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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Box Busters: 2009 Bowman Sterling Football

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Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler, Beckett’s less-than-sterling busters of football boxes, take a crack at 2009 Bowman Sterling Football, the season’s first high-end football product that’s loaded with bells and whistles.

Click here to watch and find out what they pull.

First Look: Kobe's Prestige Autographs

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Long before Tuesday’s headline-making announcement that Panini America had inked Kobe Bryant to an exclusive multi-year contract, the company had conducted its first signing with the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.

The results of that premiere session — all on-card autographs — will first be unveiled in next week’s release of 2009 Prestige Basketball, a product that, according to company spokesman Scott Prusha, will have zero redemptions.

Until then, here’s a sneak peek at some of the Kobe autographs you’ll find (and a few images of his first Panini memorabilia cards).

– Tracy Hackler

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First look: 2009 National Treasures football

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Panini America released this sneak preview image of a Stephen McGee jumbo patch autograph card from its forthcoming Playoff National Treasures football card set.

No word on when that highly anticipated set will arrive.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Panini basketball launch includes hobby shop party packs

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Among the promotions that Panini America has planned for its NBA launch that coincides with 2009 Prestige Basketball are party packs that are set to go into collectors hands beginning on Oct. 7.

All hobby shops that pre-order the product will receive a selection of posters, Panini hats, t-shirts, swag bags, foam mini basketballs and promo cards.

The cards are Hardcourt Heroes promo cards featuring No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies rookie Hasheem Thabeet.

Could more promotions be in the works after Tuesday’s big news? We’ll just have to wait and see …

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.


Upper Deck promises free baseball cards if Chicago lands 2016 Summer Olympics

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Earlier this year, Upper Deck included the above card in its 2009 Baseball set as one of nine Historic Firsts Predictors insert cards.

And if the prediction comes true and the International Olympic Committee selects Chicago as the host city for the 2016 Summer Games on Friday, Upper Deck will be coughing up some cardboard.

As in a free pack of baseball cards to fans across the country.

Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo are in the running for the Games.

Details will be announced on the company’s website, UpperDeck.com, if Chicago wins.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Preview gallery: 2009 SP Authentic baseball cards

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Upper Deck‘s 2009 SP Authentic baseball card set is primed for release next week, so we’ve decided to bring you back up to speed on what the product includes. (See previous images and info right here.)

Each 24-pack box will include 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.

Oh, and also among the inclusions will be a 1993 SP Derek Jeter autographed buyback Rookie Card limited to just 93 copies.

See more images from the set after the jump.

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Upper Deck is bringing Exquisite Collection to baseball for 2010

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Although its plans have not yet been officially unveiled, Upper Deck is bringing its Exquisite Collection line of high-end cards to its 2010 baseball lineup.

The super-premium product revolutionized basketball cards in recent years but never was a full standalone product for baseball under that name. Instead, Exquisite cards were inserts in 2006 and then the brand morphed into Exquisite Collection Rookie Signatures in 2007.

In 2010, Exquisite Collection will be a component in each and every baseball set from the company, which will produce cards licensed by the MLB Players Association, but not Major League Baseball.

Look for more on Upper Deck’s 2010 plans right here very soon.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

First look: 2010 Topps baseball cards

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Topps unveiled its 2010 baseball design on Wednesday… soak it up.

It’s a design slightly reminiscent of the company’s 2002 Post cards, but with more photo bleed space at the bottom and what looks to be a slightly more prominent team logo and foil stamping.

Look for additional information on the first officially licensed baseball product of 2010 very, very soon.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

The mystery of Nick Swisher's 2009 Bowman baseball card

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Looking back at the history of Topps baseball cards, it’s always interesting to see the oddities that can be found from decades of sets.

You know, the players whose cards had the same photo for a couple straight years or unusual things like the 1985 Topps card of Gary Pettis which actually features his brother.

There are countless examples of these types of cards through the years — for all companies  (see Billy Ripken and his 1989 Fleer infamy) — which reaffirms that producing sports cards isn’t all mylar and bubble gum.

It’s hard work. (And the rigorous process of league approvals? We’ll leave that for another day.)

Sometimes things happen in the production process that provide collectors with some unusual cards.  Sometimes, it’s a mistake. Sometimes, it’s a requested change or a last-minute adjustment.

And sometimes it’s a mystery.

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Grey Flannel and Steiner Sports team up

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Grey Flannel Auctions and Steiner Sports announced on Wednesday that the companies have established a marketing relationship that will mean that items from Steiner’s exclusive deal with the New York Yankees will get added attention on the auction block.

steinerThe Steiner portion of Grey Flannel’s upcoming sale will include game-used jerseys of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez as well autographed items available only via Steiner.

“Grey Flannel Auctions and Steiner Sports are joining forces to cross-promote our respective sales taking place in early December,” said Richard E. Russek, Grey Flannel’s president, in a release. “In addition, Grey Flannel’s December sale, which will feature rare, game-used jerseys and memorabilia, will also include a special selection of approximately 200 tremendous lots from Steiner Sports. Wherever we go to publicize our sale, including shows, malls and other events, we’ll be bringing along choice highlights from the Steiner selection.”
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Topps' upcoming National Chicle set isn't just about the players… it's also about the artists

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The forthcoming Topps National Chicle football card set is a nod to one of football’s most famed sets from the 1930s but it’s also one that has a modern-day nod as well.

Of the last few years, artists have had a growing influence on trading cards — from non-sports sets comprised solely of comic book art to Sketch Cards that have appeared in countless non-sports sets as well as more and more sports sets.

It’s a trend that seems to be growing in acceptance even though it’s really been there since the early days of Topps and the even earlier days of trading cards. It’s a trend that seems to indicate that collectors realize that it’s not all about a photograph and some certain design formula.

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Just in case you wanted to hear more from Kobe Bryant on his new Panini deal…

Kobe Bryant‘s signing with Panini America on Tuesday wasn’t without some fanfare as the deal was discussed on national television with CNBC’s Darren Rovell.

If the video found here just isn’t in-depth enough for you, there’s a little bit more that can be found below. A few words from Bryant himself to collectors…

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Preview gallery: 2009 Topps National Chicle football cards

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Topps released a batch of preview images for its 2009 National Chicle football card set on Wednesday.

While no additional set details have been announced for the set scheduled to arrive this fall, you can check the the cards out after the jump.

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Strong to the Finnish: Upper Deck Hockey in Europe

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In an effort to fuel the collecting passions of the NHL’s international following, Upper Deck recently made hockey and hobby history by producing its first-ever packs of Finnish- and Swedish-language Upper Deck Victory packs.

The cards were produced to take advantage of this week’s 2009-10 regular-season puck-droppers between the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues in Stockholm, Sweden, and between the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland. The cards will be on sale both at those games and through off-site retailers in those respective markets.

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World-Premiere Box Busters: 2009 Prestige Basketball

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Keith Hower and Tracy Hackler make hobby history by busting the first box of Panini America’s maiden basketball release, 2009 Prestige, due out Oct. 7.

What did they pull? Click here to watch the video and find out.

New UFC Gallery Includes Never-Before-Seen Lyoto Machida, Royce Gracie Gems

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Last week Beckett Media had the distinct privilege of busting the first two boxes of 2009 Topps UFC — one was a world premiere Box Busters video, the other led to a gawk-worthy gallery of the product’s first live images.

This week, in honor of the product finally going live (it should start hitting shops and setting internet auctions ablaze on Wednesday), we thought we’d showcase some more awe-inspiring imagery from Topps’ second UFC-licensed product, including many images that are being seen here for the first time.

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Panini Aims to Keep Kobe On-Card

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In an interview late Tuesday afternoon, Panini America Marketing Director Scott Prusha discussed his company’s headline-making exclusive agreement with NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, driving home a desire to have Kobe sign only on-card autographs for the basketball hobby.

“It is our sincere hope that Kobe does not sign any stickers for our hobby audience,” Prusha said late Tuesday afternoon from an airport in Los Angeles. “Touching the card, feeling the card, actually signing the card, those things are extremely important to Kobe. It’s going to take a lot of effort and coordination but that’s something he wants to do.”

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Heavy Anticipation: Brock Lesnar's First Autograph Card

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The fact that 2009 Topps UFC shipped to distributors last week likely means the collecting world is now mere hours away from the history-making introduction of Brock Lesnar’s first certified autograph trading cards.

As of Tuesday afternoon, none had made their way to the secondary market.

Much has been made about the utter lack of Lesnar autographs, and there’s been a growing buzz around their debut ever since Topps first announced that it had secured the UFC heavyweight champion for the second installment of its UFC franchise.

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Do you know Masanori Murakami's story?

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Although he shares his 1965 Topps Rookie Card (No. 282) with Dick Estelle, there’s more of a story behind Masanori Murakami than just another card in another baseball card set.

Long-time collectors may remember him from a 2002 Topps insert card set, but his place in hobby history is an interesting and largely unknown one even though he made baseball history 45 years ago this month. (Though it’s certainly known by some as that’s a $40 Rookie Card.)

Read all about this baseball pioneer right here.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Ichiro's hit record commemorated on baseball bats

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Ichiro Suzuki‘s historic run of nine consecutive 200-hit seasons reached earlier this month is being commemorated in a limited edition bat.

Produced by Hampster Direct, there will be 5,000 numbered bats made with the graphic shown above wrapped around the barrel. (Well, actually 4,999 as Ichiro received the first one.)

The bats are $129.95 and can be ordered at bigtimebats.com.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.