Wrestling loses a legend: Verne Gagne dies at 89

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

He was a prep star in three sports, a college football standout, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion, an Olympic team alternate, an NFL draft pick and even a U.S. Marine.

But Verne Gagne dedicated his life to the world of professional wrestling — a career that spanned five decades in the ring and even more time beyond as a promoter and owner of the American Wrestling Association. He died Monday at age 89.

As the AWA owner, trainer and even a 10-time champion, he helped create wrestling stars such as Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Curt Henning and many more. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 for his contributions to wrestling as a whole.

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Pro Set put Draft Day what-ifs on cardboard

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

With this year’s NFL Draft set to begin in prime time on Thursday night, we’re likely going to see some cardboard made just for the draft and some real-time online reveals from card companies showing the league’s newest players linked to their newest teams.

It’s something that I’ve always found interesting — and it’s something we’ve seen before. In fact, it first happened a long, long time ago well before the days of Twitter and Facebook. And it happened on real cardboard.

In fact, a simple four-card set from Pro Set made for the 1990 NFL Draft, then a Sunday event, is one that I’ve always found oddly interesting — and just this week I finally added this simple release to my collection all these years later.

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Gallery: 2014-15 Panini Immaculate Basketball

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

The release of 2014-15 Panini Immaculate Basketball is only a few days away, but Panini America could not wait to let collectors have a closer look at some of its jaw-dropping cards through its official blog earlier today.

In addition to the Sneak Peek cards we were able to show collectors last week, Immaculate is also loaded up with other strong low-run premium memorabilia hits like Sole of the Game and Nameplate Nobility alongside plenty of Logoman parallels.

Look for an extensive gallery of cards you could potentially pull from Immaculate after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2015 Topps UFC Knockout

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Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds and Matt Bible as they rip into boxes of 2015 Topps UFC in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014-15 UC Ice + win our Lemieux auto

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Join Beckett Hockey‘s Eric Norton and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014-15 Upper Deck Ice in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Contest: How can you win our big autograph card from this box? Leave a comment below before June 1. We’ll pick a winner at random from all entries received.

Note: The other-color cards are not parallels in this product.

 

First Look: Cryptozoic Sons of Anarchy Seasons 4 & 5

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

While the phenomenally popular Sons of Anarchy series drew to a close a few months ago, fans and collectors have been celebrating the show’s first three seasons through a series of trading cards which was a strong hit for Cryptozoic last year.

All of the action and intrigue of the two chaotic and mayhem-filled seasons that followed can be relived starting on April 29 with the release of Cryptozoic Sons of Anarchy Seasons 4 & 5 and each 24-pack box is loaded up with plenty of hits.

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Topps readies new wave of Star Wars wall art

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By Matt Bible | Beckett Non-Sports and Gaming Analyst

Looking for some incredible wall art of your favorite Star Wars character? Well, you don’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to find it.

Star Wars Masterwork Wall Art is back and this time there is more to go around. In February, Topps produced and distributed quantities of this product when it released a 10-by-14 version that was limited to just one copy per print.

This new release will have 99 copies of the entire 75-card base set and select insert sets such as Scum & Villainy, Companions, and Defining Moments.

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Honus Wagner sells for $1.32 million at auction

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The hobby’s biggest card recorded another big sale this weekend.

It’s a PSA 3 copy of the 1909 T206 Honus Wagner and it was part of the annual Robert Edward Auctions sale that ended Saturday night. After 42 bids, it sold for $1.1 million and that excludes a 20-percent buyer’s premium that raised the sale to $1.32 million.

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First Look: Rittenhouse Game Of Thrones: Season 4

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

One of the most successful non-sports trading card franchises in recent years is based off of HBO’s phenomenally popular Game of Thrones and while fans of the show are enjoying new episodes, they can also sit and bust packs of Rittenhouse Archives Game of Thrones: Season 4 once it hits card store shelves on May 13.

Once again, collectors will be able to obtain two autographs inside each hobby box and the lineup includes stars such as Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Queen Cersei Lannister) and Sean Bean (Ned Stark).

What else can be found inside boxes? Read More »

College student becomes baseball player for day

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

For the third time in as many years, a collector of baseball cards became a member of a minor league baseball team for a day.

How? By collecting cards and entering the Topps Make Your Pro Debut contest.

Earlier this week, 21-year-old University of Georgia student Tyler Badger became a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.

“It’s truly an experience of a lifetime,” Badger told Topps. “I love the essence of Minor League Baseball and how each team has roots within its community. That’s certainly true with this great organization and I’d just like to thank Topps, Minor League Baseball and the Hooks for such a tremendous experience.”

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Gypsy Queen gets jumbo wall art treatment

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps is making its latest baseball card release even bigger — as wall art.

This year’s edition of Gypsy Queen, which arrived last week, has been given the online wall art treatment as Topps has unveiled the Gypsy Queen collection on Topps.com.

There are 599 different print options and one set offering in this one — all from the fifth edition of the retro-styled line.

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Topps offers oversized Sounders cards and prints

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Fans of Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders have much to cheer about this season with a respectable 3-2-1 record after their first six games this season, but they can also can bring the excitement of the game home with them through some special oversized offerings that have recently been released by Topps.

Topps has produced a complete team set of 5″ x 7″ cards that parallel all of the Sounders players appearing in the 2015 MLS base set. Available for $14.99 plus shipping, it is made up of 13 cards and includes top talents in forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins along with other favorites like midfielder Andy Rose and goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Read More »

Leaf signs Yoan Moncada to autograph deal

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Leaf Trading Cards has signed Boston Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada to a multi-year autograph deal, the company announced on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old second baseman signed a record $31.5 million deal with Boston in February. In two seasons with the Cuban National Series, he hit .277 with four home runs and 28 RBI in 101 games. He’ll begin his season with the Class-A Greenville Drive after he finishes in extended spring training.

He made his debut there last week.

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Box Busters: 2015 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2015 Topps Gypsy Queen in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014 Topps Five Star football cards

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Join Beckett Football‘s Justin Grunert and Chris Olds as they rip into a box of 2014 Topps Five Star in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

First Look: 2015 Topps Dynasty baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps Dynasty will be returning in 2015.

That was the revelation on Wednesday when the company teased a card of highly touted Chicago Cubs rookie Kris Bryant and released the basic information and other preview images for the product.

Last year, the brand’s debut marked the most-expensive single-card pack of baseball cards in Topps history as the company dubbed it as “the most carefully curated subject list in trading card history” and the “most-premium Topps product of all time.”

This year, every pack will once again include an autographed patch, cut auto, autographed dual Relic or a cut auto dual Relic when it arrives on Nov. 4.

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Beckett Contest: Star Wars Second Chance Giveaway

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By Matt Bible | Beckett Non-Sports and Gaming Analyst

This past weekend, Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim was a huge hit with dealers, collectors, and Star Wars fan boys and girls. Beckett even got in on the action by giving away a box of Star Wars Rebels and a limited edition Star Wars Funko figure.

Now, we are offering everyone a second chance. We have one more box of Rebels to give away and it could have your name on it. All you have to do is answer the following question: What are you looking forward to the most about the upcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens?

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Jim Brown’s Rookie Contract Up For Auction

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

One of the most historically significant player contracts in NFL history is on the block and thanks to SCP Auctions, a lucky collector will soon walk away with a written record of Jim Brown‘s rookie deal with the Cleveland Browns that was signed before the 1957 season began.

With bidding expected to reach up to $35,000 by the time it closes this weekend, this document marks the beginning of the Hall of Famer’s professional career after being a first round selection in that year’s NFL Draft. Prior to that time, he had been a standout All-American at Syracuse and in the years that followed, Brown revolutionized the game.

“Jim Brown’s 1957 Rookie contract has to be one of the most important pieces of Jim Brown memorabilia known and is certainly among the most significant football related documents in existence,” noted SCP Auctions Vice President Dan Imler in a press release.

How much was Brown paid in his first season? Find out after the jump. Read More »

First Look: 2015 Cooperstown baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America‘s Cooperstown is back after an anniversary year that saw the company’s Hall of Fame brand go high-end. This time around, it remains high-end with the original name used in 2012 and 2013.

The company unveiled the first glimpses at 2015 Cooperstown in Wednesday — a fourth retrospective release from the company under its licensing deal with the Hall, and it’s a set that will arrive on June 17.

With 12 cards per box and 15 boxes per case, this one will pack two autographs in every box along with a mix of base cards and inserts of the biggest names in the game — and those players only.

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First Look: 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee

 

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

For many that grew up appreciating hockey cards, there were few childhood moments more exciting than the arrival of the latest set and 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee is a great entry-level release that adult hobbyists can share with younger collectors and introduce them to the joys of collecting when it hits the shelves on September 2.

Now heading into its 10th consecutive season of being produced by Upper Deck, O-Pee-Chee has been a hobby mainstay for decades and the tradition continues with some new twists in addition to many of qualities that have long made it a favorite of collectors everywhere.

What will collectors find in packs of O-Pee-Chee this season? Find out more after the jump. Read More »

Draft picks sets helped shape hobby we know today

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

Russell Maryland, Brien Taylor, Larry Johnson, Eric Lindros.

Back in 1991, this first card from Classic Four Sport was a talking point for an emerging niche of sports card collecting — draft picks sets. Back then, we often had to wait a year — or at least later in the year — to see our newest teams’ newest stars on cards, so a card like this was something dramatically different.

The fact that this card had the No. 1 picks from the four major drafts all in one place, all on one card? That might still be considered magical — and Classic pulled it off. A year later, with the company backing the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal, the game was changed and draft picks were truly a force and an option for collectors to seriously consider.

Our next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly will explore draft picks sets in a bit of an abbreviated form — a look back at 20 big-name notables and busts from the past, a look at a few stars heading into this year’s drafts, and a look back at a handful of sets that helped define the changing times. This card didn’t make the cut for the items in the issue, but it should have. It’s perhaps a symbol of the changing times and how things were simpler — and yet still big business — even just a couple decades ago. It also shows us how different things are today.

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Who will you be chasing on 2015 Bowman autos?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s first Bowman release arrives next Wednesday with the newest crop of Chrome prospect and rookie autographs as well as a strong selection of insert autographs showcasing some of the biggest names in the game.

We’re curious who you think will be standouts among those on the Chrome auto and the retail auto checklists. You can check them out — and tell us who you’ll be chasing in the comments — after the jump.

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Mascots take over in latest Topps wall art line

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Baseball’s furry friends are taking over.

Twenty-five mascot cards found in packs of 2015 Topps Opening Day are getting enlarged to make their way onto collectors’ walls as the MLB Mascots collection is the latest wall art line from Topps.

Found only on Topps.com for a limited time, there are three options for collectors who want a piece of the action showing the stars found in the stands.

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USA Baseball is common thread with emerging stars

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Kris Bryant, Carlos Rodon and Addison Russell have a lot more in common than you might think.

Sure, they’re all now MLB rookies in Chicago. They’re all now under lock and key for another season before they can be free agents (thanks, Super Two rule!) and they’re all guys who have been watched closely on cardboard for some time. But that about of time is longer than you might think. Why?

USA Baseball cards.

Each of these guys — and many, many more — appeared on USA Baseball cards in the past. They made their cardboard debuts well before they even had a professional team and professional fans to latch onto them because their team colors matched. They’ve literally had baseball cards for years — and yet I continue to wonder why these extra-early — and officially official — cards don’t seem to resonate as well as others despite them being made by Upper Deck, Topps and Panini America in the last decade or so. (Panini is the present manufacturer.)

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First Look: 2015-16 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

One of the biggest hits of the 2014-15 season was Upper Deck‘s debuting Team Canada Juniors product which focused on some of the best young players in the game and delivered plenty of value to collectors with a strong mix of autographs and memorabilia. The release truly began to heat up during the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship as Canada returned to glory with a long-awaited gold medal victory and several members of the squad became hot commodities within the hobby.

Due to that success, it was only natural that the set return for another season and Upper Deck appears to be adding some more concepts to the mix to ensure that it maintains its status as a collector favorite. Boasting a strong lineup of future stars like Connor McDavid, Sam Reinhart, and Max Domi, 2015-16 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors has the potential to be an early-season smash. Those cracking boxes will get a combination of six autograph, memorabilia or printing plate hits and one of them is a patch card numbered to 199 or less.

What else can collectors expect to find in boxes? Find out after the jump. Read More »

First Look: 2015 Topps Star Wars Journey To The Force Awakens

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

The recent Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim gave fans the opportunity to enjoy their favorite film franchise and while the unveiling of the next installment’s latest trailer grabbed its fair share of headlines, there was also some information unveiled about a major set coming from Topps just in time for its release later this year.

Since the beginning, Star Wars trading cards have been a mainstay in the hobby and 2015 Topps Star Wars Journey To The Force Awakens looks to be a product loaded up with retro styling and the features that card collectors have come to expect in recent years such as sketch cards and autographs.

What can Star Wars fans expect to find in packs?  Read More »

Gallery: 2014-15 Panini Immaculate Sneak Peek

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

One of the most intriguing innovations in the hobby last season, Panini America‘s Sneak Peek cards brought collectors giant and unique pieces of game-used shoes from the game’s biggest stars.

Today, the company released some new images for the coveted pieces that are slated to be dropped into packs of 2014-15 Panini Immaculate Basketball and there are some jaw-dropping pieces featuring a mix of today’s best players along with many legends of yesteryear. Each card will be a one-of-a-kind treasure and potentially become the cornerstone piece of many collections.

Look for an extensive and detailed early gallery of Sneak Peek cards after the jump. Read More »

Topps signs Jameis Winston to autograph deal

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By Denis Dougherty | Beckett Football Editor

Topps has reached an autograph deal with former Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston, the company announced today.

Winston could be the top pick in the April 30 NFL Draft. He will be featured in all of Topps’ 2015 products, according to the company.

“We are excited to add a player of Jameis Winston’s caliber to the Topps family,” Topps Football Brand Manager Kevin Eger said in a release. “Winston is an electrifying player and collectors always look forward to a player’s first Topps Rookie Card. Winston will lead a thrilling 2015 rookie class, and we look forward to working with him in our 60th year of football cards.”

His cards will first appear in Bowmanâ Football, which releases in June, the company said.

Winston was nearly flawless in winning the 2013 Heisman Trophy and leading Florida State to the national championship as a freshman. In his sophomore season, he led the Seminoles to an undefeated regular season before a loss to Oregon in the first College Football Playoff.

Winston has the size and arm to be an NFL and hobby star. He often got Florida State in trouble with interceptions last season but was remarkably good in the clutch, playing his best with the game on the line.

Box Busters: 2015 Topps Museum Collection

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2015 Topps Museum Collection in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

 

Kris Bryant gets his own Topps wall art line

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Kris Bryant is kind of a big deal — even bigger as wall art.

The Chicago Cubs rookie made his big-league debut last week and on Monday Topps released a series of five wall art prints showcasing the third baseman’s 2014 Bowman card design as an oversized piece of acrylic.

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Tim Tebow set to make NFL return

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By Denis Dougherty | Beckett Football Editor

Fan favorite and college football legend Tim Tebow is returning to the NFL.

He will sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, according to Fox Sports. The Eagles have quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford. 

There are 1,965 cards in the Beckett Online Price Guide, including 569 autographed cards and 36 Rookie Cards.  The total value of his cards, excluding those too rare to price, is more than $39,400.

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First Look: 2015 Topps High Tek baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

High Tek won’t be a one-year wonder — not after its popularity last year.

Topps revealed the basics and first teasers for 2015 Topps High Tek on Friday evening, a follow-up to the popular autograph-focused brand that returned last year after several years on the sidelines.

This time around, Tek will once again include an autograph in every box along with one parallel card when it arrives on Oct. 14. Every 12-box case will now include an insert card limited to no more than 50 copies.

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BGS Diary: Seeing gold, stickers … and furry autos?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

For the last few months, I’ve submitted a few cards a month to Beckett Grading Services to finally get some of the cards I like into slabs. Selecting which cards to submit has been easier said than done — and the results can be interesting, too.

Here is the batch I got back from BGS for April — so here is my latest BGS Diary entry. See which cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

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Topps readies Kris Bryant Rookie Cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

With Kris Bryant‘s arrival finally here in a game batting cleanup for the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, that finally means his first official MLB Rookie Cards get the green light.

Topps detailed its plans for Bryant RCs on Friday, and it will all start with his standard Rookie Cards in Topps Archives and Finest — short-printed cards — and Topps Series 2, which arrives in June. Tier One will have redemptions for a Bryant auto when it arrives on May 20, while Finest will have a rookie auto as well.

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First Look: 2015 Prizm Collegiate Draft Picks

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By Denis Dougherty | Beckett Football Editor

Excited about the NFL Draft?

This year’s Prizm Collegiate Draft Picks football card set will be released in late-May. According to Panini America, it will feature autographs of the top NFL draft picks in the All-Americans, Draft Picks and Team Trademarks (all featuring limited parallel versions).

The Alumnus Autographs insert features current NFL stars in their college uniforms, including Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Odell Beckham, Jr., Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch. The insert is bolstered by limited Prizm parallels.

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