Topps Operation Enduring Freedom Cards -- a new card series devoted to the war on terrorism -- are now available.  This 90-card set takes an educational approach, with an image on side one of each card; and text explaining the event, weapon, aircraft, person, or other image on the other side.  Each pack contains seven cards and a sticker, with an MSRP of $2.00.  There are 24 packs per box. 


Topps has produced cards devoted to current events for decades.  Past topics include the Korean War, and more recently, Operation Desert Storm.  These topical cards, picking images and topics from the day's headlines, have sold far in excess of most licensed trading cards in the past.  A Topps executive described sales on the Desert Storm cards as 'excellent,' and similar results are expected from this new set.


Topps has carefully balanced the educational aspects of the product, commercial concerns, and attention to the bounds of good taste in producing the cards.  For example, the subject matter of the cards was carefully chosen to avoid exploiting tragedy for commercial purposes--there are no images of the burning or collapsing WTC.  Copy was written to be 'factual, informative, and patriotic.'  In keeping with the educational slant, images and copy are 'kid-friendly.'  Also, chase cards were considered inappropriate -- all cards are included in equal quantities.  A portion of the proceeds from this product will be donated to charities related to the September 11th attacks and other charities related to America's war on terrorism.  A major public relations effort is being mounted to draw attention to the release.


There is an Osama bin Laden card in the set.  It will be the only image presented in black and white, without the red, white, and blue border that is used on all other cards.  The Osama card for the second shipping wave (not yet scheduled) will be different from the first; it will use the image from the FBI most-wanted poster.  No other changes are planned between the first and second wave.


Topps as a company was dramatically affected by the September 11th attack on the U.S. (see 'Topps VP:  It Flew Right Past My Office Window').  Its offices are only seven blocks from the WTC, and the company was completely shut down for a week. Still, Topps was able to have this product on the street less than six weeks after the attacks.  Since this product was produced on an accelerated schedule, most retailers will not have been able to pre-order this product from distributors, and will simply have to buy them from stock.