2011 Goodwin Champions Art Cards – Presidential Masterpieces

30 07 2011

This idea takes what Topps did in Gypsy Queen with Original Art cards and puts a different spin on it.  Upper Deck hired artists to create original on-art paintings on each card for each president.  They even did the current one – at the time I scheduled this post, the only Obama on ebay had a bid of $400.  There are 10 of each card, and the first numbered card has a gold painted side.  The cards are signed on the back by the artist Jared Kelley (see his website here), and also Kelly Akins (I think this is his website).

Presidential Masterpieces Art Cards – 44 cards (#/10)

Overall – I think this was a really cool idea.  Just like with Topps for the Gypsy Queen original art cards, I wish they would have done regular-card reproductions of these cards as an insert set (non-painted).  This would have been popular way to make these cards more accessible to every collector, and would have made the actual painted cards even more popular.  I pulled the Lincoln above from my first box – it’s one of the best pulls I’ve ever made.  Since I’m thinking about selling it – here’s a huge picture of it front and back so I’ve at least got it on my computer permanently!

2011 Goodwin Relics / Autos – Presidents, Horses, Insects and some sports, too

29 07 2011

2011 Goodwin Champions has tons of relics and autos, and as with every other set I’ve bought – I’ll cover each of the possible pulls.  Just like Topps did with A & G, a lot of these aren’t even sports based.  Most of the info below can be found here with an update here.


Memorabilia– 51 cards (1:20 overall; 1:22 to 1:14,613)

The Goodwin relics and autographs are inserted based on a tiered system.  The standard memorabilia relics are set into four tiers – most of them aren’t any kind of crazy pull, but there are three presidents (both Roosevelts and Truman) in the highest tier.  They contain pieces from the White House when those presidents were in office.

Dual Swatch Memorabilia– 11 cards (1:320 overall; 1:585 to 1:87,680)

More rare than the single relics are the dual version – there are five tiers of these.  Again, the presidential one (Teddy Roosevelt) is far rarer than the other four tiers.  Tiger Woods is in the 4th tier – his dual relic is 8,768.

Museum Collection – 9 cards (1:2,237 overall; 1:4,473 to 1:54,800)

The rarest of the memorabilia cards are from the Museum Collection relics.  These cards include historical artifacts related to everything from Abe Lincoln, Annie Oakley, 2 items from the White House, Napoleon, Lyndon Johnson, Horatio Nelson, the Spirit of St. Louis, and Edward the 8th.


Autographs – 84 cards (1:20 overall; 1:35 to 1:1,577)

The autographs are inserted in 6 tiers, and feature the same picture as the base card.  The most notable signer is probably Michael Jordan, but he isn’t in the rarest grouping.  Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are, as is Tiger.

Is it weird that every time I see this guy’s card, I think of Gimli in Fellowship of the Ring?

“I’d say we’re taking the long way around.  Gandalf, we could pass through the Mines of Moria.”

Except then I realized that what I thought was an “I” is really an “A”.  He should change his name, and he should hit higher than .170 at A-ball if he has a card in this set.

Sports Royalty – 9 cards (1:2,600 overall; 1:3,247 to 1:48,711; hobby only)

Upper Deck also inserted cards of other Athletes with a completely different design and an actual action photo (not a lithograph) from the base set.  Only 3 (Julius Erving, Steve Young, John Elway) are in the base set, while 6 others are not (Glen Rice, Bob Griese, Clinton Portis, Peyton Manning, William “The Fridge” Perry, Sasha Cohen).  Except for Cohen, all photos are from their college days.  The Manning and Young are the rarest pulls.


Thoroughbred Haircuts – 2 cards (? odds)

Upper Deck inserted actual cuts of hair from two champion thoroughbreds.  2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and 2007 Preakness winner Curlin both have cuts inserted.  There are two versions of each card – one is a “portrait” view of the horse’s face, while the other is a full shot of the horse standing up.

Animal Kingdom Patches – 100 cards (1:62 overall; 1:78 to 1:14,613)

Upper Deck released 100 patch cards of different animals – these are very thick.  Some look very cool and distinct, while the one I pulled is a bit hard to tell what the patch is really supposed to picture.  These inserts are tiered based on how endangered the species is.  The Bald Eagle is card #1, in the category of “not in danger”.  The rarest category is called “extinct / mythical” contains three cards – the Chupacabra, the Do-Do Bird, and the Saber-Toothed Cat.  On a random note – I’m really surprised there were no dinosaurs here?  Two things I’d have done differently here – first, they have extinct species, but no mention of dinosaurs?  C’mon, that’s an easy one!  Second – this would be a cool set to have created a 100-card insert set of, and then the patches as the “patch variation”.  I wish they did this on these type of sets – it’s out of the realm of possibility for most collectors to get the patches, but I bet a 100-card set would actually do quite well on the secondary market.

Entomology – ? cards (? odds)

Back this year are hand-made cards with real insects in them.  These aren’t inserted in packs, but are available if you pull a redemption.  I honestly don’t know what my wife would say if I came home with one of these cards.

2011 Goodwin Champions variations and parallels

28 07 2011

The original Goodwin Champions set didn’t have anything as far as variations go – but Upper Deck has added one type of variation in both its 2011 and 2009 sets – the lightning/moonlight SPs (2011/2009).  This year’s short printed variations have lightning in the background.  This is a tribute to the original set, as a number of cards had such backgrounds (though they weren’t variations).  There are 10 such cards in the 2011 set, and they range from Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods to King Kelly to new Bengals rookie A.J. Green (the latter two whose lightning variation I have picked up).  The cards are inserted 1 per case, or 1:320 packs.

Upper Deck also inserted something called a “reveal” variation of one card – that of former base-stealing record-holder Lou Brock.  The regular card shows Brock in a suit looking at something off-camera.  The “reveal variation” shows him alongside President Jimmy Carter in 1979.  This is an interesting photo to choose – Brock had just become a member of the 3,000 hit-club, and was offended when Carl Yastrzemski, but not Brock, was invited to visit the White House for the same milestone.  It wasn’t actually the fault of Carter or the White House – it’s just a Massachusetts senator had extended the invite to Yaz, while no Missouri senator had done the same.  The issue was remedied, and now we have this picture.  This card was inserted 1 in 6 cases – or 1:1,920 packs!

base card

"Reveal" variation

Upper Deck also has a number of parallel sets – all of the miniature variety.  Parallel minis of cards #1-150 can be found, and from there it gets a little more complicated.  Each mini card, including the 21 cards #’d 211-231 (that are only found as minis) has a black bordered mini with either a “lady luck” or “magician” backs, a silver foil version of the mini and a gold foil “presidential back” mini.  Minis come every other pack in total.

Mini – 150 cards (~1:3 per pack)

Mini Black “Lady Luck” back – 171 cards (~1:10 per pack)

Mini Black “Magician” back – 171 cards (#/9)

Mini Silver Foil – 171 cards (~1:24 per pack)

Mini Gold “Presidential” back – 171 cards (#/1)

That Tiger Woods sold for $1,500 on eBay.  That seems more than a little steep.

Upper Deck also produced printing plates (because no card company can abstain from producing these things).  I actually bid on a Tony Perez one, but wasn’t willing to go over 20 bucks.  Anyways, these are all 1/1, 4 different versions.  So actually more like 4/4.  Or, if you’re like me and have never owned one, 0/0.

Mini Printing Plates – 171 cards (#/1) – Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow

2011 Goodwin Champions Inserts and Box Topper

27 07 2011

Upper Deck only included 2 “standard” insert sets into packs of 2011 Goodwin Champions.  One is sport specific, the other is history specific.  Same as always, what I’m calling “standard” are sets that don’t parallel the base and don’t have relics or signatures.  You get one of each of these per hobby box – or 1:20 packs each.

There is also a box topper inserted 1 per hobby box.

Figures of Sport  (18 cards, 1:20) – These die cut cards of sports heroes have backgrounds that are intended to look 3D, and actually work pretty well.  The last 4 are a different design (Nolan Ryan, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky) and I believe are more difficult to pull.

Goodwin Citizens (11 cards, 1:20) – This set has a black border and gray photos of famous contributors to world history, from Gandhi to Louis Pasteur.

World Traveler (25 cards, 1 topper per hobby box) – These 20 cards measure 5″ x 7″ and feature different landmarks throughout the world.

Goodwin Reds Champions

26 07 2011

2011 Goodwin Champions features cards of 2 Big Red Machine players – Johnny Bench and Tony Perez.  Both players are featured in a base card:

and in an autographed version of that card (I’ve got both of these now!):

Since they have a base card, they also have 5 miniature parallel versions: a black mini “Lady Luck” parallel, a silver foil mini parallel, a black mini “Magician” parallel, and a gold mini “Presidential” parallel.  They also have 4 printing plates each.

Silver Foil

Black Border

So, all told – Bench and Perez each have 11 total cards, 7 if you don’t count printing plates, with 1 autograph each.  I’ll be collecting the autographs (Bench is on the way!), and 3 minis each – no magicians, presidents or printing plates for me.

Of note – A. J. Green the Bengals first round pick out of Georgia, is also in the set.  He has a lightning variation, which I’ll try to pick up, and the same parallels as noted above.

King Kelly is the first card in the set.  In part because the stories about him seem quite awesome and in part because he did play a year for the American Association Cincinnati team called the “Kelly’s Killers”, I will be collecting his lightning variation and the minis for him as well.  That team was formed when the Reds bolted the AA for the National League in 1891.

There are no Reds (Champions or not) in the 1888 Goodwin set, however, Bob Caruthers, King Kelly and Ed Andrews all played one season in Cincinnati.  Caruthers played for the Reds in 1893, while Andrews played for “Kelly’s Killers” in 1891.

In the mail – Writer’s Journey & Night Owl

25 07 2011

Well, first off – I need to correct a previous post.  I unfortunately didn’t make it to Cooperstown this weekend.  After we got back from the Cayman Islands, my wife and I both had caught a chest cold, and there was just too much to do before getting back to the real world.  So I’ve missed two years in a row.  I did watch the speeches, and as usual, they were all very good.  Rickey Henderson’s still is my favorite – but I’m partial as he’s one of my favorites.  I’ll have to go next year – when Larkin hopefully gets inducted!

So instead of posting today about my time in Cooperstown, I’ll post about some cards I got in the mail while I was on vacation.  When I got back, I had 3 packages waiting for me from fellow bloggers.  The first was from Jason at the Writer’s Journey.  Totally unsolicited, Jason sent me a few cards I need from 88 through 90 Topps, and he also sent me some Kahn’s Reds cards – I believe these are the cards you can get as a giveaway at a specific Reds game once a year (or, at least, that’s what they used to be).  It was great to get those – so thanks Jason!  I’m sending out a random packet of Reds cards back to you today.

The Rijo and Bench 1990 Topps cards look weird next to each other.

Next up, I also got some cards from Night Owl.  This was not nearly as “unsolicited” – I read a post where Greg had said “I always pull Topps Gold cards of Reds”.  So I said – “I like Topps Gold cards of Reds”.  Greg also sent over some Topps cards I need, and some Gypsy Queens from my wantlist.  Greg – I’m sending you some cards today as well.  Thanks!

2011 Goodwin Champions – basketball, hockey and more baseball

23 07 2011

There aren’t any basketball or hockey players in the original Goodwin set, but there’s a literal Mount Rushmore in the 2011 set of greats from both sports.

In basketball – you’ve got the greatest that ever lived in MJ, the best player in today’s game (I don’t care about last year’s finals, that doesn’t change the fact that Lebron is better than everyone else), the winningest player of all in Bill Russell, the best rivalry in Magic and Larry, themselves top-10 players, “The Logo” Jerry West, and even the founder of the game, Dr. James Naismith.  And they classified this as a baseball set?

I don’t know a lot about hockey, but I’m pretty sure that if you asked a bunch of experts for the top 3 players in the game’s history, you’d probably get back these 3.  Add to that the guy the championship trophy’s named after.  I’d say these are the two best represented sports in this set.

Just like they do in other sports, this year’s Goodwin Champions set has quite a few baseball greats.  Not as many historically significant players as they do in basketball or hockey, but the set does have:

  • the greatest catcher of all-time
  • the best third baseman of all time
  • one of the best outfielders ever, with 3,630 hits
  • the all-time strikeout king and baddest man on earth
  • the winningest pitcher since Warren Spahn
Mattingly isn’t quite in the others category, but he’s interesting because, as manager of the Dodgers, he’s the only baseballer who is in this set and also in some licensed sets that Topps has come out.

Heading for the Hall

22 07 2011

Well, it looks like I’ll be going up to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame.  I moved to northern New Jersey over a year ago and promised myself I’d go to every induction while I lived here.  I broke that promise in the first year because it was the only weekend my parents could come visit.  I again made it tough on myself this year – I’m in the Cayman Islands right now for vacation with my wife and some friends, but we get back late tonight.  I was hoping to get up early Saturday, drive the 3 hours to Cooperstown and spend Saturday and Sunday there.  I think I’m just going to do Sunday instead – I was hoping to find a hotel an hour away, but literally can’t find  anything within 2 hours for this weekend.  I knew it would be that way – I just didn’t think it’d be quite that bad.

If anyone is gonna be there, I’ll be the guy wearing the bright yellow A’s Rickey Henderson jersey.  Unless of course I decide to wear my Eric Davis 1990 jersey – but probably going to go with Rickey.

Also, here’s a brief update on the future happenings of this blog of note.  I just ordered some Allen & Ginter to participate in Gint-A-Cuffs III – so I’ll be collecting that as well.  I’ll post my box for that in the middle of next week – but will then return to finish up my Goodwin Champions posts.  Then I’ll go back to a few posts of Ginter.  I’m not going to do the full-blown old/new comparisons on Ginter like I did for Heritage, Gypsy Queen and Goodwin.  Why?  First off, I am definitely collecting Topps Legacy, which comes out in less than 2 weeks.  I will definitely be doing some comparison posts there – very excited about figuring that out.  So I was originally pondering skipping Ginter for now and collecting it at a much later date.  Because there are only 2 years of original A & G sets – and this is the 6th year Topps has done this.  I can certainly do these comparisons when/if (probably when) I collect the 2006-2010 sets.  I will be doing the overall post of the current year Ginter set and some posts on the description of inserts / autos / parallels.

So, in summary, here’s the likely output over the next few weeks (this helps ME organize it more than anything :-] ):

  • An update on the Hall of Fame trip
  • A box of Ginter posted as soon as I receive it and open it
  • Finish up Goodwin Champions
  • Posts on Ginter
  • Posts on Topps Legacy
  • A couple posts on the Topps Diamond Give-away
  • Finally followed up by a triumphant return to the purpose of this blog – collecting Topps sets since the day I was born; I’ll be picking back up at 1990

2011 & 1888 Goodwin Champions – Golf and Tennis

21 07 2011

When looking into, I was surprised that athletes of these two sports are both only in 1 set.  Tennis players were included in the 1888 set, but there were none in this year’s set.  On the flip side, the 2011 set has golfers, but there were none in the 19th century set.

First, I’ll start with the tennis, or “lawn tennis” as it’s depicted in the set.  There are four players, all shown below.  Two of them are Hall of Famers.  Richard Sears was the first great U.S. tennis player.  He won the inaugural U.S. tennis national championship, and in fact won the first 7.  He also won 6 doubles titles in a row.  5 of those were with James Dwight, who was known as the “Father of American Lawn Tennis” for bringing the sport from Europe back to the states, and ultimately serving as the first President of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association.

Golf in the 2011 set features the best female and male star of our generation, both of whom are in the argument for the greatest ever.  Additionally, there is a card of Harry Vardon, who won the U.S. Open (1900) once and the British Open 6 times (spanning 1896 to 1914).  He was the best player golf had seen since Young Tom Morris.  By the way, Tom Morris is in the set on a card with his dad.  It’s an SP card I don’t have yet and wasn’t able to pull a good picture of.

The first football card & 2011 Goodwin football cards

20 07 2011

The 1888 Goodwin Champions contained the first football card, that of Yale captain Henry Beecher.  I looked into this card a little bit at first, then found some things worth digging further on.  First, I typed in “Yale” and “Beecher” in a couple of search engines and came up with Edward Beecher, who graduated from Yale in 1822 and was the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe – the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Harriet, Edward and their many other siblings were born much earlier, but it seemed likely that the Beecher on this card who played football at Yale was related to the Beecher family of the pre-Civil War era who haled from Connecticut. I found a number of different websites, but the one with the best summary of what I found is linked here.  Apparently Beecher Stowe was this Beecher’s great Aunt, as Henry Beecher’s Grandfather was her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, who was probably the second most famous priest from that era.

The 2011 set also had some football players – in this case some true legends of the gridiron.  The set has the greatest receiver of all time, the running back I’d argue is the greatest ever, and two of the 3 Hall of Famers from the quarterback class of 1983.