Musician Trading Card Treasure Hunt

By Chris Mixer / cmixer

Collectors can expect to find trading cards featuring musicians in sets like 2005 Fleer American Idol Season 4 featuring Carrie Underwood or 2014 Panini Country Music Trading Cards featuring Miranda Lambert. However, major musical talent can also be found in unexpected places. Some set checklists may surprise even the most seasoned collectors.

Hybrid sets, that feature athletes as well as a variety of pop culture celebrities, continue to be popular. The most recognized hybrid set is Topps’ Allen & Ginter brand, focusing on MLB stars and famous personalities since debuting in 2006. A few of the musicians featured in Allen & Ginter include Post Malone (2019), Axl Rose (2013), and Snoop Dogg (2014, listed as “Snoop Lion” in conjunction with his reggae album).

Topps Allen & Ginter is not the only hybrid set. Upper Deck redeveloped the Goudey line of trading cards in 2007 and their Goodwin Champions brand in 2009. Goudey has included Marky Ramone (2017), Johnny Rotten (2017), and Brandon Boyd of Incubus (in 2019). Some of the acclaimed musicians found in Goodwin Champions include Derek Trucks (2021), Big Boi (2020), and Abe Cunningham of the Deftones (2021).

In other cases, musicians are included as an insert set within a traditional sports product. For example, you can find Jay-Z in 2005 Topps Pristine Baseball, 2005-06 Finest Basketball, and 2005-06 Topps Luxury Box Basketball. In 2004, Donruss launched their “Fans of the Game” inserts. Marky Mark Wahlberg (2022 Donruss Football), Meat Loaf (2005 Donruss Baseball), and Darius Rucker (2004 Playoff Honors Football) have all been included as part of an insert set. In 2008 Upper Deck introduced the set Spectrum Baseball. The ”Spectrum of Stars” insert set included many heavy metal icons like Jani Lane, Vince Neil, and Sebastian Bach. 

Many musicians crossover to acting. Sometimes it’s to show themselves as a diverse talent and other times they are just a super-fan wanting to make an appearance on their favorite show. When this happens, you might find them in an entertainment trading card product. Iggy Pop can be found in 2018 Rittenhouse Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Heroes & Villains. Mick Fleetwood can be found in 2016 Rittenhouse Star Trek: TNG Portfolio Prints Series 2. Ozzy Osbourne can be found in 2002 Inkworks The Osbournes Season 1. Henry Rollins can be found in 2014 Cryptozoic Sons of Anarchy Seasons 1-3. Marilyn Manson can be found in 2015 Cryptozoic Sons of Anarchy Seasons 6-7. David Bowie can be found in 2015 Unstoppable Cards The Man Who Fell to Earth. And Bobby Brown can be found in 2016 Cryptozoic Ghostbusters.

Of course, the highest likelihood of finding a musician in a set that is not music-specific is a brand such as Panini Americana or Leaf Pop Century. These sets bring a broad mix of celebrity-driven content without focusing on a specific license, show, or movie. In Panini Americana you can find Justin Bieber (2011), Vanilla Ice (2015), and Biz Markie (2015). In Leaf Pop Century you can find Weird Al Yankovic (2014), DMX (2012), and Roger Daltrey (2015).

Sketch card sets hold one more surprise. Multiple sets including 2011 Upper Deck Thor Movie Trading Cards and 2012 Cryptozoic The Walking Dead Comic Series 1 feature a contributing artist with a musical background. Billy Martin isn’t just an excellent artist, he is also the rhythm guitarist and keyboardist of the band Good Charlotte. This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of musician trading cards if you consider all the cut signatures that have been included in various products over the years. Fans of musicians can collect trading cards that feature talent ranging from Rock ‘n’ Roll royalty to R&B legends. Sometimes all you have to do is dig a little deeper into the checklists.