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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Topps goes back to the 1950s for National VIP cards

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Topps has announced its VIP cards for this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland and it’s an assortment of cards using the memorable 1959 design that get the nod this year.

There will be two Mickey Mantle cards — one showing him batting righty, the other lefty — with all VIP bags receiving four cards — but only one of the Mantle cards.

The others include Roger Maris, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.

Robinson’s card shows him as a member of the New York Giants, a team he was traded to in December of 1956 but never played for.


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.

Perfection to be on display at The National

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Memory Lane Inc. will offer the first public showing of the finest known collection of Mickey Mantle baseball cards during this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention.

1953BOWMANCOLORThe California-based auction company will have the Donald E. Spence Mantle collection on display for collectors to enjoy inside the IX Center in Cleveland July 29-August 2.

The collection includes all 21 major Mantle cards in mint or gem mint condition, all of them authenticated and graded by PSA.  Every card is graded 9 or 10 and several are the highest graded Mantle cards in existence.

Collectors will be able to see the cards and have their picture taken with the “Million-Dollar Mantle card” — a PSA 10-graded 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie — at booth 101.

The collection grades out at a 9.53 on a 10-point scale, making it the No. 1 “set” of Mantle cards on PSA’s Set Registry.  Eleven of the cards been graded PSA 10 and the group was named to PSA’s Set Hall of Fame this year.

Press Pass unveils future cards in wake of Joey Logano's historic victory

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NASCAR rookie Joey Logano made history Sunday by becoming the youngest winner ever in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and in July Press Pass will deliver some of the the 19-year old’s hottest cards in two new brands.

Press Pass Series 2 arrives July 8 with gold edition Press Pass Autographs as well as a retail-exclusive red edition limited to 10 copies.  Of the memorabilia cards, there will be Tread Marks autographed race-used tire cards (#’d to 10),
2009 Daytona 500 race-used tire cards and Four Wide multi-swatch cards (#’d to 50).

Press Pass floors it with its first high-end set, Press Pass Showcase, on July 15. Each $225 three-pack box will deliver one autograph plus two race-used memorabilia cards of the sport’s premier drivers. Logano’s featured card will be the short-printed Premier Prospects Rookie Card, which is an autographed, race-used firesuit card.  There will be four types all varied by foil stamp color, sequential numbering and firesuit swatch:

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Tiger Woods and his Stanford colors showcased in Upper Deck basketball set

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Upper Deck‘s Draft Edition basketball set is on the way in late-July with a mix of newly drafted college stars in their school colors.

And then there’s this other guy named Eldrick.

You probably know him as Tiger Woods, the top pro golfer in the world. As one of Upper Deck’s spokesmen, he’s popped up in several sets in the last year and this upcoming basketball set will be one of them, too.

Not many of his gold cards display his Stanford ties so prominently — in fact, this writer can’t think of any cards that do so.

Cool move.

The set also will include cards of a few other company spokesmen — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

And, of course, it also will include more than a few draft picks.

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.

Panini America: Wilmer Flores autographs shipping soon

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The wait is over for those collectors holding redemption cards for Wilmer Flores autographs.

The New York Mets’ 17-year-old shortstop prospect has returned his signatures and those redemptions should begin being fulfilled soon by Panini America. Redemptions for Flores signatures were inserted into four 2008 Donruss products – Threads, Elite Extra Edition, Americana Sports Legends and Contenders.

“This is  definitely a big one for everyone,” Panini America brand manager Mike Payne said. “Our acquisitions team deserves a lot of credit for staying on top of this and for their continued pursuit of the signatures, even after Flores left the country after last season and after he had changed agents during the off-season.”

Flores, ranked the No. 2 prospect in the New York Mets organization by Baseball America before the 2009 season began, will represent the World Team in the 2009 Futures Game.

Last season, his first as a professional, Flores batted .307 with eight home runs and 42 RBI in 280 at-bats combined between three minor league teams. Through June 25 of this season, he was batting .273-2-18 with 11 doubles at Class A Savannah of the South Atlantic League.

My Michael Jackson Collection

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Look, I’m a collector and I make no apologies about that. But as such, it’s my pastime to accumulate material mementos that remind me of those diversions about which I’m most passionate.

It occurred to me tonight – watching the myriad tributes to Michael Jackson and growing increasingly melancholy while doing it – that outside of a few old records, I don’t have any MJ in my collection.

Unless you count the memories. When it comes to those, I’m sitting on a treasure trove; a priceless vault full of crystal-clear recollections that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

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Michael Jackson dead at age 50

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TMZ is reporting that “The King of Pop” Michael Jackson has died at age 50 of an apparent heart attack.

While he has obviously been remembered for his eccentric exploits the last decade or so, there’s no doubting his place in music history — from The Jackson Five to the Thriller days to Bad and beyond.

There will surely be a groundswell of interest in his memorabilia — despite all of the negative things that popped up regarding him away from the stage.

Jackson appeared on his own trading card set made by Topps in 1984 — a 132-card set issued in two series, 33 cards and 33 stickers apiece.

They’re plentiful, so they’re not all that valuable. Some dealers want less than $20 — but most no more than $50 — for an unopened box on eBay.

Topps also produced an oversized sticker set — 13 cards that are roughly 5x7s.

Jackson’s autographs are relatively pricey, with most dealers wanting $500 or so for a signed 8×10 photo — and upwards of $1,500 for those that are PSA/DNA certified. You can expect those types of items to be the most in demand in the future and those prices to rise, while his other memorabilia will generally see an increase in the volume of items sold as well.

Evening update: The Topps cards are seeing a ton of action, so that price range is now moot. And autograph photos are topping out at $2,000 and more.

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.

Pink Mother's Day bats arrive on MLB auction block

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The latest batch of game-used pink Mother’s Day bats have hit the auction block through MLB.com with the net proceeds from each and every auction benefiting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

Many MLB players used the pink bats during games on Mother’s Day this year to help raise awareness for breast cancer. Some of the bats are game-used, while others are merely game-issued (prepped for use) and some are merely autographed.

The unique items are a striking piece of game-used memorabilia that can be directly tied to the player’s use a particular certain date, unlike most game-used bats out on the market.

Bidding starts at $100 for some bats, $300 for most others, while the autographed game-used David Wright bat (above) has an opening bid of $550.

Right now, a Derek Jeter autographed pink bat (which does not appear to be game-used) is drawing the most attention at $430 after five bids.

See the full lineup of bats available on the block 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.

Judge's decision on O-Pee-Chee shouldn't mean much to collectors

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So as part of the Topps vs. Upper Deck court battle over alleged misuse of vintage O-Pee-Chee designs, a judge has ordered Upper Deck to cease production and halt distribution of the cards and ruled that the company can’t market those cards.

While this case means plenty to Upper Deck and Topps, this decision shouldn’t mean much to collectors. Why? This isn’t 1989 – the presses stopped rolling some time ago. Halt distribution? Well, the newest product in question, 2009 O-Pee-Chee, has hit retail stores, so there’s plenty already out there.

Upper Deck has until July 16 to sell off its remaining inventory of the products in question, which likely means the entirety of the product gets into large distributors’ (or dealers’) hands faster than it normally would. (A move that could cost Upper Deck some money vs. a longer sales period.) Ok, then what? That probably will mean lower prices on the product as said dealers need to move the inventory to make room for something else.

How much advertising do you see card companies doing after a product’s release? It’s not as much as you might think — if any at all. There’s always another product, the next new thing, to promote –- despite there being fewer products than ever on the market for baseball collectors.

The designs in question are insert cards in 2009 Upper Deck Series 1 that emulate the 1975 O-Pee-Chee (and Topps) designs and hockey products that emulate the 1979-80 hockey design. (This design also was used as an insert in the new 2009 O-Pee-Chee baseball set.) Plans for 1971-inspired (above) and 1977-inspired O-Pee-Chee inserts in this year’s OPC set and in Upper Deck Series 2 were abandoned.

Should this ruling mean much to collectors? No. The cards are out there and will remain on the market. Had the move that Topps previously pursued — seeking the destruction of the cards in question and a temporary restraining order preventing some of the later products’ releases as well as a chunk of Upper Deck’s profits — been approved, it probably would matter more to collectors.

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.

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.

Press Pass announces its National VIP cards

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Press Pass announced its VIP card set for the 30th National Sports Collectors Convention on Wednesday.

The set consists of five Press Pass VIP cards of NASCAR stars with a sixth, the Dale Earnhardt Jr. card above, a redemption that can be found at the company’s booth during the show in late-July in Cleveland. The cards will be stamped “2009 National.”

Also in the set are Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and rookie Joey Logano.

The sets are available only to VIP or SuperVIP package buyers at the show.

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.

Panini Inks Blake Griffin, Four Others to Exclusive Contracts

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Panini America officials confirmed on Wednesday that the company has inked five of the NBA’s top draft prospects, including projected No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin, to exclusive trading card agreements.

In addition to Griffin, the 6-10 forward from Oklahoma who was largely considered the best player in the country in 2008-09, Panini confirmed deals with Tyler Hansbrough (UNC), Jordan Hill (Arizona), Brandon Jennings (Lottomatica Virtus Roma, Italy) and Hasheem Thabeet (UCONN).

The players and their autographs will be featured in all 2009-10 Panini NBA card products, beginning with Prestige in October; they’ll also appear on select packaging and advertisements throughout the year.

Stay tuned to beckett.com for more on this story.

— Tracy Hackler

First Look: Sportkings Memorabilia Eye Candy

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Sport Kings LP officials on Wednesday morning pulled back the curtain on some of the most decorated memorabilia cards available in Sportkings Series C, the limited-edition (2,500 boxes), high-end multisport product slated to release in late July.

Every pack of Sportkings Series C, launching at the 2009 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, will include one memorabilia card or one cut-signature card.

With 14 unique memorabilia-graced inserts encompassing the widest possible range of sports (all the majors plus professional volleyball, mixed martial arts, track and field, Formula 1 racing, golf, horse racing, professional poker, boxing  and others), there’s likely something in this product for everyone.

Such as:

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Upper Deck announces error on Fabian Brunnstrom Ultimate Collection Rookie Autograph card

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This in Tuesday night from Upper Deck

When Upper Deck received the 2008-09 Ultimate Collection Hockey Rookie Autograph cards of Fabian Brunnstrom back, the company was saddened to see that one of the boxes containing approximately half of the cards had not sealed correctly. All the cards in that box were damaged.

The company has contingency plans for something like this and quickly set out to reproduce those cards and have them signed by Brunnstrom. In the haste to get these cards in packs, the numbering on 51 of the cards was set to 399 instead of 99. Upper Deck can confirm there are only 99 of the cards in these cards in the market.

Worthy of note, Brunnstrom signed the first 48 cards without damage in black ink, the replacements numbered to 399 are signed in blue ink.

Preview Gallery: 2009 Donruss Classics School Colors

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Donruss Classics arrives next week with three autographs or memorabilia cards in each 18-pack box.

One of the inserts in the product is School Colors, a set loaded with on-card autographs that features players in their — you guessed it — school colors. The standard cards will be found three per hobby box.

The autographs were signed at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles and the one-of-a-kind card above, which features Kenny Britt‘s autograph — as well as an inscription and a Doritos dust fingerprint — is unlike any of the others you’ll find in packs of Classics.

We’re not sure whether there have been any other player-inscribed and Doritos-enhanced football cards, but we’re figuring it’s just an anomaly. (We’re certainly hoping it doesn’t start a trend.)

We’re not sure what Panini America will be doing with that extra-special (and perhaps tasty) autograph — one we’re now dubbing The Doritos Football Card. Stay tuned — it may not have been put into packs.

Instead, the cards will look a lot like the ones below. Click for a closer look.

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First look: 2009 Upper Deck SP Threads football cards

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Upper Deck released preview images and basic product information on Tuesday for its 2009 SP Threads football set which arrives in October.

Each 16-pack box includes two autographed cards, one of them being an autographed Letterman card, and three memorabilia cards. Each case will include one autograph card with multiple signatures as well as one autographed memorabilia card.

The set will consist of 100 base cards, 100 SP Rookie Future Watch cards and 60 Lettermen autographs, while the insert lineup will include Lettermen,  Rookie Threads Dual Autographs, Multi Marks (Duals, Triples and Quads) and SP Foursome Fabrics.

See more from the product below.

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.

Pittsburgh Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen is Topps' third Red Hot Rookie Redemption

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Topps announced its third 2009 Red Hot Rookie Redemption on Tuesday and it’s Pittsburgh Pirates  outfielder Andrew McCutchen.

McCutchen made his MLB debut on June 4 and is hitting .333 with a homer, 13 runs and 13 RBIs in 79 at-bats this season.

The remainder of the 10-card Red Hot Rookies set will be announced throughout the season. Each Series 2 hobby box includes one of the redemption cards.

The first Red Hot Rookie of the year was New York Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez. No. 2 was Chicago White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham – with 10 percent of the cards coming autographed.

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.

Dedicated Yankee Stadium Legacy collectors meet Derek Jeter

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This in from Upper Deck‘s Terry Melia

They traveled to the Big Apple from as far away as Panama, Sacramento, Little Rock, Pensacola and Largo, Fla. And thanks to Upper Deck, their tickets were covered, as were their hotel accommodations and meals. “They” were the five Yankee Stadium Legacy contest winners that Upper Deck promised would meet none other than New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter if they were able to piece together the company’s enormous YSL baseball card insert set from 2008 which chronicled every Yankees home game ever played at the old Yankee Stadium — each card sports a unique box score — starting in 1923.

Each of the five collectors not only put together the gigantic, 6,661-card collection of inserts, but they did it before the April 30  deadline. Leo Wiznitzer made things extra interesting by sending in his set on the final day of eligibility.

“I wasn’t even aware that there was a grand prize involved,” he explained, “not until about 10 days before the contest ended.”
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Oakland A's pitcher Andrew Bailey is Topps' third Finest Rookie Redemption

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Topps announced its third Finest redemption of the year on Monday and it’s Oakland A’s pitcher Andrew Bailey.

The redemptions are found one in every master hobby box of 2009 Finest baseball cards.

In 44 innings this season, Bailey has 4-1 record with a 2.23 ERA. He has 50 strikeouts and 18 walks and has become the Oakland closer of late, recording eight saves.

Topps’ second Finest rookie was announced last week — Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson. The first Finest rookie was Cleveland’s Matt LaPorta. The company will unveil the remainder of the 10 rookies throughout the season. There also are redemptions for Refractor (#’d to 199) and Gold Refractor (#’d to 50) versions.

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 Upper Deck Sweet Spot baseball

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Upper Deck released the basic product breakdown and preview images for its 2009 Sweet Spot Baseball set on Friday — yet another year for the popular product but one that includes a few surprise twists.

While the set will include the standard Sweet Spot autographs everyone has come to expect, there are also going to be inclusions like this Michael Jordan autograph and autographed cards from presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford along with bat barrel three members of the first Hall of Fame class.

See more from the set after the jump.

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Preview Gallery: 2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection Rookie Autographs

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Upper Deck has released several preview images for the Rookie Autographs in its upcoming Ballpark Collection set, which is scheduled to arrive on Aug. 25.

Each four-pack box will contain two autograph cards while there will be three memorabilia cards or one autograph and two memorabilia cards per pack. Each pack will contain one dual memorabilia card and one quad memorabilia card, while there will be cards with as many as eight memorabilia pieces embedded into them.

For more on the set, click here.

Click on the images below for a closer look.

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.

Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is Topps' second Finest Rookie Redemption card

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Topps announced its second Finest redemption of the year on Friday and it’s Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson.

The redemptions are found one in every master hobby box of 2009 Finest baseball cards.

Hanson made his big-league debut on June 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers — a no-decision — but has a 2-0 record with a 4.08 ERA after three starts. He’s struck out 12 and walked 10 this season.

Topps’ first Finest rookie was Cleveland’s Matt LaPorta. The company will unveil the remainder of the 10 rookies throughout the season. There also are redemptions for Refractor (#’d to 199) and Gold Refractor (#’d to 50) versions.

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.

Just Minors announces final product — Mystery Jerseys 2009

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Atlanta-based Just Minors announced its final scheduled product on Thursday — Mystery Jerseys 2009 — which contains one full-size autographed minor league jersey and two autograph cards per box.

One in every 60 boxes will include a game-used jersey.

Among the players on the autographed jersey checklist are Josh Hamilton, Carlos Quentin, Cole Hamels, Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce, Dexter Fowler, Aramis Ramirez, Alex Rios, Billy Butler, Carlos Gonzalez, Colby Rasmus, Yovanni Gallardo, Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson, Andrew McCutchen, Fernando Martinez and Jose Tabata among others.

There are Glossy 1/1 autograph cards as well as dual and triple signature cards that are inserted one in every six boxes. Each master carton will contain one of each of those cards.

The boxes are $119.95 and can be pre-ordered on shopjustminors.com. The product ships in July.

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 Triple Threads baseball

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Topps released the basic product  information and preview images for its 2009 Triple Threads baseball set on Thursday.

The fourth installment of the high-end memorabilia-loaded set arrives in October and is a hobby-exclusive product which will include bat knob Relic cards as well as some surprising triple-book cards that include hat logo patches — and more — on the same card.

Each pack (mini-box) contains three numbered base cards and two numbered parallel cards plus one Triple Relic card. An Autographed Triple Relic card replaces the Triple Relic card in every other pack — or one per display box.

Every case will contain one 1/1 autographed Triple Relic card and one Triple Relic autograph card numbered to 36 or less.

See more images and information after the jump.

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Pittsburgh Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen is the third Upper Deck SPx Rookie Signatures redemption

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Upper Deck has announced its third 2009 SPx Rookie Signatures redemption card and it’s Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Andew McCutchen.

The card is No. RR3 and will be card 128 in the set. The previously announced autographs are of St. Louis Cardinals rookie Colby Rasmus, No. RR2, with 25 signed with a “Go Redbirds” inscription. The first was Baltimore Orioles pitcher Koji Uehara, who signed 25 of his cards in Japanese.

Upper Deck will reveal the remainder of the cards ever few weeks during the season until all of the cards have been announced.

The redemptions can be found two per 14-box case.

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.

Panini announces retail-only rookies in 2009 Donruss Elite (updated)

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Panini America announced on Wednesday evening that there are several retail-only rookies to be found in 2009 Donruss Elite football.

They are:

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