Topps will debut its “Rip Card” program in the soon-to-be released Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball series. The one “Rip Card” per case is a trading card within a trading card that could be concealing a hobby treasure.
At first glance, the “Rip Card” looks like a typical 2 ½ x 3 ½ baseball card, but upon closer inspection, collectors will find a small perforation on the card back with a message reading, “Keep it or Rip it”.
Why would a collector rip a high-end, state-of-the-art baseball card? The card within the card could be an original 1887 Allen & Ginter baseball card or a hand-painted 1-of-1 trading card from renowned sports artist Dick Perez
, the original artist of Donruss Diamond Kings and the official artist of the Philadelphia Phillies. Collectors could also find Autograph variations from the 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter set or an exclusive mini card found only in “Rip Cards”.
Why would a collector chose to preserve the “Rip Card” and turn down the opportunity to land a rare gem? Each “Rip Card” is a limited, sequentially numbered trading card featuring all-time greats such as Mickey Mantle
and Josh Gibson
The original 1887 Allen & Ginter N28 series, designed to advertise cigarettes, featured color lithographs of champions from seven different sports, including rowing, boxing, and baseball. These are believed to be the first nationally distributed baseball cards and became the most popular sports cards of the late 1800s.
Hall of Famer Cap Anson
, a 20-time .300 hitter, is the first baseball player highlighted in the set. Anson, often called baseball’s first superstar, accumulated five National League pennants and 1,200 wins as a player/manager primarily for the Chicago White Stockings/Colts.
Allen & Ginter cards in decent condition are extremely rare. An Anson card graded PSA-5, a high grade for a 119-year-old card, recently sold for $2,676 on eBay.
Baseball player, manager, owner Charlie Comiskey
is also featured. At the time the Allen Ginter set was released, Comiskey was one of baseball’s biggest names. He became the player/manager of the St. Louis Browns of the American Association in 1883 and won four consecutive pennants from 1885-1888. At the turn of the century, Comiskey was a co-founder of the American League and later owned the Chicago White Sox for 31 years. Hard-to-find PSA-5 versions of the Comiskey Allen & Ginter card sell for $1,400.
Although the modern-day hobbyist is conditioned to preserve baseball cards, the temptation of landing an 1800s baseball card will be too great. Expect most collectors to “rip it”. Unfortunately many highly collectible cards will land in the trash basket, while some rare century-old cards may never be discovered. Topps would better serve the hobby by offering the original Allen & Ginter cards in a redemption program.
Topps’s 2006 Allen & Ginter series will also feature baseball’s biggest names as well as other athletes such as Mike Tyson, Hulk Hogan, Danica Patrick, Carl Lewis, John Wooden,
and Brandi Chastain
with autographs and standard cards. Historical figures such as John F. Kennedy
will also be featured. Fifty one different autographs and 375 mini printing plates will be randomly inserted into packs.
Twelve-box cases (each box contains 24 seven-card packs) are pre-selling for $950. Look for Topps’s success with retro-theme sets featuring baseball stars and non-sports celebrities to continue with the 2006 Allen & Ginter.