TRACTORS PULL IN TRADING CARD COLLECTORS

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AKRON, Ohio-It's not a 1967 Nolan Ryan, but who knows, maybe a mint condition 1994 card of a '29 John Deere G.P. tractor will be worth something someday.

After all, the 75,000 sets in the first series of Ageless Iron antique tractor trading cards, released by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Successful Farming in 1992, quickly sold out.

That success prompted Goodyear to try issuing cards again last February, and so far, sales have been hot, said Mike Thomann, general manager of agricultural and terra tires. Half of the 96,000 Series II sets have already been sold.

The cards, available only at Goodyear farm tire outlets, are the most popular promotion the company has run in recent years.

"It's brought new customers in for our dealers, and that's what we want," Mr. Thomann said.

Ageless Iron Series II introduces 36 new tractor photos. Information on the card's back explains the tractor's significance and the manufacturer's history, and credits the collector who owns the pictured machine.

Why are the cards so popular?

"I think it's an interest spawned out of all the collecting that is going on throughout the country," Mr. Thomann said, noting the response to Ageless Iron has been greater than expected.

Along with the card sets, Goodyear is offering dealers posters, signs, newspaper ads and a 6-foot-2-inch banner promoting the series. And to help build store traffic, the company has suggested dealers hold local events such as a "traders open house," where collectors can swap cards.

Mr. Kennedy is a reporter with Tire Business.

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