Monthly Archives: October 2009

Press Pass announces NASCAR Hall of Fame program


Press Pass revealed on Wednesday that it is planning a comprehensive 100-card set that will focus on historic NASCAR figures and events as part of a continuity program found in eight of the company’s 2010 racing products.

The first 10 cards will appear in Press Pass 2010, which is scheduled to arrive in December. Among those luminaries will be the five initial inductees into the new NASCAR Hall of Fame — Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr. and Junior Johnson.

The cards will be found in Element, Eclipse, Premium, Stealth, Press Pass Series 2, VIP and Main Event.

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

Box Busters: 2009 Limited Football


A surprisingly hot rookie autograph and a low-numbered autograph mem card from one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the game.

To see what else the Beckett team pulled from two boxes of 2009 Limited Football, click here.

A hobby rarity lands on eBay — a 1998 Topps Ric Flair autograph


Update: The card sold for $1,175 after 17 bids in the auction, which ended on Sunday (Oct. 25).

A rare and impressive autographed professional wrestling card has hit the auction block and bidding is pushing $450 even though it’s got some rough corners and a few slight creases.

How rare? It’s not supposed to exist.

How impressive? Well, the 1998 Topps WCW/nWo Autograph card shows — and is reportedly signed by — the 16-time world champion “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

retailflairThe WWE Hall of Famer retired from in-ring competition following a loss at WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando, Fla., in 2008 and had never appeared on a certified autograph card until earlier this year when Panini America landed him for its Americana series. (Unsigned version of the card at right.)

Had this card been widely issued more than a decade earlier, it obviously would have been highly sought after.

This card, which is on eBay from a Tampa, Fla.-based dealer, has reached $449 and change with more than four days remaining in the auction.

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Box Busters Preview: 2009 Limited Football


We received two hot-off-the-presses boxes of 2009 Limited Football on Tuesday afternoon and immediately took them to the Box Busters studio for filming.

Although preliminary product information from Panini America had the product delivering five cards and two hits per $100 pack, collectors will be happy to know that each pack of Limited delivers seven cards and three hits — at least based on the results of these two early rips.

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Topps amps up Sterling Baseball


Topps announced the following upgrades to its forthcoming Sterling Baseball set on Tuesday, which did not include a price change:

— Every pack now includes an autographed Relic or Relic card numbered to 10 or less (as always) plus an additional Relic #’d to 25.  Packs will still include three sequentially numbered base cards and a Mystery Pack featuring either a cut signature or #’d parallel card.

— Every 10-pack case now guarantees a Cut Signature card.

— All packs are now themed, rather than being player-based. Themes include “Triple Crown Winners”, “Sterling Americana”, “Charter Hall of Fame Members” and so on.

Sterling is set to arrive in late December with each 10-pack case including five autographed cardsnumbered to 10 or less, five Relic Cards numbered to 10 or less, 10 Relic Cards numbered to 25, one cut signature and one 1/1.

First Look: 2009-10 Playoff Contenders Basketball


Panini America on Tuesday morning released preliminary details on 2009-10 Playoff Contenders Basketball, an autographed-Rookie Card-rich product due out exactly three months from today.

Playoff Contenders has long been one of the most sought after and influential football card products on the market and company officials look to be using a tried and true formula to ensure the product’s success as a rookie on the hardwood.

Every 24-pack box of Contenders will deliver four autographs, one Rookie of the Year Contender and one Legendary Contender insert card. In addition, the average 12-box case will deliver one autograph from either new spokesman Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Oscar Robertson.

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First look: 2010 Topps Baseball cards


Topps released the basic product information and preview images for its 2010 Baseball set on Tuesday, which might be a more highly anticipated release than in past years as it enters its exclusive agreement with Major League Baseball as its lone fully licensed baseball card manufacturer.

Scheduled to arrive in the last week of January, Series 1 includes  a 330-card base set and will include one autograph or Relic card in every 36-pack hobby box or one autograph and two Relics per 10-pack HTA jumbo box.

As with past standard Topps sets, there are Silk, Platinum, Black and Gold parallels. New inserts for 2010 include The Cards Your Mother Threw Out – a 58-card set — The History of the Game (landmark moments such as Babe Ruth‘s sale to the Yankees or Jackie Robinson‘s debut, etc.), Tales of the Game (the 1969 Mets, the creation of the DH, etc.), Hall of Fame buybacks, Past and Present and When They Were Young.

The Peak Performance set consists of inserts, autographs, autographed Relics, Jumbo relics and standard Relics, while the product also includes a pair of continuity inserts — MLB Exclusive Patch Cards (manufactured Logoman patch cards) and Turkey Red.

Also returning are Sketch Cards, ToppsTown, Cut Signatures and World Champions autographs and Relics — team obviously still TBD.

New among the Relic lineup are Hat Logo cards, In the Name cards, Past and Present Relics and a 1961 Mickey Mantle insert.

Also noteworthy is a new Rookie Card logo, which incorporates the MLB logo, as well as a prominently displayed logo noting Topps’ status as an exclusive licensee.

See more images after the jump.

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Topps to Produce Tito Ortiz's First Certified Autographs


From the strange but true sports collectibles department: Tito Ortiz, one of the most popular and influential figures in the history of mixed martial arts, has just four trading cards — all from last February’s 2009 Topps UFC Round 1 product — and zero certified autographs.

But both of those totals are scheduled to change in a big way early next year when Topps releases its third stand-alone UFC product. The company on Monday tweeted a picture of the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” signing several stickers — in red ink, no less — that will adorn what are certain to be some of the most coveted cards in Topps’ brief UFC history.

Ortiz, the former light heavyweight champion whose on-again, off-again relationship with UFC president Dana White is on again, is scheduled to fight the popular Forrest Griffin at UFC 106 on Nov. 21.

No other details on Topps’ forthcoming third UFC product have been released. Stay tuned to for updates to this story.

— Tracy Hackler

Vernon Wells hosts sports stars for charity event


Toronto Blue Jays star Vernon Wells is expecting a large number of sports stars at The Vernon Wells Perfect 10 Foundation‘s inaugural gala and golf tournament next month in the Dallas area.

And he wants you to be there, too.

The event, which is set for Nov. 1-2 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas, Texas, and will raise money to support and protect homeless children in North Texas and to contribute to non-profit organizations for children.  On the event’s schedule are a silent auction as well as a live auction of sports memorabilia. Find more on the auctions by clicking here and here.

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Finally . . . The Exquisite Winners are Revealed


After much consternation, the four winners from last month’s 2008-09 Exquisite Collection Basketball Box Busters episode have been pulled. Are you one of the lucky ones? Watch the video to find out.

Thanks to the more than 13,000 folks who watched that video and to the more than 100 folks who participated in the contest. And a special thanks to Upper Deck‘s Chris Carlin and Thomas Fish from Blowout Cards for helping deliver additional prizes to loyal Beckett visitors.

Oh, and if you didn’t win this time, don’t fret. Watch the video till the end to see how you can win a box of 2009-10 Exquisite Collection Basketball.

— Tracy Hackler

Preview Gallery: 2010 Topps baseball cards


Topps released the following images of cards that will be found in its 2010 Baseball set on Monday in advance of the full preview package.

Returning will be Turkey Red inserts, manufactured patches, jumbo patches and cut autographs. New will be a Logoman continuity program — one of those cards is seen above.

See them all after the jump — and see more on 2010 Topps very, very soon.

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Topps GM Warren Friss ‘Very Excited' About MLB Exclusive


In 15 years aboard the exhilarating roller coaster ride that is the sports card industry, Topps General Manager Warren Friss has experienced his share of thrills, chills and spills.

But as a Topps executive, Friss has never known a marketplace with only one fully licensed baseball card manufacturer. That will change in a big way in 2010 when, for the first time in almost 30 years, Topps returns to its roots as the exclusive baseball card provider of Major League Baseball.

 Understandably, Friss is excited about the opportunities that accompany Topps’ exclusive agreement with MLB Properties. But spend a little time with him and you discover that he’s excited about a lot more than just that.

There’s the opportunity to get kids back . . . and to clean up the retail channel . . . and Topps’ new long-term exclusive extension with the WWE . . . and the exclusive with the UFC . . . and potentially getting back into hockey . . . and buying back a million baseball cards for a unique promotion surrounding 2010 Topps Baseball and . . .

In an exclusive interview that will appear in the December issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Friss tirelessly and passionately addresses a wide array of topics, from working with Michael Eisner to collecting the Mets.

You can check out the complete interview next month in BSCM. You can check out a sneak peek here:

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Upper Deck announces Goodwin Champions short-prints


Upper Deck released the following short-print information on Friday for its recently released Goodwin Champions baseball card set.

The basics are …

Cards 151-190: Short Prints (1:2 hobby packs);

Cards 191-210: Super Short Prints (2:1 hobby boxes on average)

Cards 211-252: Mini High-Series Exclusives (42 of the 192 cards that create the mini card set).

And there’s more …

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Upper Deck announces three baseball short-prints

Jeter Hit King

Upper Deck announced on Friday that it has included three short-printed cards in its recently released 2009 baseball products.

They are:

SP1 – Mark Buehrle’s Perfect Game’ — 2009 Ballpark Collection

SP2 – 1st Pitch at All-Star Game between Barack Obama and Albert Pujols – in 2009 Ballpark Collection

SP3 – Derek Jeter – Yankees All-Time Hit King — in 2009 SP Authentic

First look: 2009 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection baseball cards

Upper Deck announced its plans for 2009 Ultimate Collection Baseball on Thursday, with the latest rendition of the product packing plenty when it arrives in late January.

Each four-card box will include one autograph, memorabilia, or signed memorabilia card and the checklist will include the return of  Roberto Clemente as well as greats like Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.

Every 15-box case will include two Ultimate Rookie Signatures as well as one Dual, Triple, Quad, Six or Eight autograph card.

The base set consists of 55 veterans (cards numbered to 599), 45 rookies (numbered to 599) and 10 Ultimate Rookie Autographs (numbering varies).

Every case also will include three autographed memorabilia cards and six Ultimate Memorabilia cards that may include Jumbo Jerseys, Bat Barrels, patches and more.

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

Panini America releases 2009 Prestige basketball SP list


Panini America confirmed on Thursday that the following 10 Rookie Cards were short-printed in its 2009 Prestige basketball card set:

#160 – Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks

#163 – Tyler Hansbrough, Indiana Pacers

#176 – Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls

#177 – DeMarre Carroll, Memphis Grizzlies

#190 – Jonas Jerebko, Detroit Pistons

#205 – Jordan Hill, Arizona

#218 – Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets

#220 – Eric Maynor, Utah Jazz

#233 – Dante Cunningham, Villanova

#247 – James Johnson, Wake Forest

What do they collect? TNA wrestling stars tell you


If you’ve ever wondered what an athlete collects, four stars from Total Nonstop Action Wrestling let you know in this new TNA Spin Cycle video in which which they also show off the latest trading cards from TRISTAR.

Among the stars are Mick Foley, Kevin Nash, Traci Brooks and past Collect Call guest Matt Morgan.

Check it out by clicking here.

Box Busters: 2009 Topps Triple Threads baseball cards


Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they open two boxes of the forthcoming 2009 Topps Triple Threads baseball cards.

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

Update: An autographed triple Relic is found in every box, not a triple-autograph Relic.

Upper Deck & MLBPA plan "National Packtime" promotion

NP Logo

Although the release of Upper Deck‘s 2010 Baseball set remains a few months away, the company announced on Wednesday an initiative with the MLB Players Association that will get free baseball cards into collectors’ hands next March.

“National Packtime” is set for Saturday, March 6, 2010, with with free packs of cards distributed at card shops. The packs will include cards specifically made for the event and the checklist will include Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Albert Pujols.

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with the Players Association on such a massive and exciting promotion,” said Richard McWilliam, CEO of Upper Deck, in a statement. “During these difficult times, we want to remind fans of the joy and exhilaration they felt when they opened their first pack of baseball cards, whether it was 10, 25 or 50 years ago.

“We also want to share that fun with kids, a new generation of collectors, many of whom haven’t ever had the chance to bask in the glory of finding a coveted rookie card, the star player from their favorite team or maybe even a valuable autograph card.  It’s a very unique and special experience that is truly unmatched by any other product.”

First Look: 2009-10 Limited Basketball


Panini America officials on Wednesday afternoon shared with Beckett Media the first images and preliminary product information for 2009-10 Limited Basketball, the company’s premiere high-end basketball product due out Jan. 6, 2010.

Each five-card pack of Limited carries a $100 SRP and will include one guaranteed autograph, another autograph or memorabilia card, one parallel, one insert and one common.

Every card in the set is numbered, including base cards numbered to just 199. Phenoms Rookie Cards will include pieces of event-worn memorabilia and sequential numbering to 299 or less.

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Box Busters preview: 2009 Topps Triple Threads baseball cards


The latest from Topps has arrived — two boxes of 2009 Triple Threads baseball cards that are set to be dissected for the latest episode of Box Busters.

What will Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer find inside each two-pack, 12-card box?

Stick with us to find out …

WWE Hall of Famer Captain Lou Albano dies at age 76


Professional wrestling lost another of its past stars on Wednesday as former manager and wrestler Captain Lou Albano has died. He was 76.

Albano, whose eccentric style included wearing rubber-bands danging from his beard and cheek, might best be remembered for his managerial appearances leading up to the first WrestleMania where he opposed Cyndi Lauper as part of the WWE’s Rock N’ Wrestling Connection storyline.

While they feuded in storyline, Albano appeared in Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video (as well as others) on MTV, helping gain more mainstream exposure for the WWE.

According to the Beckett Database, Albano appeared on just 17 trading cards. His first came in the 1983 Wrestling All Stars Series A set (card No. 32), which is valued at $2.50. His first widely distributed trading cards came with the 1985 Topps (and O-Pee-Chee) sets, which included cards and stickers like the one above.

The WWE Hall of Famer never signed trading cards for any of the major card companies, but did have an autographed card in the 1991 Wrestling Legends set made by Imagine.

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

Hot Wheels brings IndyCar back to toy aisles


Noticed something a bit different while wandering the toy aisle at Target on Tuesday… IndyCar diecasts from Hot Wheels.

It’s been awhile since IRL or Formula 1 has had a presence on retail shelves with Hot Wheels, the toy car staple of many a youth — 1998 for Indy, 2003 for F1 — but these days there’s a new crop of drivers whose cars can be found in 1:64 or 1:24 scale.

Who? Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Justin Wilson, Dan Wheldon, Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal and Dario Franchitti to name a few.

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2009 Topps National Chicle Product Details Announced


After a month filled with previews of some the product’s compelling original-art images, Topps officials on Wednesday morning finally released some product-specific details on 2009 Topps National Chicle Football, the old-fashioned-feeling tribute to its 1935 predecessor.

Scheduled to release the week of Jan. 11, the product promises two autographs, one Relic and one Cabinet card in each 24-pack hobby box in addition to one parallel card per pack and 12 additional inserts per box.

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Are You the Ultimate NFL Fan?


Think you’re the biggest NFL fan on the planet? Upper Deck is giving you a chance to prove it. The company is searching for the “Ultimate NFL Fan” and is challenging enthusiasts across the country to prove their passion.

Those interested in competing for the grand prize — 20 tickets to a home game of your favorite team, a $1,500 shopping spree and, perhaps the greatest prize of all, a personalized trading card to be inserted into a 2010 Upper Deck NFL product — should submit their personal videos, images or stories to

The promotion ends Nov. 25 and the winner will be announced in early December.

You're not seeing double … You're not seeing double. Well, maybe you are …

An astute observation on 2009 Ballpark Collection from Upper Deck just in from deep within the Beckett Media price guide analysts’ ranks …

— Card No. 174 is a Derrek Lee and Kerry Wood dual jersey card.

— Card No. 177 is a Kerry Wood and Derrek Lee dual jersey card.

Do you have them all?

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

First look: 2010 Upper Deck Greats of the Game basketball cards


Upper Deck unveiled its plans for its first 2010 basketball card set on Tuesday, with its Greats of the Game product packed with madness scheduled to arrive next March.

Each 16-pack box will include three autographs or memorabilia cards — only two numbered autographs are guaranteed per case — with dual inscription and dual cut signatures also among the potential finds.

The standard set includes 100 base cards, 25 Big Man on Campus cards, 25 Banner Season cards, 25 Old School cards and 25 Glory Days cards.

Autographs to be found include Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, among others, as part of the Memorable Monikers, Legends of the Hall and School Pride autograph sets.

See more cards from the set after the jump.

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Frequent-Flyer Miles


More than 24 hours later, Miles Austin’s out-of-nowhere, videogame afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs still boggles the mind.

In the first start of his four-year NFL career, Austin caught 10 passes for a Dallas Cowboys’ franchise-record 250 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning 60-yarder in overtime. Not bad for an undrafted free agent from Monmouth University who entered Sunday’s game with lifetime totals of 23 receptions, 435 yards and four touchdowns.

“I never saw a day like today coming,” Austin said afterward, presumably speaking for every football collector in the country. “I was ready to play, but you can never expect to have a day like this.”

Austin’s flashed glimpses of his big-play potential before. Last year, during a 27-16 victory over Green Bay, the 6-3, 214-pound burner caught two passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. And he started this season with a 42-yard touchdown grab in a Week 1 win at Tampa Bay.

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Box Busters: 2009-10 Exquisite Collection basketball cards


Join Beckett Media’s Keith Hower, Tracy Hackler and Chris Olds as they bust open three boxes of 2009-10 Exquisite Collection basketball cards from Upper Deck in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find in each $600 pack?

What can you win from the packs? How can you win that fourth box?

Click here to watch and find out …

Brett Favre makes Vikings debut with McFarlane Toys


McFarlane Toys has unveiled its plans for Brett Favre‘s SportsPicks debut as a Minnesota Viking — toys that will arrive in stores this month.

favrepurpleThe future Hall of Famer will appear in a purple home jersey on toys found at Toys ‘R’ Us and other specialty stores, while his white road jersey figure will only be available at

The figure will cost $19.99 at the website, while the standard figures typically sell in the $10-$12 range, depending on the store.

This is the third figure in recent months to be sold as an exclusive through a website. A Ken Griffey Jr. and a Kurt Warner exclusive were previously announced, while the 21st series of the popular NFL toys will debut a new system of chase figures, some of which may include autographs.

For more on the toys, or to view additional images, visit

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

Box Busters: 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights baseball cards


Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer – along with some guy named Tracy Hackler – as they bust open a brand new box of 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights baseball cards.

What will they find inside?

How can you win a factory sealed box for yourself?

Watch the video by clicking here.

For more on the set, click here.

Monday Morning Collector: NFL Week 5

Orton RC

Every Monday morning throughout the NFL season, we’ll select our Rookie, Veteran and Breakout players of the week and provide a run down on why collectors should take notice. Here are our selections for Week 5.

Veteran of the Week:
Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos
(330 yards passing, 2 touchdown passes)
The Denver Broncos are a perfect 5-0 behind the leadership of Orton, who has thrown just one interception this season and has a QB rating of 97.4. But collectors have not yet jumped back onboard the Orton bandwagon. They’ve been there before, many of them more than once, and they seem hesitant to go “all in” on Orton again despite the quick start.

Orton’s been a collecting enigma at quarterback since his rookie season in 2005 with the Chicago Bears. Is he really good, not so good, or just inconsistent? In his 33 regular-season starts for the Bears, Orton registered a passer rating above his 2009 average just four times. He also threw 27 interceptions in those 33 games.

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Card gallery: 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights


While the Box Busters episode featuring 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights baseball cards cools in the microwave (it’s that hot), here’s a gallery of some of the cards to be found in the annual season-update set.

For more on the product, click here.

See the images after the jump.

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Box Busters Preview: 2009-10 Exquisite Collection Basketball


Late Friday afternoon, an over-caffeinated, extremely excited team of Keith Hower, Chris Olds and Tracy Hackler busted three boxes of 2009-10 Exquisite Collection Basketball for a forthcoming must-see episode of Box Busters.

The good news: A fourth box went unopened. The better news: You’ll have a chance to win that box, in addition to many of the sweet cards we pulled out of the other three, beginning next week.

Stay tuned to and the Beckett Blog early next week for additional details on how to win. The 2009-10 Exquisite Collection Basketball Box Busters will be up Monday morning. Until then, enjoy this sneak peek (after the jump) of just some of the sweet cards we were lucky enough to uncover late Friday afternoon.

— Tracy Hackler

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Ultimate 9 Release Date Creeps Closer; ITG Redemption Plans Unveiled


The gradually simmering anticipation for next month’s release of In the Game’s Ultimate Memorabilia 9 took a turn for the better on Friday when ITG unveiled several new images of the product’s base cards and memorabilia and autograph inserts.

Each pack of Ultimate 9, the most limited release in the product’s history with just 7,500 three-card packs produced, will deliver one memorabilia-infused Ultimate Base Card, one Authentic Ultimate Game-Used Memorabilia card and one Authentic Ultimate Autograph card.

You can check out ITG’s Ultimate 9 sales brochure here.

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