Sunday, February 22, 2009

2008 Topps Mayo Mini Harvard Red Backs #161 Donnie Avery

Today's card featuring Donnie Avery is from the 2008 Topps Mayo set. The Mayo set is based on the first football card set from 1894 where cards were included with tobacco. The set featured Ivy League players.

There are 13 Donnie Avery Mayo variations. Pictured below is the Mini Harvard Redback variation. The mini version is 1 9/16" x 2 7/8", the size of the original Mayo cards. The front features a black and white posed photo of Avery with a football and a black border. The bottom includes design elements from the original Mayo tobacco set including the Cut Plug logo and an explanation of the card's purpose... "For Collecting and Trading."

The back of this variation is just a big red H for Harvard, another call back to the original Ivy League set. It doesn't make much sense to have a Harvard logo with a University of Houston player, but the Harvard logo is used for all players with this variation. The Mini Harvard variation is rare with only 25 made, but does the rarity offset the awkward back?

I have mixed feelings about the Mayo set. I love the concept. I even like some of the design elements. But it just seems to be missing something. I hope they try again with another old set with a more logical and pleasing design.

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