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Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Panini Company purchases Donruss Playoff LP

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Story copyright 2009 Beckett Media

By Tracy Hackler | Publisher

ARLINGTON, Texas The Panini Company on Friday morning finalized its purchase of Donruss Playoff LP following weeks of industry speculation and some furious final days of negotiations.

Financial terms of the landscape-altering acquisition were not disclosed.

In addition to providing the newly named Panini America Inc., a ready-made operating base in the United States, the purchase lends instant hobby credibility to the Italian collectibles giant set to become the NBA’s exclusive trading card manufacturer this fall.

“Acquiring the trading card business from Donruss is very meaningful for a number of reasons,” said Peter Warsop, Panini’s Group Licensing Director. “Panini’s vision of the future is to grow the North American trading card market considerably, and this determination is demonstrated yet again by this acquisition.

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Topps confirms 2009 Heritage baseball short prints

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Topps confirmed on Friday morning that the dark-cardboard cards (Nos. 426-500) in its 2009 Heritage baseball set are, indeed, short-printed.

No official word yet on rare variations, though several have been found.

The list is after the jump.

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Box Busters Preview: 2009 TRISTAR PROjections

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While TRISTAR‘s Jeff Rosenberg will be stopping by Beckett HQ next week to open some boxes for a Box Busters video and talk a bit about his latest baseball set, TRISTAR PROjections, we decided to give you a sneak peek a bit early.

Here are the results of a hobby box (No. 446/1,800) we just opened …

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Panini official denies Donruss rumors

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Contrary to rampant industry speculation this week, The Panini Company has not purchased Donruss.

“[Those rumors] are not true,” said Panini Group Licensing Director Peter Warsop on Wednesday. “We are in discussion but nothing has been finalized at this time.”

Topps announces first two World Baseball Classic redemptions

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Topps announced its first two 2009 World Baseball Classic redemption cards on Wednesday. They are:

wbc2-jeterNo. 1 — Lee Jin Young, OF, Korea

No. 2 — Derek Jeter, SS, USA

Topps will announce the remaining subjects for the WBC redemptions through the remainder of the Classic. The cards will be printed on Chrome stock and will begin shipping in June.

Each Topps Series 1 hobby box or HTA jumbo box includes one WBC redemption, which can be redeemed online at topps.com.

There are a total of 10 WBC redemptions to be found.

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 Red Sox & Yankees box sets

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Topps released the basic set information and preview images on Wednesday for a pair of upcoming box sets for two of baseball’s most storied franchises.

The company will produce 55-card box sets for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, which will arrive in June.

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Legendary Auctions acquires Mastro Auctions

legendaryA newly formed auction house named Legendary Auctions has announced that it has taken over Mastro Auctions assets and will assume its business.

All registered bidders in Mastro Auctions will be transferred to the Lansing, Ill.-based company, according to a news release, and the first Legendary Auction is scheduled for April 20.

Doug Allen, Mark Theotikos and Ron Oser will head the new company.

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More on Topps 3D Live

You might have seen a New York Times story on it right here this morning, but check out this video for Topps 3D Live.

It’s a virtual game of sorts you can play with your PC and ToppsTown cards as long as you have a webcam. What’s seen here is, in theory, what you’ll see as you play on your computer screen. Pretty interesting stuff.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Viddler video.

Schlotzsky's wants fans to get in the game

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The Schlotzsky’s chain of sandwich shops is hoping to hit a home run with baseball fans with a promotion that can get a personalized miniature baseball bat into the hands of 1,000 fans.

The objective is to collect three of the “baseball cards” seen above — you get one with the purchase of the particular Big League Clubz sandwiches — and then upload a photo of yourself holding the three cards to the Big League Clubz website. The first 1,000 to do that get  free bat when uploads start soon.

The Austin, Texas-based company’s promotion is one part interactive and one part social-networking as visitors are encouraged to draft a team and play a series of online baseball games.

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First look: 2009 Topps Series 2 baseball cards

Topps released preview information and images for its 2009 Series 2 baseball set on Monday. Here’s a look at the set, which will arrive in late May …

The product continues much of what Series 1 included — Turkey Red inserts, Legends of the Game, Sketch Cards, Silk Cards and ToppsTown — but includes four World Baseball Classic insert sets.

The WBC sets will include a 25-player standard card insert set, 10 autographed cards (limited to 100 apiece), 10 Relic cards, 10 autographed Relic cards (limited to 50 apiece) and stamp cards that include baseball-themed stamps from around the world.

While the WBC insert set is still TBD (as are the Relics), here is the WBC Autograph and Autographed Relic checklist (subject to change):

BCA-DW    David Wright
BCA-JR    Jose Reyes
BCA-DP    Dustin Pedroia
BCA-RB    Ryan Braun
BCA-BM    Brian McCann
BCA-CG    Curtis Granderson
BCA-AIR    Alex Rios
BCA-CR    Carlos Ruiz
BCA-CD    Carlos Delgado
BCA-DO    David Ortiz

Also returning for 2009 in Series 2 are the Red Hot Rookie Redemptions, which fell one per box last year and included some of the game’s newest rookies. There will be 10 players on that checklist.

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Topps announces World Baseball Classic eTopps cards

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The World Baseball Classic is under way and Topps announced on Monday its first offerings of WBC cards via eTopps.

Four players — Japan’s Yu Darvish, the United States’ David Wright, Korea’s Jin Young Lee and Cuba’s Frederich Cepeda – will be offered this week.

Each card is $5, except for the highly touted Japanese pro pitcher, who is $7. Darvish is a 22-year-old who has gone 48-19 with a 2.33 ERA in four seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

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Cards in the news(papers)

There are lots of hobby-related stories out there in the mainstream press these days, but we liked these two (click to read) …

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Here are a few others of note from recent weeks:

Houston Chronicle: Houston collector lands a piece of history

Los Angeles Daily News: Wooden family has request for fans

First look: Razor Letterman Autographs

Here’s a glimpse at the first signed copies of Razor‘s upcoming Letterman autographs. The unlicensed baseball product will include one manufactured patch autograph per pack when it arrives.

Chris Olds: Editor. Collector. Award-winning wrestling writer.

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I’ve had the privilege of working directly with Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds for the better part of six months now and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he’ll cringe when he reads this.

But facts are facts, and here’s a little-known one about Chris: In addition to being an uber passionate baseball card collector and Nick Swisher devotee, Olds is fanatical about professional wrestling. Oh, it’s true, it’s true. You can look it up.

Indeed, late last month, Olds and former Orlando Sentinel colleague Andrea Adelson were honored with a 2008 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing award for their extensive coverage leading up to WrestleMania XXIV, held last March in Orlando.

Since Chris is way too modest to bring this up himself, I figured I’d do it for him.

He and Adelson teamed up on a series of pieces that ran for a couple of months in advance of the event and served as a visually compelling and thoroughly insightful build-up to World Wrestling Entertainment’s showcase event. Their work constituted one of just 10 winners selected by the APSE in the Special Projects category for newspapers with a circulation of more than 250,000. It put them alongside special projects teams from The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, The Kansas City Star and the Boston Globe, among others.

Although everyone at Beckett Media is happy for him, I don’t think many of us are surprised. After all, Olds is a decorated journalist and newspaper designer by way of the University of Alabama who’s been covering sports collectibles for more than a decade now. I first met him about nine years ago when he was at The Tuscaloosa News. From there he went to the San Antonio Express-News and then to the Sentinel. Thankfully, he’s in Beckett’s corner now.

Congratulations on the new hardware, Chris. In an industry and at a juncture when good news seems harder and harder to come by, your victory, like a match-winning Hulk Hogan leg drop, is perfectly timed.

– Tracy Hackler, Publisher

Tickets now on sale for The National

Tickets for the 30th annual National Sports Collectors Convention set for July 29-Aug. 2 in Cleveland are now on sale at NSCCShow.com.

General admission tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the show, while VIP tickets are $119 in advance online ($129 at the show). VIP tickets allow for admission to all five days of the show as well as an early sneek peak on July 29. It also includes 12 autograph tickets for certain VIP signers and a gift package including cards and promotional items made exclusively for the show.

New this year is a SUPERVIP Ticket, which is $159 in advance  or $199 at the show. It all VIP perks but adds another set gifts and a total of 18 VIP autograph tickets.

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.

Billy Crystal truly is a New York Yankee now

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If you’ve opened packs of 2009 Topps baseball cards, odds are you haven’t landed this one.

It’s a mahvelous certified autograph card of comedian Billy Crystal that can be found 1 in every 60,000 packs. A handful of them have been found and have sold on eBay for as much as $226.

The card was previously made by Topps  — with a facsimile autograph — for limited release for Crystal at his birthday. (That card was previously mentioned here.)

Is it surprising that he’s got his own card after his one at-bat last spring? Nah. What’s surprising is that it took this long — for it to be made and for people to start finding it about a month after the product’s release.

(By the way, I called this about a year ago. Check out what I wrote then right 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.

Donruss denies MLB trademark suit allegations, requests jury trial

Story copyright 2009 Beckett Media

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball editor

Donruss filed its response to a lawsuit by Major League Baseball over alleged unauthorized trademark use last week, denying all allegations and requesting a jury trial.

logo_donrussThe lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court in late January claims that the Arlington, Texas-based company used the trademarks, dress rights, rights of publicity of Major League Baseball Properties and was in “breach of the surviving terms of its contracts” in its products released since last fall.

Donruss filed its response on Friday in advance of an extended March 4 deadline, denying nearly all allegations in the original 13-page complaint (statements of addresses, names of products sold, etc. were not contested), claiming the company is “without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations” for each statement.

A trial date has not been set.

According to the original complaint, MLBP claims “Donruss cards depict certain Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball players in their team’s proprietary uniforms. The trademarks featured on the uniforms (as well as the overall trade dress of the uniforms) remain visible and identifiable to consumers, despite Donruss’ calculated attempts on some cards to have such marks modified or partially obscured.”

Among Donruss’ affirmative defenses, it states that it “has been duly licensed to the extent necessary to sell its trading card sets complained of” and that the company “is not using and has not used any trademarks of MLBP in the sale of [those] trading card sets.”

Donruss’ response also claims that MLBP has no standing to bring an action for trademark dilution under the Lanham Act and claims that any use by the company is a nominative fair use. If the use is found to be nominative, then it cannot dilute the value of the trademark.

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Topps rips some Ultimate Fighting Championship packs

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What will The Rip Master and crew find when they open packs of the new Topps UFC set?

And what will one UFC fighter, Ben Saunders, say when he’s presented with some of his own cards?

Watch the video and find out.

If that’s not enough MMA action for you, check out the April issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly for an interview with Georges St-Pierre and a full review of the first officially licensed UFC set.

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: Key rookies from 2009 Playoff Prestige football

Here are a few of the rookies collectors will be chasing in 2009 Playoff Prestige football when it arrives in May. Check ‘em out …

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.

And the winner is …

jackson

We received hundreds of entries in our Beckett Sports Card Monthly-exclusive contest for the 2008 Prime Cuts Joe Jackson Icons dual bat card we pulled from a Box Busters video right here a few months ago.

But there’s only one winner.

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First Look: TRISTAR Total Nonstop Action Knockouts wrestling cards

christyhemme

TRISTAR revealed the first card in its upcoming TNA Knockouts set of cards featuring the female competitors of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

It’s a Christy Hemme card from the Signature Curves autograph insert set of TNA Knockouts, which will be the third wrestling release from the Houston-based company when it arrives in April.

TRISTAR’s past releases included TNA iMPACT! and TNA Cross The Line.

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.