The Next Generation of Trading Cards
April 16th, 2007

Anyone who has collected sports trading cards in the last decade knows that the industry has greatly evolved from its humble roots of simplistic cardboard base cards. Now packs offer the possibility of pulling rare inserts featuring extravagant features such as autographs and game-used jerseys, patches, cleats, grass, turf, court, stick, bat, ball, and helmet, with jockstrap no longer too absurd of an idea.

Having passed the 10th anniversary of the first game-used jersey card, I can’t help but reflect on how these “pimped-out” cards have never elicited any additional excitement from me. They always failed to bring me that closeness to the game and athletes that was promised. Luckily, all the top brands are coming out with some new inserts to further reach out to the serious collector and generate unprecedented industry buzz. Here is a sneak peak at what to look forward to:

Topps Game-Used Flesh Cards

Finally, you can own a piece of your favorite athletes, literally! Throughout the year, certified Topps surgeons attend sporting events throughout the world and shave off portions of skin from select players.

Odds: 1:50 packs
Estimated Value: $800-$2000 (depending on player popularity)
Multipliers: x 1.5 if hair is included ; x 2.0 for piece of nipple
Most Popular: Shaquille O’Neal flesh with Superman tattoo.
Least Popular: Rod Brind’Amour slice of nose

Upper Deck Birth Cards (BCs)

Rookie cards will be a fad of the past as collectors can now obtain cards depicting their favorite players just minutes after they came out of the womb. These extraordinary cards are made possible by Upper Deck's massive legion of photographers who travel the globe snapping photos of every person ever born. Then, when someone becomes a professional athlete, they take the player's birth photo from their database and create a brand new Birth Card (BC).

Odds: 1:15 packs
Estimated Value: $0.50-$15,000
Most Popular: Henrik and Daniel Sedin Combo
Least Popular: Ryan Leaf

Also, be sure to look for Upper Deck's upcoming line of Funeral Cards (FCs) featuring your favorite athletes final worldly appearance before they are cremated or lowered into the earth.

Donruss Shiny Motherfuckers

Sparkles? Check. Hologram? Check. Surface reflecting all colors of the rainbow? Check.

Cards with various shiny properties have always been a hit with younger collectors, so this new brand is going all out by including every shiny element ever conceived. These aren't so much cards as they are a collectible acid trip. You'll be the envy of other collectors as they shower you with praise such as, "Cool card!" and "Damn, that's a shiny motherfucker!" These are also good for burning ants and blinding people you don't like.

Odds: 1:10 packs
Estimated Value: $10-$30
Most Popular: Peyton Manning
Least Popular: None, since shiny cards are impossible to dislike.

Fleer Stick of Bubblegum

Go totally retro by enjoying free sticks of bubblegum inserted into every pack just in like the old days! As an added incentive, some of them have randomly been licked by popular superstars, both past and present. It will be just like the incident with Luis Gonzalez's gum, except with athletes who actually qualify as superstars. Licked gum may be identified by the distinct tongue imprint and serial number.

Odds: 1:1 (Unlicked); Numbered to 100 (Licked)
Estimated Value: $0.25 (Unlicked); $5000-$750,000 (Licked)
Multipliers: x 1.5 if gum is still fresh ; x 4.0 if gum is hard-to-find grape flavor
Most Popular: Anna Kournikova licked gum ; Rare error-gum featuring both cherry and grape on the same stick.
Least Popular: Magic Johnson licked gum.

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- 4.16.2007

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