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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Card Gallery: Upper Deck's Inscriptions from the Rookie Premiere

NC - Stafford - Lion King

Upper Deck recently asked Beckett readers for inscriptions for players to sign at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere this past weekend in Los Angeles.

We collected them all from here and from Beckett.com and sent them in to Upper Deck for review. (And for the league to review as well as it had to approve all potential inscriptions.)

Here’s a sampling of what got approved and was inked on cards headed into packs soon. (We’ll contact the successful contributors as soon as we know how many made it and have prizes in hand.)

Until then, check out these inscriptions (and a few other autographs, 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.

He's No. 1 on the Baseball America Hot Sheet, who's your No. 1?


San Francisco Giants pitching prospect Tim Alderson has been doing pretty well these days — so well he’s atop the current Baseball America Hot Sheet, the weekly reader of prospectors.

We found this Alderson 2007 Bowman Sterling Prospects autograph card of his (a $20 card) and want it to be yours.

We want to know who your No. 1 player is — who you collect — and how many cards you have of that player.

Give us a rundown of your player collection — and provide a photo or a link where we can find the evidence of your obsession  — and we’ll award the card the most impressive comment left here or on the Beckett.com thread.

Get on it. We’re giving this card away before the next Hot Sheet arrives.

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 reveals latest in American Heritage line


Topps released the basic product breakdown and preview images for the latest installment of its American Heritage series, the American Heroes Edition, a 150-card set loaded with notable people — who it deems the “the most courageous, valiant, progressive and enlightened American women and men in our nation’s history.”

The product will arrive in early August with a combination of two autographs, cut signatures, patches, Relics or stamp cards in every 24-pack hobby box. It looks to be a product heavy on political memorabilia as well as NASA memorabilia for all you space fans.

The base set will utilize famous Topps designs from the 1960s and the 1980s — focusing again on Miltary Heroes (card Nos. 1-10), Political Heroes (11-20), Civil Rights heroes (21-30), “The Bravest” (31-40), “The Finest” (41-50), Heroic Groups and Movements (51-60), Heroes of Medicine (61-70), Humanitarian Heroes (71-80), Diplomatic Heroes (81-90), “Pen is Mightier than Sword” (91-100), Heroic Events (101-125), and finally Kindred Heroes — a 25-card set pairing Barack Obama and Abe Lincoln.

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Prospect watch: Jake Fox — LF, Iowa Cubs


Every few years there’s a guy who comes out of nowhere to tear it up  — see Craig Brazell in the minors in 2007, Ryan Ludwick in MLB in 2008 — and this year’s version of that player just might be Iowa Cubs left fielder Jake Fox.

Fox, a 26-year-old converted catcher who starred for Michigan before the Chicago Cubs drafted him in the third round of the 2003 draft, is tearing it up in Class AAA.

Through 33 games, he’s hitting .426 with 16 home runs and 46 RBI  — totals that would be contending for the Triple Crown if he were in the majors right now. (As it is right now, he’s winning the Triple Crown in the Pacific Coast League.)

In his last 10 games, he’s hitting .515 with four homers and 15 RBI, a highlight-reel night coming on May 14 when he went 4-for-6 with a double, a homer, drove in two and scored three runs.

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Rapper Redemption: The Collectibility of Eminem


The most anticipated release date in almost five years arrives tomorrow and the product dropping is quite literally music to my ears – even if it has absolutely nothing to do with trading cards.

Well, maybe it does.

After all, in a hip-hop “hobby” populated predominantly by retail-Score rappers, Eminem is more like National Treasures (and a national treasure) or Exquisite – but with none of the risk and all of the reward. He’s the rarest of relics, the sure-thing $600 pack that delivers the highlight of your musical collection track after track after track.

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Abe Lincoln's Hair Cut card sells for $17,500


The 2008 SP Legendary Cuts Hair Cut Signatures card of Abraham Lincoln – a card that includes a cut autograph of the 16th president as well as a lock of his hair — sold for $17,500 last week on eBay.

The card, which appeared in The Wall Street Journal last fall and was displayed at The National last year, was sold through a Beckett Select Auction to a private collector who did not wish to be identified.

The collector did answer a few questions, though:

What cards do you collect?
I mainly collect a particular player’s tough cards and their historically significant issues, be it a challenging insert or certified autograph card.  I am a big Ken Griffey Jr. and Michael Jordan fan.

Why did you buy the card?
I initially was not all that interested in the Lincoln.  I had found the listing for a friend (who by the way is a huge Lincoln fan), who I thought would find the card interesting.  Seeing their reaction got me interested, so I did some research into his prior autograph issues, as well as the hair piece.  I realized just how unique the card was and felt it may be years before it showed up again, if ever.  Upper Deck did a superb job of maintaining the vintage look and feel to the card.  I have seen many cut signatures, as well as certified autograph cards; I feel this is one of the most visually striking cards ever produced.  Kudos to Upper Deck!

Is this the best card you own?
This card ranks right up there as one of the best cards in my collection.  I definitely do not have another one like it!

For more information about Beckett Select Auctions, go here.

Rookie Premiere Notebook


By Jon Gold

LOS ANGELES — Some notes and observations from the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere:

 … Most rookies I interviewed were moderate collectors as kids (see below). Matt Stafford and Rhett Bomar, two Texas quarterbacks, collected – who else? – Troy Aikman. But the main player of choice was Barry Sanders. These rookies have taste.

Mark Sanchez has the mental makeup to succeed as quarterback of the New York Jets. Does he have the physical attributes? Time will tell.

Donruss‘, er, Panini America‘s designershave outdone themselves. Many of the cards the company had to be signed – including the always-popular Pen Pals – were simply gorgeous. Also, Panini America is mixing up the markers a little bit, with some red pens and silver pens joining the boring old black-and-blue inks.

… As Minnesota rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin says: “600 autographs is a lot to sign, man.”

Upper Deck is making a big, big move toward innovation, having players sign out-of-this-world inscriptions. Some of the highlights from the upcoming Upper Deck Philadelphia set: Matt Stafford’s “Lion King;” Mark Sanchez’ “El Matador;” and Percy Harvin’s brilliant “See you next year Tebow!” Just awesome.

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Panini announces Prestige SPs at Premiere


Panini America announced some of the Prestige short-prints during this year’s NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere this weekend in California.

They are:

#110 B.J. Raji
#114 Brain Cushing
#120 Chase Daniels
#140 Graham Harrell
#142 Hakeem Nicks
#144 Ian Johnson
#149 Jared Cook
#159 Juaquin Iglesias
#180 Mohamed Massaquoi
#199 Shonn Greene

Look for more post-Premiere news from Panini as well as Topps and Upper Deck right here soon.

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.

Collectors can get Smarty in packs of baseball cards this fall


Upper Deck recently unveiled that it will include DNA cards — hair cards — of at least two race horses in its 2009 Goodwin Champions baseball card set that will arrive in September.

One of them? Smarty Jones, the winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby and more than $7.6 million during his career.

Do baseball collectors want these cards? Probably not — I’ve always thought past DNA/hair cards are a bit over the line on the creep factor — but someone out there will and that will give them incentive to buy.

And that’s all that matters.

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.

Over-His-Shoulder Catch: Sanchez Signing


Here’s a bird’s-eye view — if that bird was perched atop Mark Sanchez’s shoulder pads — of the New York Jets QB and USC favorite son signing some of his Pen Pals cards at the Panini America tent.

Not a bad perspective, huh?

Stafford, Sanchez Autos Highlight Day One Gallery


One of the greatest things about being on location at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere every year is being among the first people in the country to see what will undeniably be some of the most collected and valuable football cards of the year.

But it wouldn’t mean nearly as much if we didn’t have you to share it with. So, thanks to Beckett correspondent Jon Gold — and especially to our friends at Players Inc, Panini America, Topps and Upper Deck — for helping Beckett Media deliver the following photo gallery.

Among the highlights: New York Jets teammates Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene . . . Titans running back Javon Ringer . . . Vikings receiver Percy Harvin . . . Steelers receiver Mike Wallace . . . and some downright sweet autographs and inscriptions.

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Exclusive Pics: Panini, Upper Deck Premiere Autos

Beckett Media correspondent Jon Gold is covering more LA Coliseum ground today than Reggie Bush ever dreamed, capturing as many sights and sounds as he can during Day One of the 2009 NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere.

It’s amazing what you can capture with the right attitude and an iPhone. In this installment, Gold has unearthed exclusive images of Panini America’s Pen Pals and School Colors autographs and some sweet inscriptions from Percy Harvin for Upper Deck’s new Philadelphia product.

Stay tuned for more exclusive pics as the day progresses.

Premiere Pics: Duals & Quads . . . Oh, My!

LeSean McCoy, the Philadelphia Eagles newest running back out of the University of Pittsburgh, signs some of his dual and quad cards at the Panini America tent:


Every day at the NFL Players Rookie Premiere is a banner day:


NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere Under Way!


More than 30 of the top NFL rookies have gathered in the LA Coliseum to beign Day One of the 2009 NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere.

Today, Panini America and Upper Deck will put the players through their paces in an effort to capture as much compelling football card phtography — and autographs and memorabilia and multimedia and . . . — as possible.

Topps will have access to the players on Sunday.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com and the Beckett Blog all day as we provide updates throughout Day One.

Inside the Box: 2008-09 Upper Deck Be A Player Hockey


I walked down the hall this afternoon – like I do most every Friday – to give Senior Market Analyst Tim Trout a hard time. He was feigning being overworked when I noticed a mound of unopened hockey wax on his desk.

So I grabbed a box from Trout’s leaning tower o’ 2008-09 Upper Deck Be A Player Hockey, which released this week. I then grabbed Senior Market Analyst Brian Fleischer and we expeditiously unearthed the box’s contents for the express purpose of enlightening our hockey audience on the eve of the Stanley Cup Conference Finals.

I’ll be the first to admit that Brian and I aren’t the strongest hockey swimmers in the Beckett pool (or frozen pond), but we know a cool product when we see it – and we figured you’d want to see it, too.

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From the Field: Hoops Collector Picks Year's Best



In honor of a scintillating NBA Playoffs thus far, and since the 2008-09 NBA product season is all but over, we crashed the (Beckett.com) boards earlier this week to solicit feedback on the top hoops products of the year.

What follows is one particularly thoughtful response from Beckett.com member Josh Palmer (jpleazme805):

 I like 2008-09 [Fleer] Hot Prospects, too. I only bought one box and pulled the “Rose,” so I didn’t buy any more. I fell in love with the design – basic but eye-catching. The card shop I bought the box at is in Santee, Calif. It just opened a few months ago. I forgot the name of it; I’ve only been there once.

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Her interest in the hobby is a bit different …


Every once in awhile, we get an interesting email from a reader that stands out from the rest for one reason or another.

Here’s a selection of a message from Debby Johnson of Gaithersburg, Md.:

johnsonmug“I’m hoping that you may be able to help me. I was watching the video of the 2009 Bowman box break that [Chris Olds] and Brian Fleischer had on May 12. I watched because I was curious to see the product and to see if by some miraculous chance, I would actually get to see my son’s first Bowman card. My son is Tommy Johnson, a catcher with the Seattle Mariners organization.

“And miracles do happen! At about 10 minutes and 58 seconds into your video, Brian was opening a pack and he said something like “and here we have a nice Refractor card of Tommy Johnson ” he turned the card to the camera and it was, indeed, my son Tommy. We will be getting base cards only from Topps, but I would love to get one of whatever is available.  I know there will be a Chrome … didn’t know about the Refractor and certainly don’t know what others may be available in the set.”

I answered her questions about which cards he will appear on in the set, offering some details about scarcity of the various parallels and Refractors.

Then I offered her a trade — the Refractor for a few answers about the hobby and her son, perhaps a different look at someone who many collectors will find in their packs of 2009 Bowman.

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Inside the Box: 2009 Bowman Draft Football


Topps’ first football product of the new season, 2009 Bowman Draft, won’t be available nationwide until Wednesday (May 20). So imagine my surprise when I trudged upstairs this afternoon following my lunchtime workout to find two boxes of the product sitting on my floor.

I ripped through the 24 packs of one box quickly in an effort to provide those football collectors chomping at the bit with some early results. We’re going to save the other box for an episode of Box Busters that will air on Beckett.com early next week.

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Schulte Sports Launches Online Auction Site

Ray Schulte, the marketing agent best known for representing Cal Ripken Jr., Don Mattingly and Roberto Clemente, and for launching the Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest in 1991, has a new collectibles venture on his hands.

Officially launched today, SchulteAuctions.com is an online auction platform  promising collectors the opportunity to bid on vast and varied sports and entertainment memorabilia.

“Our intent is to provide all-level collectors unique and one-of-a-kind memorabilia to create memories for a lifetime,” said Schulte, President/CEO of Schulte Sports, Inc.

To that end, the inaugural sports-heavy auction — which closes May 31 — includes more than 125 items, featuring the likes of Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods, Alexander Ovechkin, Mickey Mantle, Joe Montana and Ripken.

View the first auction by clicking here.

Press Pass has a hit on its hands with KISS Ikons


We recently busted a box of the new KISS Ikons cards from Press Pass, noting that the Blood parallels — which have a layer of red gloss on the cards — were impressive.

Apparently some KISS fans agree as a 90-card set of the cards found one in every four packs sold on eBay for $352.87 on Thursday.

Not bad. The sale certainly backs up the fact that Press Pass has a genuine hit on its hands so far.

Oh, and here’s a tip — if you can’t find it at your typical card spots (and based on many reports, you probably can’t) try looking at Best Buy.

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.

News Flash: Troy Bergeron Signs with Falcons


In case you missed it (and I’m almost certain you did), former Arena Football League star Troy Bergeron signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons earlier this week.

The speedy Columbus, Ga., native burst onto the AFL scene with the Georgia Force in 2005 and earned Rookie of the Year honors that season on the strength of 105 receptions, 1,372 yards and 31 receiving touchdowns. He sat out the 2006 season while attempting to land with an NFL team and had brief stints with the Falcons (training camp) and Buffalo Bills (practice squad).

He returned to the AFL in 2007 and 2008 and boasts a downright gaudy three-year stat line: 329 catches, 4,375 yards and 97 total touchdowns.

It’s worth noting that the Force – idle this season with the rest of the AFL as the league attempts to reorganize and return in 2010 – is owned by Arthur Blank, the same man who owns the Falcons.

Why do you care about any of this? Here’s why: If Bergeron – 6-2, 195 – gets a legitimate chance in camp with an ideal situation like the Falcons have (great, young QB . . . power running game . . . talent and experience in the receiving department with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez) and you’re the kind of football collector who’s into super sleepers, I think Bergeron’s your guy.

I’m just sayin’.

In case you’re wondering (and even if you’re not, I’m giving you this information anyway), Bergeron appeared on 16 different Upper Deck trading cards in 2005 and 2006, nine from UD’s 2005 and 2006 AFL sets and seven more from 2006 NFL products Hot Prospects, Sweet Spot and Rookie Debut. His Hot Prospects (#133) and Sweet Spot (#136) RCs are valued at $6 apiece.

But it can be argued that Bergeron’s two certified autograph cards – 2006 Arenagraphs ($30) and 2006 Arenagraphs Duals with former Georgia Force teammate Derek Lee ($60) – are his most desirable cards.

There, take that.

— Tracy Hackler

Inside the box: 2009 Topps Series 2 baseball cards


We’ve cracked the first boxes of 2009 Topps Series 2 baseball cards and it’s easy to say that the strong points of Series 1 — stunning and unique photography as well as a wide range of cards and variety in each box — are back.

While most of one other box’s contents (tragically, we ran out of tape roughly 30 packs in) will be revealed on Box Busters here on Thursday, here’s a sampling of what was found in a second hobby box. (For a little more background on the set, click here.)

There are key rookies to be found, veterans in their new threads, several insert sets — including a selection of World Baseball Classic releases — as well as some great photos that highlighted the first release earlier this year. (Not so great is Shawn Marcum‘s photo unless you’re into Jay Johnstone-style goofiness — but check out that baseball-inspired tattoo.)

See 20 cards from one box after the jump.

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Preview Gallery: Paul Lempa's 2009 Topps Series 2 Sketch Cards


The second series of 2009 Topps baseball cards are less than a week away from their official release date and we’ve got a sneak peek at 10 of the Sketch Cards that will be found in packs.

New Jersey-based artist Paul Lempa, who we profiled in Beckett Baseball issue No. 42 in April, has graciously shared all of his miniature painting cards that are just 2.5 by 3.5 inches in size.

(We hate calling these miniature masterpieces sketches as they are intricately detailed paintings the size of baseball cards that literally take hours to produce. Scans of these cards really don’t do them justice, either, as the texture and subtle shades of color in nearly every region of Lempa‘s cards are fascinating.)

And you’ll note we said all of his cards as each artist for Series 2 has reportedly only produced 10 Sketch Cards apiece for the product — expect an official announcement from Topps on that before the product’s release on Wednesday — meaning they just might be some of the best Sketch Cards ever seen.

See them all after the jump.

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Box Busters preview: 2009 Topps Series 2 baseball


The second series of 2009 Topps baseball cards doesn’t arrive in hobby shops until next Wednesday, but we’re busting the first boxes of the always popular set this afternoon for an episode of Box Busters coming your way later this week.

What will Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Beckett Media Publisher Tracy Hackler find?

You’ll have to wait for the video — right here — but we’ll give you a sneak peek of the product here this afternoon once the boxes are, well, busted.

Stay tuned …

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.

Card gallery: 2009 Playoff Prestige football


Panini America‘s debut football set — 2009 Playoff Prestige – arrives in hobby shops today with zero redemption cards in the product and four game-used or autograph cards per hobby box.

It’s the first fully licensed NFL set of the year (draft picks’ professional teams are noted on the cards), so check ‘em out …

(Click for a closer look.)

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