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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Sports Illustrated examines baseball card industry

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The latest issue of Sports Illustrated examines the baseball card industry in the wake of the MLB decision to grant exclusive rights to Topps beginning in 2010. While it’s a piece heavily focused on Upper Deck — and isn’t even touted on the cover —  it’s worth a read.

You can find 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.

Topps Rushes Kimbo Slice into 2009 Topps UFC

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Topps announced on Thursday morning that the delay in getting the highly anticipated 2009 Topps UFC to market is for a very good, very sizable reason: Kimbo Slice.

Slice, the street fighting sensation turned pop culture phenomenon thanks to YouTube, will be one of the featured attractions on the Spike TV reality show “The Ultimate Fighter 10″ when it debuts next month.

And his first certified autographs — all on-card — will appear in 2009 Topps UFC.

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Sneak Peek: In The Game's Ultimate Memorabilia 9

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In The Game officials pulled the curtain back ever so slightly on the eagerly anticipated ninth installment of Ultimate Memorabilia, a product due out in November packing three slabbed cards per pack — one Ultimate Autograph, one Ultimate Authentic Game-Used Memorabilia card and one Ultimate Base card.

Here’s an early look :

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First Look: 2009 Topps Triple Threads Football

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Topps officials today released preliminary product information and images of 2009 Triple Threads Football, a product that has become one of the most popular in Topps’ entire sports portfolio.

This season, Topps is guaranteeing that every Relic card in the hobby-exclusive product – seeded one per pack – will be a Triple Relic card; in addition, every box will include at least one Triple Relic Autograph card.

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Upper Deck signs Detroit Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman to autograph deal

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Upper Deck announced on Wednesday that it has signed Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman to an autograph deal for its 2009-10 product lines.

The Detroit Red Wings legend hasn’t signed with UD in recent years. According to the Beckett Database, Yzerman has only signed 258 different cards for inclusion in packs — the most recent Upper Deck cards coming in 2005-06.

“To be able to provide collectors access to a player like Yzerman who is so popular in key hockey markets like Detroit and throughout Canada provides a huge boost to our new hockey releases for the upcoming season,” said Josh Zusman, Upper Deck brand manager, in a news release. “We know collectors have been waiting a long time to see content from this legendary player and Upper Deck is thrilled to deliver his autograph.”
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Michael Vick’s Return to Football Cards

2009 Upper Deck SPx Vick

Post-prison life just keeps getting better for the vastly vilified Michael Vick.

Vick, the disgraced former NFL superstar who spent the last two years in jail for his role in running a dogfighting ring, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 13, joining a team that needs more offensive skill like Beyonce needs voice lessons.

Now comes word from Topps and Upper Deck that Vick will also be returning to packs of football cards beginning next month. Upper Deck will include a short-printed Vick card into 2009 SPx, set to release Sept. 15. The card will be numbered as part of the 2009 Upper Deck set, which launches Sept. 1.

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Revealed: 2009 Press Pass Legends Blue Ink Inscriptions

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Press Pass officials on Tuesday released quantities for the company’s 2009 Press Pass Legends Red Ink and Inscriptions varations. What follows is the complete list of Blue Ink Inscriptions.

You can find the Red Ink variations list here.

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Revealed: 2009 Press Pass Legends Red Ink Variations

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Press Pass officials on Tuesday released quantities for the company’s 2009 Press Pass Legends Red and Inscriptions varations. What follows is the complete list of Red Ink variations.

The complete list of Blue Ink Inscriptions variations can be found here.

  Read More »

Readers Write: Check out this historic pull

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We know that Readers Write is one of the most popular departments in our magazines. From time to time, we’ll share a letter or two right here. Send us your mail at BSCM@beckett.com.



Jeff Bendavid
is a frequent customer of ours at Chameleon Comics & Cards located in Manhattan, N.Y., who buys various baseball boxes from us to open with his son at home from time to time.  He decided to pick up a box of 2008 Topps Co-Signers Baseball and as usual takes it to go and comes back at a later time to inform us if he had gotten anything good.

Well, indeed, he did get a good one and lets us know that his son, Isaac, was going through the box of Co-Signers and at the very last pack of the box got the big hit. It’s a 1/1 dual cut signature of Marinus Willett, a captain during the Revolutionary War and notably New York City’s first Mayor, and Jedidiah Huntington, a brigadier general during the war. They brought the card to us at the shop and we had to share this amazing pull with you and your readers.

— Fred Gonzalez Jr.

Sweet pull. Click on the images below for a closer look.

By the box: 2009 Press Pass Premium NASCAR cards

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Here’s the data from a randomly selected hobby box of 2009 Press Pass Premium NASCAR cards …

What We Pulled
Packs per box:
20
Cards per pack: 5
Cards per box: 100
Base set completion: 80 of 80 (100 percent)
Duplicates: 7

Short-prints: 5
Finish Line (4) — Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton
Rookie Debut (1) — Marcos Ambrose

Inserts: 7
Top Contenders (1) — Denny Hamlin
Top Contenders Gold (1) — Jimmie Johnson
Win Streak (5) — Davig Ragan, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth

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NASCAR cards: My how they've changed

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I recently had the chance to bust open a couple of hobby boxes of Press Pass NASCAR cards (for the first time since the earlier days of Dale Earnhardt Jr. wearing black and red and a Cup of a different name) and I can say that it seems the cards are getting better all the time.

After all, in this economy, Press Pass just launched its first high-end set — Showcase, a $75 per-pack product — and it’s been received very well.

That says something.

You see, building a NASCAR set might have more challenges than other sports sets. There’s not one single licensing entity to approve the images and cards — instead they are approved by each team. That’s roughly 40 different pit stops, maybe more, during the Make a Set 500. (That’s one of the reasons Upper Deck stopped making them years ago.)

All those logos and corporate sponsors that adorn the drivers’ firesuits? They all need to be examined to ensure that they’re as correct as they can be at the time of production. (In other words, they ain’t 12-second pit stops, either.)

And while there’s plenty of color on NASCAR drivers’ uniforms and their stock cars, there aren’t a ton of photographic options when it comes to cards, either. Studio photography and trackside photography are commonplace for drivers’ cards, while in-car photos and car-on-track photos are mainstays as well. That forces those creating a checklist to include some other things — photos from Victory Lane, photos from behind-the-scenes and photos from other away-from-the-track adventures.

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Brett Favre as a Viking: What it Means for His Cards

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One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history continues to be one of its worst retirers.

Brett Favre, the 39-year-old gunslinger who has unsuccessfully retired from the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets in the last two years, today signed with the Minnesota Vikings for the princely sum of between $10 and $12 million for the 2009 season, and potentially $13 million more if he decides to play in 2010.

Favre, the NFL’s career leader in every meaningful passing category and a three-time league MVP, remains one of the most collected players in the history of sports cards and having a new employer will only broaden his appeal to a new audience.

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San Diego Padres pitcher Mat Latos is 7th Topps Red Hot Rookie

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Topps announced its seventh Red Hot Rookie for 2009, and it’s San Diego Padres pitcher Mat Latos.

Latos, an 11th-round pick in the 2006 draft, is 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA and 24 strikeouts this season.

Topps will announce the remainder of the Red Hot Rookies throughout the rest of the season. The redemption cards can be found one per Topps Series 2 hobby box and can be redeemed at www.topps.com/redemption.

The previous rookies in the program were:

1.      Fernando Martinez, Mets
2.      Gordon Beckham, White Sox (10 percent of cards autographed)
3.      Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
4.      Tommy Hanson, Braves
5.      Nolan Reimold, Orioles
6.      Neftali Feliz Rangers

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.

What will Bryce Harper's Topps Aflac Classic card go for?

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By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic has come and gone — and that means one thing to collectors.

The Topps-produced Bowman baseball cards featuring its participants, which were given out to fans at the game, have hit eBay along with ticket stubs, posters and other items from the event.

This year, though, the cards take on some added attention as the prospectors are competing with a lot more people for one card — Bryce Harper.

Why? Virtually everyone who has picked up a copy of Sports Illustrated, Beckett Baseball or watched ESPN knows who he is. He’s a teenager who left high school early to attend college and is expected to be the No. 1 draft pick in 2010. SI dubbed him the LeBron James of baseball.

No pressure there.

Like all of the other players, he signed cards for inclusion in packs when his professional time comes — his likely sooner than others at the game. And like other players, his card was one of those given out to fans at the game on Sunday at Petco Park in San Diego.

But the value of his card? It won’t be like all of the others as many a fan/collector/investor may want to add his latest card to their collections.

How much will they sell for? One could guess, but we’d rather just see where these uncharted market waters take us.

Let’s just wait and see.

AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE, CHECK OUT THESE STORIES …

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Phenom’s debut:
16-year-old’s forthcoming SI cover an instant collectible

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Behind the scenes: Bryce Harper at the Aflac game & an exclusive photo gallery from the Topps signing

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More for SI fans:
Collecting Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model autographs isn’t tough on 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.

Y.E. Yang is another of golf's cardless stars

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Upper Deck hasn’t produced a PGA/LPGA licensed set of golf cards since 2005, so Y.E. Yang‘s edging of Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship on Sunday means that fans seeking a piece of memorabilia featuring the South Korean who turned pro in 2004 will have to look elsewhere.

He appears on zero trading cards.

That means collectors will have to fight over autographed photos and other items — some affordable, some perhaps not authentic — if they’re interested in the 37-year-old’s story.

This autographed photo from the Honda Classic is JSA certified and was on eBay for $29.95 Buy It Now as the PGA Championship closed.

It’s one of only a few items featuring the new champion, most selling for less than $50. What would an autographed Rookie Card fetch right now? Likely a lot more.

But for now this is the only certified authentic piece of memorabilia on the market — right now when his items should be hotter than ever.

And, of course, it won’t last long.

Actually, it was gone before he accepted the 27-pound PGA Championship trophy. (Update: And someone else now wants $300 for it … you’ve got to love eBay interest spikes.)

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.

Usain Bolt: Too fast for a trading card?

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Usain Bolt set a new world record in the 100-meter dash in Berlin on Sunday with a run of 9.58 seconds.

And it’s still not enough to get the Jamaican sprinter on a trading card — or he’s just too fast for any of the card companies to catch up with him to sign a contract (or any autographs).

Though he apparently has appeared on some collectible phone cards (above).

Will any American card manufacturer get him into packs?

We’ll have to wait and see.

Random card image of the day…

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Just a random card image for a Sunday.

It’s 2007 Donruss Americana card No. 62.

Who’s Richard Kiel? Click here. Visit his official website here.

Photo gallery: Topps Aflac All-American autograph session

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Editor’s note: Look for more from the Aflac High School All-American High School Baseball Classic in the coming days on Beckett.com and for more be sure to check out upcoming issues of Beckett Sports Card Monthly and Beckett Baseball.

Beckett’s Edward Lewis went behind the scenes at Topps‘ autograph session where the stars of the Aflac High School All-American High School Baseball Classic signed cards which will be included in packs of Topps baseball cards once the players sign professional contracts and deals with the card company. In most cases that could be a year or two (or more) from now. Now that the memorabilia-side of things is taken care of in San Diego, the game is up next on Sunday at PETCO Park.

Among the stars was Sports Illustrated and Beckett Baseball coverboy Bryce Harper, but he was just one of the many who signed at the session. Take a look at this exclusive photo gallery after the jump …

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Behind the scenes: Bryce Harper at The Aflac High School All-American game

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Editor’s note: Look for more from the Aflac High School All-American High School Baseball Classic in the coming days on Beckett.com and for more be sure to check out upcoming issues of Beckett Sports Card Monthly and Beckett Baseball.

By Edward Lewis

SAN DIEGO – As 40 Aflac High School All-Americans scribbled their names onto more than 5,000 brand new Topps baseball cards, Chris Holmes, Topps’ Senior Baseball Brand Manager, was asked a question.

“How much do you think Bryce Harper’s card will go for?”

Holmes turned his head, flattened his lips, thought about it for a few seconds, and said, “I’ll say more than the others.”

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Upper Deck readies more Tiger Woods memorabilia pieces

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Upper Deck revealed to Beckett Media on Friday a pair of  Tiger Woods items to come from Upper Deck Authenticated in September — and indicated that there will be “a full line of PGA Championship products” to come if Woods wins this weekend’s tournament.

The most impressive of the two (above) is a 35X17 framed “Roar” sequence photo that will be printed on metallic paper and be limited to only 25 signed and inscribed copies. The item carries a suggested retail price of $1,399.99 and features a sequence of photos from Woods’ victory at this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The Three Masters Framed

The second item, a more solemn framed display, is titled “The Three Masters.” It’s a 35×15 framed piece that features facsimile signatures of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Woods together on the green at Augusta. It will be limited to just 500 copies and carry a $249.99 pricetag.

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.

Texas Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz is Topps' sixth Red Hot Rookie

09RHRK_SS_07

Topps announced its sixth Red Hot Rookie for 2009, and it’s Texas Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz.

Feliz has struck out 13 in six-plus innings since being called up to the Rangers. He has a 0-0 record and a 1.35 ERA.

Topps will announce the remainder of the Red Hot Rookies throughout the rest of the season. The redemption cards can be found one per Topps Series 2 hobby box and can be redeemed at www.topps.com/redemption.

The previous rookies in the program were:

1.      Fernando Martinez, Mets
2.      Gordon Beckham, White Sox (10 percent of cards autographed)
3.      Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
4.      Tommy Hanson, Braves
5.      Nolan Reimold, Orioles

Upper Deck signs Alexander Ovechkin to exclusive autograph deal

09BD Quad Jersey Auto Ovechkin

Upper Deck announced on Friday that it signed reigning NHL MVP Alexander Ovechkin to an exclusive autograph deal that will begin with the 2009-10 season.

The Washington Capitals star has won back-to-back league MVP awards the last two seasons, obviously making him one of the league’s in-demand autographs as well.

“Alexander has distinguished himself as a proven superstar in the NHL in just a few short years,” said Bernd Becker, Upper Deck’s Chief Operating Officer, in a news release. “The sky is the limit with a player of his caliber in terms of what his legacy will be and hockey fans realize that. To be able to deliver exclusive content of this international icon is a coup for Upper Deck and something our collectors can get excited about.”

Ovechkin also will appear on 2009-10 Upper Deck Hockey packaging when it arrives later this year.

Upper Deck is the NHL’s sole official trading card licensee.

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.

So Michael Vick is a Philadelphia Eagle …

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So Michael Vick is a Philadelphia Eagle now.

That means a few things and raises a few questions. Will he appear on football cards from companies that previously excluded him in their football card sets? How many protests will there be? How soon will he play a meaningful game and make a meaningful impact?

One question has been answered — and it’s “What kind of Vick Eagles memorabilia will there be?” As with any high-profile signing or trade (controversial or not), there are jerseys to be sold. And, actually, they already are for sale on NFL.com for $79.99 — and according to the sales pitch “Walking around wearing this Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick replica jersey by Reebok® lets everyone know you’re a hardcore fan.”

Uh, yeah.

But there’s no image available. Why? He hasn’t officially been assigned a uniform number.

But over in custom jersey land (on NFL team sites), one can order up a jersey with a No. 7 and “Vick”  as seen above if they need one right now and can’t wait until they officially arrive with an official number next month.

However, when searching the jersey section of the Eagles’ site, there was another ironic reminder of the controversy that will dog Vick for the rest of his career. And it will only cost a fan $34.99 — a fraction of the Vick jersey.

What is it? See after the jump.

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Preview Gallery: 2009-10 Panini Pen Pals autographs

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Panini America released several preview images of its Pen Pals insert cards, which feature on-card autographs of several top NBA rookies — sometimes together on the same card — this week.

The cards will be found in an upcoming 2009-10 Panini basketball product(s) to be released this fall. The autographs were signed at the recent NBA Rookie Photo Shoot.

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.

Bird of a Different Feather: Michael Vick Signs with Philadelphia

 

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Look, I’m not even going to get into whether or not Michael Vick is still public enemy No. 1 for his role in the dog-fighting scandal that many thought ruined his career.

I will say that I have an affinity for man’s best friend; in fact, I helped my mom and step-dad raise a backyard kennel full of Pekingnese when I was a kid. And if you can love those flat-face yappers, well, you’re a dog lover.

So while I’d certainly never defend Vick for the reprehensible actions that led to him spending the last two years in prison, the man has served his debt to society. He’s earned that coveted second chance.

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