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Monthly Archives: November 2009

Blowoutcards' Thomas Fish steps up for Operation Gratitude

 

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Blowoutcards.com 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

 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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"

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 Beckett.com for additional details. For now, enjoy the first images of the product.

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Box Busters: 2009-10 UD Black Hockey

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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

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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

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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 Beckett.com and the Beckett Blog:

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Spitball releases finalists for baseball book of year

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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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Finally Digging Dirk

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It occurred to me during a recent “Box Busters” episode – as I stared longingly into the vibrant fibers of the sweetest Technicolor patch card I’d ever seen – that I’ve wasted almost 12 years not collecting Dirk Nowitzki.

I’m a darn fool.

How else to explain collectibly ignoring one of the most athletic big men in NBA history? He’s been plying his extraordinary wares right here in my backyard since the Dallas Mavericks landed the little-known German with high upside in 1998; yet it took a mesmerizing, majestic piece of memorabilia from 2009-10 Exquisite Collection for my new mission to materialize.

I must start collecting Dirk.

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2009 and the Changing Face of our Hobby

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The trading card landscape has changed dramatically in 2009 as business decisions, legal challenges and the struggling economy have altered what collectors will find on store shelves.

Here’s a look at some of the notable events of the year so far …

January 27: The NBA selects Panini as its sole licensee of basketball cards beginning this fall.

January 27: MLB sues Donruss over unauthorized trademark use in its 2008 baseball sets.

March 13: Panini buys Donruss and forms Panini America.

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Breaking News: Topps Loses Players Inc License

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Players Inc, the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, confirmed on Monday afternoon that it will not renew Topps’ trading card license for 2010.

The move to reduce football manufacturers has been rumored for months and will take place officially when Players Inc’s current agreements with Panini, Topps and Upper Deck expire at the end of February.

Multiple attempts to contact NFL Properties regarding its plans for 2010 and beyond have so far been unsuccessful.

toppsPlayers Inc’s decision to move forward with just Panini and Upper Deck comes after months of thorough investigation and evaluation of a current football card marketplace still reeling from the troubled economy. The move also represents the latest bombshell in a continued streamlining of the overall sports collectibles industry that has seemingly seen a life’s worth of monumental licensing changes in 2009 alone.

Topps officials were not immediately available for comment. Just three months ago, Topps secured a Major League Baseball Properties exclusive beginning next season.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional details on this breaking story.

— Tracy Hackler

Preview Gallery: Dave Hobrecht's paintings for 2009 Topps National Chicle Football

chicle3Noted sports artist Dave Hobrecht is one of several creators whose works will be showcased in the forthcoming 2009 Topps National Chicle football card set. (A little more info can be found by clicking here.)

Want to see more from the set well before it’s January release? Hobrecht figured Beckett Media’s readers did, so he sent us images of all of his paintings in the set.

See them all after the jump …

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Do You Like Your Hamburger with Mayo?

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Here’s some food for thought: Can the hamburger have a Rookie Card? Heck, for that matter, should the hamburger even have a trading card, period? And if so, should that card be inserted into a football set?

That’s a lot to digest, I know. But while you’re chewing on it, know this: 2009 Topps Mayo includes what is believed to be the first sports trading card featuring a piece of food, the iconic, American-as-red-white-and-blue hamburger.

As part of Mayo’s 14-card World’s Fair Attractions insert set, Topps officials produced cards for such eye-catching checklist inclusions as the Ferris Wheel, Buffalo Bill (not the Buffalo Bills), the Idaho Building and the John Bull Locomotive. And then there’s savory card #12, devoted to the hamburger.

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