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Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Orlando Magic are done.

EAhoward

Sure the Los Angeles Lakers only hold a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals this year. But it’s over. It’s done. Chalk up another one for Phil Jackson

Why?

EA Sports unveiled on Thursday the cover of NBA Live 10 and the Magic’s Dwight Howard graces it.

“Curses,” said more than a few Magic fans around the land. Well, at least the 12 real ones before the team’s Finals appearance.

Sure Howard is a three-time All-Star — and a bonafide NBA superhero. But video game curses are larger than life and this version of the game arrives in October.

Wait, does that mean the curse starts next season … ?

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.

Nolan Ryan offers signed baseball as part of Father's Day gift package

Nolan

MLB’s strikeout king and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan is offering up an autographed official MLB baseball as part of a food package aimed for Father’s Day gift hunters.

Ryan’s Father’s Day Beef-n-Baseball Package is a $99 deal on his website, nolanryanbeef.com, that includes two 12-ounce ribeye steaks, four 8-ounce tenderloin steaks, a bib apron as well as the autographed baseball along with a display case. See it all here.

That’s not a bad deal considering he wants $85 for a signed custom-designed baseball cap and $35 for an apron. Typically, an authenticated official MLB baseball signed by the Texas icon will cost you $75 (or more) on its own.

While many collectors often know all too well about the monetary sacrifices that sometimes come with landing that one item you’ve always wanted, this is one of those rare deals where you can pick up some memorabilia and some grub. Not a bad deal at all.

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 confirms 20 variations on Ken Griffey Jr.'s card in Series 2

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Upper Deck confirmed on Wednesday that there are 20 versions of card No. 855 in its 2009 baseball set as a form of a tribute to the player that started it all for the company’s first card set in 1989 — Ken Griffey Jr.

Each version of card No. 855 depicts an image of Griffey during a corresponding year of his MLB career — as do the stats and text on the back.

“It’s important for us to continue to look at ways to make the regular base card interesting to collectors,” said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s associate baseball brand manager, in a news release. “By creating different versions of Griffey’s card to commemorate his illustrious career, we hope to have people go back through their collections to see which versions they have and to hopefully put together the entire 20-card set.”

None of the short-printed cards are more limited than another, according to the company.

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.

Sports Illustrated & Beckett Grading Services team up for SI Uncirculated

redwings

Sports Illustrated and Beckett Grading Services have teamed up to bring a limited offering of uncirculated copies of the long-collected magazine under a new program — SI Uncirculated – to the masses starting with this week’s issues.

harperCopies of the June 8 magazines, which are direct from SI and slabbed by BGS, feature the Detroit Red Wings‘ “Motown Cool” regional cover as well as the national cover featuring high schooler Bryce Harper on the cover.

Under the authority of Time Inc., this is the collector’s only way to get an uncirculated copy of SI slabbed by BGS.  Only a limited number of each are available. Once the initial offerings are sold out, they cannot be offered again.

The magazines are $24.99 and can be purchased here (Red Wings cover) and here (Harper cover — limit one per customer) as part of the slabbing program that provides protection for the item. The SI Uncirculated concept, which will focus on current and future magazines — not past magazines — is much like the Topps Vault’s uncirculated proof cards for current card sets.

The Harper issue is a first cover appearance, which is noted on the BGS label.  On future releases, first covers and regional covers will be noted. With the popularity of the magazine as a collectible through the years, this helps add yet another dimension to collecting for the fans of the magazine.

By the Box: 2009 SP Legendary Cuts baseball cards

legendarycutsbox

Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they bust boxes of the recently released 2009 SP Legendary Cuts baseball cards from Upper Deck.

Will their boxes make the cut? Will they be legendary?

Click here to find out.

In the minors: There are surprises to be found

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With In the Minors, we’ve recently explored some of the unusual finds that collectors will discover in their sets of minor league baseball cards.  (Related links at the end of this item.)

But you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Take for instance Ken Larsen here, a contributor to the Jamestown Jammers who appears on this card — his apparent Rookie Card so to speak (first minor league card) — in the Jammers’ 2006 team set. What’s his team role?

Enforcer.

What’s that mean? Here’s what the back of the card says: “Ken ‘The Enforcer’ Larsen is entering his first season with the Jammers. Ken has been assigned as the Director of Stadium Seating, his tasks include overseeing operations, staffing and maintaining the ‘green team.’ Ken received his nickname after he dangled a spectator from his shoestrings atop the grandstand roof for trying to pass a bleacher ticket off as a grandstand ticket. Ken’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, raising beef cows and looking for trouble.”

In other words, you don’t mess with the Jammers’ Enforcer — or you’ll get squashed like a grape.

While we didn’t find any other cards as unique as Larsen’s during a random search of minor league releases, here are a few others that stood out  from down in the minors …

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First Look: 2009-10 '48 Bowman Basketball

 Bowman'48DualPatchAutoRussell

Next season’s basketball market is filling up rather rapidly this season. On the heels of Upper Deck’s announcement of 2009-10 SP Game Used a few weeks back, Topps on Wednesday morning released details on 2009-10 Bowman ’48 Basketball, a hobby-exclusive product set to arrive in August.

Playing off a nostalgia recipe that has worked wonders for the company in baseball and football, Topps pays homage here to the first mainstream basketball card set, 1948 Bowman, the only one ever produced by the company.

“With our last two products, 2009-10 Bowman ’48 and 2009-10 Topps, not only will you see a lot of great content, but you’ll get a retrospect of the contribution that the Topps and Bowman brands have made over the years to basketball trading cards,” said Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi.

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Coming soon: 2009 TRISTAR Projections Series 3

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TRISTAR has released the first images and preview information for its 2009 PROjections Series 3 minor league baseball set.

TRISTARpro3aAs with the first two series, 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.

As with the previous releases, 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 July 1.

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

Each 24-box master case also will include a LaPorta T212 Mini OBAK card. Tim Beckham was the subject of Series 1, while Matt Wieters was in Series 2.

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Is this proof that foilboard isn't always necessary?

americanaretail

We got our first look at the retail version of 2009 Donruss Americana here on Tuesday and one thing’s apparent — one of my cardboard pet peeves has reared its ugly head again and I really didn’t realize the full scope of it until now.

Foilboard. You know — the super-reflective, show-all-fingerprints, horrible-to-scan staple of many a card company these days.

I’ll readily admit that I really like the improvements made to Americana this year — and the hobby version is still a set I like — but seeing the retail version of the set (no foilboard) made me realize how much better the cards look when the backgrounds aren’t comprised of silver foil.

(And I’ll bet that the autographs look a lot better, too, if they’re on retail print-run cards. It appears that some retail Proof inserts are not on foilboard while other are. Details will emerge as the product gets broken in the coming weeks.)

There’s no Photoshop adjustment made on the scan above — the two cards were scanned side by side. The hobby version is on the left and the retail on the right. While Jordan Ladd‘s card doesn’t have a whole lot going on in the background at least the background of the retail card doesn’t showcase scratches as much as the hobby card does. (That scratch, by the way, was my fault — be sure to wipe off fingerprints with a Kleenex, not a napkin … )

I also like how the new borders look on the retail cards, though they are stout on either version.

Another plus on the retail — the gold foil-stamped names are much easier to read as well. That’s a plus for a set where collectors may not know who every person is while sorting them.

Anyway, I’m off the soapbox.

And off to lunch.

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 SP Authentic baseball cards

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Upper Deck released the basic product information and images for its 2009 SP Authentic baseball set on Tuesday.

And the first image is an interesting one — an autographed Future Watch card of Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who had been under an exclusive contract with another company but is, according to the sales material for SP, “exclusively available in Upper Deck products.”

SP arrives in September with each 24-pack box containing 12 short-printed base set cards, six serial-numbered standard or or parallel cards, three insert cards, two By the Letter manufactured-patch autographed cards and one Future Watch Rookie autograph or SPA Signature insert.

Also among the notable inclusions will be a 1993 SP Derek Jeter autographed buyback Rookie Card.

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Florida dealer to sell Dwight Evans memorabilia

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A Florida dealer has obtained several items from the personal collection of former Boston Red Sox outfielder Dwight Evans and will begin selling the items soon.

Bud’s Sports Cards & Collectibles, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, recently obtained the collection, which consists of autographed team balls, game-used bats as well as Evans’ uniforms as a player and coach. In addition, Evans’ original Little League and high school baseball caps as well as awards and player contracts will be available for sale along with other items.

The memorabilia will be offered for purchase at budssportscards.com.

See the items after the jump.

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WWE's Lakers & Nuggets jerseys hot on the auction block

All photos courtesy of WWE Auctions

WWE's Dave Bautista (All photos courtesy of WWE Auctions)

Remember all the hubbub last month when World Wrestling Entertainment was bounced out of Denver and into Los Angeles because of the Nuggets-Lakers NBA playoff game?

Well, if you don’t, then you weren’t watching ESPN — or any of the WWE’s television shows — and you certainly didn’t catch the May 25 episode of Raw where Mr. McMahon squared off with Nuggets owner “Stan Kroenke” and where five WWE stars donned Los Angeles Lakers jerseys vs. a starting five of WWE-flavored Denver Nuggets.

Which leads to the question … forget the NBA Finals, what’s a WWE-used NBA jersey worth?

The jerseys have hit the WWE auction block and Batista‘s signed No. 7 jersey (above) is sitting at $555 after 37 bids. The auction closes tonight (Tuesday evening), and I’m expecting it to push, but not top, $1,000 before it’s all said and done. And here’s a bit of WWE trivia for you — did you know Batista is a collector of rare lunch boxes?

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Preview gallery: Sportkings Series C

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Sportkings released additional preview images Monday for its forthcoming third series of trading cards that will be released at The National in Cleveland, Ohio, in late July. For more on the set, click here and here.

Some of these images are new, while others have been previously released. Check ‘em all out after the jump.

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WWE releases Undertaker, John Cena WrestleMania 25 autograph plaques

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Here’s one for the wrestling fans…

World Wrestling Entertainment has released a pair of autographed plaques for Undertaker and John Cena – 11×14 framed pieces limited to only 500 that include a piece of ring rope and ring mat (respectively) — highlighting the premiere event of pro wrestling, WrestleMania.

cenawweThe items are available on WWEShop.com and are only $99. Cena is an autographing machine — you can buy signed photos at every live event as well as find him in nearly every WWE-licensed trading card set since 2005 — and you can even get a free autographed photo if you buy a copy of the 12 Rounds DVD on the site. (Yeah, we’ll pass, too.)

But Undertaker? He doesn’t do many signings at all. He hasn’t appeared on a WWE-licensed certified autograph trading card since 2001 (it’s worth a lot more than $100), and he typically only signs for these plaques each year. This one notes his 17-0 undefeated streak at WrestleMania 25 on April 5 in Houston.

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Have you heard of Wesley Autry?

This is a simple one. Have you heard of Wesley Autry?

It’s fair to say that most of you probably haven’t — we’d understand.

Learn about his story here, a TIME magazine piece penned by Donald Trump. (Yes, that Donald Trump.)

And then click to learn more below (after the jump).

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Win this Stephen Strasburg USA Baseball card

strasburg

If you don’t know who Stephen Strasburg is just yet, don’t worry.

You will.

The San Diego State star is expected to be selected No. 1 overall in this year’s MLB draft on Tuesday evening (over on the MLB Network), and we want you to own one of his  USA Baseball cards from Upper Deck.

It’s not a super-expensive insert card — a 2008-09 USA Baseball National Team Retrospective (#USA2) that books for $15 (high) — but we suspect that a few of you might be interested in picking one up.

Just answer this question by leaving a comment below (and include your name, location and e-mail address):

Which player, in your mind, is the best in USA Baseball (Olympic or international play) history? (Tell us who — and then why you chose him.)

We’ll pick the best/most creative answer found here or on Beckett.com later this week (when it just might be a little bit tougher to land one of these cards).

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 signs Dwyane Wade to exclusive memorabilia deal

D-Wade Red Jersey

Upper Deck announced Monday that it has signed Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade to an exclusive autographed memorabilia deal for Upper Deck Authenticated.

Wade joins a team of exclusive players that includes LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Michael Jordan.

“Dwyane Wade is one of the NBA’s most admired and dynamic players, so Upper Deck is extremely excited to join forces with a player of Dwyane’s caliber,” said Tim Muret, vice president of UDA, in a news release. “As a former NBA Finals MVP and champion, he further solidifies Upper Deck’s position as the basketball memorabilia leader when it comes to providing innovative products that bring fans closer to the game and their favorite athletes.”

Wade’s agent, Henry Thomas, also commented in the release.

“Adding Upper Deck as an endorsement partner fits perfectly into Dwyane’s goal to associate himself with top quality brands”, Thomas said.

Wade will be signing basketballs, jerseys, photos, and select game-worn items for UDA.

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.

BGS & James Spence Authentication to hold event at Beckett HQ

What: Beckett Grading Services and James Spence Authentication Autograph Authentication & Card Grading Event
When: Saturday, June 20 — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: The Beckett Corporate Offices — 4635 McEwen Drive in Dallas, Texas, 75244
Who: Open to the public

You can …
– Meet James Spence, the JSA staff, Beckett Media and Panini representatives.
— Increase the value of your memorabilia by assuring its authenticity.
— Have your items authenticated and appraised by the best in the industry.
— Get on-site encapsulation and grading performed by Beckett Grading Services and receive your item back the same day submitted.
— Attend free seminars and Q&A sessions from BGS, JSA, and Panini representatives.
—  Win free stuff from Panini and Beckett Media.
— Participate in a Card Grading Contest. How accurately can you grade
under BGS/BVG standards?
—  Meet Beckett Select Auction staff for free evaluation of your high-end sports collectibles.
— Meet local dealers offering various products for purchase.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Beckett via phone at (972)-448-9188 — or e-mail grading@beckett.com

In the minors: Corporate sponsors get their due

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Some collectors who recently found a Tim Lincecum video game cover card in 2009 Topps Series 2 and complained about it probably don’t realize that down in the minors there’s a lot more advertising to be found on cardboard.

On minor league cards, you’ll often find advertiser logos on cards alongside team logos. You’ll often find individuals with ties to those companies on their own cards. You’ll often find coupons in team sets.

One classic example is above — a Prince Fielder 2005 Nashville Sounds card with a Shone’s logo alongside his team notation. Some baseball purists might be aghast seeing such a thing. Some fans might consider it to be apropos for a minor league team considering that there are dozens of ads to be seen at a minor league ballpark.

I like it because I just know Fielder’s been to a Shoney’s … or two.

Here’s a look at just a few other sponsors can be found on cards in the minors …

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Artist Brian Kong partners with Beckett at The National

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Noted Sketch Card artist Brian Kong will be on hand at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention in late July in Cleveland to showcase his work and offer a special bonus for collectors who decide to submit cards to Beckett Grading Services.

Collectors will have the chance to meet Kong and purchase or commission work as part of Beckett Media’s booth, but the first 50 collectors who place a $250 order with BGS will receive a Kong Sketch Card slabbed by BGS with a NSCC Beckett Exclusive label. (There is a limit of one sketch per person.)

If you’re not aware of Kong’s work, you will be. His work will be featured in this year’s Allen & Ginter baseball set from Topps.

See more of Kong’s work at briankong.com and look for more on The National from Beckett in the coming days.

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.

In Case You Missed It: Sweet Jordan Dunks

JordanBoxDunk

Continuing the can’t-lose trend of maximizing its exclusive relationship with basketball’s greatest player in his Hall of Fame year, Upper Deck recently unveiled the specifics of a 51-card 2009 Michael Jordan Legacy Box Set, due out in August.

Of course, you probably already knew that.

What you may not have been aware of is the poster-quality nature of the 51st card in every box, one of 10 different oversized (3 1/2 by 5 inches) “C-cards” that profile some of MJ’s most legendary dunks.

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MMA stars Chuck Liddell & Ken Shamrock to appear in 2009 Goodwin Champions baseball card set

Goodwinliddell

The forthcoming 2009 Goodwin Champions baseball set from Upper Deck will include MMA stars Chuck Liddell and Ken Shamrock as the company released preview images of the two fighters’ upcoming cards on Friday.

goodwinshamrockOther baseball and multi-sport sets that have included MMA stars in recent years include Topps Allen & Ginter, Donruss Americana set — home of Ring Kings autograph and memorabilia cards — and Sportkings.

Topps launched its first UFC set earlier this year, while Upper Deck had planned to produce a standalone MMA set last fall but canceled the project.

Goodwin Champions arrives in September. Read more about it on the links 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.

Exclusive Video: The First Box of 2009 Donruss Elite Football

EliteGraphic

We’re not going to tell you what we had to do to get it, but we’ve managed to procure a box of 2009 Donruss Elite Football almost a full week before its official release date.

Join Beckett’s own pigskin-loving freaks Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler for the world premiere box bust of 2009 Donruss Elite Football.

It’s fun, informative and you might just win an Elite autograph card.

Preview gallery: 2009 Goodwin Champions baseball cards

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Upper Deck has released more images of card in its forthcoming Goodwin Champions baseball set, which will arrive in September.

Find more on Goodwin here, here, and here.

Check out more from the set after the jump. (Click for a closer look.)

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Kill Bill star David Carradine dead at 72

carradine

David Carradine, the star of Kill Bill as well as the the 1970s television series Kung Fu, was found dead Thursday in a Thailand hotel — an apparent suicide according to one published report.

The 72-year-old actor’s collectibles resume includes autographed cards in the 2000 Charmed Season 1 set as well as the 2004 Alias Season 3 set, both from Inkworks. The Charmed card sells for approximately $30.

Donruss Americana, which arrived in hobby shops on Wednesday, includes Carradine’s largest assortment of trading cards, including the one above (numbered to 100) that we pulled from a review box last week.

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