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Artwork

Famous Athletes

The Famous Athletes series marked the beginning. Inserted into colorful bags of potato chips and caramel corn, the first series of seventy-four cards appeared on Midwestern grocery shelves in 2005. Three cards came in a silver foil wrapping printed with an image of Frank Baker. Subjects included boxers, Negro and Japanese baseball players along with the barnstorming Benton Harbor House of David squad-very unusual for the time. A scratch-off back enabled consumers to win prizes. Also notable is the fact that the artwork for every card had been hand painted; it took two years to paint the series and was the largest hand painted series done for the hobby in several decades.

After a number of requests, Helmar produced a second series two years later (2007). The quantity produced was about ten percent of the first series and was offered directly (as a full series) to collectors that had made inquiries about the original set. This second series is considered to be most difficult to acquire as it sold out almost immediately. This series covered numbers 75-112; card number 93 was not issued.

A third and fourth series were produced in the following years. On these occasions, however, Helmar brought the printing process in-house; the result was superlative color that more closely matched the original artwork and paintings.