Long history of great HOF art cards …

   News releases this week touted the release of a new card series that carries the imprimatur of the Football Hall of Fame – the Bronze Bust Collector Card set.
   Each of the 150 limited-edition Bronze Bust Collector Card sets includes 253 hand-numbered cards depicting the sculpted bronze portrait bust of each Hall of Fame member. Additionally, more than 130 collector cards in each set are autographed by Hall of Famers, including Joe Montana, John Elway, Barry Sanders, John Madden, Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert and Dan Marino.
   The limited-edition Bronze Bust Collector Card set is offered at $5,000. Orders can be placed by calling the Hall of Fame at (800) 869-8207 or order online at www.Profootballhof.com.
   The press release notes that the Bronze Bust Collector Card series “represents the most exclusive card collection ever offered by the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” which I don’t doubt, but it called to mind another cool Football Hall of Fame art card series from 10 years ago that I was lucky enough to cover a bit for SCD.
   During the HOF induction ceremonies that summer Hall of Famer Ron Mix invited SCD to come to Canton to cover some of the signings of the NFL Hall of Fame Signature Series cards, a spectacular set of  4-by-6-inch art cards that feature elegant artwork and autographs by most of the Hall’s roster at the time. (I always feel silly adding the qualifier “living,” since that would seem to be obvious.)
   Anyway, that noble effort to raise monies for some of the Hall of Famers who might have fallen on hard times marked yet another important moment as some of the greatest names in the game’s storied past huddled up to try to help their comrades.
   It also added to a long legacy in the sports collecting hobby of capitalizing on spectacular original artwork as an autograph vehicle. This latest venture by the Hall of Fame also has historical precedent, since the Baseball Hall of Fame has recognized for 70 years the utility of using their HOF plaques as a vehicle for autograph collectors.
   In a future blog, I’ll look back at that wonderful visit to Canton 10 years ago that allowed me the chance to interview the likes of Otto Graham, Doug Atkins, LeRoy Kelly, Ted Hendricks, Bob Griese and a number of others.

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