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Sunday Conversation: Rich Layton

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Rich Layton is a major group-breaker and card shop owner in New Jersey. We caught up with him for a brief Q&A about the hobby, the business, the industry and more.

Check it out in our first Sunday Conversation. 

1. How vital do you feel group-breakers are to the card industry today?
I feel that breakers have added substantial growth to the card industry at a time when it is most needed. The idea that people can see cards pulled from new releases before going to a card store to buy them is paramount. Breakers that have added a card shop feel to their breaks and especially breakers who actually break live from their own card stores are key to this element. It may have borrowed some of the popularity away from smaller card stores, but in the long run I believe that it is an essential part of the evolution in card collecting today. Being able to experience going to the card shop without having to leave the home, in the social media/technology age, is very important to everyone involved in the card industry.

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Weekend Warriors: Alabama vs. Auburn – who wins the hobby?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

The Alabama Crimson Tide vs. the Auburn Tigers, aka The Iron Bowl, is a week away and that means the bitter rivals and their fans will be doing plenty of talking from here until the end of the fourth quarter on Nov. 29.

Oh, who are we kidding … they’re always talking each other down because that’s what rivals do.

For a new feature, we’re trying something new — Weekend Warriors — where you can assess rival teams, rival players or other combatants who have trading cards with our series of questions and our open forum for collectibles-related trash-talking in the comments below.

After the jump are nine more ways for you to assess the Alabama-Auburn rivalry and its cardboard — and you have the final say on who wins in the hobby.

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1. Alabama-Auburn Heisman Trophy winners: Who's most-collectable?

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Click on “read more” to cast the rest of your votes.

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Panini’s Black Friday Starting To Shape Up

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

We are barely a week away from the biggest shopping weekend of the year and collectors are gearing up for Panini America‘s annual holiday season tradition – their ever-popular Black Friday promotion.

Over the past couple of weeks, the company has been leaking out details about their 2014 Panini America Black Friday promotional set and packs are expected to loaded with cards that are sure to be heavily chased and may even become the cornerstones of some collections.

Starting on Friday, November 28, collectors will converge on hundreds of their favorite card stores in order to participate in the program and bust some packs or they can visit iCollectPanini.com if they do not have a hobby shop that is participating in the program. Naturally, there is an opportunity to pull autographs and memorabilia along with tough parallels from the worlds of baseball, basketball and football.

What does Panini America have planned for hobbyists on Black Friday? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Upper Deck signs exclusive deal with Notre Dame

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

One of college football’s most-storied programs is sticking with Upper Deck.

Notre Dame has signed a multi-year deal to have its trading cards made by the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company beginning this spring.  The deal will include sports cards beyond just the gridiron.

“The University of Notre Dame boasts an impressive list of athletes as alumni and has one of the most passionate fan bases in college sports” said Jason Masherah, President of Upper Deck, in a prepared statement. “Over the last five years, we have built a strong partnership with Notre Dame and we continue to be dedicated to producing the most creative and innovative collectibles for Notre Dame fans to enjoy.”

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First Look: 2014-15 Upper Deck NCAA March Madness

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

Even though the college basketball season is in full swing, Upper Deck is looking ahead to the end of the schedule as they are ready to unleash 2014-15 NCAA March Madness Collection on February 4.

The first product of its kind to be made by the company, it will not only look back on the greatest moments in tournament history, but plans to add a compelling Bracketology interactive game feature. Collectors that receive the cards will scratch off to reveal the depicted team’s bracket seed and location. If it matches the seed the team actually received, then your card is live and ready to compete for prizes.

What else will be found in this product? Find out after the jump. Read More »

BGS Black … it’s coming soon

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Black Friday is the day where many of you will battle the shopping crowds for the latest and greatest deals — the one day a year where shopping becomes a sport and you become the competitor. However, we have one thing that Beckett Media want you to watch for right here on Beckett.com that Friday morning.

Black.

It arrives on Nov. 28.

Panini acknowledges additional Flawless mistakes

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Thirty-seven cards of five NFL players in 2014 Flawless have event-worn material mislabeled as game-used material on cards, according to Panini America.

The company announced the developments on Thursday as a result of its findings earlier this week that other cards in the product were mislabeled.

“This week’s experiences, while not ideal, have only strengthened our focus, our desire and our commitment to doing things the right way every time; mistakes happen, they’re part of any human process,” said a statement issued by the company. “We are truly sorry about these mistakes; but we are grateful that our collectors were able to shed the light on this issue to allow us to look deeper into what went wrong in the process. Our intent is always to get it right and properly identify whether a patch is event-worn or game-worn. We evaluated the ‘event-worn’ vs. ‘game-worn’ strategy on a number of occasions — and while this process is much more detailed — and have determined that this was a better scenario than just identifying every patch as ‘player-worn.’ As always, we are committed to making this right for consumers.”

According to the Panini announcement today, cards of Andrew Luck, Calvin Johnson Jr., Cam Newton, Joe Flacco and Ryan Tannehill were mislabeled in Flawless’ Patches insert. According to the company, they are:

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Surprise NCAA Young Guns in Upper Deck Series 1

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Collectors breaking open boxes and packs of 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 1 may have received a special and rare 1990-91 Young Guns tribute card of one of three collegiate hockey legends and the company has confirmed that they were a special unannounced addition to the product.

Since Upper Deck presently holds a Collegiate Licensing Company license along with its exclusive on NHL and NHLPA-licensed trading cards, it was only natural that the properties intersect at some point. Savvy hobbyists noticed that there were some cards in 2013-14 The Cup showing some players in their collegiate uniforms and the inclusion of these tribute cards in their flagship product has generated a small buzz.

What players were included in this rare insert set? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Rittenhouse’s Star Trek Aliens delivers variety

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By Matt Bible | Beckett Non-Sports and Gaming Analyst | Commentary

Rittenhouse boldly goes where no one has gone before with the latest release in the Star Trek card universe: Star Trek Aliens. And, like the James Bond Archives product, Star Trek Aliens is poised to be another smashing success for the company. With an eclectic array of inserts, sketches, badge relics and autographs from which to choose, collectors’ attempts to resist this product will be futile.

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Box Busters: 2014 Limited football cards

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Join Beckett Football‘s Justin Grunert and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014 Limited in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014-15 Totally Certified basketball

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Join Beckett Basketball‘s Derek Ficken and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014-15 Totally Certified in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014 Totally Certified football

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Join Beckett Football‘s Justin Grunert and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014 Totally Certified from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

 

WIN a Panini POD Jimmy Garoppolo Photo

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By David Lee | Beckett Football Editor

The Panini NFL Player of the Day promotion has already reached hundreds of hobby shops and countless collectors with giveaways and player appearance signings. In partnership with the successful program, we will be giving away autographed items that are part of the promotion through the Beckett Media Twitter feed.

This Week’s Giveaway: New England Patriots Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo autographed photo (pictured above)
How to Win: Simply tweet a message about your local hobby shop. The tweet must include these three tags: @BeckettMedia @PaniniPOD #NFLPOD
Winner chosen Saturday, Nov. 22.

If you do not have a Twitter account it is easy and free to create one at Twitter.com. One winner sill be chosen at random on Saturday, Nov. 22.

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Mariano Rivera visits fans in South Korea

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Future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera visited Seoul, South Korea, as part of a promotional tour for JBL headphones and Beckett Grading Services’ Dongwoon Lee was there along with a few collectors who got to meet MLB’s career saves leader.

Check out the images … after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2014 Panini Classics baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Derek Ficken as they rip into boxes of 2014 Panini Classics in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Sources: Panini close to near-exclusive in college card market

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Analysis

The changes coming to the college trading card landscape in 2015 are going to be even more dramatic than anticipated, according to industry sources.

Panini America‘s wave of new deals signed with top schools in the last few weeks has reportedly gotten even larger. Industry sources tell Beckett Media that nearly all of the country’s 60-plus major colleges and universities — and nearly 300 schools in total — have signed multi-year deals with Panini, positioning the Dallas-based manufacturer to operate under a near-exclusive in the college-card market for the rest of the decade. That expansion would effectively end any broad collegiate engagement for Upper Deck, which has held an exclusive Collegiate Licensing Company license for the past five years.

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Beckett Football Turns 25!

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The first issue of Beckett Football Card Magazine was published 25 years ago this month. That iconic picture of Bo Jackson staring you down on the cover is one of the most recognized images in the industry.

A quarter of a century is very long run in the publishing business (287 issues). The magazine has carried the name of Beckett Football for 10 years, and it has presided over nearly every major change, innovation, controversy and flop in the football card hobby. So much changed 25 years ago in 1989. Score and Pro Set burst on the scene after decades of dominance by Topps. It was becoming clear that rookies would fuel the hobby, and they have ever since. The 1990s saw rapid growth, and tons of new brands and ideas. Some had staying power and others, well, not so much. It’s interesting to look through those early issues and see price changes moving up or down by 20 cents or a dollar.

There have been so many incredible cards since 1989. To celebrate 25 years of Beckett Football, and 25 years of countless hobby innovations, the December issue (on sale now) presents the 25 most impactful football cards since 1989. It was not an easy list to come up with. Most of the cards are no-brainers, but many key cards had to be left off. It’s a fascinating trip through two and a half decades of hobby evolution. This also inspired this month’s cover pictured above.

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Top 5: Japanese players in MLB history

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The final game of the Japan Series is scheduled for Thursday with MLB and Japan splitting the first six games.

That got us thinking — who are the top players in MLB today and in MLB history?

Who’s No. 1? We’ll let you decide … after the jump.

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Poll: What’s your take on multi-piece mem cards?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

When Panini America revealed its first looks at the 20th anniversary edition of Absolute last week, it included one card that piqued my attention.

Why? Eight players’ jersey swatches on a single front — now that’s a Tools of the Trade card.

For some time I have wondered why card companies don’t go with more pieces on cards rather than larger pieces — this is something that Donruss did heavily with its TOTT cards back in 2004 and 2005 Absolute Memorabilia and they were cards that got me to finally dig into a brand with a higher-end price.

Maybe it’s just me, but I like the idea of more of less just because it’s a more-sophisticated feeling card. (At least to me.)

Tell us what you think in the poll below or share your thoughts in the comments.

Your Take: Do you like having several swatches on a single card?

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisolds2009.

USA Today examines Panini America’s college push

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Panini America‘s push into the college ranks includes more than 220 schools that will allow the company to use their trademarks on rookie and prospect cards as well as produce college-specific card sets.

Panini VP of Marketing Jason Howarth offered insight on how the deal works to USA Today Fields of Green’s Nick Zobel, who took a look at the deal.

“The way the process works is that the rights we have with the school are tied to utilizing the school logos and marks,” Howarth said in the piece. “That means school insignia and mascots. The partnerships do not give us rights to players.”

That means all those college stars from those schools in football and basketball will have their first Rookie Cards arrive (once their college careers are over) with views as seen on the field or court. That means the baseball players from those schools will appear in hobby staples such as Elite Extra Edition just as they were seen on the diamond.

What that doesn’t mean is that Panini can make any card it wants of any player in the history of the school — at least not without that person’s permission and, of course, not before they are done playing.

Top 5: Early Pablo Sandoval cards to chase

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The Boston Red Sox are pursuing free agent slugger Pablo Sandoval. 

Now take a second to imagine a lineup — and the damage that could be done on the basepaths — with Panda and Big Papi David Ortiz both rumbling toward a catcher. That’s enough to make Buster Posey wince.

Sandoval’s cardboard presence is a unique one — here are five early cards to consider grabbing before he signs somewhere.

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John Wall Inks Exclusive Deal With Panini

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

One of the hottest names in the NBA has found a new home as Panini America has just announced that Washington Wizards guard John Wall has signed an exclusive multi-year deal with the company that covers trading cards, autographs and memorabilia.

This agreement is sure to pay off nicely for collectors in the near future as the former first overall pick from the 2010 NBA Draft continues to make himself one of the hottest stars in the game. For the first two seasons of his career, Wall was under an exclusive deal with Panini and the company is happy to see him return.

“John Wall is one of the most exciting young players in the NBA and we’ve been fortunate to work with him in the past; having a player of John’s stature return to our team in such a meaningful way not only adds more excitement and potential to our product offerings, it also reinforces our long-term commitment to the NBA category,” remarked Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in a statement issued late this afternoon.

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T206 Honus Wagner headlines next SCP Auction

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Holy Grail of baseball cards is heading to the auction block tomorrow via SCP Auctions.

It’s a PSA 1 copy of the T206 Honus Wagner baseball card and it’s the highlight of a sale that runs through Dec. 6. It’s a grouping that also includes Jackie Robinson‘s Hall of Fame plaque — and one of only two confirmed 1949-season game-used bats — as well as parts of three notable collections.

The Wagner is estimated to command as much as $400,000, according to the company. It is a new find and was graded on the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention this year.

“Unveiling a fresh T206 Honus Wagner card is a dream scenario for any hobby professional,” said SCP’s Dan Imler. “The known supply of T206 Wagners will never begin to quench the exceeding collector demand for what is not just the most famous baseball card in the world, but one of our nation’s most-celebrated treasures. And to have it be a part of such an immense and diverse find of previously unknown T206s makes this one of the most exciting tobacco card finds in recent years.”

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Expert Opinion: Too Many Cooks

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

At the recent Sportcard & Memorabilia Expo in Toronto, I was walking by one of the many booths with showcases full of vintage hockey cards and noticed an anomaly that needed to be investigated once the show was over. Sitting among the dealer’s cardboard treasures was a 1924-25 Maple Crispette card depicting an original member of the Boston Bruins, but something seemed off.

A few days later, I received a message from collector Hart Stoffman which confirmed my suspicions. For many years, the hobby had incorrectly assumed that the card of “Cook, Boston” was of Hockey Hall of Fame member Bill Cook. However, it instead depicted a man named Lloyd Cook who played four games for the first-year club that season after a lengthy career with Vancouver and Spokane in the old Pacific Coast Hockey League.

How did this confusion arise? Find out after the jump. Read More »

First look: 2014 Topps Chrome Update + Megabox

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps Chrome Update is back — and so is the “holiday megabox.”

A new collecting twist that began last season is back for another run as a retail-only edition of 2014 Topps Chrome Update will be found in boxes arriving in stores now. Each box includes five packs of 2014 Topps Update and two packs of Chrome Update for $14.99

The Chrome Update set will consist of 55 cards, while there will be 25 All-Star Stitches Chrome Relics to be found and 10 All -Star Stitches Chrome Relic Autos as well. The only other inserts will be 20 World Series Heroes cards.

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