Topps Magic is Making Me a Football Collector!

First let me say that I’ve never really collected football cards.  I’ve watched football all my life and played all the way through high school, but I never got into collecting football the way that I did baseball.  I have a few cards lying around – maybe 500 from the early ’90s – but I’ve never really been enticed to purchase any packs of cards.  Last week I changed my mind after seeing a box of Topps Magic busted on YouTube.  I loved the retro look of the cards and the college uniforms.  I decided that the next time I found myself in the card aisle at my local big box retailer, I’d pick up a pack or two to check them out for myself.  Here are the results of my first pack, from top to bottom:

157 LaMarr Woodley


It’s only fitting that the first Magic card I see in person is of a Michigan Wolverine.  Michigan is the team I grew up rooting for, mostly because their games were on TV every fall Saturday afternoon.  I’m still a huge fan, despite the tough times that have hit the program.  If I wasn’t already planning to try to build this set, I was after seeing this card.  I’m not sure if I’m going to go after the full mini set or not, but I will be chasing all parallels of the Michigan cards, the UVA cards, and Joe Flacco’s Delaware card.  I think Topps planted this card and two more Michigan cards in the other three packs I purchased just to get me hooked into this set.

59 DeShawn Wynn


The design on these cards, which is derived from the original 1951 Topps Magic, is pretty similar to 1951 Bowman baseball, with the addition of the position and the college team nickname.  The black bar is also centered at the bottom of the Magic design, as opposed to off to the left on the Bowman cards.

191 John Carlson


123 Justin Vargas Mini


You may have noticed the very bland backgrounds of all of these cards.  The vast majority of the cards that I have seen feature mostly grass with maybe some shrubbery or trees in towards the top.  Unfortunately, on this point Topps deviated from the original 1951 cards, which had a lot of character in the backgrounds.  Hopefully this is just an anomaly among the cards that I have pulled from packs.

186 Philip Rivers


159 LenDale White


On the closer inspection afforded by my scanner, it appears that most of the faces on these cards are pretty lifeless, much like 2009 Goudey.  Granted that his face is behind a facemask, but Philip Rivers really only has eyes.  Even LenDale White’s face is a little flat compared to the rest of his body.  Overall though, I really like this set and I’m going to attempt to put the set together.  However, Topps has made that task very, very difficult.  Both retail and hobby have a 1 in 3 insertion rate for the short prints.  However, according to the officially released checklist, there are 50 SPs among the 250 base cards.  Given nearly impossible perfect collation, that’s 150 packs for the short prints.  Retail has roughly 4 base cards a pack, so you should be able to make 3 complete short sets before you complete the SP set.  Right now I have 2 SPs, so I’m 4% of the way there!  This heavy SP load surprises me, given that Topps seems to have found the right balance in both Allen & Ginter and Topps Heritage.  Both of these baseball sets feature robust SP lists, but at a ratio that makes completing the set both possible and challenging at the same time.  Back later with the goodies from 4 more packs of Magic.


One Response to Topps Magic is Making Me a Football Collector!

  1. Mike says:

    You can see the entire original 1951 Topps Magic set here:

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