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 TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Collect call: 2013 Bowman football
Posted Jun 18, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 02:03 AM
While opening a hobby box of 2013 Bowman football, visions of Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” album (or CD, if you want to get modern about songs released in 1978) kept popping into my head.
Well, picture this: one way or another, Bowman football should scratch a collector’s itch about rookies — and parallels. The hobby box I opened yielded 82 parallels, or about one-third of the cards in the box. Another third — 80 cards — were rookie base cards.
There are 110 veteran cards and 110 rookies in the base set, plus a special Leon Sandcastle rookie card designated No. 221. A hobby box will have 10 packs with 25 cards per pack. There is something really nice about opening a thick pack of cards; this year’s model feels like 10 small bricks. Nice idea.
Topps is promising four autograph cards and a relic in every hobby box, so on average, a collector will get a nice hit every other pack.
But first, the parallels. There were 20 base parallels — or two in every pack — plus 35 rookie parallels.
There was one dark blue parallel of Packers tight end Jermichael Finley was numbered to 99. There were two orange parallels numbered to 299, of Arizona rookies Andre Ellington and Alex Okafor. Then throw in three gold rookie parallels, numbered to 399, of Spencer Ware (Seahawks), Damontre Moore (Giants) and Khaseem Greene (Bears).
A lighter shade of blue parallel cards are numbered to 499 — the box I sampled contained rookies Jarvis Jones (Steelers), Arthur Brown (Ravens) and Dennis Johnson (Texans). The final numbered parallel was a rainbow foil of Ravens defensive end John Simon, numbered to 99.
A hobby box also will contain two silver ice parallel cards, and black rainbow foil parallels are supposed to average one per pack.
Expect three die-cut cards per hobby box. The box I sampled had some big names: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch — plus, a card of Steelers linebacker Troy Polamalu, numbered to 25. Collectors will be able to chase down 50 different die-cuts.
There are 110 mini rookie cards to be found in the set, and a typical hobby box will yield 10 of these. There also are 80 different autographed minis, with red parallels numbered to five.
As promised, Topps delivered four autographs in the hobby box I opened, all of them rookies. Two of them were chrome refractors of Eric Fisher and Dennis Johnson, while the other two were blue chrome refractors of Luke Joeckel and Eric Reid, numbered to 99. All were signed on the card with Sharpies; Johnson’s is certainly picturesque with a squiggle in his first initial and flowing curves throughout; Reid’s is interesting too, and it sure would be hard to copy. The cards themselves (autograph, relic, base and parallel) are airbrushed to eliminate the college football markings on each player’s uniform, since Topps does not own the NCAA license.
There are 45 different relics to be found in Bowman football. The card I pulled was of retired Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, with a nice purple swatch. It’s also printed on a thicker card stock, which is a plus.
In addition to the 80 rookie base cards, the hobby box I opened contained 68 veterans. While it does not appear that the designs vary for veteran and rookie cards, a closer inspection does reveal some differences. For example, the photos that frame the fronts of rookie cards totally circle the image; veterans cards have a more-sharper, angled frame around the photos. Also, the numbers on the back of the base cards are black against a white background, while rookie cards have white numbers against a two-toned gray background. The same framing designs also hold true for the backs of veteran and rookie cards.
When it comes to showcasing football rookies, Bowman’s effort is generally unparalleled. The same holds true in the 2013 version.