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Bob D’Angelo

Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.

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2012 Goodwin offers amazing slice of history

Posted Mar 9, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Mar 9, 2012 at 08:14 PM

I am a sucker for sets that have that retro, 19th century feel to them. I guess part of the reason is my love of history. I love seeing cards with famous people and events. That’s why I’ve always enjoyed Topps’ Allen & Ginter sets.

I get the same thrill when opening Upper Deck’s Goodwin Champions sets. And after looking at some of the prototypes for this year’s set, I have to admit that it’s a set I’d find exciting to collect.

In general, I tend to shy away from black border cards because they have a tendency to chip. But the base cards for the 2012 Goodwin set look so attractive with black borders, I can overlook the risk of chipping.

This year’s set will have some new names, too, including NASCAR legend Richard Petty and surfing champion Kelly Slater.

For me, one of the nice sidelights to the 2011 Goodwin set was hand-painted U.S. President art cards. Those cards will be back in 2012, but there will be a different theme. Like I’ve said, I love history, and especially U.S. presidents. So that’s a definite hook for me.

Upper Deck has hired some artists to create modern versions of the original 50 cards from the 1888 Goodwin Champions; each card will be numbered to 10.

The original 1888 Goodwin Champions is iconic and beautiful. This year’s set will try to match that beauty with cards of Cap Anson (shown in this post). The colors appear to be bold and vivid.

And since I love history, I am going to be very interested to see how Upper Deck packages the Civil War relics that they plan to put on selected Goodwin cards. The most exciting piece is a remnant of an 1864 Union army battle flag. Wish I knew that battle, but it really doesn’t matter. Talk about a piece of history. These relics will be placed in oversize cards, which will make for a nice collectible.

Upper Deck also obtained authentic buttons from Civil War uniforms, brass cavalry and infantry hat insignias, hammers from Civil War rifles and a soldier’s wallet (wonder if there will be Confederate money in it).

Oh yes, there will Confederate currency, with the entire bill encased in an oversized shadowbox card.

In addition to card collecting, one of my hobbies is genealogy. And my love for history and genealogy is really piqued by the Civil War ambrotypes that will be included in the 2012 Goodwin set. The ambrotypes are original photographs taken of Civil War soldiers. Very delicate, these photos were mounted in small metal frames and put in a protective case. Upper Deck also will put these relics in a shadowbox.

These photographs are so stark, that product manager Grant Sandground was moved to say in Upper Deck’s blog that the ambrotypes “are almost like looking at a ghost.”

“They put a human face on the Civil War in a very powerful way,” Sandground said.

And maybe —just maybe —wouldn’t it be something if the ambrotype was a photograph of one of your own ancestors? To me, that would almost be more valuable than a Honus Wagner card. Almost.

This set really has the potential to be something special.

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