This Week in Cards

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball is here. Is it possible that this is the most potent checklist yet? While Allen & Ginter is popular every year, Topps has shaken things up with lots of autographs from Hall of Famers. Names like Nolan Ryan, Carl Yastrzemski, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays are soaring.The autograph checklist is further strengthened by current stars like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder and Matt Kemp. There’s also a couple of hot first-time All-Stars: Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo.

The lineup of non-baseball Champions autographs is also stellar. And timely. Fresh off his seventh Wimbledon victory, Roger Federer is there. So too is Erin Andrews, who just signed a deal that brought her to FOX Sports. However, the card likely to get the most attention is that of Kate Upton, the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl.

The Ginter Code returns, this time centering on what appears to be a murder mystery. It also looks like Twitter will play a major role in helping someone crack the case.

Collectors can expect the base set to hold extremely well thanks in part to rookies of Bryce Harper, Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes. All three also have autographs. This is the first Harper rookie card that isn’t a short print.

Allen & Ginter isn’t the only hot new release of the week.

Topps also has 2012 Topps Inception Football. The big draw here is the rookie autographs. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and the rest of the 2012 rookie class all have several signatures to chase.

Upper Deck drops 2011-12 SP Authentic Hockey. While the numbered rookies and Sign of the Times autographs will be the draw for many, Upper Deck has announced a handful of surprises. A handful of cards that were intended for last year’s set make their first appearance. Upper Deck opted to leave them off the 2010-11 SP Authentic checklist to avoid redemption cards. Collectors can look for the following:

2010-11 SP Authentic Autograph Patch Cards:
Thomas Vanek
Devon Setoguchi
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

2010-11 SP Authentic Chirography:
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

2010-11 SP Authentic Marks of Distinction:
Jean-Sebastien Giguere ’10-11 MOD

2010-11 SP Authentic Sign of the Times:
Devon Setoguchi
Jamie Benn
Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Marty Turco
Ray Bourque
Thomas Vanek
Sidney Crosby
Mario Lemieux/Mark Messier/Steve Yzerman
Ryan Miller/Thomas Vanek/Tyler Myers

On the entertainment card front, Topps has Mars Attacks Heritage. Building off the franchise’s 50th anniversary, the base set is a reprint of the infamous 1962 set. Today, high-grade original Mars Attacks cards can go for thousands. The main draw in Mars Attacks Heritage are sketch cards. Inserted one per box, each has an original piece of artwork. Generally, those with color and lots of detail are more desirable than basic sketches.

Mars Attacks Heritage has good potential of bringing new collectors to the hobby. There’s a new comic that sold out quickly. The nostalgia will also entice some folks who collected the cards when they first came out. Mars Attacks will have a strong presence at this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con. This includes a nine-card promo card puzzle and a Saturday panel discussion.

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