The 1975 Hostess Rusty Staub Makes a Case for Worst Airbrush Job of All-Time

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Since the dawn of professional sports, players have switched teams. Whether that’s through trade or simply signing elsewhere, it varies from person to person, situation to situation.

How these trades and uniforms changes are represented on trading cards varies. Sometimes it’s just a wait for a late-season update set or an early release the following year. Airbrushed photos have, historically, been another popular means.

Being a Canadian and growing up with O-Pee-Chee, I’m well familiar with the simple traded line.

And then there’s the 1975 Hostess Rusty Staub.

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2017 Beckett National Convention Scavenger Hunt Is On

The Beckett scavenger hunt returns at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention, offering free promos and a potential added bonus for those who complete the quest.

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Who Are the Guests at the 2017 Panini VIP Party?

The Panini VIP party at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention is starting to take shape. Several guests have been announced for the exclusive event. Hailing from several sports, these guests will hang out with guests and are often available for photos and other once-in-a-lifetime memories.

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Wednesday at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention — Kickoff Time

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The 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention has arrived.

Over the course of the next five days, thousands of collectors and sports fans from all over the world will be descending on the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, just outside of Chicago. When it comes to cards and collecting, it doesn’t get any bigger.

Cards will be bought and other treasures sought. Just as important, if not more so, is that this is an event where the collecting community comes together. That means catching up with old friends, making new ones and putting a face to a Twitter handle.

Wednesday is where things get started. That means a shorter day to get the momentum building. It also means a special VIP-exclusive party with some special guests.

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Rookies and stars are set to sparkle in 2017-18 Upper Deck Black Diamond Hockey

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

All that glitters is not gold, but 2017-18 Upper Deck Black Diamond Hockey is definitely going to sparkle and shine with the new crop of rookies and more once it is released at the end of November.

With each box containing five cards plus a one-card 2017-18 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Hockey bonus pack, the potential is high to pull a limited Diamond Relic card. Coming once per case, they are looking to dazzle – especially those featuring freshman players and the biggest stars. Read More…

2017 National Sports Collectors Convention Autograph Signers

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Every year, the National features dozens of autograph signers spanning several sports. The 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention autograph list is no different.

Organized by TRISTAR, baseball legends make up the largest chunk of signers. Hall of Famers on tap to attend the show in Chicago include Cal Ripken, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench and Andre Dawson. The recently retired Alex Rodriguez is making his National debut.

Football also has several players scheduled to appear. Among them are Barry Sanders, Jim Kelly, Bob Griese, Jerome Bettis and Deion Sanders.

The 2017 National autograph pavilion will have more hockey players than recent years including Ray Bourque, Brett Hull and Guy Lafleur. Bobby Hull, Chris Chelios, Ed Belfour and Jeremy Roenick are among the one-time Chicago Blackhawks.

Highlights from other sports include Mike Tyson, Julius Erving, Lenny Wilkens, and WrestleMania 33 headliner Bill Goldberg. There’s also cyclist Lance Armstrong making his first National appearance.

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2017 Topps Chrome Baseball Checklist Includes Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge Autographs

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Topps Chrome Baseball fills that chromium space for collectors who prefer major leaguers versus the large prospect focus that Bowman sets feature. Refractors are back in a full rainbow of colors. Multiple autographs — mostly rookies — are in both hobby boxes, and a few new inserts have been thrown in as well.

2017 Topps Chrome Baseball has both regular hobby and hobby jumbo boxes. Regular hobby boxes come with two autographs while jumbo have five total signed cards and the promise of a Refractor in every pack.

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2017 Bowman Chrome National Convention Baseball Cards Available Through Topps Wrapper Redemption, Checklist Posted

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

The Topps 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention wrapper redemption is taking on a familiar theme. The 2017 Bowman Chrome National Convention set is exclusive to the show and available only to collectors opening select products on site.

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2017 Rittenhouse Game of Thrones Valyrian Steel Trading Cards Take a Heavy Metal Approach

2017 Rittenhouse Game of Thrones Valyrian Steel

In Westeros and the world of Game of Thrones, Valyrian Steel is the ultimate weapon. It’s the diamond of metals, always sharp and filled with enough power to strike down just about anyone or anything — including White Walkers. When it comes to trading cards, 2017 Rittenhouse Game of Thrones Valyrian Steel represents a premium offshoot of sorts for the main seasonal card line.

And it’s not just the cards that are upscale. The configuration is as well. Each box has just three packs, each containing only four cards. Two are base while the other two are inserts — one “tech” insert and one premium card that would traditionally be classified as a box hit.

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2017 Panini Immaculate Collegiate Football Checklist and Details

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

If patches and autographs are your thing, 2017 Panini Immaculate Collegiate Football has a lot of both of them. Just like other iterations of the brand, whether that’s on the gridiron, in basketball or in baseball, it’s a high-end release that includes several signed and memorabilia-focused combinations.

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What Does It Take To Be A Beckett Grader?

If you’re a big collector, chances are you’ve thought about making a career out of your hobby, excuse me I mean The Hobby, at some point in your life. There are a number of ways that you can do that, like owning a shop or working for one of the card companies. But another great way would be working as a card grader.

We sat down with Beckett Senior Vintage Grader Andy Broome to see how he became a grader, what his favorites parts about it are, and what specific skills are needed to be a top-level grader.

SB: How long have you been collecting and what got you started in it?


AB:
I have been a collector for 34 years. A pack of 1983 Topps baseball cards I purchased from a gas station in East Ridge, TN got me started. 

SB: What’s your favorite thing you have in your personal collection?


AB:
Wow, that’s a tough one. It’s like picking which of my kids is my favorite!

Favorites change day to day but I would say right now in my card collection it is between my 1876 Chicago White Stockings Carte De Visite and my Victor Starffin signed Japanese cards. I have really been diving deeper into my vintage Japanese baseball card collecting and research lately.

SB: How did you get into grading cards?


AB:
I submitted my first card to be graded in 1991. I spent many hours studying cards and the grading of cards to teach myself about card grading, as well as counterfeit and alteration detection.


While I was a part-time card dealer for many years, being a card dealer for your living doesn’t necessarily make you a grader or authenticator. It helps, but you have to have a passion for and invest the time in learning the nuances of cards.

To become a professional grader, you have to intimately know the characteristics of each card issue. How was a T206 card printed? Why do OPC cards have jagged edges? What are the different types of known fake Michael Jordan rookie cards, etc.


Handling as many cards as you can and studying them on a daily basis is the first step in training to become a professional grader.


I had a passion to understand counterfeit cards and card doctoring. I had to know just how card doctors alter cards. I had that burning to understand how cards were made and what affects their physical condition.
I began grading cards full time in 1999. I moved to Dallas and joined Beckett Grading in 2004.

SB: What is a typical day like as a grader?


AB:
No matter how much you think you love cards, grading on a professional level is not for everyone. In fact, it is for the few who have the skills required and really want to do nothing else.

The ability to be laser focused is key in card grading. You will see hundreds and thousands of cards, but you need to stay concentrated on the nuances of each one to be a good grader.

You also have to be able to adapt to different sports, years, companies, issues, and types of cards. For me, as a vintage grader, I may grade an order of 100 T206 cards and then immediately switch to an order of 10 1975 Topps football cards in the next order.

 It may be tedious but it is fluid. Things change from order to order. Some cards have to be researched. Some require the consultation of multiple graders. You have to have a wide spectrum of card knowledge.

 

So, do you think you have what it takes to be a Beckett Grader? Do you have a vast knowledge of cards, their nuances, and how they are made? Do you want to put that knowledge to use and make a living working in The Hobby?

Check out our job postings and send us an application to see if you can be the next great card grader at Beckett.

2017 Bowman’s Best Baseball Combines Prospects, Veterans, Autographs and More

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2017 Bowman’s Best Baseball has many of the hallmarks of other Bowman-branded releases. But in many ways, it’s different. Autographs and prospects are both key components, but there are also bolder designs than Bowman and Bowman Chrome as well as many levels of inserts.

There’s also the configuration of 2017 Bowman’s Best Baseball. Each hobby box is packaged as a pair of six-pack mini boxes. Every master box comes with a total of four autographs. Every pack has a Refractor, making for at least a dozen parallels per master box.

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Rafael Devers Rookie Card Primer

Rafael Devers is young, has a great bat and now he’s headed to the majors — playing for the Boston Red Sox, no less. So what about Rafael Devers Rookie Cards? His debut is coming too late in the season to be included in any 2017 base sets so those will have to wait until 2018.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of Rafael Devers cards out there already. When you factor all of the inserts and parallels into the mix, the Dominican third baseman had around 700 cards at the time he was called up by the Red Sox. So collectors have plenty to choose from.

While you wait for the first Rafael Devers Rookie Card, here’s a look at some of his key early prospect cards and other pre-rookie cards.

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Jordan Spieth Golf Cards: A Detailed, Albeit Concise Guide

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It has been several years since a new standalone set of golf cards was released. As a result, some big names in the sport have very little out there. If you’re looking for Jordan Spieth golf cards, they’re out there. However, the pickings are slim. And without any golf-specific sets since his rise to PGA prominence, what is out there comes from some interesting places.

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Seattle Seahawks star K.J. Wright ready to make Panini NFL Player of the Day appearance

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

For most NFL collectors, the opportunity to meet one of their favorite players is a rare and treasured experience. The thrill of seeing someone you cheer on every week can be just a fleeting moment, but for a lucky collector named Tommy Dickerson, it will be an even greater experience after winning the grand prize in Panini America’s 2017 NFL Player of the Day promotion.

After breaking open a pack of football cards at Northwest Sports Cards in University Place, WA, Dickerson was selected as the store’s winner and he was later the winner of the national draw that had entries from hundreds of hobby shops. As a result, he gets to spend the day with a local hero – Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright.

The big day comes on Monday, July 24, and Dickerson along with his family and friend will meet Wright at a private party and spend some time together before the action moves over to Northwest Sports Cards. Once there, the fun extends to 150 of the store’s best customers who can meet the Pro Bowler and get an autographed photo as well. Read More…

3 Ways to Bring Bubble Gum Back to Baseball Cards

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

If you were born before 1985, you probably connect baseball cards with bubble gum. For decades, the two went together like peanut butter and jam, campfires and marshmallows, and Laverne and Shirley.

But since 1992, gum has all but disappeared from the hobby except for the memories, old, unopened packs and from under the seats of abandoned buses. A couple of exceptions are out there, but not many.

“They damaged the cards,” they said.

“It cost too much.”

“Allergies.”

“Nobody actually liked the taste.”

All these may have a certain degree of truth, but nostalgia — or at least the desire to have some semblance of the good ‘ole days — is a powerful thing. The gum and card equation is something at lot of us long for. I know I do.

So how can we bring gum back to the hobby? I have suggestions and ideas (and they’re just that — ideas that may or may not be realistic or even possible). And none of them involve manufactured gum damage (although I personally dug those short-lived Topps Heritage parallels).

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Awesome Inserts: 1996 Select En Fuego Is Still on Fire After All These Years

Sometimes, all it takes to spawn a set of baseball cards is a good catchphrase. Enter 1996 Select En Fuego.

During the 1990s, Dan Patrick was one of the kings of ESPN’s SportsCenter. Working alongside Keith Olbermann, the pair brought nightly highlight packages to life. For many, they were the gatekeepers to an era of pro sports, nurturing their love along the way.

Back in the 1990s, “He’s on fire!” was part of most any sports fan’s vocabulary, thanks in large part to NBA Jam (which also gave us “Boomshakalaka!”). Patrick gave the saying it’s own spin, opting for, “En fuego!” to describe a player on a hot streak.

Pinnacle took the catchphrase and ran with it for the 25-card insert set, both in design and with Patrick’s participation.

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Storify: Steve Grad Twitter Q&A

Steve Grad of Beckett Authentication recently answered some questions on The National Sports Card Collector’s Convention Twitter account. Grad talks about his career in authentication, The National, and his favorite Star Wars movie. Check our our Storify of the event below.

 

Reconfigured 2017-18 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Basketball gives an early look at incoming rookies

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

With a new configuration that boasts an autograph in every pack on average, 2017-18 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Basketball is going to burst on the scene just before the new NBA season begins.

Collectors can once again expect some early cardboard from the latest draft picks and the Class of 2017 is loaded up with some prime prospects that includes one of the most heavily-hyped young stars today – Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers. Read More…

Cody Bellinger Rookie Cards and Other Important Early Cards

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

After making a quick and dramatic impact, interest in Cody Bellinger Rookie Cards and anything with his name on it is rising. That’s what happens when you start setting some impressive home run records during your first couple of months in the majors.

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2017 Topps Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Widevision Box Busters

Join Beckett Media’s Matt Bible and Eric Norton as they open a set of 2017 Topps Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Widevision trading cards.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

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2017 Decision 2016 Series 2 Update Box Busters

Join Beckett Media’s Eric Norton and Matt Bible as they open some 2017 Decision 2016 Series 2 trading cards.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

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2017 Topps National Baseball Card Day Checklist and Details on How to Score Free Cards

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

August 12, 2017 — save the date. Topps, MLB and the MLBPA are bringing back National Baseball Card Day for the second consecutive year. And while the overall draw remains the same — free baseball cards — pieces are evolving to make 2017 National Baseball Card Day bigger and better for both collectors and participating shops.

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2017 Topps GPK/Wacky Packages Summer Comic Convention Set Aims at ’80s Pop Culture

2017 Topps GPK/Wacky Packages Summer Comic Convention 2 Lazy Lionel

San Diego Comic-Con is upon us. That means tens of thousands of people descending on the city to celebrate comics and the much larger realm of pop culture. Of course, there’s expected the usual mix of big-name panels, trailers and other geek-centric news. The 2017 Topps GPK/Wacky Packages Summer Comic Convention mini set spoofs some of the geek chic, particularly to those who grew up in the 1980s.

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Stephen Amell Autograph Cards Coming to Cryptozoic’s Arrow Line

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Cryptozoic’s run with the Arrow trading card line has been a good one thus far. They’ve managed to include autographs from much of the main cast. However, there’s been one major holdout — lead star Stephen Amell.

But that’s about to change. Stephen Amell autographs are on the way.

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2017 Topps On-Demand Checklist and Details

2017 Topps On Demand Box

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Topps On-Demand is another extension of the card maker’s online exclusives. Similar to their Throwback Thursday line, it isn’t specific to one sport or license. But unlike Throwback Thrusday and others like it, the checklists are more expansive. They’re still on the small side, but each offering has a little more to it like parallels and inserts.

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2017 Leaf Pop Century Checklist Includes Autographs from Hollywood Stars, Recently Passed Icons

2017 Leaf Pop Century continues with the brand’s long-standing tradition of focusing on autographs from across the pop culture realm. Actors, singers, athletes and more are featured on the checklist.

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Putting a Smile on Classic Baseball Cards

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Smiles aren’t something you see on a lot of baseball cards. But, really, how many players are beaming while they’re in the batter’s box? How many pitchers have a big grin when they’re throwing off the mound?

With action shots being the norm on most cards, there’s more intensity on them than looks of delight.

Even when there are portraits, happy faces aren’t always on display. Many people prefer a more stoic look.

How would some classic baseball cards change if the players were smiling? I used FaceApp to find out.

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2017 Topps Now Doctor Who Trading Cards Offered for a Limited Time at an Exclusive Online Space

2017 Topps Now Doctor Who 1 Jodie Whittaker FB

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Topps Now Doctor Who trading cards bring the international hit to the print-on-demand realm.

Available exclusively through the Topps website, the set didn’t launch with an episode recap. Instead it was a special card commemorating the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.

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Running List of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Surprises and Things to Watch Out For

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

It’s summer. That means a lot of network TV switches over to reality show mode. Big Brother is one of those summer staples, going with the slogan, “Expect the unexpected.” Allen & Ginter, another summer staple, follows a similar path. Every year there are some surprises out there to be found. 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter follows a similar path.

With that in mind, here’s a quick running list of checklist additions, set surprises and things you might have originally missed. This is by no means an exhaustive list as of yet, but we’ll be updating in the days ahead to make sure you know what to look for.

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Steve Grad Appearing On CNN HLN To Discuss OJ Simpson Memorabilia

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OJ Simpson, the former NFL running back, actor, and subject of arguably the biggest trial in American history, has a parole hearing Thursday to determine whether he will be released after serving nine years of his 33-year sentence. Simpson was convicted of armed robbery in 2008 after he and his accomplices stole sports memorabilia at gunpoint.

Grad, whose authentication expertise can be seen on History Channel’s Pawn Stars, will discuss the ways that Simpson’s release from prison may affect the market for memorabilia from his career.

For more on Beckett Authentication, follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

2017 Topps Now Preacher Season 2 Trading Cards Offer Episode-by-Episode Recaps, Add Costume Cards

2017 Topps Now Preacher Season 2 5

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2016 Topps Now Preacher Season 2 trading cards are sticking with the same general concept as Season 1 — delivering small batches of new limited editioncards each week after every episode.

But there’s a new wrinkle this time around — costume cards.

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2017 Donruss Optic Baseball Variations Gallery

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

If you’re familiar with how things worked in 2017 Donruss Baseball, the 2017 Donruss Optic Baseball variations shouldn’t be tough to spot. Even if this is a new brand, they’re not tough to spot.

Still, let’s take a look and make it even easier.

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Top 10 Topps Allen & Ginter Non-Baseball Autographs

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Topps Allen & Ginter autographs aren’t just about baseball. In the years since its revival, non-baseball has played a big role in the brand’s eclectic and often quirky nature. It has also made for a natural fit for some impressive (and valuable) signatures over the years.

So what are the most valuable Topps Allen & Ginter non-baseball autographs? Let’s count them down.

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2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Checklist Abides

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball isn’t going to be confused with something from another brand. Keeping what makes it one of the biggest releases each year, it’s all about old-fashioned designs, quirky inserts and the other predictable surprises.

Autographs, memorabilia cards and rip cards continue to fall three per hobby box. Each pack also promises one mini card.

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