Like I said a few posts ago, I really should go back to posts on my Topps project. I’m actually done opening up 1997 and 1998, so knocking out posts for 1997 would be a good way to pass the time on this blog until Heritage gets released. Should-a, could-a, would-a. I bought a box of Panini Golden Age in a couple of weeks ago, and had fun opening. It has retro set inserts. I’m a sucker for retro sets. I particularly like when the basis is(are) set(s) I don’t know much about and thus can learn more about them. So here’s a series of posts about Panini Golden Age. Interestingly, the posts I’m going to use as a “template” for this product are 2011 Topps Lineage – a set that has its own design (for better or worse), but has insert sets based on older, oddball card sets.
146 cards in the set. This product seems geared as Panini’s version of Allen & Ginter – mostly baseball, with some Americana and athletes from other sports included. The difference is these are all retired players and older historical figures.
- Subsets: None.
- Set Design: The set itself has the look and feel of a Tobacco era design, but doesn’t have any lineage to a previous set. There is a light cream color border surrounding an oval, black and white image. The player name and position (or figure’s name and relevance) are in a gold-colored box at the bottom, with a red Panini Golden Age logo just above that.
- Packs: Cards are available in 6-card hobby packs, running around $3 SRP per pack.
- Rookies: N/A – it’s a retired players only set.
- First & Last Active Player: Ty Cobb and Ed Cicotte both made their debut for the Detroit Tigers in 1905. Cobb’s debut (August 30) was two days earlier than Cicotte – they were minor league teammates. It’s worth noting two things – first, Nap Lajoie isn’t in the base set, but he has an insert and a relic card, and he debuted in August, 1896. Also, if you include athletes, not just baseball players, Battling Nelson is in the base set and made his professional boxing debut in 1896 at the age of 14. The last active player in the set is Vida Blue, who finished his playing career on October 2, 1986 – just outlasting Tom Seaver (September 19) and Pete Rose (August 17) who finished up their playing careers the same season. Similar asterisks go here – Gary Carter, who finished his career in 1992, has a memorabilia card but no base card. Also, Richard Petty is in the base set; he competed in his final NASCAR Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1992.
- Variations: 25 of the cards have picture variations; the variants come about 2 per case and have an announced print run of 92. There is also a white border parallel of those 25 variations that had an announced print run of 10. I guess that means the white border variations come 1 every 4-5 cases.
- Hall of Fame:There are 44 (or 46) baseball Hall of Famers in this set:
- Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Eddie Collins, Burleigh Grimes, Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmy Fox, Arky Vaughn, Charlie Gehringer, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Early Wynn, Buck Leonard, Ralph Kiner, Bill Dickey, Eddie Mathews, Hal Newhouser, Stan Musial, Phil Rizzuto, Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, Red Schoendienst, Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Bill Mazeroski, Willie McCovey, Warren Spahn, Jim Bunning, Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski, Luis Aparicio, Earl Weaver, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Frankie Frisch, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Nolan Ryan, Reggie Jackson
- if you count Ford Frick winners, Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek give you two more.
- Nellie Fox, Gary Carter, Brooks Robinson, Billy Williams, Yogi Berra, Harry Heilman, Honus Wagner and Nap Lajoie are included as inserts in the product.
- Banned list guys Pete Rose, Joe Jackson and the rest of the 1919 Black Sox are included in the set.
The hobby box black and red background with a big boxed “Panini Golden Age” logo in red with a gold border. The logo for the National Baseball Hall of Fame is also featured on the box, along with a bit of advertising saying you’ll find stuff from athletes and newsmakers from the “Golden Age of America”, which apparently encompasses anything from the early 1900’s to 1979.
All but one of the full parallel sets issued in this product are mini cards. There is one mini card per pack – with 6 different backs. These back differences generally pay tribute to the different backs that tobacco era cards had. The “common” insert is the Broad Leaf brown backs – the font and design in the same fashion as “Broad Leaf cigarettes” backs from the famous T206 set. There is also a red Croft’s Candy back, which pays tribute to the E92 set issued to promote candy by Allen & Croft Co. from Philadelphia. The Broad Leaf and Croft’s backs also come in versions with blue ink. There is also a back that says “Ty Cobb King of the Smoking Tobacco World”, which pays tribute to the very rare Cobb/Cobb T206 card which was a promotion for a Ty Cobb brand of tobacco. There are also two types of 1/1 parallels – a black border, Panini logo back mini, and a full size black parallel.
- Broad Leaf Brown Minis – 146 cards.
- Croft’s Candy Red Minis – 146 cards
- Broadleaf Blue Minis – 146 cards
- Croft’s Candy Blue Minis – 146 cards
- Ty Cobb Minis – 146 cards. The king of the Smoking Tobacco World!
- Panini Black Mini – 146 cards (#/1)
- Aqueous Black – 146 cards (#/1)
There is also a partial parallel set of cards #141-146. As mentioned above, this same parallel is also available for the 25 picture variations, though there are only 10 of those in existence.
- White Border – 46 cards (#/58)
The inserts of this set pay tribute to various oddball sets from the past.
- Newark Evening World Supplement – 25 cards (1:24)
- This set really reaches to find an old, oddball set. It honors the 1907 Newark Evening World Supplement set, a large inset (7.5″ x 11″) included as a supplement to the Newark newspaper. That set featured 15 cards from the Newark Sailors minor league team.
- Batter-Up – 25 cards (1:12)
- This pays homage to a much more famous set – the 1934-1936 Batter-Up cards. These cards were issued by National Chicle and are Die-Cut around the top half of the player’s silhouette so that they fold over and you can prop up – the same way Topps Stand-ups cards do.
- Headlines – 15 cards (1:12)
- These aren’t based on anything – they are famous headlines from the “Golden Age” time period.
- Honus Wagner T206 Reprint – 1 cards (1 per case)
- A reprint of one of the 2 most famous baseball cards in existence.
Every box comes with a topper – but there are two types of potential box toppers. One is in the theme of an old odd-ball set, the other is more of an Americana type set.
- Ferguson Bakery Pennants – 48 cards
- This carries the same design as a pennant set produced back around World War I that has been attributed to being included with a 5¢ loaf of Peerless Bread from Ferguson Bakery in Boston. From what I’ve read, the Ferguson part is in dispute a bit, but that’s what any card catalogs have this set list as. The original pennants were about 6 inches long, while these were made smaller to fit into the boxes. Panini created both blue and yellow versions of each “card”. From production numbers, these are much more common than the Movie poster box toppers.
- Movie Poster (regular cards #/60, memorabilia cards #/99)
- No card set throwback here – these 5 x 7 box toppers display an old school movie poster on one half and a “Now Showing” promotional wording on the other half. There are memorabilia versions and cards without relics – the ones with memorabilia are actually more common.
Relics and Autographs
- Historic Signatures – 50 cards (1:24)
- Historic Cut Signatures – 10 cards (#/1 to #/3)
- Triple Crown Winners Tribute Autograph – 1 card (#/20)
- Museum Age Memorabilia – 40 cards (1:24)
- The movie posters described above.