Goodwin Champions is without a doubt my favorite product we produce all year. I get such a thrill out of opening these packs because there is just so much different content to discover, you never know what you are going to get. And if you get one of the unique insert cards, they will instantly become one of the main talking points of your collection.
That being said, I sat in eager anticipation a couple weeks ago as the team shared images and content information on the 2012 Goodwin Champions set during our hobby summit meeting with our Authorized Distributors. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Upper Deck commissioned over 200 original oil paintings to be created for the set which helps to make the product so unique. And the checklist for this year is loaded with a variety of super star athletes along with some new names Upper Deck has recently come to terms on deals with like surfing legend Kelly Slater and motorsports icon Richard Petty.
One of the key additions to last year’s Goodwin Champions set was the inclusion of hand painted U.S. President art cards. These cards performed very well and it was great to see collectors work to put together a set of these rare works of art. We will be bringing back these cards, but with a different theme for 2012. Artists have been commissioned to create the original 50 cards from the 1888 Goodwin Champions set with each card being limited to just ten copies. The original 1888 Goodwin Champions set is widely regarded by aficionado’s of tobacco era trading cards as one of the most beautiful sets ever produced. The original cards feature stunning paintings that provided us with the inspiration to create a modern day version of the set. Additionally, the original set features two of the greatest baseball cards ever produced with the Cap Anson and King Kelly singles, the first-ever football card (Henry Beecher) and a slew of great boxing cards including the legendary John L. Sullivan.
The Museum Relics performed well last year as well and included some amazing pieces, but they lacked an overall theme. This year we’ve honed the checklist to focus exclusively on one of the biggest events in American history; the Civil War. We are still in the process of finalizing all the relics that will be featured in the set, but I have been blown away by some of the items coming in the office. Among the highlights of items we have obtained to date is a remnant of an 1864 Union Army battle flag that will produce some amazing fabric swatches in the set. Those will be placed in oversize cards resulting in a small group of truly historic pieces.
Additionally we have obtained some authentic buttons from Civil War uniforms, brass cavalry and infantry hat insignias, hammers from Civil War rifles, a soldier’s wallet and actual Confederate currency. These entire bills will be encased in an oversized shadowbox card. What makes these bills so cool to me is that they are each hand-signed twice and have a unique number hand-written on the top. These are almost 150 years old!
The most unique items we have acquired in my opinion are original Civil War ambrotypes. These are original photographs taken of Civil War soldiers and they were so fragile they were mounted in a small metal frame and kept in a protective case. We will be encasing these in a shadowbox presentation for the set.
“These ambrotypes are almost like looking at a ghost,” said Grant Sandground, Upper Deck product manager. “They put a human face on the Civil War in a very powerful way.”
Next week we will share more information and images about the 2012 Goodwin Champions set focusing on some of the “weird” content that makes the product so awesome! Stay tuned!