While the WNBA is marking a milestone this season as the league celebrates its 10-year anniversary, Rittenhouse Archives is celebrating a milestone of its own this year, as it rolls out its third season of WNBA trading cards.
“We’ve seen there is a very strong hard-core audience for the WNBA,” said Rittenhouse Archives president Steve Charendoff. “We’ve seen that they are very passionate and their collecting behavior is very similar to what we have seen with our other products … that they want to have everything. It’s mostly a regional following. Product sells best where there are teams and, as a result, a fan base.”
This year’s product ships this week to coincide with yesterday’s WNBA All-Star Game. Seven-card packs will carry an SRP of $3.50. While the majority of product will be for distribution within the hobby, Charendoff said a small amount of product will be made available through sporting goods retailers and the various teams.
Collectors will notice an increase in the number of autographs and rookies in the 2007 release. Rittenhouse increased both the number of rookies in the product and the rate of insertion into packs. Collectors will get two rookies per box in this year’s product, with all rookie cards numbered to 444. Instead of getting two autograph cards per box like in past years, this season’s product will offer three per box.
While the stars and champions of the WNBA may not be as widely recognized as in the NBA, Charendoff takes pride in the list of players who have signed cards for his sets.
“We’ve had nine of the 10 players on the WNBA’s All-Decade Team sign for us, and nearly everyone who has played in the All-Star Games the past three years,” he said. “Add to that, we’ve now had autographs from each member of the past three WNBA champions. Put that in perspective – how impressive and valuable would it be if Topps or Upper Deck had been able to compile autograph cards from every member of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, 2005 Chicago White Sox and 2006 St. Louis Cardinals? I realize that the 2004 Seattle Storm is not the 2004 Red Sox, but at the same time we have created items of historical significance that any non-card collector can appreciate. That’s something I take great pride in.”