The NFL season begins in four weeks, but for football card collectors the season is in full swing.
Fleer had its cards out before baseball's All-Star break, and collectors will have more lines to choose from this month.
Stadium Club, Action Packed, Upper Deck and SkyBox's Impact are scheduled for release this month. Only Stadium Club will be produced in two series. Upper Deck and Impact have rookie exchange insert cards.
Topps' Stadium Club will have 500 cards in two series. Both series feature 1993 draft picks. Super Team insert cards are potentially valuable. Collectors can win prizes if the team pictured wins its division, conference title or Super Bowl.
Action Packed, with its 204-card set, has a new design. Players who changed teams will appear in their old uniforms but with a "now with" logo and the helmet of their new team. They will wear the proper uniforms in the rookie-update set.
Action Packed is the exclusive card of the Quarterback Club and has an 18-card subset featuring star quarterbacks.
Upper Deck's NFL cards have also been redesigned and printed on whiter, heavier paper. There will be 530 cards, no update set and no factory sets. Subsets include top rookies in their pro uniforms, season leaders and Chris Berman's picks for the 10 best skill-position players.
Upper Deck borrows the "Trade Upper Deck" card from last year's NBA set. This insert card will be redeemable by mail for a six-card set featuring rookies Drew Bledsoe, Rick Mirer, Garrison Hearst, Marvin Jones, Curtis Conway and Jerome Bettis.
SkyBox, with its second-year Impact series, also is adapting its exchange card to football. Collectors who find randomly inserted rookie exchange cards can redeem them by mail for a set of up to 29 cards. The exchange set will include all first-round draft picks signed by Sept. 6 in their pro uniforms.
The set includes a 12-card subset honoring Jim Kelly, John Elway, Dan Marino and nine other stars from the 1983 draft. All 400 cards have also been issued in foil-stamped versions, and one will be in each pack. Impact brings back Jim Kelly and Magic Johnson for an insert set featuring their favorite 11 skill-position players.
Card Collector version 3.0 allows users to track cards by team and keep transaction histories. Version 3.0 is available for DOS and Windows. Call (800) 545-9009 for information. . . . Collectors can get daily price quotes through SportsNet and Sports Card Trader. The guide will report "retail" buy/sell prices of cards dating to 1909. For information, call (800) 821-9275.
Upper Deck goes to school
Through a licensing agreement with Mead Products, Upper (( Deck card designs will be featured on a variety of school supplies: backpacks, binders, portfolios and notebooks.
Today, card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.
Friday-Sunday, Tuff Stuff Summer Classic (expected signers include Jim Bouton, Catfish Hunter, Stan Musial, Tommy John and Joe Namath), Virginia State Fairgrounds, Richmond, (804) 266-0140.
Saturday, card show and auction to benefit Kidney Foundation of Maryland (expected signers include Baysox Gregg Zaun, Stanton Cameron, Terry Farrar and Brad Tyler), Memorial Stadium Designated Hitters Lounge, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 235-2526.
CARD OF THE WEEK
Classic's second NFL-licensed set, NFL Pro Line Collection, is due this month. There are 450 cards, including 50 rookies. (Shown is Troy Aikman.) Insert cards include foil-stamped cards, illustrated cards and NBA draft preview cards. Autographed cards are also randomly inserted.