Monthly Archives: April 2009

Preview Gallery: 2009 Upper Deck Legendary Cuts Generations dual autographs

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Upper Deck released the following images of Generations dual autograph cards which can be found in its forthcoming 2009 SP Legendary Cuts baseball set.

The product is scheduled for a June 3 release. See previously released cut autograph checklists here. And see a longer preview here.

Check ‘em out after the jump …

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Topps sues Upper Deck over O-Pee-Chee design use

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Topps filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court on Tuesday, accusing Upper Deck of stealing its designs.

The 2009 Upper Deck set includes a 1975 O-Pee-Chee insert set (above) that resembles the 1975 O-Pee-Chee design, which was identical to the 1975 Topps design. (O-Pee-Chee was the Canadian counterpart to Topps, a name that Upper Deck obtained the rights to a few years ago.)

Forthcoming Upper Deck products will include 1971 and 1977 O-Pee-Chee cards carrying virtually the same designs. However, the Topps and O-Pee-Chee designs were virtually identical until 1993.

Topps had sought a temporary restraining order preventing the release of the forthcoming products but a New York judge dismissed that request on Wednesday.

A Topps official declined to comment back in February when the upcoming O-Pee-Chee standalone set (which will include the 1971 inserts) was announced.

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WWE's Vince McMahon on ESPN

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No memorabilia tie-in here, guys. Just an interesting behind-the-scenes piece on World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon from ESPN’s E:60 show on Tuesday evening.

It’s definitely worth a look. View it 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.

Fathead's baseball Tradeables arrive

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Fathead is well known for its vinyl wall graphics and now it’s bringing its line of Tradeables — peelable 5×7 card-like collectibles or decorations — to baseball.

Each $12.99 box of 2009 MLB Fathead Tradeables includes five cards from the inaugural 180-card set — 150 players and 30 team logos — along with a code card that allows fans to play games and possibly win prizes online at Tradeables.com.

Each card includes a player action photo placed atop a textured wood image that has that same photo etched atop of it along with a team logo. The players and logos can be peeled and stuck to items or they can be saved as collectible cards.

Every team is represented — though some more than others — but the best thought that might draw in more traditional collectors is that they pass the Sharpie Test.

In other words, they’ll make for some excellent autograph material without having to be prepped like glossy trading cards. And the larger size typically will mean a larger, possibly more legible autograph.

One pack we opened included a New York Yankees logo card, Texas Ranger Chris Davis, Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton, San Diego Padre Jake Peavy and Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz.

Tradeables should be available now and can be found at Fathead.com as well as several retail outlets.

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.

Upper Deck's American Idol cards arrive next week

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Upper Deck‘s gone country, pop, and elsewhere, too, with its American Idol trading card set that will arrive in hobby shops and retail outlets next Tuesday with autographed cards of present and past contestants of the popular performance show.

The 138-card set will include memorable competitors like William Hung, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken and David Archuleta, alongside cards of Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and Ryan Seacrest.

There will be autographs from this season’s top 36 finalists as well as past Idols.  Those cards will be found two per box (1:12 packs hobby) or 1:65 packs at retail. The checklist includes Sparks, Archuleta, Fantasia Barrino, Michael Johns, Carly Smithson and Elliott Yamin among others.

“We’re ecstatic that we have the opportunity to produce the newest American Idol trading cards to hit the market,” said Ana Pereira, Upper Deck’s Idol brand manager. “The show has such a loyal following and has produced such dynamic performers, that we know collectors and fans everywhere will appreciate our collectible set.”

Ever wanted to see American Idol live? Every wrapper also will include a code to enter at americanidolcards.com for a chance to win a trip for two to the Season 8 finale. Others will receive a free iTunes downloads.

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.

Also coming from Panini at the Hawaii Trade Conference …

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Earlier today, we showed you the contents of a Panini Black Box, which will be given out to attendees at the Hawaii Trade Conference next week. Here’s a look at a few football cards that will be made for the event and also for the NFL Draft.

There will be two Prestige promo cards — for Georgia’s Matthew Stafford and for Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree – as well as NFL Draft manufactured patch cards for those two along with Ohio State’s Chris “Beanie” Wells and USC’s Mark Sanchez.

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.

Inside the Black Box: Hawaii Trade Conference preview

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We’ve gotten our hands on a pair of Panini America‘s famous Black Boxes, which will be one of the highlights for attendees of the upcoming Hawaii Trade Conference: Florida Edition on April 20-22.

Everyone who attends Panini”s session will receive a six-card wooden box (think Prime Cuts) absolutely loaded with goodness containing four autographs total and three one-of-a-kind press plates (two of which will be autographed).

Each box also includes one unsigned card (all embossed with a Black Box Authentic seal), while one card of the bunch will be encased in a tamper-proof Donruss holder.

What did we find inside?

Here’s a preview …

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Mark "The Bird" Fidrych dead at 54

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Major League Baseball  lost its third family member on Monday when former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych was found dead on Monday afternoon after an apparent accident. He was 54.

“The Bird” burst upon the scene as a 21-year-old rookie with the Tigers in 1976, going 19-9 with a league-leading 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games. He was an All-Star and the AL Rookie of the Year that season but also something of a cultural phenomenon as he was animated — someone who would talk to the baseball, a pitcher who was a character long before “being Manny” was somewhat commonplace.

Fidrych was found underneath a truck he had been working on on the same day that Hall of Fame Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas died and just days after Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in an auto accident.

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Tony Iommi, Steve Vai, Tom Morello sign cards for upcoming Upper Deck football set

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Last year’s Upper Deck Heroes football set included nine cards — three apiece — of three guitar heroes — Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Rage against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Steve Vai.

But one thing was missing.

Ink. As in autographs.

But this year, they’re back — and they each will have autographed cards in the set scheduled to arrive in late May.

prosetIt’s not tough to presume that more than a few music collectors will pick these cards up, hence their inclusion. After all, it’s been quite some time since the Pro Set MusiCard experiment — and there were more than a few hair metal rockers in the one Spectrum of Stars autograph set.

Perhaps the timing is right for a return of RockCards?

Just not sure if an NFL set is the right place for them — perhaps it’s a testing ground for some type of Americana-style non-sport set? — but one thing’s for sure. I’ll be picking one of them up. (And then I’ll just need a Bill Ward and a Geezer Butler …  )

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.

Philadelphia Phillies announcer Harry Kalas dies at 73

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Longtime Philadelphia Phillies announcer and Ford C. Frick Award winner Harry Kalas died Monday afternoon after passing out in the press box at Nationals Field in Washington, D.C. He was 73.

Kalas joined the Phillies broadcast team in 1971 after previously working for the Houston Astros. He received the Frick Award, the highest honor for a baseball announcer, in 2002.

Kalas appeared on a dozen baseball cards during his career, most of them in the 2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures set made by Upper Deck. His most valuable card is a dual-signature release from the 2004 Greats of the Game set, which he signed along with another Phillies legend, Mike Schmidt. That card is valued at $150.

Here’s a complete checklist of Kalas’ cards:

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures Black Stitch #KA /1

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures Red-Blue Stitch #KA /40

2004 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures Black #6 / 100

2004 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures Blue #6 / 50

2004 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures Red #6 / 25

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #KA T3

2004 Greats of the Game Announcing Greats #1 H.Kalas/M.Schmidt

2004 Greats of the Game Announcing Greats Autograph Dual #HKMS H.Kalas/M.Schmidt/ 25

1984 Phillies Tastykake #7 Phillies Broadcasters

1988 Phillies Tastykake #39 Phillies Announcers w/Garry Maddox and Richie Ashburn

1990 Phillies Tastykake #35 Phillies Broadcasters w/Chris Wheeler and Andy Musser

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.

Tiger Woods Champ's autograph redemption sells for $5,000

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A redemption card for one of the rare Tiger Woods autographed Mini Signatures cards in the 2008-09 Upper Deck Champ’s hockey set sold on eBay during the weekend for a pretty decent chunk of change.

An offer of $5,000 was accepted on Saturday by a collector who found the card at one of the Bosco’s stores in Anchorage, Alaska, according to manager Pat Boe.

The card was a red-backed 1/1.

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.

2009 eTopps baseball arrives

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Topps unveiled its 2009 eTopps baseball design as part of its first initial public offerings of the year on Monday morning.

The online stock-like card portfolio program found at eTopps.com is in its ninth season of trading and sales on eBay.

The first IPO of the season includes four cards — the New York Yankees’ Mark Teixeira (649 cards maximum, $5 per), the Florida Marlins’ Emilio Bonifacio (699, $6), the St. Louis Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus (999, $7) and the Atlanta Braves’ Jordan Schafer (749, $6).

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.

"Wild Thing" finally gets his due in Cleveland

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Move over Bob Feller, the greatest pitcher in Cleveland Indians history is set to be honored later this season in the most noteworthy and most important way possible, a manner befitting of a legend of the game.

Via an in-stadium promotion.

Roughly two months from now on Monday, June 15, the Cleveland Indians will celebrate Major League Monday at Progressive Field (aka The Jake; we all know it’s named after catcher Jake Taylor, right?) as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn bobbleheads will be given away to all fans in attendance as the Indians host the Brewers.

And you know what else that means? Harry Doyle (aka Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker) will be in the booth.

No word on whether Pedro Cerrano will be in attendance, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear a thing …

Oh, and, for the record, it’s never too early for Roger Dorn poster night.

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 TRISTAR PROjections Series 2 baseball

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TRISTAR released the first images and preview information for its 2009 PROjections Series 2 minor league baseball set on Thursday.

wietersAs with Series 1, which sold out before its street date, only 75 24-box cases will be produced and each will include 96 autographed cards and 24 Tailor Made game-used jersey cards (limited to 144 copies apiece) along with 96 serial-numbered parallel cards limited to 50 or less.

That breaks down to be four autographs, one jersey and four parallel cards per 20-pack box. Packs carry a suggested retail price of $4.99 and will arrive in hobby shops on May 6.

Each 12-box mini case also will include a Matt Wieters TRISTAR OBAK History of the Game preview card limited to only 150 copies.

Each 24-box master case also will include a Wieters T212 Mini OBAK card. Tim Beckham was the subject of Series 1.

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Keeping up with the Kardashian cards …

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Yes, this will be an actual NFL-licensed football card made by Upper Deck in its upcoming Icons NFL set …

kardedKim Kardashian, aka Reggie Bush‘s girlfriend, previously appeared on a Spectrum of Stars autograph card in the 2009 Upper Deck Spectrum baseball set, but now she’s showing her team allegiance.

Is this what the hobby needs? I’ve previously been a supporter of non-sport autograph inclusions as a way to draw more mainstream fans (non-collectors) into the hobby (typically at a much lower price than it would cost for athlete signatures), but I’m not so sure if this one will actually work.

But, then again, the key is that it doesn’t hurt to try.

Let us know what do you think?

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.

Behind the scenes: 2009 Sweet Spot Materials baseball

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Upper Deck‘s 2009 Sweet Spot Materials baseball set hasn’t even been officially announced yet, but that doesn’t mean that the folks at Upper Deck aren’t already busy crafting the cards that will be found in the latest installent of the popular Sweet Spot brand.

In fact, the company released several photos of cut game-used bat barrel nameplates that will end up on cards. Above is the nameplate off of a Joe DiMaggio bat and it’s been cut to size for a card frame.

See a few more after the jump …

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Preview Gallery: 2008-09 Ultimate Collection hockey

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Upper Deck released several images from its upcoming 2008-09 Ultimate Collection hockey set on Thursday. Check ‘em out …

The product is scheduled for an April 29 release. Each pack costs approximately $80 (no SRP released) and should include one autograph, one rookie and one memorabilia card per pack. One in four boxes will have a patch card.

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.

Angels rookie Nick Adenhart dies in auto accident

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Los Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in an automobile accident on early Thursday morning just hours after he pitched six scoreless innings against the Oakland A’s in Anaheim. He was 22.

The right-hander from Silver Spring, Md., gave up seven hits, striking out five and walking three in what was his fourth major-league start. He compiled a 37-28 record with a 3.88 ERA in four minor league seasons before making his major league debut with the Angels last year, going 1-0 in three appearances.

Baseball America ranked him as the No. 1 prospect for the Angels this season. He had been ranked the No. 2 overall prospect in the organization in 2007 and 2008 and the 24th best prospect in all of baseball last year.

Adenhart has appeared on 237 baseball cards, according to the Beckett database. His Rookie Cards can be found in several 2004 sets. His only autographed RC is in the 2004 Donruss Elite Extra Edition set (card No. 355), which was limited to just 653 copies and is valued at approximately $100. Three other Adenhart autographed cards from that set sell for $100 or more.

Overall, Adenhart signed 57 different cards from 2004 to 2009.

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.

Product preview: 2009 Topps Chrome baseball

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Topps released preview images and product information for its 2009 Topps Chrome baseball set on Thursday with a 100-card World Baseball Classic insert set and plenty of rookies among the key highlights.

The base set will consist of 220 cards — 50 of those rookies — and will be capped by 21 autographed rookie cards, a checklist that includes the Braves’ Jordan Shafer, the Athletics’ Trevor Cahill, Braves import Kenshin Kawakami, Cardinals prospect Colby Rasmus and Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman among others.

The set, which will arrive in August, will include two autographed rookies per 24-pack box with approximately six WBC inserts and a host of Refractor cards per box. As with past releases, Red Refractors are limited to 25, Golds are limited t0 50 and Blues are 199. Standard Refractors are not numbered (with exception of the rookie autographs at 499), but will be found 1:3, so approximately eight per box. Also included will be 1/1 Superfractors and press plates.

Look for more images and key preliminary checklists after the jump.

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First look: 2009 Topps Football

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Topps released basic product preview information and images for its 2009 NFL set on Wednesday with a 100-card National Chicle insert set and cheerleader cards among the highlights.

Set for a July release, the $1.99-per pack product will include one autograph or Relic card per 36-pack box or two autographs and one Relic per HTA jumbo box.

The base set will include 440 cards, 110 of those rookies,  along with Classic Combos, League Leaders, Pro Bowl, Postseason Highlights as well as MVP and Rookie of the Year subsets.

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Post-WrestleMania thoughts: Wrestling & The hobby

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

As one of the 72,744 in attendance for WrestleMania 25 at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Sunday, it’s apparent how big pro wrestling has become, how much of it is a spectacle and how much of it is athletics. (Just watch the video above — while it lasts.)

Pro wrestling’s grandest stage is a larger-than-life event, a showcase of the ultimate in scripted danger. Yes, the results are fixed — manipulated — but there’s nothing fake about the falls and the passion. There was no blood on Sunday, but you can bet that there was real pain as the stars put their bodies on the line.

The passion of the competitors is there — their mission for WrestleMania to be the one who steals the show, the one who is remembered, the one in the highlight reel forever. The passion of the fans is there, too — I’d bet that roughly 72,743 fans wore some type of WWE clothing — I wore my standard white dress shirt (had to have a pocket to secure my ringside ticket in mint condition, I swear). The days of wrestling madness in armories or high school gyms pales in comparison, even if the legends of yesteryear are more remembered than some of today’s stars.

And, in the ring, it was the Undertaker-Shawn Michaels match that stole the show, one for the eternal highlight reel and one — I’ll say it — that just might be the greatest pure WrestleMania match in history. At one point in the match, nearly every Michaels chop to Undertaker’s chest was matched by a Ric Flair “wooooo” from the crowd, while every countering blow from the Deadman was matched with a “boooo” — at least from many in my section.

But the mainstream main event — the one getting talked about on E!, in People magazine and in “legitimate” news outlets like The Los Angeles Times — was actor Mickey Rourke‘s knockout punch on Chris Jericho. Rourke, star of The Wrestler, had been involved in an angle for months — but it wasn’t clear what the payoff would be until his left hook connected with Jericho’s jaw and an in-ring celebration with Flair ensued.

Although the angle probably fell flat of many a wrestling fan’s expectations — everything from a rescue by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan to a Randy “The Ram” Robinson appearance (Rourke’s character) had been hoped for — it was the WrestleMania Moment that the WWE had hoped for, one for the highlight reel on everywhere but a wrestling fan’s TV screen. The one that brings wrestling into everyone else’s living rooms.

And right alongside Rourke? The biggest wrestling star in the hobby right now – “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

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New season means new sausage race memorabilia, too

The Sausage Race is a Milwaukee Brewers tradition. (AP photo)

The Sausage Race is a Milwaukee Brewers tradition. (AP photo)

With a new season comes a new group of players — and probably some old ones, too — new hopes, new stars and, of course, some new memorabilia.

While thumbing through the Spring 2009 MLB.com catalog, yours truly found something that stood out from the team-branded clothes, autographs, framed displays and, of course, trading cards.

What stood out?

The Chorizo bobblehead doll from Forever Collectibles. (He’s at right — or on Page 18 for those scoring at home.)

That’s right, among the buying choices are bobblehead dolls for one of the richest traditions in all of sports — no, not the hot dog at a game — but the epic battle that plays out at every Brewers game between five of the biggest players around.

The Sausage Race.

It stars The Bratwurst, The Polish Sausage, The Italian Sausage, The Hot Dog and The Chorizo.

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Sneak preview: Topps Terminator Salvation sketch cards

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The latest installment in the Terminator movie canon is Terminator Salvation – what looks to be the darkest Terminator film yet when it arrives in May.

We’ve got a sneak peek at some of the Sketch Cards that Topps will be including in its set for the Christian Bale-led flick that arrives in card shops two weeks before the film arrives in theaters on May 21.

Hobby boxes will include one one-of-a-kind Sketch Cards, autograph cards or memorabilia card. The boxes will have a suggested retail price of $2 per pack. Some background on the set can be found here.

See more after the jump:

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Topps vs. Upper Deck: In Case You Missed It

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Topps’ Clay Luraschi and Upper Deck’s Kerri Stockholm squared off on the Rivals segment of Fox Business Channel’s “Money for Breakfast” program Monday morning.

The two longtime hobby executives appeared with anchor Alexis Glick and discussed recent hobby history and their respective companies’ plans to attract the next generation of young consumers. The segment, which coincided with baseball’s Opening Day, began with a brief baseball card history lesson before giving way to the live interview segment with Luraschi, who was in studio, and Stockholm. Read More »

A Match Made in Heaven

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If the WWE were more sports and less entertainment, one match in particular at Sunday night’s star-studded, sensory-soaked 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania would’ve sent the collectibles of two legendary combatants soaring into the realm of the unreachable.

But since the outcome of the utterly breathtaking Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels epic was scripted and because we’re talking about professional wrestling, one of the greatest matches of all time – and that is, by no means, hyperbole – will likely never get its secular due. Which means it also has little to no chance of resonating with mainstream collectors. Read More »

Box Busters, WWE-style

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We know you can’t get enough pro wrestling — well, we can’t anyway since WrestleMania 25 is just hours away — so here’s a Box Busters episode featuring some new WWE products from Topps and a look at some wrestling-related contests (free stuff) that Beckett readers can win.

Check out the video by clicking here.

MLB Players Association opens test store in New York

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The MLB Players Association is opening a prototype store for baseball products at the New York Mets’ Citi Field today — a store not run by the team but rather the Players Association and another company, Aramark.

This test store will feature player-only merchandise licensed by the MLBPA’s Players Choice group licensing program. The store will help launch new items, test future products and host player-related events.

Among the licensees featured in The Players Clubhouse include VF/Majestic,
Nike, Twins, Topps, Upper Deck, WinCraft, Forever Collectibles, PhotoFile
and Rawlings.

U.S. presidents will return to eTopps

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Last year was the year of the politicians trading card, everyone who opened a pack of cards and found one of the countless non-sport cards in baseball packs will agree.

But what many newer collectors may not know is that when presidents return to eTopps this year, it will actually be the third annual installment as the first eTopps presidential cards were released in 2007.

This year’s offerings of Allen & Ginter eTopps presidents, which will be encased and sequentially numbered,go on sale on Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern and will be available until April 13.

The 2009 lineup includes George H.W. Bush, Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft.

The 10 greatest pro wrestling cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Millions (and millions) of fans watch pro wrestling every week on television, but many won’t admit it. That’s OK — it’ll be our dirty little secret. But there’s no doubting that people are interested in the pop culture phenomenon that’s part sport, part soap opera but wholly entertaining for many.

How much interest is there in pro wrestling? A lot. If the DVDs, video games and countless other items don’t tell you that, consider this — there are two companies producing wrestling cards these days. That’s more than you can say for a few pro sports.

On Sunday, the traveling caravan known as World Wrestling Entertainment makes its biggest stop of the year in Houston for WrestleMania 25, so we figured now’s the time to examine 10 classic cards that should be in any serious wrestling collection.

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1. Hulk Hogan — 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Autographs
Let me tell you something, brother, there’s nobody bigger in WrestleMania history than Hogan. And in the last decade of card sets only a handful carry as much weight as the 2006 Allen & Ginter baseball release. Included as a “world’s champion” for wrestling, Hogan signed just 200 of these cards, which sell for roughly $150. (The card was pricier before his family’s recent drama.)

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Topps set to bring back T-206 baseball cards in fall

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Topps announced on Thursday morning that it will be bringing back the classic T-206 brand of baseball cards this fall — 100 years after the original release.

The company is creating a six-card preview set made exclusively for attendees of the 24th annual Hawaii Trade Conference on April 19-23 in Florida. The set will include Honus Wagner, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Jackie Robinson and Ty Cobb.

The tobacco-card sized preview cards will be limited to 100 copies apiece. They will be gifts to attendees of Topps’ “Meet the Industry” session at the conference on April 22.

Topps’ last T-206 release came in 2002, while a T-205 set was made in 2003-2004 and Allen & Ginter, which included tobacco-sized mini, has been made since 2006.

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.

Latest marathon insert set from Upper Deck focuses on Michael Jordan

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First there was the 6,000-plus card Yankee Stadium Legacy baseball set last year. Then there was the 2,500 20th Anniversary Retrospective set that we’ve just started to see in 2009 baseball packs.

But now, it’s basketball and it’s Michael Jordan – perhaps the most notable basketball player and athlete alive — who will have a 1,170-card tribute set from Upper Deck.

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Upcoming Goudey baseball set will include Tiger Woods autographs, 1930s autographed buybacks

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lr-buyback-autograph-frischUpper Deck announced on Wednesday that its 2009 Goudey baseball set will include a select number of autographed Tiger Woods Sport Royalty cards — a few with inscriptions — as well as a handful of 1930s Goudey cards signed by notable baseball players from the past.

Mixed in among the buyback cards, which have been a per-case staple of Goudey releases the last couple of years, will be autographed.

Four members of the Hall of Fame will have signed cards – Frank Frisch, Charley Gehringer, Lefty O’Doul and Sam Rice.

“Being able to add two exciting inserts like this to this year’s Goudey Baseball release is a great way to add value,” said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s associate brand manager for baseball. “The original Goudey cards from the ‘30s are amazing, but to pull one that is autographed by these legends is an extra special thrill.”

See them all after the jump.

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The hottest new cards?

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