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Martha Stewart trading cards?
Longtime sports card producer Topps now offers Chronicles cards, spotlighting current events.
March 23, 2005: 3:51 PM EST
Aaron Smith, CNN/Money staff writer
The next Barry Bonds?
The next Barry Bonds?

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - "I'll trade you Scott Peterson for Martha Stewart."

Don't be alarmed, parents, if you hear these words from your son's bedroom. He's merely discovered Topps Chronicles.

The Topps Co. (down $0.15 to $8.90, Research), the venerable New York producer of sports cards and Bazooka Joe bubble gum, is trying to revitalize interest in collectible cards.

Collecting and trading baseball cards, a once-ubiquitous pastime for American boys, seems to be on the wane, analysts say. Today's kids prefer video games. So Topps is trying to lure them back with nontraditional products, like the cards from its Chronicles series.

Instead of sports figures, the series contains cards that recognize major news events, including politics and sports, with photos and catchy headlines.

A new Chronicles card is issued every week, acknowledging the current event of Topps' choice.

On Monday, the company issued its first double-sided card.

"Death Sentence" screams the side featuring Peterson, who was sentenced on March 16 for the murder of his wife and unborn child. "Freedom!" howls the flipside featuring Robert Blake, who was acquitted that same day of murder in his wife's killing.

Stewart gets a "Taste of Freedom" on her card, which celebrates her March 4 release from a West Virginia prison, where she served five months for lying to the government about a stock sale.

Not all the Chronicles cards spotlight legal woes. Some are more serious in nature, with titles like "Iraq Has Spoken," celebrating the high turnout for the Jan. 30 Iraq vote, and "[Mahmoud] Abbas Wins Palestinian Election," recognizing the Jan. 9 election of Yasser Arafat's successor to lead the Palestinian Authority. Johnny Carson, who died on Jan. 23, is memorialized with a card titled, "Goodnight."

Topps still churns out sports cards every season representing teams and players for the NBA, NFL, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer. Exceptional sports events, like March Madness and the Super Bowl, are acknowledged in the Chronicles cards series as historical happenings.

The NHL has skipped a season, so Topps cannot issue a series for a 2004-2005 season.

Topps did, however, issue a Chronicles card decrying the season's Feb. 16 cancellation. The "On Ice" card depicts a hockey rink blocked by a chain, its padlock bearing the logo of the NHL.

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