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DNA Now an Integral Part of Cards

It's not longer enough to have game-used jersey cards and autographs – today's cards get personal. They are using actual DNA.
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Trading card companies have competed against each other for the past several years to obtain the best autographs and memorabilia pieces for their products. It appears Topps and Upper Deck have been engaging in a battle to secure something even more personal from some famous figures, as both companies are ready to roll out baseball products featuring items containing the actual DNA of some well-known historical figures.

Upper Deck’s SP Legendary Cuts Baseball ships this week and one of its most highly touted inserts is Hair Cuts, a 10-card insert set that will feature a cut autograph and a strand of hair from a celebrity. The 1-of-1 cards will include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Geronimo, Andrew Jackson and Babe Ruth.

To make sure it was getting authentic strands of hair, Upper Deck says it worked with John Reznikoff of University Archives in Westport, Conn., dubbed the “Indiana Jones of Paper” for his history of procuring rare collectibles and documenting their authenticity.

“One hundred years ago, if someone famous came to town, you didn’t ask for an autograph, you asked for a snippet of their hair,” said Reznikoff, who has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest collection of famous people’s hair in the world. Upper Deck will also be inserting Hair Cuts cards into its Piece of History Baseball product, which ships June 25.

Meanwhile, Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball will hit shelves in mid-July with DNA insert cards that will feature pieces of hair from Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Beethoven and even a dinosaur bone DNA card. This is not the first time Topps has offered hair-strand cards in a product. Last year’s Allen & Ginter product featured three cards with strands of hair from Washington. Topps also secured hair from Reznikoff for that release.

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