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Monthly Archives: September 2009

First look: 2009-10 Upper Deck SP Game-Used hockey cards

SPGU6

Upper Deck has released the basic product breakdown and preview images for its 2009-10 SP Game-used Hockey set, which will arrive early next year.

Each six-pack box will contain six memorabilia or signature cards (0ne per pack) as well as  one autographed card and one memorabilia card — each numbered to 100 copies or less. Every box also will include two Rookie Cards and a parallel card.

Every 12-box case will include two signed manufactured patches from the Between Letter Marks, Number Marks and the Marks of a Nation sets.

See more images from the set after the jump.

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Topps releases WWE sketch card preview images

Lawler sketch 2[3]

One of the items in Topps‘ forthcoming 2009 World Wrestling Entertainment card set are sketch cards created by the WWE stars themselves.

Topps released this sneak peek of three images to Beckett Media on Thursday — artwork that will be found in packs by Jerry “The King” Lawler, a rather accomplished artist (a portrait of WWE star Dave Bautista, aka Batista), the first second-generation WWE Diva Nattie Neidhart (aka Natalya) and the WWE’s version of comic relief, Anthony Carelli, aka Santino Marella (a self-portrait).

See more on the product here and here. Insertion ratios for the cards have not yet been announced.

See all of the preview images after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2009 Topps UFC

UFCBoxBusters

The formidable Beckett MMA team of Bryan Hornbeck and Tracy Hackler bust an extremely early, punch-packing box of 2009 Topps UFC. Let’s go to the tape . . .

What makes the upcoming Topps WWE set unique?

WWEcenamat1

It’s been nearly a year since Topps released its last World Wrestling Entertainment card set and once this newest product arrives in October it will be one of the most unique WWE sets that Topps has released.

Why?

2005bulldogWell, it’s certainly not the inclusion of WWE Legends, which Topps has worked into its sets every year since its first release in 2005 — Topps Heritage –  and it’s not the basic checklist, which includes what one would expect from a wrestling set, though this one is improved with its focus on use of images from WrestleMania 25.

Instead, there are four moves that may make this set stand out to more non-wrestling collectors and those who buy looking for the thrill of a slightly bigger-ticket card.

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Thursday is Exquisite Pack-out Day and we've got a sneak peek at the six biggest cards

MJTW 1-3

Thursday marks a national holiday of sorts if you’re a high-end card collector as Upper Deck‘s recently announced 2009-10 Exquisite Basketball set will be packed out at the company’s printing facility.

Well, really, it’s more like a three-day holiday weekend that begins tomorrow as it will take that many days for the company to hand-package its final Exquisite set — which is already commanding top dollar just days after its unveiling and just days before its arrival next week.

Each five-card pack will be filled by hand and Upper Deck will take you there via its Facebook page found here. (We’ll post a few pics here, too, from throughout the “weekend.”)

But you don’t have to wait to see six of the best possible finds in the product as we have exclusive images of the entire runs of Tiger Woods-Michael Jordan autographs and LeBron James-Tiger Woods autographs — three cards apiece — right here.

It goes without saying the significance of these cards, which transcend just basketball as they are signed by three of the biggest-name athletes in the world.

What will they command? We’ll have to wait and see.

For now, though, they can all be seen after the jump.

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First look: 2009 Bowman Sterling baseball cards

sterlingYU

Topps released the basic product information and preview images for its 2009 Bowman Sterling baseball card set on Wednesday.

Every five-card pack (mini box) will include two autograph cards, one Relic, one rookie and one prospect when it arrives in late December.

Every six-pack box will include a total of six World Baseball Classic Relics, one WBC Relic box-topper (a Blue Refractor version) and one dual autograph card in addition to four rookie autographs and eight prospect autographs.

More to come — with a complete tentative checklist and images — after the jump.

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THREE WAYS TO WIN TNA wrestling autographs & more

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We know there are a lot of dedicated wrestling fans out there and we want to draw them into collecting and Beckett Media.

And here’s how we’re going to do it… with three ways to win TNA autographs & more for free as a reward to our readers.

See it all after the jump.

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First-Look Gallery: 2009 Topps UFC

UFC15

At long last, the highly anticipated, twice-delayed 2009 Topps UFC product shipped to retailers on Monday packing several instantly noticeable improvements from February’s wildly successful debut release, 2009 Topps UFC Round 1.

We were lucky enough to get our four-ounce-gloved hands on an early box, the key results of which you’ll find after the jump.

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Ever wonder what a player's autograph contract looks like?

urlacherAU

CNBC’s Darren Rovell takes us inside the particulars of a professional athlete’s autograph contract.

Why?

Because Brian Urlacher‘s deal with Dreams Inc. is being terminated after his season-ending injury.

Makes some sense as, after all, the demand for his memorabilia — and what’s not a very impressive autograph — won’t be on the rise.

For example, did you know that Urlacher gets $275,000 a year and must sign a minimum of $225,000 in merchandise per year and that he also gets $75 per signature on any item and an additional $15 per inscription?

And, if — a big if — the Bears won the Super Bowl, his price per autograph rose to $100 per signature?

Get all the details 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.

First look: 2009 Panini Threads basketball

Threads_Common_James

Panini America unveiled its next basketball card product of the year on Tuesday — Panini Threads — which will arrive in mid-December.

Each 24-pack box (suggested retail price $4 per pack) will include two autographs — one of those a Rookie Class letter patch — and two memorabilia cards. Also inside each box will be 18 insert cards, three of which will be serial-numbered.

Each 12-box case will include an autograph from Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-iabbar, John Havlicek, Isiah Thomas or No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin.

Among the highlights are 15 Century Legends autographs, 50-card Team Threads Home and Away diecut jersey card sets and a 10-card ABA Legends autograph insert set.

See a full range of images after the jump.

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Detroit Free Press promotes newspaper sales with baseball cards

tigers1

The Detroit Free Press knows the allure of baseball cards.

tigers2The newspaper is promoting its single-copy sales on non-home-delivery days with an extra incentive — a Detroit Tigers baseball card. (That’s newspaper-speak for “found in the a copy you’d find in a newspaper box in and around Detroit.”)

It’s a project that’s been done by “The Freep” in the past — an oversized 5×7 (or so) set with a relatively deep checklist was produced during the club’s 2006 season saw them advance all the way to the World Series (but lose to the Cardinals, 4-1).

Sorry, Leyland. It must have been the baseball cards.

It’s definitely a promotion that will resonate with fans of the AL Central-leading club — and it’s a fun project for newspaper designer Ryan Ford, one of the guys who helps bring the news to the masses every day.

“We’ve also done Michigan State basketball cards, Pistons cards and Wings cards,” Ford said, “but people really seem to love the Tigers cards to the point that I still see them hung up around town at desks and in bars.”
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First look: 2009 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball (and more)

triplelogoman

Upper Deck released preview images and basic product information on Monday for its finale in basketball cards — 2009-10 Exquisite Basketball.

The product is set to arrive next week — on Sept. 30 — and its production was kept a secret even at Upper Deck, according to Basketball Brand Manager Brandon Miller.

Exquisite has been perhaps the highest of the high-end products for any sport the last few years and Upper Deck promises this to be the most limited version of Exquisite Collection yet.

The standard set consists of 42 regular cards, 32 Exquisite Rookie Auto Cards and 18 Exquisite Rookie Auto Patch Flashback cards.

What does that mean? Some of the top stars in all of the sports world are coming to Exquisite.

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And the Paul Lempa painting card winners are …

Ted_williams

For Beckett Baseball No. 45, we had baseball artist Paul Lempa produce four baseball card-sized paintings of some memorable baseball cards to give away to our lucky readers.

And a fifth reader got to select a custom-painted card for the New Jersey-based artist to create.

All they had to do was tell us who their favorite sports artist is — and the winners were selected based on what they wrote.

Four winners will receive at random one of the cards shown after the jump, which are paintings of Ted Williams’ 1948-49 Leaf card, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson‘s 1915 Cracker Jack, Lou Gehrig‘s 1933 Goudey and Willie Mays‘ 1952 Bowman cards.

Lempa was profiled in a past issue of Beckett Baseball and has produced Sketch Cards for several Topps products in the last year or so. He also has signed on for Topps’ upcoming National Chicle football card set.

These intricately designed paintings take hours to complete and the scans do them no justice, but they’ll be joining the collections of a few lucky collectors.

And the winners are …

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Monday Morning Collector: NFL Week 2

MMC2manningham

Every Monday morning throughout the NFL season, we’ll select our rookie, veteran and breakout player of the week and provide a run down on why collectors should take notice. Here are our selections for NFL Week 2.

By Dan Hitt

Breakout Player of the Week:
Mario Manningham, WR, Giants
(10 catches, 150 yards receiving, 1 touchdown)

Just two games into the season Manningham has far surpassed his 2008 rookie-year totals for catches, yardage and touchdowns. The Giants needed a receiver to step up and replace Plaxico Burress as Eli Manning’s go-to guy and Manningham appears to be the answer. He torched the Cowboys on the road Sunday night with 10 catches for 150 yards with a number of those coming on crucial third-down conversions. Collectors largely ignored Manningham’s 2008 Rookie Cards after it became apparent that he wasn’t ready. But they are quickly jumping on-board the bandwagon after this hot start, so don’t expect to pick off tons of cheap singles.

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First Look: 2009 eTopps Football Design

eToppsBrees

Topps officials on Friday provided followers of the company’s Tweets with a sneak peek of the 2009 eTopps Football design. eTopps’ 2009 football season kicks off Monday.

UFC's Dana White, Rich Franklin Discuss 'Surreal' Trading Cards

DanaWhite

Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White has no idea what his best Topps trading card is worth. When he’s informed that it’s valued at $4, the gregarious master-marketer and promoter nonpareil responds with a question of his own.

“Is that good?” he quips rhetorically.

Absolutely it is.

It’s good when you consider that as recently as seven months ago the combined value of his zero cards was zero dollars.

It’s good in the sense that Topps, the granddaddy of its industry, thinks enough of your organization to ante up for a multiyear contract to become your exclusive manufacturer, and then proceeds to deliver one of the most successful sports card products in years.

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Box Busters: 2009 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia football cards

BBabsolute

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Dan Hitt as they bust boxes of 2009 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia football cards in this episode of Box Busters.

Absolute arrives next week, but what will they find in their boxes?

What can you win?

Watch and see by clicking here.

MLB reaches settlement in Donruss case

MLBMajor League Baseball Properties‘ suit against Donruss filed earlier this year concerning unauthorized use of MLB logos, trade dress and player likenesses has been settled out of court.

The agreement permanently prevents any company owned in part or full by former Donruss owner Ann Powell from creating any trading cards of MLB or MiLB players or producing any other product featuring those players.

Powell sold Donruss to The Panini Group in March.  The company’s Arlington, Texas, facility is now the home to Panini America, which is producing its new product lines as the exclusive manufacturer of NBA trading cards this fall as well as producing NFL trading cards.

According to a five-page document filed in a U.S. District Court, “Donruss and any of its subsidiaries or commonly owned entities and any entities or businesses that in the future may be owned in whole or substantially in part or directly controlled by Ann Powell (collectively, the ‘Donruss Entities’), are hereby permanently enjoined from manufacturing, selling, distributing advertising or promoting any items depicting Major League Baseball players or Minor League Baseball players in uniform, or with MLB marks, MLB team uniform trade dress Minor League Baseball marks or any component…”

The “Donruss Entities,” according to the documents, said that all merchandise and related materials named in the lawsuit has been sold or disposed of.

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 America lands The Big O for Prestige Old School autographs

TheBIgO

Panini America has been slowly unveiling its Old School autographs for its forthcoming Prestige basketball set and one of its latest announcements isn’t an easy autograph.

The Big O, Oscar Robertson.

The Hall of Famer — and one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players — isn’t an easy autograph as he’s signed for just 52 certified autograph cards in the past, according to the Beckett database.

A majority of those cards has come since 2007, so his signatures aren’t as rare as they had been, but with so few cards signed overall there should continue to be interest in his items. Four of his first five autographed cards from 1999 to 2002 typically sell for more than $100.

But there’s a relative bonus with the Old School cards as well — they’re all signed on the cards, not stickers.

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First look: 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball cards

BowmanDP&PBowmanChromeAutoProspectHobgood

Topps revealed basic product information and preview images for its 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball card set on Thursday.

Once again the set will include Bowman and Bowman Chrome cards and will be packing one autographed Chrome prospect card per 24-pack hobby box.

Also touted by Topps are 75 exclusive prospects and World Baseball Classic players.

Scheduled for an early December release, the set appears to be a bit smaller than past releases based on its preliminary checklist and, alas, does not include No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.

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.

See more images and the full checklists after the jump.

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