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2010 Topps Football Finally Arrives . . .

The long-awaited and way-later-than-usual arrival of base-brand Topps Football this week is sure to be met with a widespread embrace and robust hobby-shop foot traffic across the country.

Indeed, the longest-running annual football card set of all time — believed as recently as late April to be gone forever — releases for the 56th consecutive year on Wednesday packing something borrowed (the popular Million Card Giveaway concept from 2010 Topps Baseball), something new (the industry’s first player-drawn Sketch Cards) and the always-popular Rookie Premiere Autographs, sequentially numbered this year for the first time.

Although it’s hard to gauge which inclusion collectors are most anticipating, there’s a good bet it’s the Topps Gridiron Giveaway, football’s equivalent to baseball’s successful pack-pushing promotion that’s still buzzing in hardcore collecting circles. The concept, equal parts nostalgia and new media, is universally appealing in its simplicity.

One in every six packs of 2010 Topps Football will include a Gridiron Giveaway Code Card that, when entered into a special website that’s slated to go live Wednesday, is redeemable for prizes ranging from original vintage Topps football cards to autographed footballs and helmets. Every code card in the product is a guaranteed winner.

Once redeemed, collectors can choose to have their new vintage cards mailed to them for a fee, trade them with other Gridiron Giveaway participants or simply let them sit in an online account. It’s a program that’s kept baseball collectors engaged all season long, what with its “We’re giving you back the cards your mom threw out” mantra.

Chances are, football collectors will fall for the promotion as well — beginning as early as Wednesday morning. Stay tuned to Beckett.com for updates to the Gridiron Giveaway promotion.

Tracy Hackler is the editorial director for Beckett Media. Have a comment or question? Send an e-mail to him at thackler@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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