Pop Culture in the Cards

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  • Collecting trading cards of various types is a popular, and often highly profitable, hobby. Some collectible cards are made to commemorate players of a game while other cards are a game unto themselves. There are many different types of trading cards that can be collected. The following is a list of some trading cards that are or have been especially popular.

    Sports Cards
    Collecting sports cards began in the 1940s when baseball was increasing in popularity. The first baseball cards were typically a picture of a player pasted onto a cardboard backing. Since the introduction of these early cards the industry has grown, and other sports have developed their own lines. Sports card collectors typically look for rookie cards or complete sets. Generally speaking, when it comes to sports cards, older cards tend to be much more valuable than more recent cards.

    Star Wars Cards
    Star Wars is one of the most popular and profitable movie franchises in history, so it stands to reason that a trading card based on the universe depicted in these films would be incredibly popular as well. The trading cards were produced by Topps beginning in 1977, the same year the first film was released. The trend saw a resurgence in 1999 with the release of the prequel trilogy and then again in 2008 with the Clone Wars television series, both of which spawned new sets of trading cards. In 2012 Topps released the largest series of cards yet, the "Star Wars: Galactic Files" collection that contains 350 cards to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the series.

    Garbage Pail Kids
    Perhaps the most controversial collectible trading card set is the Garbage Pail Kids. These cards were meant to parody a popular doll line, the Cabbage Patch Kids. The cards contained grotesque images of dolls that looked similar to the Cabbage Patch Kids. The cards were primarily a hit with young boys; however, they sparked outrage from parents. The cards debuted in 1985 and five series were produced by 1986. In 1987 a live action movie was released starring the Garbage Pail Kids. In the following years interest waned and the cards were discontinued until 2007. They reemerged when Topps created another series. With the renewed popularity, new cards were produced in 2012 and again in 2013.

    Magic: The Gathering
    Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game that was created in 1993 and is still in production today. The game is fantasy based and allows players to take on the role of a wizard or sorcerer and create a deck full of spell cards with which to defeat other spell casters. The player must collect cards in order to build a unique deck. The uniqueness and personal customization is what draws many to Magic: The Gathering. The game has become so popular that multiple tournaments are held every year.

    Yu Gi Oh!
    Another popular trading card game is Yu Gi Oh! The series was first introduced in Japan in a comic book, or manga, in 1996. Due to its popularity the story was translated into a television series in 1998, and the trading card game was released. The game has players create their own deck of cards to compete in duels with another player. The collectible element comes in with the need to acquire cards that work well together to create strategies for defeating opponents. Many yearly tournaments are held for Yu Gi Oh!

    This article was contributed by Mike Gordon, recent college graduate and avid collectable card enthusiast. If you are a Magic: The Gathering collector like Mike, he suggests checking out the Garruk Primal Hunter card to add to your collection.

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