By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor
If you already collect the Red, White and Blue in Topps‘ USA Baseball cards, you’ll have even more to collect this year.
As in, every other Team USA sport.
The U.S. Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday that Topps will be the exclusive trading card maker for the 2012 London Olympics and the Paralympic Games.
“It is an honor for the company to commemorate the pinnacle of sports and this country’s best athletes,” said Doug Kruep, Topps GM of sports & entertainment. “We look forward to offering supporters of Team USA athletes a truly unique keepsake and collectible.”
A card set to be released on May 5, 2012 U.S. Olympic Team & Hopefuls, will include cards of 100 Olympic hopefuls, with 40 of those athletes signing autographs to be found, as well as some stars from past Olympic events. Some of the notables to be included in this debut set will be Missy Franklin (swimming), Lolo Jones (track and field), Michael Phelps (swimming), Hope Solo (soccer) and Jordyn Wieber (gymnastics).
Each 24-pack box will include three hits — at least one autograph and two Relic cards. Each pack will include seven base cards and one parallel — either Bronze, Silver or Gold.
“We are excited to partner with Topps to highlight Team USA athletes ahead of the London Games,” said Peter Zeytoonjian, USOC managing director of consumer products. “Trading cards are a great way to support and learn more about the amazing athletes who will represent Team USA in London next summer.”
Autographs will include as many as 50 Olympians and hopefuls with each of their cards paralleled in Gold (/15), Silver (/30) and Bronze (/50) foil as well as 1/1 Gold Rainbow cards. Other autograph sets will include U.S. Champions autographs — past medal winners — and Cut Signatures from as many as 50 past greats, each 1/1s.
Other cards will be embedded with Olympic pins, patches and replica medals, while a portion of each purchase goes directly to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams’ funds. Specific other Relic cards will include Team Patch and Flag Patch cards and Stamp Relics.
Aside from manufactured Relics, there also will be as many as 50 athletes who will have pieces of their equipment cut and embedded into cards. These will be paralleled (Bronze, Silver, Gold) and also have a Gold Rainbow parallel.
There will be four insert card sets in the product, including Games of the XXX Olympiad (current athletes), London 2012 Olympic Games Venues (current venues), Heritage of the Olympic Games (past years) and Opening Ceremony cards noting notable past openers.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.