Card buyers get two choices from Topps

Regular or premium?

If collectors decide to fill up with Topps, that's their choice.


Again this season, Topps offers two grades of football cards -- its traditional regular line and its premium Stadium Club.

Both sets nicely represent players covered by the NFL Players Association's licensing agreement. Topps will get you there economically, and Stadium Club does it with more style (and cost).


These are football brothers of the 1992 baseball sets.

Topps has 660 cards, and randomly inserted gold series cards that can double for collectors who want to try for the whole set in gold leaf. There's also a factory set that includes 20 gold series cards. The set includes a special Mike Utley card, giving his memories and a message to kids.

Like the baseball cards, these have white borders and 3-D boxes on front, plus shadow letters that look fuzzy in certain color combinations (red on yellow and white on lime). Backs feature stats and a clean look marred by a half-inch deep color photo of the player's home stadium. The photos are muddy, making the stadiums barely recognizable.

Stadium Club, with 600 cards in two series, remains borderless. A skills rating system replaces last year's scouting report.

Photos in both sets are generally good. Topps has more pictures of players standing around, but its horizontal photos are superior to those on Stadium Club cards. Notable examples are Calvin Williams pointing a finger in the air and Thurman Thomas stretching for extra yardage. The most disappointing card

might be that of Neal Anderson, who is shown being helped up after being knocked on his rear end -- not the picture people usually have of him.

Its borderless format enhances Stadium Club's photos. Some to savor: Marcus Allen in full Heisman flight; following Tim McKyer's eyes off the card; Art Monk watching the ball as it heads for his outstretched arms; Jesse Solomon in a close-up sideline portrait; and kickers in every stage of the act of kicking.

Look for reproductions of rookie cards on Stadium Club backs again. Where this is a player's first Topps card, it is duly noted on the back. Granted, offensive linemen are often overlooked, but the case of Ron Hallstrom is ridiculous. With straight face, we are told "Has not missed a non-strike game (140 straight) since he was a rookie in 1982" while being shown his 1992 Stadium Club rookie card. Maybe Topps never figured he'd stick.


Olympic memorabilia

Longtime Olympic collector John Kinnaman is now selling Games memorabilia, too. He has pins, posters, medals and other artifacts from all the modern Olympics at his stall, Treasures of the Games, at Savage Mill. He's in Antique Center 3, the Old Weave Building.

Impact holograms by mail

Collectors who want to add to their SkyBox Impact holograset should check today's coupon section. An order blank allows them to receive one of four holograms for three Impact wrappers and $1.99. Holograms of Jim Kelly and Lawrence Taylor are randomly inserted in packs, and the new cards feature Ricky Ervins, Pat Swilling, Mark Rypien and Christian Okoye.

On, you Huskies

Pacific Trading Cards is honoring 100 years of University of Washington football with a 110-card set. Among the stars featured are Hugh McElhenny, Sonny Sixkiller and Don Heinrich. The set will be limited to 2,500 cases and available in foil packs of 10. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the cards will benefit the university and the Don James Endowment Fund for athletic scholarships.


Upcoming events

Today, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26 S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.

Today, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

Saturday, baseball card show to benefit Anne Arundel Community College scholarship, Anne Arundel CC, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 544-3341.

Saturday-Sunday, baseball card show, Cranberry Mall, Westminster, during mall hours.

Sunday, baseball card show, Freedom District Fire Hall, Sykesville (Route 32 between I-70 and Route 26), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.