventure for boxing fans. The calendar is loaded with some pretty nice boxing action photos and more information than you'll ever need - though it is very interesting. (Tomorrow is Joe Frazier's 57th birthday, by the way.)
Also, Seidman's 13th set of boxing cards will be issued this month. For more information, write 254 Gibbsboro Road, Lindenwold, N.J., 08021, or call 856-627-1356. The calendar costs $16.50 plus $5 postage and handling.
Ted Taylor has been a lifelong collector of baseball cards and sports memorabilia. He has run memorabilia shows in the area and written for various publications. Taylor is president of his own Abington-area public relations/marketing firm.
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