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Each year Topps’ Allen & Ginter Baseball is one of the most anticipated trading card products in the hobby. The set’s popularity stems from a diverse checklist of base cards, autographs and relics; Allen & Ginter is primarily a baseball card product, but also includes cards of actors, musicians, athletes and other pop culture personalities. Over the years, a handful of wrestlers have been included in Allen & Ginter products.
Topps’ Allen & Ginter brand is named after and designed to resemble the tobacco cards of the same name from the late-1800s, which also featured personalities from all walks of life. The biggest draws to the set are the framed mini autographs and relics: miniature cards trapped inside a traditional trading card-sized frame. There are also some signed traditional-size cards.
The 2019 version of Topps Allen & Ginter was just released on July 17. Here’s a look at four cool wrestling cards that have been included since the set’s 2006 debut, along with one historical tobacco card from 1887.
- Tiger Mask 2019 Topps Allen & Ginter Autograph and Relic Cards. Prior to 2019, collectors had to learn how to navigate Japanese websites in order to find certified autographed trading cards of Satoru Sayama, aka the original Tiger Mask. But in this year’s Allen & Ginter, Topps has included autographs and relics of Tiger Mask, making it a little bit easier for collectors to purchase cards of the Japanese legend. While most of the autographs from Allen & Ginter are framed mini cards, a handful each year are produced as full-size trading cards; that’s the case with Tiger Mask this year. In addition to the autograph, Topps has also included full-size relic cards that feature a piece of golden material with black highlights, perhaps from a cape or mask. It’s hard to say what value the 2019 Tiger Mask cards will have, but early on they’ll probably sell very high.
- Hulk Hogan 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter “Thunderlips” Mini Card. Hogan has appeared in both 2006 and 2015 Allen & Ginter, but it’s his 2015 card that really stands out. Hogan is identified on the card as “Thunderlips,” his famous character from the movie “Rocky III.” This was done in conjunction with a card of Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. The basic mini card is pretty easy to find, but there’s also a very rare signed version that Hogan signed with a “Thunderlips” inscription. Topps has not released a count for this card, but a 2015 article from Beckett.com stated that, “at least one will be inscribed with the name of Hogan’s character in Rocky III.”
- The Iron Sheik 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Framed Mini Autograph. One of wrestling’s most infamous personalities, the Sheik had autographs and relics in 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter. Both cards feature a modern picture of the Sheik with the NWA’s big gold belt draped over his shoulder. The full-sized relic card has a red piece of material worn by Sheik, and the framed mini autograph is signed simply “Sheik.”
- Shawn Michaels 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Framed Mini Autograph. Topps included autographs and relics of the “Heartbreak Kid” in its 2011 A&G product. The cards feature a 2010-ish picture of Michaels with a cowboy hat and sleeveless plaid shirt. The autograph card has a nice, clean autograph with an “HBK” inscription.
- William Muldoon 1887 Allen & Ginter The World’s Champions. Muldoon is hardly a household name with modern day wrestling fans, but he was a major attraction in the 1800s, headlining early shows at Madison Square Garden. This card is historic because it is quite possibly the oldest known wrestling trading card in existence. The 1881 Allen & Ginter set also included a card of Sorakichi Matsuda, an opponent of Muldoon’s and possibly the first Japanese pro wrestler.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN 5 COUNT: Five Questions for Trading Card Designer Martin Vander Pyle
Five Count is a new format for the Pro Wrestling Torch’s long-running collectibles column, which began in 2011. Each week will feature a new top five list: items of a particular wrestler, hot cards or figures, collectibles news items and more. If you have a topic you’d like to see covered in the new Collectibles Column 5 Count, contact Michael Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or @MMooreWriter on Twitter.