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Collect call: 2012 Topps Magic football

Posted Feb 20, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Apr 6, 2013 at 08:43 PM

Topps is hoping to recapture some magic in its latest football set.







Topps Magic returns from last-year’s elitist, online-only product with the model that was successful in 2010. The 2012 version will contain a 220-card base set, 55 short prints, mini parallels and other inserts that set builders will enjoy.

A hobby box will contain 24 packs, with eight cards to a pack. That will include at least one mini parallel card and short-printed cards also can be found in every three packs. Topps is also promising three autograph cards in every hobby box. There is also a chance to pull relics and even coin-embedded cards from a pack. The odds are tough, though; a relic can be found in every 242 packs, while a rookie patch will be even more scarce — one in every 36,200 packs.

I really like the design of the card front. Each looks like a mini painting, and the attention to detail is very appealing. For example, the intensity in Reggie Bush’s eyes is clearly apparent on card No. 157. So are the intricate tattoos shown on the arms of Willis McGahee on card No. 2. The shield logo in the bottom left-hand corner of each card designates AFC or NFC, plus the team’s logo. The shield is a nod toward the 1955 Topps All-American set, although it is not as wide as the ’55 version.

The fronts are nice. The card backs are not too thrilling. I like to see player statistics and some kind of linear order to them. The card backs in Topps Magic have some good information, but it doesn’t thrill. Each card begins with a Magic Memoranda note and ends with a trivia question. The trivia answer is written in reverse type, so you either have to go to a mirror to read them or be adept in backward letter placement. Yes, I used a mirror for a few of them.

There were 134 base cards and eight short-printed cards in the box I opened, so approximately 61 percent of the base set and 15 percent of the SPs. On the negative side, there also was one duplicate card. Of course, it softens the blow a little bit when the card is of Joe Montana.

The box also contained 20 base mini cards and two short-printed ones, plus a black short-printed parallel of R.J. Raji. Black minis are seeded one per hobby box.

Topps hit its quota in the hobby box I sampled, with three autograph cards pulled from packs. The autographs are on stickers, but Topps framed them in such a way on the cards so they don’t look so out of place. It’s much more orderly this way. The autographs were penned with deep blue Sharpies and were distinct.

The insert cards were a diverse lot. The 1948 Magic minis had a feathered design to it, with the players’ names in white block capital letters against a light brown background. A hobby box will yield two of these cards, and there are 20 in the entire insert set. There are also 10 autograph versions of these cards that are numbered to five.

The Charismatic Combos inserts combine a quarterback and wide receiver in a design that shows the quarterback in the left panel of the card and the receiver in the right side. There will be two of these cards per hobby box.

The Rookie Enchantment inserts fall four to a hobby box. This 20-card subset showcases the player in an oval with a raised, felt paper-like purple border surrounding it with plenty of gold foil stamping. I do like the more traditional back with the player’s statistics from his senior year and his college career.

Supernatural Stars inserts are seeded six to a hobby box. Each card features a current star and includes information on that player’s most memorable highlights. And Magical Moments are seeded four to a box and feature milestones (and in the case of Jared Allen, a near-miss).

The coin set cards really intrigue me, and unfortunately there were none in the box I sampled. But the Gridiron coins contain 50 cards numbered to 10 and embedded with coins. This subset includes players like Bucs running back Doug Martin, quarterbacks Andrew Luck (Colts) and Robert Griffin III (Redskins), and running back Ray Rice from the Super Bowl champion Ravens.

Historical Coins is an eclectic mix, with sports figures like Babe Ruth, Gene Tunney and the Harlem Globetrotters mixed in among icons of entertainment (Charlie Chaplin, Popeye, Mickey Mouse), politics (Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt) and architectural achievements (Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Hoover Dam — and the Mother Road, U.S. 66).

It’s an attractive set, and relatively affordable in the $90 range for hobby boxes. Retail blaster boxes will contain eight packs. The design — at least on the front of the card — is detailed and should please collectors. Definitely a magical effort.

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