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Albert Pujols joins the 500 Home Run Club — does it still matter to collectors? Tell us …

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols hit his 500th career home run Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.

He becomes the 26th member of the 500 Home Run Club, a plateau and group of sluggers that once was quite rare but perhaps isn’t as illustrious as it might have been in the wake of baseball’s battles with performance-enhancing substance issues.

Or, perhaps it’s more special now that players aren’t hitting 50 or more home runs annually?

While long-time 500 Home Run Club collectors will be eyeing items that they may not have been before — or are suddenly wishing for a public signing — it got us wondering what you think.

Tell us in the comments below after taking our polls.

The 500 Home Run Club … does it still matter?

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Do you collect Albert Pujols?

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Do you want an Albert Pujols autograph?

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Do you own an Albert Pujols autograph?

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What do you predict for Albert Pujols' key baseball cards?

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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 by clicking here.

Beckett Business Solutions featured on ESPN’s Mint Condition

Beckett Business Solutions’ Rob Veres spoke to ESPN’s Mint Condition about BBS and its partnership with eBay.

Watch the video and to read more about BBS, click here.

Nathan MacKinnon already a star with hockey collectors

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Hockey Editor

You may not realize Nathan MacKinnon was 18 years old by watching him play hockey.

He moves across the ice with the presence of someone who has played on this level for years. He sees the ice well, finding intricate ways to get the puck on his teammates’ sticks. MacKinnon can score too.

In two games in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche rookie already has seven points, tying the record for the most points in the first two playoff games of a career. MacKinnon had three assists in Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, and a goal and three assists in Game 2. Game 3 is tonight at 7 p.m. ET.

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Box Busters: 2014 Upper Deck football cards

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Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds and Derek Ficken as they rip into boxes of 2014 Upper Deck football cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2013-14 Fleer Showcase hockey cards

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Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2013-14 Fleer Showcase hockey cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …


Michael Sam’s first trading cards hit the market

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

Michael Sam’s first autographs have hit the secondary market.

His autographs from Press, Sage and Upper Deck are slowly making their way on to eBay. These cards aren’t commanding Johnny Manziel autograph type of numbers, but Sam’s cards are selling decently – for a mid- to late-round defensive prospect.

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Next season’s basketball cards look even better with the addition of Jabari Parker

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Basketball Editor

Duke freshman Jabari Parker declared for the NBA Draft on Thursday, adding to an already stacked draft class for 2014. While at Duke, Parker had 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in 30.7 minutes of play as a freshman.

Parker is expected to be a top-three pick with only draft experts picking Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins ahead of him in nearly every mock draft. This 2014 draft is poising to be a good one with a number of guys with great talent making their intentions known.

Some of the other top prospects include Wiggins, Kansas’ Joel Embiid, Kentucky’s Julius Randle, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, Australian native Dante Exum, and Oklahoma’s Marcus Smart. This is a much better class than the group a year ago.

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Topps launches aluminum Archive Print series


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps has a new way of showcasing old classics.

Today on Topps.com, the company is launching Topps Archive Print — Aluminum Edition, a series of limited edition card and wrapper reprints on metal.

There will be 21 players showcased along with eight years of early Topps baseball card wrappers available. The player prints are $69, while the wrappers are $59 and begin with the year 1952.

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First look: 2014 Topps Finest Football

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

With the focus on quarterbacks heading into the 2014 football draft, it’s no surprise companies will highlight the gunslingers as much as possible.

Topps is adding a new feature in 2014 Topps Finest Football, Quarterback Quartet Autograph Patch Books Cards. Certainly, players such as Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and AJ McCarron will be included in these cards.

Each pack of 2014 Finest Football will contain five cards. There will be six packs in each mini box with two packs in each master box.

Each master box will contain a Finest Rookie Refractor Autograph Patch card, and an Autographed Finest Refractor Jumbo Relic Card. There will also be two Atomic Refractor rookies and two Fantasy’s Finest Cards.

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Beckett 20 Questions on … military on sports cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Plenty of metaphors and cliches get tossed around when it comes to the sports world, and many of them parallel military action — referring to our pastimes as battles, combat and so much more.

For some players on the field in the past and present, the comparisons might be ironic as there are many sports stars who also served in the military or have military ties of some sort. There are far more out there than Pat Tillman, Roger Staubach or David Robinson. We see it on our cardboard and collectibles from time to time — enough that we’ve opted to dedicate an entire issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly to exploring what’s out there for the niche and one that those collectors serving in the military might find interesting, too.

Heck, even virtual collectibles like ToppsBunt cards found in virtual packs on its popular app have military subsets. There, it’s a 10-card Hall of Fame Heroes set that notes Hall of Famers’ military service, including Marine fighter pilot Ted Williams. It seems the military nods — whether its camo parallels or cards from military backed athletes or events — are everywhere.

As part of the issue, we want to hear what you think of a few things when it comes to creative cards and more with a new set of 20 Questions … after the jump.

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Cryptozoic releases Downton Abbey trading cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

PBS doesn’t usually get a big following for its shows – and, no, Sesame Street doesn’t count in this case – but Downton Abbey hit the mainstream TV world.

How much so? Cryptozoic released trading cards for the first two seasons today.

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Box Busters: 2013-14 In the Game’s Between the Pipes

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Join Beckett Hockey Editor Susan Lulgjuraj as she opens a box of 2013-14 In The Game’s Between the Pipes.

Panini creates Japanese variation of Masahiro Tanaka Donruss wrapper redemption card

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America has added a chase to the chase for its Masahiro Tanaka cards.

The company was the the first U.S.-based baseball card company to unveil new cards of Japanese star and New York Yankees pitcher with its 2014 Donruss wrapper redemption cards that began shipping to collectors on April 1. 

Now that they have started arriving in collectors’ hands, some cards of the rookie have been found with text printed in Japanese.

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA and 18 strikeouts in his first 14 innings of MLB play. He is joined by Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu and Kansas City pitcher Yordano Ventura were announced as the three wrapper redemption cards from Donruss, which made its return to baseball cards this season.

Collectors who trade in 24 hobby wrappers (one box’s worth) of 2014 Donruss mylar will receive a three-card pack that completes their set — card Nos. 201-203, three Rated Rookies.

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Collector Column: A divide seen on cardboard


Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared in Beckett Baseball No. 94 (January 2014).

By Ben Aguirre | Guest Commentary

During my two-plus decades of collecting Rookie Cards, I’ve come across some interesting facts about players I’ve never known. Sometimes it’s the facts that come as a surprise, and then other times it is the actual player whose existence was previously unknown to me.

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of learning something from both ends of the spectrum, and it was particularly timely with the release of the movie 42, the tale released in April depicting Jackie Robinson’s entrance into Major League Baseball in 1947 effectively breaking the color barrier that had stood for more than half a century.

When it comes to collecting RCs, ones featuring single players typically are more desirable than those featuring multiple players. In fact, most players really have RCs featuring just themselves. Jackie Robinson has two: 1949 Bowman and 1949 Leaf, both of which feature just Robinson.

But in the case of teammate and Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese, who is always depicted as being an ally of Robinson, he has two Rookie Cards — one featuring just himself, and then another showing him and another teammate. Reese’s “true” RC is the 1941 Play Ball issue, which has a colorful rendition of the second base- man. But I’d argue that the sepia toned 1941 Double Play XRC is historically more important — and should be more desirable — because of the irony of who else is pictured on the card, fellow Dodger Kirby Higbe.

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Leaf creates Johnny Manziel predictor cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

What team is going to draft Johnny Manziel?

Who knows? But Leaf Trading Cards is making contest out of it with 2014 Leaf Johnny Manziel Predictor Packs.

And the only place to get these cards is on eBay.

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First look: 2013-14 Panini Signatures Basketball cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Basketball Editor

The sophomore release of 2013-14 Panini Signatures will include seven new autograph subsets, but finding them won’t be easy.

Each box will come with two packs with just two cards in each pack. Every box will have will have two autographs, a Film card, a Chase insert, and a 2014 NBA Draft Exchange Card good for an XRC of a rookie from the 2014 draft.

Autographs in Panini Signatures include Film Rookie Autographs, featuring 25 2013-14 newcomers. There are also unsigned versions of these cards, and Hall Hopefuls. Of the seven new autographs inserts, Panini has included History of the Hall of Fame and Franchise Graphs.

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First look: 2013-14 In The Game’s Lord Stanley’s Mug hockey cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Hockey Editor

The biggest celebration in hockey happens when a player finally gets to hold The Stanley Cup Trophy high above his head. There might be no greater moment in hockey.

In The Game is celebrating hockey’s championship with 2013-14 Lord Stanley’s Mug.

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Panini hosts World Cup party with soccer star Cobi Jones

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

NEW YORK CITY – Brazilian music. Shimmying dancers. Martial artists.

It was a party. Yet not the type you wold expect when it comes to sports collectibles. But with the World Cup in Brazil this year, it might be the only way to celebrate.

Panini hosted a World Cup party at Modell’s in Time Square on Thursday. The event featured everything soccer fans needed to get pumped for the international sporting event from lively entertainment to soccer stickers.

But the event represents more than a marketing moment for Panini. It signifies the growth of soccer in the United States by having a party in the middle of Times Square, showing that the sport isn’t in the background any longer.

“Even this is different,” said U.S. soccer star Cobi Jones. “Panini is putting out stickers and not just in the Spanish-based stores. This is another example. People want to be part of the World Cup experience.”

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Beckett acquires fantasy sports platform


Beckett Media is entering the fantasy sports world, bringing fans closer to the game.

Beckett has announced the acquisition of WPS Fantasy, an online and mobile platform for fantasy sports based in Lexington, Ken., on Friday.

“Our mission is to facilitate trade and lead the collectibles industry with our dynamic products and services, keeping the core interests of our valued customers in mind,” said Sandeep Dua, President of Beckett Collectibles. “With this acquisition, we move one step forward in getting the collector community together to engage with another brilliant piece of technology, all on one unified platform.”

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First Beckett Auction Services monthly auction launches Sunday


Beckett Media is proud to announce the launch of its first online auction on Sunday, April 13.

Based in Dallas, Texas, Beckett Auction Services will offer monthly online consignment auctions, as well as eBay consignment services. Monthly auctions begin April 13 and a preview can be seen at http://auctions.beckett.com/catalog.aspx

Featured items in the first auction include an autographed Ronda Rousey UFC Championship belt, a Derek Jeter game-used batting glove, a Dallas Cowboys triple-signed seat back from Texas Stadium autographed by Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Tony Romo, a Yu Darvish 2012 Bowman Chrome Rookie Autograph Gold Refractor, a Pee Wee Reese cut signature, a UFC No. 1 poster, three Panini Gold Standard Solid Gold 1/1 cards and much more.

The monthly online auctions will include sports cards, non-sports cards, graded cards, memorabilia and more, with a focus on high grade modern/vintage cards as well as low print run modern cards and sports memorabilia.

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