Monthly Archives: December 2009

First look: 2009-10 Classics Basketball from Panini America

Panini America unveiled the basic product preview information and sample card images on Wednesday for its 2009-10 Classics basketball set, which is scheduled to arrive on March 31.

Set to pack four autograph or memorabilia cards in each 18-pack box (one autograph guaranteed), Classics will celebrate basketball’s past as well as its present as the line has done for years in baseball and football. Each 16-box case will include an autograph from either Panini spokesman Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Blake Griffin, Elvin Hayes, Isiah Thomas or Jerry West.

Five-card packs will carry a suggested retail price of $6.

See additional card images after the jump.

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Coming Soon: Tim Tebow's First Football Cards

It’s become tradition over the last decade for fans attending the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl to grab one last glimpse at the country’s top high school football players as well as a host of “where I’m going to college” declarations.

But those attending the 2010 edition on Jan. 9 in San Antonio will have the chance to grab something even better: Two of Tim Tebow’s first football cards.

To help celebrate the U.S. Army All-American Bowl’s 10th anniversary, Dallas-based Razor Entertainment has produced a special 100-card promotional set that will be distributed – via four-card packs – to all active military personnel and children under the age of 14. Included in that set will be two short-printed cards featuring Tebow during the 2006 game.

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Box Busters Preview Gallery: 2009 Topps Tribute baseball cards

After a five-year absence, Topps has revived its Topps Tribute line with every pack including an autograph or Relic card.

We’ve gotten our boxes in at Beckett HQ will in advance of Tribute’s Jan. 7 street date, and will have a Box Busters video shot sometime in the coming days (hectic holiday schedules permitting).

But until then we’ll let you examine the contents of a box busted off camera — one that did indeed deliver a hit per pack as well as three base cards and a parallel card in every one.

The base set consists of 100 cards — 83 retired legends of the game, 14 veterans and just three rookies and will includes parallels — Reds (1/1s), Golds (/50), Blacks (/99) and Blues (/199). It also will include Framed Printing Plates. You can read more about the product and see the preliminary checklist by clicking here.

After the jump, you will find scans of 18 cards — the notable half of the box — along with the in-box checklist, which you can compare to the preliminary checklist. (Not much appears to have changed based on a very quick glance.)

It’s worth noting that these high-end cards (suggested retail price is $50 a pack) will be condition sensitive because of their holographic surface. Several cards came out of packs with smudges and/or scratches — some of which may rub off (but we didn’t try it).

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 the images after the jump. (Click for a closer look.)

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Is there a right way to do sticker autographs?

TRISTAR's new line of autographed Total Nonstop Action wrestling photos appears to use stickers. Does it make sense? Perhaps.

There’s no question that the sticker autograph is a sticking point for many a collector.

They often loathe them because they want something that someone held signed, because they want an autograph that can accentuate the image that it is affixed to, because they want a signature that is not cut off by the edge of a sticker that’s smaller than the item it’s affixed to.

But collectors also don’t want to wait on redemption cards — an inevitable byproduct of on-card signatures. But collectors also don’t want to receive cards with dinged corners, either. (This just in, many athletes don’t treasure corners on their cards as much as you do … ) This, in turn, has spawned the letter patch autographs, the manufactured logo autographs, the Sweet Spot autographs and so on …

There are advantages for companies to get stickers (and non-card items) signed — primarily pertaining to the issues above — but it’s also one of asset management. What does a company do when there are cards left over after redemptions are fulfilled (something that also costs money)? They’ve cost the company something — yet aren’t necessarily usable in a future product.

Stickers or other types of autographs on the other hand can be used later down the line if a lineup changes or a deadline is missed or if redemptions go unfulfilled — something that saves the company money, which is more important than ever as a shrinking industry continues to weather a poor economy in a world where costs for autographs aren’t shrinking. (Even though they probably should be.) Every company uses them — and it’s become en vogue to tout when they aren’t, likely when it’s time to move some products.

So, we have to ask — is there a right way to do sticker autographs?

Read more after the jump.

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The Beckett Baseball Best of 2009 Awards … vote now!

We’re closing in on making our selections for The Best of 2009 and want to make sure that Beckett Baseball‘s readers have a say, too.

Vote now for your picks for the best baseball cards of 2009 — the awards (editors’ picks and readers choice) will appear in the next issue along with our picks for the Best of the Decade.

See them all — and place your votes —  after the jump.

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Urban Meyer's shocking news leads to a shocker on cardboard

Urban Meyer‘s decision to step down as the coach of the Florida Gators on Saturday night citing health reasons at age 45 has sent a few shockwaves through the college football world.

But it also prompted this writer to  do a little research on college football coaches and their trading cards, which led to another shocking discovery — their near-complete lack of cards — despite there being a constant flow of cards showing athletes in their NCAA uniforms.

It seems that all of the major football card manufacturers — and all of the smaller ones, too — have dabbled with players in college uniforms in their sets, but very few have dabbled with the idea of getting the most famous names in college football (the coaches) in their sets. Or if they have, they’ve chosen not to as they’ve also failed to sit them down with a pen to sign a few cards that can be placed into packs (certified autographs for the non-collector).

In fact, it appears that among college coaching’s elite names only Florida State’s Bobby Bowden and Nebraska’s Tom Osborne have signed for a card company.

And the game’s biggest college coaching legends? If they have any autographed cards at all, they’re immensely rare cut autographs where the signatures were cut from documents and matted into the card.

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WWE ties up merchandising loose ends for 2010

Collectors of World Wrestling Entertaiment memorabilia will have some new items to look for in 2010 as it has tied up some long-running loose ends with its merchandising lines recently and a new company will take over as the manufacturer for another.

WWE on Tuesday announced that it has renewed its long-standing relationship with video game maker THQ – an eight-year deal that takes effect on Jan. 1. While that’s not the news that impacts collectors, it’s no secret that video games are a big part of the WWE merchandising portfolio.

The other big news on Tuesday was that the company ended long-running litigation with toy manufacturer Jakks Pacific – the maker of all of its popular toys — which also is tied to the THQ deal as the two companies are a joint venture.

THQ will pay WWE $13.2 million as part of the agreement, while the video game deal is a longer-term deal than one previously signed between the  companies. THQ will, in turn, pay Jakks Pacific $20 million over the next four years as part of the agreement.

The companies were batting in court over alleged payoffs and other wrongdoings to draw WWE’s merchandising rights. All allegations have been dropped as part of these new deals.

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What did they land at the Triple Threads football Rip Party?

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What did The Rip Master and crew land at the Topps Triple Threads Football Rip Party? Watch and find out …

New Book Recounts Autograph Collector's Anecdotes

Joe Galiardi has been collecting autographs for more than 20 years, and he’s had a ball doing it. Literally. Actually, he’s had 231 balls – and counting – doing it.

Galiardi, you see, is a collector of signed golf balls. The retired PR professional’s first dimpled endeavor, inked by Arnold Palmer, remains his favorite. But that one, like the 230 others – including balls signed by the likes of Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, Joe Paterno and Tiger Woods – has its own unique story to tell.

And it is those stories that provided the inspiration behind Galiardi’s new book Hooked on Autographs, a 154-page collection of the Pennsylvania native’s favorite trials, tribulations and anecdotes from two decades tracking true American legends.

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Did you forget to buy something for your collector?

Well, there are just hours left to finish that Christmas shopping, so if you haven’t tracked down something for your collector you’re likely out of luck.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make up for being a little late — and that’s where Blowout Cards wants to come in.

The company that’s been busy this year launching crazy promotions, helping card-related causes and donating plenty of free prizes for collectors to keep the collecting community engaged and energized has more up its sleeve.

Blowout’s Thomas Fish said today that its end-of-the-year clearance sale will run from now until midnight Sunday (Dec. 27) with its in-stock items at blowoutcards.com as much as 50 percent off. All this, of course, comes on top of outrageous deals on cards often at already rock-bottom prices.

So, if you blew it for your collector by blowing one of the most meaningful deadlines in all of sports collecting, there’s still a chance to hit one out of the park.

Chicago Sun-Times sells its photo archive to notable collector

As newspapers continue their unstopping transition into the digital age, often times their relics get forgotten about.

Often times, their pieces of history, their memorabilia — photographs, old books, media guides, etc. — get discarded or lost or piecemealed through the years and their present-day collections are found in dark old rooms, basements, cubby-holes in corners of buildings as well as in digital formats.

However, the entire printed photo archive of the Chicago Sun-Times, a publication with its modern lineage dating back to 1948 but with ties to publications from much earlier, has been sold to a memorabilia collector and businessman.

His name? John Rogers, a 36-year-old Arkansas-based entrepreneur with a name some might recognize — he bought a high-grade copy of Honus Wagner‘s infamous T206 baseball card in 2008 for $1.62 million.

His company will sort, scan and archive the newspaper’s images and he will then own the prints and negatives, however not the copyrights in many cases.

Read more about the deal 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.

Box Busters Gallery: 2009 Playoff Contenders

Although 2009 Playoff Contenders won’t officially be live until Jan. 6, we were lucky enough to get our hands on two early boxes today. We ripped through one for an episode of Box Busters. The other one we opened so we could provide you with an extended look.

Thanks to its melding of Rookie Cards with autographs way back in 1998, Contenders has earned a reputation over the last 12 years as one of the preeminent football brands released every season. And while this year’s version, delivering four autographs a box including many on-card, is sure to be as hotly pursued as the last 11, it’s got a lot more going for it than just autographed Rookie Cards.

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The Hobby Rumor Mill … Dec. 22, 2009

Here’s a little something that should get the card collectors abuzz as we head into the holidays … a little something we’ll throw out there from time to time called The Hobby Rumor Mill.

Are all of the items legit? Maybe not, but even the ones we think are true haven’t yet been confirmed or officially unveiled.

Until then, chew on these …

— Rumor has it … that Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler will have a certified autograph card in a 2010 product (but it will, of course, be fulfilled via a redemption).

— Rumor has it … that Topps will be bringing its National Chicle line — a historic football brand coming soon based on the 1935 set of the same name  — to baseball as well in 2010.

— Rumor has it … that more than one company will be getting patriotic with USA sets in 2010 and that Upper Deck is first out of the gates with its USA Baseball set in January.

— Rumor has it … that Pro Set is making a comeback. (Who owns that trademark, anyway?)

— Rumor has it … that there will be a Michael Jackson trading card set coming soon. (Bet that’ll be a thriller.)

We’ll bring you more from The Hobby Rumor Mill soon.

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.

Box Busters: 2009 Playoff Contenders football cards

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vabOBud_AoYouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Dan Hitt as they rip into the first box of 2009 Playoff Contenders football cards from Panini America in this super-fast and unedited hand-held edition of Box Busters. (Our normal cameraman is out for the  holidays, but Contenders just couldn’t wait.)

The image quality will improve once YouTube finishes processing the video.

What will they find inside the box? Watch and find out …

First Look: Sportkings Series D

Sportkings officials on Tuesday released preliminary information on the fourth installment of the living-set concept known as Sportkings.

Although the release date for Series D has yet to be finalized, the multisport product will go live in 2010 with several new checklist additions, including MMA legend Royce Gracie,  professional wrestling icon Argetina Rocca and superstars such as Duke Snider (baseball), Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor (Olympic beach volleyball), Scotty Nguyen (poker), Jim Craig (hockey), and Wilt Chamberlain and Bobby Knight (basketball).

For more information on the product, visit the Sportkings Website. For a sweet preview of some the new additions, click ahead.

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Topps lands exclusive memorabilia deal with Stephen Strasburg

Topps has signed an exclusive memorabilia deal with No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg.

The multi-year deal grants the longest-running manufacturer of baseball cards and the lone fully licensed maker of cards for Major League Baseball exclusive rights for autographs, game-used memorabilia cards as well as Strasburg’s image use on packaging and advertising.

In addition, Topps will also offer a line of autographed memorabilia.

It’s safe to say that landing Strasburg was likely not easy as other companies have tried to land the Washington Nationals pitcher, but instead have gone without him or made cards without using his name and image and included a small number of cut autographs in products.

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Box Busters: 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they crack a box of 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball cards for this episode of Box Busters.

They pull not one, but two autographs from the box… what are they? Watch and see.

How can you win a vintage-style leather baseball glove? Watch the video to find out.

National Hockey Card Day set for Jan. 30

Hockey card collectors should have it marked on their calendars right … about … now.

Set for Jan. 30, National Hockey Card Day is an event that will take place at Rexall Pharmacies, Toys R Us stores as well as a few other corporate locations and select hobby stores in Canada (A list will be found here.) Sorry U.S. residents, you will lose here — unless you cross the border. Canadian residents often lose out on giveaways and contests here in the states so now they have the upper hand.

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Not even all retail packs are made alike

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

Some days, I wonder what the hobby would be like if all packs were made alike. You know, if there was no divide between hobby and retail.

Would improved odds in retail boxes — ideally, the same as hobby boxes — be the end of the world? Undoubtedly, some would scream “yes” — but others would emphatically say “no.” It really depends on what crowd you’re in — the manufacturers, the hobby dealers, the collectors.

Some might argue that such a move might help collectors buy more packs and boxes. I remember the days before the divide when dealers would often buy up the hot products at retail to re-stock their shelves — and obviously charge more for their packs in the process. But when one found “that box” at retail? It was worth buying … but times have changed in the hobby.

These days, the mark-up comes often — but there’s supposed to be a trade-off as hobby boxes often deliver more. (That is, if you can find a hobby shop.)

Sure, times have changed in many ways for the hobby but many times those retail shelves don’t — and that same stock of blaster boxes at your neighborhood Target or Walmart seems to be older than ever before. And that’s exactly where I recently noticed something that seemed a bit unusual.

Not even all retail packs — especially those for one new brand — are made alike.

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Danica Patrick's foray into NASCAR means plenty to Press Pass

How important is Danica Patrick‘s foray into stock-car racing for Press Pass, the lone trading card manufacturer for NASCAR?

It’s big — big enough she’ll be appearing on the boxes and wrappers of 2010 Element, the set that arrives with her first cards in January — well before she makes her ARCA debut in February at Daytona International Speedway and her NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on Feb. 20 at the at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

And it’s notable that a driver with little-to-no experience driving stock cars running a part-time schedule in one of NASCAR’s lower levels will be gracing the packaging of a product she just signed on to appear in little over a week ago.

But then again, Patrick isn’t the typical driver. Despite winning just one race in her five-year Indy Racing League career she won the IRL’s Most Popular Driver award four times.

And that isn’t lost on Press Pass.

“We ran into some approval issues with the original artwork [on the boxes] and had to go back to re-design,” said Nick Matijevich, Press Pass’ Director of Product Development. “So with the Danica deal now finalized, we decided to completely change direction. ”

There should be some added interest from non-racing fans as a woman competes with men in a professional sport — and NASCAR touts a fan base demographic that is at least 40 percent female. Throw in the buzz that will come with her arrival and it makes sense from Press Pass’ perspective.

“Once the Danica deal was finalized, it became evident that shifting to Danica made sense due to the release timing [as] Element releases at retail in late January; just before Daytona,” said Press Pass’ Tom Farrell. “The NASCAR buzz around Danica is big now and she’ll likely be the lead news story in Daytona, too.  We’re excited to bring collectors the first NASCAR cards of Danica and feel confident that we’ll create a wide variety of cards throughout 2010 that will deliver collectors both fun and value.”

However, Patrick is not a social pioneer as the first woman to drive in NASCAR — that was Sara Christian in 1949 — and 14 others have competed regularly in NASCAR events, including Janet Guthrie, Patty Moise, Shawna Robinson, Erin Crocker and Tina Gordon.

However, there’s no question that Patrick just might be the most recognizable one of the bunch from a marketing standpoint. And with the backing of one of the biggest names in NASCAR behind her in team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., she just might have the chance to be the most successful.

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 the creative design for the hobby box — something this writer doesn’t previously recall seeing for any racing product despite it being so simple and appropriate — after the jump … Read More »

Preview & Checklist: 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball cards

Panini America released the checklist for its forthcoming 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball card set on Thursday, a product-laden entry into baseball for the company.

While the checklist does not include No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg, the company did note one impressive signature will appear in the product after a signing was completed Thursday — though we’ll warn you,  he’s not a rookie.

St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.

The NL MVP is shown on a card as a junior in high school — a shortstop at Fort Osage High School in Independence, Mo. He signed 20 copies of his card.

While Strasburg is not included, several top picks are on the checklist — Dustin Ackley, Donavan Tate and Matt Hobgood among others. Also among the notable first-time signers is Aroldis Chapman, a 22-year-old Cuban defector who is expected to sign with an MLB club soon. He is seen wearing his Holguin uniform played in the Cuban National Series last year.

And among the other noteworthy additions? Hot Boxes.

Read more and get a full product checklist after the jump.

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Is your New York Yankees collection in the black?

While many collectors often buy items that might make their back accounts — and, in turn, their collections — in the red, there’s a recent addition to the Yankee Stadium memorabilia lineup from Steiner Sports that’s all about being in the black.

What is it?

It’s a piece of “The Black” — the center field area behind the pitcher in the old stadium that allowed for hitters to be able to see the ball coming from the pitcher.  In many stadiums, a tarp will often block any seats that may be in that area, but not in New York.

Collectors — diehards who must have everything Yankees — can get a piece of The Black for $99.99 which comes in an engraved display case.

The chunks are MLB-authenticated, however Steiner does note that the size and shape of the game-used Black piece will vary.

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.

ITG Honors Hockey's War Heroes

Hockey historians will recall that some of the game’s best players went to war for their country, letting the sport pale in comparison to what was truly important.

To honor those men, In the Game is including a special Real Heroes non-memorabilia insert set in 2009-10 ITG Heroes and Prospects, which releases in late January.

“We felt it was important to take time to recognize some of the hockey players that sacrificed their own professional ambitions in order to fight for their country in World War I and World War II,” said Dr. Brian Price, ITG President. “The reaction from collectors to this set thus far has been overwhelmingly positive as most are able to relate to the significance of what these players did.”

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Upper Deck's Role in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic

This just in from Upper Deck’s Terry Melia:

The Upper Deck Company is pleased to announce that it will be sponsoring several elements of the fast-approaching 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which is set to take place on January 1, 2010, at Boston’s Fenway Park. The League’s annual outdoor game, now in its third year, will feature the host Boston Bruins taking on the Philadelphia Flyers in a battle of two of the league’s perennial contenders. As the NHL’s exclusive hockey card manufacturer, Upper Deck will have a major presence surrounding the event.

“We are extremely excited to be a part of this annual event,” said Josh Zusman, Upper Deck’s hockey brand manager. “We’ve got some fun, interactive elements to share with hockey fans this time around as well as a personalized-card station where hockey buffs can get their pictures taken on a unique, event-branded Upper Deck trading card.”

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Brock Lesnar Signs for 2010 Topps UFC Uncaged

One sure sign that current UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is feeling better following a prolonged illness? He’s been signing autographs for trading card manufacturers lately.

Last month he made quick work of fulfilling his on-card commitments for Press Pass’ Fusion multisport product. Today, Topps officials released images of Lesnar signing autographs for the upcoming 2010 UFC Uncaged product. They also took advantage of the in-person encounter to secure a pair of what appear to be fight-worn trunks no doubt heading to an in-demand Relic and Autographed Relic card near you.

It’s no secret that the UFC and its card collecting hobby need a healthy Lesnar in the mix. The fact that he’s in the signing mood is a good sign that he’ll back sooner than most people expected.

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Bengals WR Chris Henry dies after auto accident (updated)

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry suffered “very serious injuries” Wednesday afternoon following a traffic accident in North Carolina and died on Thursday. He was 26.

The former West Virginia star was drafted by the Bengals in 2005 and had 119 receptions for 1,826 yards and 21 touchdowns in his career — his 2008 season being his most productive with nine TDs. His career was marred by several off-the-field incidents and this accident is believed to be tied to a domestic dispute.

Henry appears on 363 football cards, including 86 autographs and just 13 memorabilia cards. His most valuable autograph in the Beckett.com database is his 2005 Finest Black Xfractors (No. 165) card, which is valued at $60, while his most valuable Rookie Card is his 2005 Exquisite Collection autograph (No. 46) at $40.

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.

Box Busters preview: 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects (updated)

We’ve busted the first box of 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects in advance of a Box Busters episode to be filmed Thursday morning.

Although this box did include a Gold Refractor, we couldn’t help but notice the again-abundant presence of World Baseball Classic cards in the packs — some cards of players who already had Bowman cards this year — and that the back design had slightly changed for one of the sets found inside the mylar wrappers.

We’ve included scans of the checklist (front and back) where you can discover who made the final cut among the 21 Chrome Prospect Autographs and the 10 Prospect Autographs. (Click on the checklists for a closer look.)

For those wanting to know some odds, the Aflac autographs are 1:238, while Autographed Refractors are 1:71 followed by Xfractors (1:159), Blue (1:241), Gold (1:736), Orange (1:1,545), Red (1:6,378) and Autographed Superfractors are 1:31,900. Autographed printing plates are 1: 7,973.

For Refractors, the odds are: 1:11 for standard, 1:24 for Xfractor, 1:49 for Blue, 1:96 for Gold, 1:192 for Orange, 1:955 for Red and 1:4,266 for Superfractor.

Until then, feast on these highlights from the first box…

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First look: 2010 Press Pass Eclipse … The Art of Speed

Press Pass unveiled basic information and preview images for what it is touting as “the first artistic NASCAR trading card set” — its 2010 version of Eclipse – which will arrive in hobby shops in February.

Sales materials for the product are printed on flat matte paper — a likely aesthetic choice for the set, which will consist of 90 cards that “elegantly match various artistic techniques with the excitement of NASCAR.”

Each hobby box will include one autograph and three memorabilia cards, while the product also promises a code-cracking program to win prizes from the Press Pass Vault as well as the next selection of NASCAR Hall of Fame cards.

See more images after the jump.

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Preview Gallery: Famous Fabrics First Edition

Famous Fabrics First Edition is set to arrive on Feb. 24., while a few other products from Creative Cardboard Concepts are scheduled to arrive later in the year including Ringside boxing, Scoop and Famous Faces.

For more information on the product, visit the company’s website. See more images of cards from all three products after the jump.

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Upper Deck Stands By Tiger Woods


Upper Deck officials on Tuesday morning announced that the company stands in full support of the embattled Tiger Woods and will continue fulfilling an exclusive relationship with the golfing superstar that’s been in place since 2001.

“Upper Deck will maintain its exclusive agreement with Tiger in both our sports cards and memorabilia categories and we look forward to his eventual return to the PGA Tour,” said Richard McWilliam, Upper Deck’s CEO and Founder. “Tiger and his family have our full support.”

Woods alone helped Upper Deck launch the mainstream golf trading card category in 2001 and his signed memorabilia has been integral to the success of Upper Deck Authenticated in recent years.

For more on Tiger Woods, click here, here and here.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com for updates to this story.

First look: Danica Patrick's debut NASCAR cards from Press Pass

Press Pass unveiled its first NASCAR cards of Danica Patrick on Monday evening — cards which are set to arrive in  2010 Element in January.

As reported here on The Beckett Blog last week, Patrick will appear on a card in the base set as well as one insert set in Element. The company did not have enough time to secure autographs for inclusion in the product, however she will have autographed and race-used cards in future Press Pass products.

Patrick will make her debut in an ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway in February and run a limited schedule in the Nationwide Series while continuing to race on the IRL circuit.

Look for more on upcoming NASCAR cards right here in the coming weeks. See both forthcoming Patrick cards after the jump.

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Gem Mint George Mikan RC Eclipses $218K

In late October, we ran a story about the PSA 10 1948 Bowman George Mikan RC that was headlining Memory Lane’s December Hidden Treasures online auction.

Early Sunday morning, the auction ended in staggering fashion.

SCP Auctions officials revealed today that they purchased the card for the record-shattering sum of $218,550 — the most ever paid for a basketball card — on behalf of an anonymous client.

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Monday Morning Collector: NFL Week 14

Every Monday morning throughout the NFL season, we’ll select a rookie, veteran and breakout player of the week and provide a run down on why collectors should take notice. Here are our selections for Week 14.

By Dan Hitt

Veteran of the Week:
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
(178 yards receiving, 1 touchdown catch, 1 punt return TD)
Jackson had an incredible game Sunday to continue his incredible season. He tied the NFL record for 50+ yard plays in one season (eight) with three games still to play. Jackson scored on a 72-yard punt return, a 60-yard reception and finished the game with six catches for 178 yards. Jackson is on the verge of his first 1,000-yard season and sits high on the list of today’s best receivers. Collectors made Jackson one of the most collected receivers of the 2008 rookie class but hadn’t taken enough interest this year to send his card values upward. His best 2008 cards still are reasonably priced for a player of his caliber, but that should change this week as Jackson and the Eagles are rolling toward the playoffs.

Cards to Grab:
2008 Exquisite Collection #154 JSY AU/199 RC ($135)
2008 SP Authentic #290 JSY AU/999 RC ($100)
2008 Playoff Contenders #127 AU RC ($60)

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Upper Deck launches Holiday Hunt program

Upper Deck has hidden a dozen notable prizes at hobby shops throughout the United States and Canada as part of a Holiday Hunt promotion that it is launching today.

Among the items up for grabs are autographs from Joe DiMaggio, several top draft picks in hockey and football as well as an autographed LeBron James basketball.

Upper Deck will be releasing clues as to the items’ whereabouts on its Facebook and Twitter pages where once at the hobby shop they will need to buy a pack of a particular brand and say “I love Upper Deck’s Holiday Hunt!” to win the item.

“We’ve seen tremendous support for our social media initiatives from sports fans this year,” said Carrie Peterson, Upper Deck’s online marketing manager. “It will be interesting to see how long it takes people to find these prizes.”

Does the Heisman Trophy make Mark Ingram the greatest player in Alabama football history?

Alabama sophomore running back Mark Ingram became the first player in the storied history of Crimson Tide football to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night in New York City.

One now has to ask … does that make him Alabama’s greatest player ever?

It’s an easy question to answer as the Crimson Tide’s list of past legends is lengthy. It includes 20 members of the College Football Hall of Fame and seven members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Yet none of those other Alabama Crimson Tide players ever won the Heisman.

While most football fans who live south of the Mason-Dixon Line in Southeastern Conference territory know precisely who the legends produced by Alabama are, let’s quickly recap them … and see if we can answer that question.

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