Buzz List: Five top Santa Claus cards *serious* collectors need right now

1989-Pro-Set-Santa-ClausWith the holiday season here, cardboard is probably on the minds of many Buzz readers as they wonder what might await them soon.

Others, like Buzz, might be thinking of Cardboard of Christmas Past — you know, some of the Santa Claus trading cards we’ve seen throughout the years. Most of it’s trivial and not all that collectable — but they all stand out in a way compared to our traditional sports cards.

1989 Pro Set Promos #1989
When Dallas-based Pro Set created this card during its first season of making football cards in 1989, it sparked a trend that we saw in not just football cards but other areas in the years that followed. (Boy are there some bad Photoshop jobs there in the 1990s.) For all intents and purposes, though, Buzz would call this one a “Rookie Card.” Yes, there were previous non-sports cards — but this was the one that put cards like this on the minds of the sports-collecting masses after it was mailed out to dealers and selected NFL-related people.

1990-Pro-Set-Santa-Claus1990 Pro Set #1990
In 1990, Pro Set decided to put this card into packs, making it closer to a true Rookie Card, though it’s not since this one’s still an insert card from the massively overproduced product. (But let’s say it is. Unlike the 1989 card, it’s pretty cheap.) The Lud Denny (owner of Pro Set and Elf of the Month), M.C. Hammer, Joe Montana and other 1990 Pro Set cameos also add to its charm along with that Pro Set album Buzz got for all his Pro Set Playbook points earned by ripping packs.

1991-Pro-Line-Santa-Claus1991 Pro Line Portraits
The Heisman pose never looked so jovial, but this is one card from the ground-breaking (and also over-produced) product that isn’t that easy to find. Also a tough card? The certified autograph version that’s stamped and limited to 200 hand-numbered copies. There were also cards for Claus and Mrs. Claus — yep, signed — made by the company the following year.

1998-Upper-Deck-Santa1998 Upper Deck Santa Claus Holiday-worn Jersey #1998
This one takes the idea of a Santa card up a notch by adding a swatch of material into a card that was sent out to selected individuals that year. The company has since issued spokesman cards with similar approaches or memorabilia inclusions for Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Mark McGwire, Wayne Gretzky and LeBron James to name a few. (This year’s Upper Deck Christmas card features Connor McDavid, by the way — but no memorabilia.)

SantaStrata2013 Topps Strata Shadowbox Jersey Autographs #SSRSC
That year’s Strata football product included just 56 different serial-numbered Santa cards — all autographed and all with a piece of Santa-worn memorabilia embedded into the acetate layers of the card. Tough pulls — and you won’t find one on eBay today.

There are many more Claus cards out there for holiday-minded collectors to consider — not to mention cards of players Dionte Christmas, Karima Christmas, Maurice Christmas, Stephen Christmas, Rakeem Christmas and Todd Claus.

Which one might you add to your collection this week? Guess that depends whether you were naughty or nice.

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