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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Detroit Free Press promotes newspaper sales with baseball cards


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)


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 …


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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Box Busters: 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom baseball cards


Join Beckett Baseball‘s Brian Fleischer and Chris Olds as they bust a box of 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom baseball cards about a week before its official release on Sept. 23 in this episode of Box Busters.

Each 20-pack hobby box contains three Relic cards — one autographed — as well as some other interesting inserts.

What will they find? Watch and see by clicking here.

Card gallery: 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom baseball cards


We’ve busted the first boxes of Topps’ 2009 Ticket to Stardom baseball cards for a forthcoming episode of Box Busters but wanted to make sure collectors got their fix while waiting for the video.

Ticket is a new product which utilizes ticket stubs as part of its Relic array. There are three Relic cards per 20-pack hobby box, one autographed, and each pack includes 12 cards. (These boxes are dense and heavy.)

Here’s a look at just some of what one box yielded…

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First look: 2009 Topps Sterling baseball cards


Topps released basic preview information and images for its 2009 Topps Sterling baseball product on Thursday.

The hobby-exclusive product, which is scheduled to arrive in early January, will include new “Theme Packs” this year as well as two hits per box — a Autographed Relic or Relic card numbered to 10 or fewer copies and one Relic card numbered to 25.

The base set consists of 130 cards of legends from the past and stars from today. Among the autographed Relics cards is a deep checklist of Sterling Chronicles Autographs (three-piece, four-piece and five-piece versions, too),  Sterling Moments Autographs, Sterling Season Autographs, Sterling Pairs Autographs, Jumbo Swatch Autographs, Sterling Cut Signatures and Sterling Bat Barrel Autographs.

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Topps Releases Info on 2009 UFC 'Fighter Issue' Cards


Just days before the once-delayed ship date of Topps’ heavily anticipated 2009 Topps UFC, the company on Wednesday released information regarding the existence of “Fighter Issue” personal-use versions of the product’s Ultimate Fighter 9 and 10 certified autograph cards.

Consider it a preemptive strike thrown in an effort to thwart potential confusion and counterfeits.

All in-product copies of the TUF cards will be signed on-card. But just as it does at other made-for-card events such as the NFL Players Rookie Premiere and the Aflac High School All-American Baseball Classic, Topps also provided the fighters who participated in the TUF 9 and 10 photo shoots with an undisclosed number of specially marked non-autographed versions.

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Upper Deck’s Richard McWilliam: 'We’ll Continue to Produce Cards Worth Collecting'

Richard McWilliam (seated, left) interacts with collectors at a recent Upper Deck Diamond Club event.

Richard McWilliam (seated, left) interacts with collectors at a recent Upper Deck Diamond Club event.

In a  topsy-turvy year during which Upper Deck has lost its NBA and MLB Properties licenses and gained an exclusive with the CLC, all while continuing to cope with a sluggish economy, it’s understandable that company CEO Richard McWilliam would have a lot on his mind.

In an exclusive interview appearing in the November issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, McWilliam addresses, among other things, his company’s first 20 years, its plans for baseball, basketball (and even golf), the NHL exclusive and those pesky redemption cards.

You can get the complete interview next month in BSCM. For now, here’s a sneak peek:

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Little League Champs Get Royal Treatment from Upper Deck

Jensen Peterson Poses

The Park View All-Stars from Chula Vista, Calif., recently discovered that winning the Little League World Series has its advantages — especially when you call Upper Deck a neighbor.

The team — Luke Ramirez, Bradley Roberto, Oscar R. Castro, Jensen Peterson, Markus Melin, Isaiah Armenta, Nick Conlin, Andy Rios, Seth Godfrey, Bulla Graft, Daniel Porras Jr., Kiko Garcia and Oscar Castro — visited UD’s Carlsbad headquarters last Thursday to participate in a photo shoot that resulted in all 12 players, head coach Ric Ramirez and team manager Oscar Castro each receivng 250 of their own special trading cards.

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Big League Blast promotion a hit with dealers


Major League Baseball‘s Big League Blast promotion recently wrapped up with some positive comments from dealers around the country.

The promotion, which gave collectors the chance to win everything from baseball jerseys and other memorabilia, aimed to generate interest and have some added fun at sports card shops.

Here’s a selection of comments from dealers …

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Press Pass focuses on family in 2009 Legends racing set


Anyone who has followed auto racing for any amount of time knows that there are an awful lot of family ties on and around the track.

After all, it takes plenty of time for practice and access to cars — and who has that more often than professional race-car drivers?

Press Pass knows this and is focusing on families in its forthcoming 2009 Press Pass Legends set, which will include cards of some of auto racing’s most famous families.

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Upper Deck Authenticated unveils Shepard Fairey's Michael Jordan artwork

Jordan UNC-50

Upper Deck Authenticated unveiled on Tuesday three new Michael Jordan prints commissioned by Obama “Hope” artist Shepard Fairey.

The series of prints featuring the new Hall of Famer focuses on key accomplishments from Jordan’s career — his NCAA championship with the North Carolina, his six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and and his Hall of Fame induction.
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Game-worn Jim Brown Syracuse helmet set to hit auction block


The Syracuse University football helmet worn by Hall of Famer Jim Brown as a senior in 1956 hits the auction block this fall and is expected to fetch $50,000 or more.

The helmet originally belonged to longtime Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder and will be sold in Game Used Universe‘s Fall 2009 Auction.

“The helmet is easily the most important/significant game-worn college football piece to have ever surfaced, to have ever been made available at auction,” said GUU’s Robert Harvell. “It’s also quite possibly the most important/significant game-worn football helmet to have ever surfaced — no other Jim Brown helmets, college or pro, have ever been offered at auction before.”

Schwartzwalder passed the helmet along as a gift to a close friend and its authenticity has been verified by Brown and included in the auction are documents also backing up the piece.

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Panini America signs exclusive deal with Basketball Hall of Fame


This just in Tuesday evening…

ARLINGTON, Texas – Panini America Inc. is thrilled to announce an exclusive, multi-year marketing and licensing agreement with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Panini is already the exclusive trading-card licensee for the NBA and this new relationship with the Hall of Fame expands its global basketball presence.

“We’re excited to have the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame join the Panini family,” Panini America CEO Michael Eisenstein said. “This partnership is yet another building block within Panini’s strategy to encompass all aspects of basketball. It’s an honor to have this opportunity.”

The timing of this partnership coincides with the historic induction of the 50th anniversary Hall of Fame Class of 2009, featuring Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Jerry Sloan, John Stockton and C. Vivian Stringer. Panini representatives will attend this weekend’s events in Springfield, Mass., including Friday’s press conference.

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Box Busters: 2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions baseball cards


Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they open boxes of 2009 Goodwin Champions baseball cards for this episode of Box Busters.

Goodwin arrives in hobby shops today.

What will they find in their boxes?

Check it out by clicking here

Press Pass announces KISS Tour Edition box set


Press Pass revealed on Tuesday its plans for a $10 box set of KISS cards to coincide with the release of the legendary band’s new album, Sonic Boom, which arrives exclusively in Walmart stores on Oct. 6.

KISS Tour Edition is a 33-card set that includes three collectible boxes and mini-posters and includes cards with images and information from 35 years of KISS tours.

See more from the set after the jump.

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McFarlane Toys to release limited Kurt Warner figure


McFarlane Toys announced on Friday that it will create a limited edition SportsPicks figure of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner.

The toy, which will arrive next month, will only be available at the McFarlane store in Glendale, Ariz., and on the company’s website for pre-registered users. It will arrive around the same time as NFL Series 21, which also includes Peyton Manning, Jason WittenAaron RodgersJay Cutler, Thomas Jones (with a New York Titans chase figure), Drew Brees and Joe Flacco.

It’s Warner’s first Cardinals figure and it will be limited to only 2,500 pieces.

For more information and additional images of the toy, click 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.

Preview: 2009-10 Upper Deck SPx Hockey cards


Upper Deck has released preview images and basic product information for its 2009-10 SPx hockey set which will arrive later this year.

Each 18-pack hobby box will include two Rookie Jersey Cards — one of which will come autographed — as well as one Winning Materials and one Winning Combos card and three SPx Rookies or SPxcitement cards.

Each 14-box case will include one Autographed Rookie Jersey card (numbered to 499), one Shadowbox card, one signed Flashback Fabrics, card, two Flashback Fabrics cards, two Winning Trios Jersey cards and as many as four Spectrum parallel cards.

See more of the cards after the jump.

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