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Michael Phelps' eight gold medals will provide any number of marketing opportunities for the Olympic superstar and commercial entities that are along for the ride.  Bu there's been one avenue for just average fans to try to cash in on Phelps-mania -- the trading card market.

There is one official Phelps trading card -- it was produced by Donruss -- and there are two types, the signed and the unsigned versions.  There are 300 signed Phelps cards (right) and many more unsigned ones.  Phelps was one of a handful of "fans of the game" from sports and show business featured.  Phelps is a huge Ravens fan.

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According to a Donruss press release, before the Beijing Olympics, a signed Phelps card was going in the range of $30 to $60. In a three-day period as Phelps was marching toward the Olympic record, the price of the card climbed from $60 to $150 to $350.  At the moment, the card is being priced from $600 to $800, a Donruss spokesman said today.

The more common unsigned card is showing dramatic immediate appreciation as well.  It was a $2.50 card initially.  On eBay today, there are unsigned Phelps cards on sale from $10.49 (with the auction still in progress) up to more than $60 and one with a "buy it now" price of $150.

The card plays up Phelps' passion for the Ravens.  On the back of the card is Phelps' quote:  "After the Olympic Games in '04, all I wanted to do was catch a Ravens game!"

Be mindful that the collectibles market is highly volatile and prices can go up or down rapidly.

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