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Monthly Archives: March 2009

Wooooo! Win Ric Flair's first certified autographed wrestling card right here (contest now closed)

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***CONTEST NOW CLOSED***

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

He’s a 16-time world heavyweight champion — a guy who still today talks a great game and will be in the middle of the action (but not actually wrestling) alongside actor Mickey Rourke Sunday at WrestleMania 25 in Houston.

He’s known as the greatest wrestler of all time — the best bleeder, too.  He’s known as a guy who wrestled hard but partied harder — after all, he is the guy also known as the limosine ridin’ jet flyin’ kiss stealin’ wheelin’ dealin’ son of a gun.

He’s a guy who led The Four Horsemen and was the backbone of another famous faction, Evolution, in more recent years. He’s a WWE Hall of Famer — the first guy inducted before his career was over. He’s the guy who literally traveled around the world as the last great NWA world heavyweight champion before World Wrestling Entertainment changed the landscape of professional wrestling.

And, until now — until Panini America landed him for an autograph signing earlier this year — he also had been known as the greatest professional wrestler to never sign autographs for a trading card company.

That’s right, despite his decades in the business — and he appeared on his first wrestling card back in 1982 — and his long runs with WCW and WWE, he never signed a single certified autograph for inclusion in packs of wrestling cards. Never for Topps’ WCW sets of the late 1990s, never for Fleer’s WWE sets and none for Topps in its current run as a WWE licensee.

But he has now. And you can own one — a signed promotional Donruss Americana card specially produced just for this contest with Beckett Media.

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Preview: TRISTAR TNA Knockouts wrestling cards

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TRISTAR released preview information on Monday for its upcoming TNA Knockouts wrestling card set that focuses on the female competitors of Total Nonstop Action wrestling.

tna1The first women’s-only product for TNA will consist of two separate runs — 150 standard cases and 50 Knockouts Revealed cases that guarantee more hits per box and cards exclusively found only in those packs. The product is scheduled for an April 28 release.

The standard boxes will include four hits — two Signature Curves autographs, one Top Drawer memorabilia card and one parallel card serial-numbered to 40 copies or less. The autographs come with as many as four signatures per card and have four levels of parallels limited to 75 or fewer cards.

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Tiger Woods' Champ's autographs include variants

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Tiger Woods is included in Upper Deck‘s autographed mini cards in the 2008-09 NHL Champ’s product and Upper Deck announced on Friday that there are four different variations to be found.

According to Upper Deck, Woods signed cards with brown-, purple-, blue- and black-ink backs. The cards were inserted as redemptions.

So what was already a tough pull has gotten tougher to collect.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Guest column: Scott Schwartz

schwartzYou may remember Scott Schwartz from “The Toy” or from “A Christmas Story.” What you might not know is that he’s a long-time collector and had a guest editor stint here at Beckett Media last year. He’s decided to share some of his views on the sports world with us …

I am sitting here the day the clean baseball player died. Props to Don McLean, but here we go…

Alex Rodriguez tested positive in 2003 for steroids. Is anyone really surprised? Anyone who is familiar with MLB players knows that in the words of “Jose” that 70 to 85 percent of players did some form of steroids. So, now here we go. Barry Bonds will go on trial for perjury, A-Rod tests positive. (Funny, wasn’t he playing for Texas just like Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco?) What is the world coming to? Realize this: The tests from 2003 were supposed to be anonymous. So, how in the world can this be possible?

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Why do companies include unusual cards?

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Why do companies include unusual cards in their products?

They get people talking. They get added attention.

In the case of a 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Bernie Madoff or Charles Ponzi, they get written about in Fortune magazine and elsewhere in the business world.

Check out one story here.

Update: Topps announced in early May that the card was pulled from the set per a request from Major League Baseball.

Razor acquires Inkworks autographs, announces new product

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Razor announced on Thursday that it has acquired the remaining autograph inventory of Inkworks, a staple of the non-sport autograph industry that announced it was ceasing regular business operations earlier this month.

More than 400 autographed cards will be included in Razor’s upcoming InkArchives product, a release that includes one encapsulated autograph per pack in every five-pack box (12 boxes per case).

Many notable past Inkworks inclusions are on the sell sheet above, including Jennifer Garner (“Alias”), Ozzy Osbourne (“The Osbournes”), Evangeline Lilly (“Lost”), the late John Ritter (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer) as well as Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan (“Charmed”).

Razor announced that only 299 cases will be produced.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

First Look: 2009 Donruss Elite football

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Donruss Elite football is set to release in June delivering serial-numbered Rookie Cards and even some autographed RCs. Each box will deliver three autograph or memorabilia cards, including the popular Passing the Torch, Throwback Threads and College Ties inserts.

Take a look at some exclusive debut images after the jump.

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Upcoming Topps Magic set focuses on college football

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Topps recently announced that it will release another retro-themed football set in June — this time focusing on its first nationally released product, the 1951 Topps Magic set.

That release featured college football stars as will this one, 2009 Topps Magic, when it arrives in mid-June. Many current players and former legends will appear in the set in their college threads.

The set will include 250 different autograph signers, which the company claims is the most ever, with signed cards found three per hobby box. The packs will carry a $4 suggested retail price.

See more images after the jump.
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First Look: 2009 Upper Deck Football

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Upper Deck released the first preview images and basic product information for its 2009 Football set on Wednesday.

Scheduled for an August release, the product will include one autograph per 16-pack box as well as three memorabilia cards and two lenticular 3D Stars cards. Each box also will include at least 64 Star Rookies. (And, yes, some Star Rookies are short-prints.)

Each 12-box case should include one Iconic Cuts cut signature, one Premier Signature and one Same Day Signature.

See more card images after the jump.
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Topps announces final World Baseball Classic redemptions

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wbc91Topps revealed the final two players in its 10-card World Baseball Classic redemption set on Wednesday and they are Japan’s Daisuke Matsuzaka and Korea’s Jung Keun Bong.

Japan won the WBC championship on Monday night, defeating Korea 5-3 in 10 innings.

The WBC redemptions are found one per hobby or HTA jumbo box of 2009 Topps Series 1. They can be redeemed at topps.com.  The cards will be printed on Chrome stock and shipped in early June.

The final checklist is:

1. Lee Jin Young, Korea
2. Derek Jeter, USA
3. Gift Ngoepe, South Africa
4. Ubaldo Jimenez, Dominican Republic
5. Sidney De Jong, Netherlands
6. Yoennis Cespedes, Cuba
7. Dae Ho Lee, Korea
8. Yu Darvish, Japan
9. Jung Keun Bong, Korea
10. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Japan

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

The final World Baseball Classic eTopps cards are…

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There’s only about 30 minutes remaining in a special championship game IPO for the final batch of World Baseball Classic eTopps cards as this is posted, but here they are:

Dae Ho Lee (Korea) — $5, a maximum of 749 will be produced

Hisashi Iwakuma (Japan) — $5, a maximum of 999 will be produced

Ichiro Suzuki (Japan) — $5.50, a maxiumum of 749 will be produced

Tae Kyun Kim (Korea) — $6, a maximum of 749 will be produced

The cards are available until 5 p.m. Eastern time but if you’re caught short today, the cards will be allocated immediately for trading in advance of tonight’s WBC championship game between Japan and Korea.

Collectors who put together the entire 12-card set will receive a card commemorating the winner of tonight’s game.

For more details on the WBC eTopps cards, click here or visit etopps.com.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

First look: 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball cards

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Topps released images and basic product preview information for 2009 Allen & Ginter baseball on Friday.

Each 24-pack hobby box will include three hits — an upgrade from previous years — a combination of autographs cut signatures, Rip Cards, Relics and printing plates. The set is scheduled to arrive the week of June 29.

See more after the jump.

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Japan's Yu Darvish headlines latest Topps World Baseball Classic redemptions

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Topps announced the sixth, seventh and eighth players in its 2009 Topps Series 1 World Baseball Classic redemption set on Friday afternoon. They are:

No. 6 — Yoennis Cespedes, OF , Cuba

No. 7 — Dae Ho Lee, 3B, Korea

No. 8 — Yu Darvish, P, Japan

The remainder of the 10-card set will be announced during the duration of the Classic.  Each Topps Series 1 hobby box includes one of the redemptions, which can be redeemed online at www.topps.com/redemption.

The cards will be printed on Chrome stock and shipped in June. The other cards previously announced include:

1 — Lee Jin Young, Korea
2 — Derek Jeter, USA
3 — Gift Ngoepe, South Africa
4 — Ubaldo Jimenez, Dominican Republic
5 — Sidney De Jong, Netherlands

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

What would YOU have Kobe Bryant sign?

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Upper Deck is holding an autograph signing with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant early next week and they want you to be in on it.

Say what?

They want you to tell Kobe what to sign.

blackmambaMany collectors will remember Bryant’s cards inscribed with his nickname “Black Mamba” from Exquisite Collection and SP Authentic last year.

Those unique cards command some good money on the secondary market because they’re unique and carry an extra cool factor.

But now it’s your turn — right here — as Upper Deck and Beckett Media will select 15 readers’ suggested inscriptions and have them signed by Bryant for inclusion in packs of a future Upper Deck product.

Perhaps you liked his Nike commercials where he jumped an Aston Martin, so he should sign that. Or perhaps you remember his father’s career so he should sign a reference to “Jellybean.” Or maybe you prefer something simple like “81 points” for his career-high game?

Surely you can come up with something better. Something really, really, cool, right?

Here’s what you do…

Leave a comment right here with the cool inscription you would recommend (keep ‘em clean) — along with your name and e-mail address as Upper Deck will get you some free packs of cards if yours is one of the 15 selected.

A gallery of these cards will appear here and in an upcoming Beckett magazine. (Be sure to visit Beckett.com for more on sports cards and memorabilia, too.)

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Topps confirms 2009 Heritage baseball variations

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Topps released the following list of short-printed variation cards from its 2009 Heritage baseball set on Friday morning. Several of the variations mimic cards from the 1960 set, which is this year’s Heritage design. Check ‘em out …

# 58 Conor Jackson

Variation: Rays logo on card

Mimics: Original # 58 Gino Cimoli

# 70 Tom Glavine

Variation: Spelled “Thom”

Mimics: Original # 70 Lew Burdette

# 102 Adrian Gonzalez

Variation: Rangers logo on card

Mimics: Original # 102 Kent Hedley

# 346 Fred Lewis

Variation: Randy Winn’s image

Mimics: Original # 346 J.C. Martin

# 407 Randy Winn

Variation: Fred Lewis’ image

Mimics: Original # 407 Gary Peters

# 445 John Smoltz

New Variation: Featured in Red Sox Uniform

# 488 Hanley Ramirez (All-Star)

Variation: Featured in Red Sox Uniform

Mimics: Original # 488 Norm Cash

More info: 2009 Donruss Americana

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Panini America released the first information about the upcoming 2009 Donruss Americana set on Wednesday.  There are a few new additions to the celebrity-laden non-sport set, and here are a few more cards to see in the new set and there’s a full breakdown of the product after the jump.

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Topps announces next three World Baseball Classic redemptions

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Topps announced the next three World Baseball Classic redemptions from 2009 Topps Series 1 on Thursday morning. They are:

No. 3 — Gift Ngoepe, 2B, South Africa

No. 4 — Ubaldo Jimenez, P, Dominican Republic

No. 5 — Sidney De Jong, C, Netherlands

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Talkin' baseball cards with TRISTAR's Jeff Rosenberg

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Yesterday, we sat down with TRISTAR‘s Jeff Rosenberg to open some boxes of 2009 PROjections minor league cards.

For that video, click here.

We also convinced him to bring along one of this newest cards — the 1869 baseball card (above) discovered by a 72-year-old California woman that he bought for $75,000.

What are his plans for the card? Watch a video here.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Sneak Peek: 2009 Bowman World Baseball Classic Rising Stars cards

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Topps announced on Wednesday the inclusion of 20 World Baseball Classic Rising Stars cards that will be included in 2009 Bowman when it arrives in early May.

Japanese pitching star Yu Darvish will be one player many collectors focus on as it’s the first card of Darvish released by an American company and he has a good possibility of pitching in the Major Leagues in the future. He has several Japanese cards produced highlighting his Japanese pro career.

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First Look: 2009 Donruss Americana

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Panini America released preview images and basic product information for the 2009 Donruss Americana non-sport set. It’s scheduled for a May 27 release with a suggested retail price of $25 per pack. Here’s a look …

Each hobby box will include four autograph or memorabilia cards along with the typical features of the set as in previous years. There will be 100 base cards along with proof parallels, Private Signings cards, Stars Materials cards, Cinema Stars, Hollywood Legends, Co-Stars Materials, and TV Stars inserts among others.

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The (Wrestling) card of the day is …

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The best wrestling card of today (one that’s actually tacked to my bulletin board in a penny sleeve) is the Topps WWE Heritage IV card of Hornswoggle, the diminutive WWE Superstar who was once the company’s cruiserweight champion.

Be sure to read up on Dylan Postl‘s Wikipedia bio.  Classic stuff — particularly his former NWA Wisconsin gimmick.

hornswogglercBelieve it or not, Hornswoggle has been around three years already — and yet he doesn’t have a certified autograph card. (Get on it, Topps! This can’t be a lucky move.)

The card above is actually his second card, while his “Rookie Cards” come in the 2007 Heritage III and WWE Action sets.

The Action card can be seen at right (missing its foil stamping). Unfortunately, it’s still on my want list.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Topps announces second batch of World Baseball Classic eTopps cards

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Topps issued images and basic information for the next four World Baseball Classic cards available via an IPO on eTopps on Monday afternoon.

The latest batch will be on sale until March 23. They include:

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In The Game brings Goalies into Made to Order mix

In the Game announced Sunday that several goalies will have cards in the Made to Order redemption program found in packs of 2008-09 Between the Pipes cards, which arrive on March 26.

Collectors who find the cards can pick their player  — or players — who will appear on their memorabilia cards.

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Panini buys Donruss: Ann Powell's statement

pandon310Former Donruss owner Ann Powell, who has an extensive history within the hobby dating back to Optigraphics — the company that helped produce Slurpee cup coins and then Sportflics cards in the 1980s — has issued a statement on the sale to Panini.

Read it here.

Panini buys Donruss: Q&A with Panini's Peter Warsop

Story copyright 2009 Beckett Media

pandon310Peter Warsop, Panini’s Group Licensing Director, answered these questions from Beckett Media Publisher Tracy Hackler in the wake of the company finalizing its deal to acquire Arlington, Texas-based Donruss on Friday morning.

Beckett Media: Ultimately, what were some of the most important factors that led Panini to make the acquisition?

Peter Warsop: For Panini this was not a difficult decision at all as it became a natural fit for all concerned. From the very first meeting we had with Donruss Playoff LP, it has taken Panini less than six weeks to make its evaluations and complete the final transaction of acquiring the sports trading card business from them.

We have always understood the fine reputation and strengths of Donruss and this aspect of our knowledge needed no prompting. Importantly, we have had reciprocal visits between the two head offices; Donruss representations came to Modena, Italy, and eight Panini head office directors visited Donruss in Arlington over a four-day period. All this was to satisfy both sides that a Panini acquisition would work well not just for Panini and Donruss, but for all parties, including licensing principals, suppliers, the hobby, the consumers and, not least, the staff and management of Donruss. The outcome to this mutual assessment was overwhelmingly positive.

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