Female sporting heroes earn the trading card treatment

While the annual Topps release known as Allen and Ginter is classified as a baseball card set, its issues featuring celebrities and athletes from other sports has made it a special collectible for many card collectors. The card designs try to recapture the magic of the original Allen and Ginter tobacco cards from the late 19th Century, which are considered some of the most esthetically beautiful cards ever made.

As 2014 marks the ninth year of the revival of the remarkable brand, one of its unique aspects is the fact that the set always features prominent female athletes in its set. While there are the obligatory cards, including cards printed on metal, pop-up booklet cards and cards that will be adorned with the actual skeletal remains of an animal (numbered 1/1), several female athletes will be featured on randomly inserted autograph cards along with memorabilia cards.

For the 2014 edition, the female athletes given the cardboard treatment cover a wide range of unique sports. Power lifter Laura Phelps is the first female in the set, found on card number 6. Diana Nyad, who captured the hearts and minds of admirers the world over by swimming from Cuba to Florida graces card number 62.

Of note, athletes are not the only women to be featured in this unique set. While card 100 features Queen Victoria, actress Felicia Day finds her way into the set as number 119 and card 243 includes Helen Keller, whose struggles with disability raised awareness several generations ago. A pair of beauty queens is also part of this year’s offering. Erin Brady, the reigning Miss USA graces number 112 while Miss Universe, Maria Gabriela Isler can be found on card number 254.

Jenny Dell (card number 164), a popular broadcaster who covers Major League Baseball, is also part of this year’s offering, following a popular trend, which included Fox Sports personality Erin Andrews in the 2013 edition of the set. Wrestler Jordan Oliver joins Dell and the rest of the female sporting figures in the set.

Two American heroes from the Summer Games cross paths again in Allen and Ginter. Sprinting superstar Allyson Felix and 2012 Summer Games gold medalist Carli Lloyd are sequentially numbered in the set, gaining card numbers 213 and 214. As a side note, this is not the first time that Lloyd has earned the cardboard treatment. She has also been featured on products from Panini and Upper Deck.

Race car driver Tanner Foust can be found on card number 224. She is not the first female racer to be featured in Allen and Ginter’s card set. Danica Patrick was featured in the set’s inaugural release back in 2006.

In the 300-card base set, the last two female athletes found in the set include a rising superstar in golf, Danielle Kang and fitness champion Samantha Briggs. Kang and Briggs can be found on card numbers 273 and 276.

While Upper Deck products such as World of Sports and Goodwin Champions have also made efforts to feature female athletes on their card products, it is encouraging to see Allen and Ginter continue to set the way. In every one of their nine card releases, female athletes (and celebrities) have earned the cardboard treatment. Every year, their inclusion of female athletes only grows, continuing to feature prominent athletes from the past and the present.