Monthly Archives: November 2009

Card gallery: 2009 Topps 206 baseball cards (updated)

While a Box Busters episode for 2009 Topps 206 is in negotiations for Friday or Monday, we’ve already busted a box for a card gallery right here.

Here’s a sneak peek at what you can find in your boxes when they arrive starting next week …

Update: Topps released the following statement on Friday… something that was mentioned in our review in BSCM, but not with this gallery.

Although the 2009 Topps T206 Baseball selling information solicited autographed cards featuring stickers, Topps is pleased to announce that 80 percent of the autographs in the product are signed on-card. Topps T206 100th Anniversary Edition just shipped and guarantees two autographs and/or Relics in every box.

See several images after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Topps Opening Day baseball cards

Topps released the basic product information and additional preview images for its 2010 Opening Day baseball card set, which will arrive well ahead of Opening Day on Feb. 15.

The base set consists of 220 cards (14 of those rookies), including 74 players who will be in Topps Series 2 later in the year.

The packs carry a $1 suggested retail price with 36 packs per box and 20 boxes per case.

Every pack will include a card from one of five insert sets — Superstar Celebrations (10 cards), Mascots (26 cards), Where’d You Go Bazooka Joe? (10 cards), Topps Attax Opening Day (25 cards) and Stars (25 cards).

Also to be found are Opening Day parallels (numbered to 2,010 copies), autographs and printing plates (219 cards; no checklist plate).

The preliminary autograph checklist includes Denard Span, Aaron Cunningham, Ricky Romero, Chris Volstad, Eugenio Velez, Matt Tolbert, Daniel Schlereth, Cliff Pennington, Gerrardo Parra and a player to be determined.

See more card images after the jump.

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Topps joins forces with mobile phone application company

Topps and GetFugu have joined forces to create an interactive partnership that will allow collectors to use their baseball cards to obtain more information about the player through their portable phones.

GetFugu’s “See It, Say It, Find It, Get It”, vision, voice and location recognition service will allow collectors to take an image of a 2009 Topps Legends of the Game card and get additional information relevant to the card. The application will send the user to the player’s Wikipedia page, the Topps online store or other sites where they can purchase Topps products.

“We are thrilled to be working with GetFugu on this new technology,” said Steve Grimes, Chief Digital Officer at Topps, in a news release. “Their mobile search and recognition technology enables our consumers to interact with trading cards in new and exciting ways and opens up new revenue opportunities for the future.”

Preview images: 2010 Topps Opening Day

Topps released a handful of preview images for another of its upcoming baseball sets on Thursday morning.

The products are 2010 Topps Opening Day, a retail staple of the last few years, which includes inserts as a preview to 2010 Topps Attax, a gaming product geared toward children.

Topps has made no secrets about it needing to clean up its place on the retail front, to simplify its product offerings as it enters its multi-year agreement as MLBs lone fully licensed manufacturer of baseball cards.

See more images after the jump.

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Upper Deck signs New York Yankees pitchers Mariano Rivera & Andy Pettitte to autograph deals

Upper Deck announced on Wednesday evening that it has signed veteran New York Yankees pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera to non-exclusive autograph deals to include their signatures in the company’s 2010 baseball products.

According to the Beckett database, Pettitte has signed just 137 different cards for inclusion in packs during his career — the most recent cards coming in 2005 Donruss products. Rivera, who notched his 500th career save this season, has signed 135 — his last certified autographs coming in this year’s Topps baseball set.

By comparison, Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who is an Upper Deck spokesman, has signed more than 1,000 different certified autograph cards during his career.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring signature cards of these two iconic players to collectors with our 2010 Upper Deck Baseball releases,” said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s baseball brand manager, in a news release. “Their achievements are legendary and we know it will mean a lot to bring the New York faithful closer to their heroes. We are also very excited about some of the multi-signed trading cards we will be able to bring to the market with Pettitte, Rivera and Jeter in particular.”

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 Press Pass Trackside Autographs and Four Wide memorabilia cards

Press Pass has unveiled its Track Edition Autographs and the new format of its Four Wide memorabilia cards that will be found in its first 2010 NASCAR set, Press Pass 2010 and in Press Pass Eclipse.

The autograph cards, which are sequentially numbered to 10, use at-track photography and the checklist includes the top drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon.

The new Four Wide cards program has evolved to include four designs for each version, keying on the main oversized swatch. The coming year also will include a 1/1 oversized race-used shoe version for the first time. The versions are  firesuit (limited to 25), sheet metal (limited to 15),  tire (limited to 10) and shoe (1/1).

Fifteen drivers are included in the Four Wide set with two cards for Earnhardt Jr. — one for each of his two main sponsors.

See several images after the jump.

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Now on the auction block: An authentic Yankee Stadium media room telephone

Just in case you know one of those New York Yankees fan who has everything, there’s a new item on the auction block that just might be right for them as the holiday season is upon us.

Available right now from Steiner Auctions (and ending Dec. 7) is an MLB-authenticated Yankees Media Room telephone.

That’s right, a media telephone — not one of those snazzy make-a-call-to-the-bullpen types used by an un-average Joe (Torre or Girardi), but one of those phones used by more than a few Joe Schmoes. It was used by, you know, those [insert adjective here] reporters, through the years.

(Oh, and if that’s not enough for you, Steiner’s throwing in a 16×20 autographed World Series photo of Nick Swisher.)

We’re not sure how many telephones were authenticated by MLB — but something tells us that someone, somewhere might be able tell us — and we’re not really sure just how many phones were in the media room, anyway. (Dallas is a ways away from The Bronx.)

But we can pretty much expect that when it comes to authenticated sports memorabilia there isn’t much out there quite like this.

Oh, and the current bid? User dbre7 is in for $1.

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

Busted! 2009-10 Donruss Elite Basketball

We were lucky enough on Tuesday to receive two early boxes of 2009-10 Donruss Elite Basketball, due out everywhere beginning Nov. 25. We’ll open one box on Wednesday for an episode of Box Busters; as for the other one, well, we just couldn’t wait.

What we found in 20 rapidly ravaged packs is an-all-too-familiar base design that somehow takes on a different feel thanks to the relative newness of NBA photography (as opposed to the “same-old” football images).

We also found a veritable cornucopia of insert variety – 21 total inserts or parallels (including two prime-piece memorabilia cards, one autograph and two cards numbered to just 24), one autographed RC and two numbered legends. In all, 13 of our cards were sequentially numbered, including seven to 100 or less and four numbered to 50 or less.

See a full 27-card gallery after the jump.

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Card gallery: 2009-10 Rookies & Stars basketball cards

The 2009-10 Rookies & Stars basketball set from Panini America arrives on Wednesday with four autograph or memorabilia cards per hobby box — and one of this writer’s favorite card designs of the year in the Dress for Success inserts (above).

Few trading card sets have carried a more organic (non-geometric) design as interesting and different than this one — one that will incite as many oohs as it might ughs because it’s just that different than other stuff out there. (That’s the sign of an interesting card set to me.)

Don’t get the (what looks like) underwater dye swirls confused with paint splatter designs used in the past. This one’s different — and perhaps more interesting.

What else can be found in Rookies & Stars? See a sampling after the jump.

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First Look: 2010 Upper Deck Draft Edition Football

Here’s how we know the NFL’s 2010 Draft Class is going to be one of the most talent rich in recent memory: Upper Deck officials on Tuesday began soliciting orders for 2010 Draft Edition Football, the company’s first football product of next season slated to be live roughly five months from now.

With names like Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford gracing Rookie Cards next season, perhaps it’s never too early to begin creating demand.

2010 Upper Deck Draft Edition will feature 150 base cards and four 25-card subsets (Todd McShay Scouting Report, Draft Edition Magazine, Alumni Association and Conference Clashes).

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The five finalists for The Face of 2010 SPx Baseball are …

If you hadn’t heard about Beckett Media‘s promotion with Upper Deck to find The Face of 2010 SPx Baseball, then that’s too bad.

It’s too late for you to enter.

However, here are the five finalists in the contest, one of which will appear in the company’s upcoming advertisement for the baseball set and win free cards.

The winner, The Face of SPx Baseball, will be announced Thursday on Upper Deck’s Facebook page.

Who are the finalists? Read their submissions after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2009 Press Pass Fusion

Box Busters Bryan Hornbeck, Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler get jiggy with three boxes of the multisport marvel known as 2009 Press Pass Fusion. What will they pull? What can you win? Watch and find out.

Press Pass goes green with 2010 Wheels Element set

This might be a hobby first.

In an industry full of mylar wrappers and plenty of cardboard, going green is near impossible, but Press Pass is doing the next-best thing.

They’re going green with their 2010 Wheels Element NASCAR set.

Scheduled to arrive in January, Element will consist of a 100-card base set and a full array of inserts printed on recycled card stock with a retro look and feel.

(Yes, Topps printed on dark stock for years — but in this case Press Pass is focusing on it and partially building the set’s concept around it.)

The Green flag, which signifies “go” to the racers? They will be used in a Green-White-Checkers insert that has pieces of race-used flags all on a single card.

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Another look: 2010 Topps baseball cards


Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard all about 2010 Topps Baseball, here’s the latest from the company as released on Monday.

There’s not much new here in the product breakdown, but, hey, it’s a light news day when it comes to baseball cards as we await the remainder of the 2009 card schedule and move ever so closer to 2010.

See the full release after the jump.

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Topps Unveils WWE Slam Attax TCG

WWESlamAttaxTopps officials have publicly acknowledged the importance of the company’s Attax trading card games in the ongoing effort to re-engage kids into trading cards and collecting.

The company, which recently launched its NHL Puck Attax game, started soliciting orders Friday for the WWE version of the game, Slam Attax Evolution.

The TCG, which, according to Topps, has been responsible for more than $4.5 million in net European sales, includes 130 base game cards representing WWE’s three main brands (Raw, Smackdown and ECW), and its top tag teams, legends, match types and Pay Per Views. In addition, there are insert sets devoted to Champions (16 cards), Finishing Moves (19 cards), Title Foil (11 cards) and Props (10).

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Blowoutcards' Thomas Fish steps up for Operation Gratitude


grat owner Thomas Fish is working with Operation Gratitude to help expand its program announced on Wednesday in conjunction with Upper Deck that will get packs of trading cards into the hands of U.S. military members serving overseas.

Thanks to Fish’s interest — and interest from collectors who are his customers — there already are more than 10,000 additional packs of cards secured for the program, which can now include trading cards from all companies. Blowout also will be a corporate sponsor for the program.

The Million Pack March for the Troops began on Wednesday, Veterans Day, with Upper Deck donating 100,000 packs of trading cards to start toward the goal of one million packs for soldiers by Veterans Day 2010.

Upper Deck will host donation drives at card shows, including the 2010 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, and work with UD Diamond Dealers and hobby shops to establish donation drop-offs.


While Blowout’s plans have not yet been fully unveiled, people who are interested in donating any sealed packs of Upper Deck cards can send them to the following address:

Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard

Attn. Upper Deck’s Million Pack Drive to Support the Troops

17330 Victory Boulevard

Van Nuys, CA 91406




Box Busters Gallery: 2009 Press Pass Fusion



Dan Hitt, Bryan Hornbeck and Tracy Hackler on Thursday morning had the opportunity to bust three early boxes of 2009 Press Pass Fusion, the company’s first foray into the multisport arena.

The good news is that Beckett’s Box Busters cameras were rolling for the bust, and the video will be posted later today.

The product carries a $9.99 pack SRP (eight packs per box) and delivers one autograph and another autograph or memorabilia card per box.

Fusion provides high entertainment value with a combined breadth of subjects, sports and photography rarely seen in the sports card arena. The product’s predominantly college theme allows for a unique feel. And it doesn’t hurt that every autograph in the set is on-card.

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Beckett Exquisite Winner Busts His Box


Mild-mannered Michigan native and IT professional Carl Seabold was beside himself when we notified him that he’d won one of the 2008-09 Exquisite Collection boxes from our widely embraced Box Busters contest.

So you can imagine Seabold’s excitement when his prize box actually arrived last week and he took the opportunity to record his own Box Busters episode for all to see.

Thanks for sharing, Carl. By the way, is that an extremely limited Kobe Bryant/Paul Pierce dual auto you’ve got there?

— Tracy Hackler

Box Busters: 2009 SP Signature Edition Football


Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler, two guys who know a thing or two about commons, open four boxes of 2009 SP Signature Edition Football. What did they find? Well, that’s a good question . . .


Box Busters: 2009-10 Rookies & Stars Basketball


Beckett Box Busters Keith Hower and Tracy Hackler double-team 24 packs of 2009-10 Rookies & Stars Basketball. Find out what they pulled — and what you can win — by watching their pack-ripping antics.


First Look: 2010 Topps UFC Uncaged


Topps‘ UFC product development team earlier this week released several preview images from the company’s 2010 UFC Uncaged product, due out in late February.

Among them is the first certified autographed card of UFC superstar Tito Ortiz.

Each 24-pack hobby box will contain three Relics and two autograph cards per box, which means Topps’ third licensed UFC release will deliver more hits per box than either of the previous two products.  (Each case will contain 10 boxes and each pack has six base cards, one insert and one parallel.)

Company officials also announced that Uncaged will incorporate actual hardware from the Octagon, including pieces of the cage. All Relics will have parallels — Golds (1/1), Silvers (numbered to 8) and Bronze (numbered to 88), while there also will be Chrome Triple Threat Relics, which include a piece of mat, gear and cage pieces.

Oh, and also among the highlights? A Chrome Dual Autograph Relic card of  Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir — just one of the five cards on that set’s checklist.

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2009 Press Pass Fusion: Box Busting Begins Thursday Morning


You’re looking at the first three boxes of Press Pass‘ new multisport endeavor known as Fusion. Hot off the presses Wednesday evening, they’ll be fodder for the Beckett Box Busters crew Thursday morning.

The product includes two hits per eight-pack box (including one autograph and an additional autograph or memorabilia card) and a legend-steeped autograph checklist that includes the likes of John Elway, John Wooden, Bob Gibson, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Larry Bird, and more.

Stay tuned.

— Tracy Hackler

Upper Deck aims to make two Canadian hobby shops "Hockey Card Heaven"


Upper Deck unveiled its latest promotional sports program on Wednesday  — “Hockey Card Heaven” – which will tab two Canadian hobby shops as divine destinations.

The shops with the most creative promotions, those that increase sales and those that market new hockey cards in the best ways will be in the running for prizes. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges.

The grand-prize winners will earn an in-store visit and autograph session with an NHL player — one being Toronto rookie goaltender Jonas Gustavsson while the second will be revealed later this month. The contest begins Nov. 15, and runs through Feb. 28 with the winners announced on March 8, 2010.

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Upper Deck launches Million Pack March for U.S. military


Upper Deck has joined forces with Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that sends 100,000-plus “care packages” annually to U.S. service members, to launch a campaign to get trading cards — a little piece of home — into the hands of military troops serving overseas.

The Million Pack March for the Troops began on Wednesday, Veterans Day, with Upper Deck donating 100,000 packs of trading cards to start toward the goal of one million packs for soldiers by Veterans Day 2010.

Upper Deck will host donation drives at card shows, including the 2010 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, and work with UD Diamond Dealers and hobby shops to establish donation drop-offs.
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Box Busters: 2009 Sweet Spot baseball cards


Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2009 Sweet Spot baseball cards from Upper Deck.

What will they find inside this sweet, but not spotty, episode of Box Busters?

Click here to watch the video and see …

Topps: The Odd One Out?


Topps is out of football!

Topps is out of football?

Topps is out of football.

Wow! I didn’t see that coming. Topps without a football license? That just seems . . . odd. After all, the New York-based trading card giant has produced at least one football product a year since 1955. For those counting at home, that’s 55 consecutive seasons.

Look, it’s all the rage these days for licensing entities to trim manufacturers from the mix in the name of bettering a battered business (see the NHL and Upper Deck, MLB Properties and Topps, the NBA and Panini, the CLC and UD, etc.); and the fact that Players Inc was planning to reduce the number of football players had been rumored for months. So the finality of that Monday-afternoon announcement surprised no one.

It was the cut player’s identity that seemed so shocking.

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War veterans can be found on countless cards from past


With Wednesday being Veterans Day, we figured it to be no better time than now to revisit some sports cards from the past that have obvious military ties.

While there have been countless examples in recent years with the influx of non-sports additions to sports card sets, perhaps no cards drew more support than those of former Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State football player Pat Tillman, who volunteered for military duty and died in Afghanistan in 2003.

His story sparked massive interest in what little football memorabilia he had — he appeared on just five football cards in 2001 — but there are countless other cards noting other veterans’ service.

All of them have a story. Here are a few …

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Box Busters Preview: 2009-10 Rookies & Stars Basketball


The good news: The Beckett Basketball team busted one of the first boxes of 2009-10 Panini Rookies & Stars Basketball on the market Tuesday afternoon.

The bad news: The Box Busters episode won’t be posted until Wednesday morning.

Since we don’t want to ruin your video-watching experience by showing you everything we pulled now, we’ve selected 10 cards at random from our box as something of an appetite-whetting exercise.

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Upper Deck releases Sweet Spot green ink quantities


Upper Deck released the production numbers on Tuesday for its 2009 Sweet Spot Signatures autographs that were signed in green ink.

The greens are a new addition to the popular line — and they’re pretty rare on top of including basketball star LeBron James and several members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Get the rundown after the jump …

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Licensing decisions impact all collectors

ChicleFootballHobbyBoxBy CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

If you thought 2009 has been a wild ride, just wait for 2010.

There have been countless changes in the hobby in the last 11 months just with licensing — the rights to create, market and sell official sports cards.

In January, the NBA chose an exclusive licensee in Panini, dropping Topps and Upper Deck. In August, MLB Properties opted for just Topps to create its fully licensed baseball cards, while a new licensee for Minor League Baseball  has yet to be announced after TRISTAR’s deal expired. And Upper Deck’s exclusive with the Collegiate Licensing Company? It affects every sport and will dramatically curb companies’ options starting next spring. The latest news on Monday is no different —  Players Inc, the licensing group of the NFL Players Association, dropped Topps as one of its football card makers.

All of these things can impact our hobby — your collection — even if you don’t buy one of the sports that is affected. Why? It affects the industry’s players, the companies that bring the cards to you.

Just like the baseball announcement, there are a lot of disappointed collectors with the Topps football news. And yet at the same time, there also are a lot of questions about whether the longest-running manufacturer of trading cards in the United States will create any type of football products in 2010 and beyond. (It doesn’t appear likely — unless you count its Premier League soccer cards.)

Some collectors took that a step further asking whether Topps can make it on just baseball and MMA alone — but that’s where we need to take a step back. There’s no question that baseball, despite its issues in recent years, remains the top dog of collecting. And MMA is the new kid on the block with Topps’ UFC lines among the most popular releases ever considering original costs vs. current values.

However, Topps has never survived on cards alone.

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First Look: 2009 Topps Platinum Football


Topps on Tuesday afternoon released preliminary images and product information on what very well could be the company’s last football product in some time. If , indeed, that is the case, the company appears to be going out with something of a bang.

The product, 2009 Topps Platinum, is due out in early February (the company’s Players Inc license expires at the end of February) and promises one autographed Refractor patch card and two autographed Refractor Rookie Cards per 24-pack box.

Stay tuned to for additional details. For now, enjoy the first images of the product.

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Box Busters: 2009-10 UD Black Hockey


What’s better than one 12-piece memorabilia card? Two 12-piece memorabilia cards, of course. And that’s not all that Beckett’s played-out Box Busters pulled from two boxes of 2009-10 UD Black Hockey.

See what else they yanked here.

Box Busters: 2009-10 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey


Check out Beckett Hockey‘s two-man power play as they rip through two boxes of 2009-10 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey? What will they pull? How many names will they mispronounce? What can you win? Watch and find out.



The Morning After: Collectors React to Players Inc Decision

1981 Topps Football

In a year absolutely crammed with jaw-dropping, stagger-inducing hobby headlines, yesterday’s announcement that Topps would not be granted a 2010 trading card license from Players Inc, the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, was one of the biggest.

Reaction to the news from the collecting community has been fast, furious and full of passion in the 19 hours since Beckett Media first broke the story. Clearly, the news seemed to hit most collectors like a blindside blast from Ray Lewis.

Even in such a tumultuous time, the move still caught most collectors off guard if for no other reason than “Topps” is the most recognized brand name in sports collectibles history and has produced football trading cards for 54 consecutive years.

That seems destined to change in a big way.

Here’s a sampling of the spirited reaction we’ve received from collectors on and the Beckett Blog:

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Spitball releases finalists for baseball book of year


Read any good baseball books lately?

If not, Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine has a few you might need to check out as its editors have released their list of finalists for the 2009 CASEY Award, which goes to the best baseball book of the year.

Here’s the list:

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