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Dream Team cards break baseball's holdCollectors returning...


Dream Team cards break baseball's hold

Collectors returning to summer staples

For a few golden weeks, the Dream Team pulled off an extraordinary feat. It turned the attention of collectors in baseball-crazy Baltimore to basketball in midsummer.

"Everybody wanted the Dream Team," says Robbie Davis of Robbie's First Base in Timonium. "Even the people who don't collect cards wanted the Dream Team."

Davis says he sold 50 boxes of SkyBox's Olympic basketball cards. Demand began with the Tournament of the Americas, and he's still selling them.

For the most part, he says, things are back to baseball, with people asking for Fleer Ultra and Leaf 2. He's also finding increased interest in cards from the 1950s and '60s and non-card memorabilia. "They want stuff everybody doesn't have."

In Baltimore, Don Bevans of All Star Cards has noticed that collectors are loyal to the seasons. "We were getting a lot of interest [during the Olympics]," he says. "Now that it's over, it's over."

It's been much the same for Chuck Hoffman at Doubleplay Sportscards in Pasadena. He sold lots of wax packs and had people trying to complete the 110-card set and also sold some Starting Lineup figures of the Dream Team. Now his customers are looking for Upper Deck high numbers and Pinnacle, especially the subsets Team Pinnacle and Idols.

"For a while, the Dream Team was pretty hot," says Tom Blair at Jay's Sports Connection in Towson. He began selling Olympic cards in June but has seen interest decline. Current want lists include the second series of Ultra and Leaf, Pinnacle, Upper Deck high numbers, Score and some not-so-old material: 1988 Donruss wax packs (Tom Glavine, Ron Gant and Gregg Jefferies rookie cards), 1986 and 1987 Topps sets and 1991 Topps traded (the Olympic team subset includes the Orioles' top draft pick, Jeffrey Hammond).

Matt Monius at Field of Dreams Sports Cards in Parkville is still getting requests for Olympic packs and singles. "They still buy 'em now just because the team was so great," he says. Baseball-oriented collectors are going after Pinnacle, Ultra and Leaf.

Some dealers barely noticed the Olympics.

"I think a lot of people were getting sick of [the Dream Team]," says Harry Sponseller at Straightaway Center in Glen Burnie, who has 1 1/2 boxes remaining of a case of Olympic cards. "I don't see it as being a major set down the road . . . because there was too much of it out there."

Like everyone else, his customers are interested in Ultra, Leaf and Upper Deck high numbers, especially the Heroes Highlight cards from the Heroes of Baseball card show.

At Baseball Card Outlet in Dundalk, Bill Tanner says, "[The Olympics] brought more interest [in basketball] than there had been," but most people were looking for baseball.

"I don't deal much with basketball," says Bob Fickus of Baseball Unlimited in Baltimore, who has been selling a lot of Triple Play jumbo packs, Upper Deck high numbers, Pinnacle and all brands of Mike Mussina.

Holograms minus one

SilverStar Baseball Holograms is switching from a six-card to a five-card series because of scheduling conflicts. The revised lineup for 1992 has Roger Clemens, Darryl Strawberry, Will Clark, Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey. The Clemens card was printed before the change, and its back says, "Card No. 1 of 6." The other cards will reflect the new number.

Fleer goes minor-league

Fleer has acquired minor-league card specialist ProCards of Pottstown, Pa., so this year's ProCards roster comes under the new logo Fleer ProCards.

There are 148 team sets ranging from Triple-A down to Rookie League. The 1992 cards have busy fronts bordered in wood grain, each with a bat and two balls as a frame and corners supplying name, position and team. Photo quality on three sample cards varied. Backs are basic -- statistics, biographical data and parent and farm logos.

ProCards was founded in 1985 and also has produced minor-league hockey and basketball sets. Fleer will be shipping to dealers through August, making it the first major card company with a minor-league issue.

Memory on the wall

If Kirk Gibson's game-winning home run in the first game of the 1988 World Series is a memory you could frame, do it. Bill Goff Inc. is offering 600 signed and numbered prints of the moment by Bill Purdom. The prints are 15 1/2 inches by 36 inches and are $190 (unframed). Call (800) 321-4633.

NHL All-Rookie Team

Upper Deck, which sponsors the award, will include a six-card subset of the 1991-92 NHL All-Rookie Team. Look for Dominik Hasek, Vladimir Konstantinov, Niklas Lidstrom, Kevin Todd, Gilbert Dionne and Tony Amonte on cards randomly inserted in NHL low series.

Upcoming events

Today, baseball card show, Hunt Valley Mall, during mall hours.

Sunday, baseball card show, Towson Sheraton (I-695, Exit 27A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

Sept. 12, baseball card show to benefit Pasadena Chargers youth football team, Earleigh Heights Fire Hall (Ritchie Highway, Severna Park), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (expected signer is Mike Devereaux), (410) 544-2077.

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