Monthly Archives: December 2009

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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Should Panini revive Fans of the Game cards for basketball?

Every once in awhile, whether it’s going through boxes of cards or files on the ol’ computer, I find a reminder of the past.

And while reading up on the latest gadget news — the headline being that entertainment icon Snoop Dogg has lent his voice to a GPS device (go watch the demo video, I’ll wait) — I was drawn to an image of him sitting courtside at a past Los Angeles Lakers game.

And that got me thinking about a past project.

A few years ago I used that same photo on a card mock-up project about Donruss Fans of the Game insert cards I’d want to see created. The celebrity fan sets included the likes of John Travolta, Charlie Sheen and others who were sports fans, but there were still more who I wanted to see on cardboard as it seemed there were always photos popping up of celebrities at sporting events.

I mocked up about a dozen of them for Page 2 of the San Antonio Express-News — where I worked at the time — and the rest is, well, newsprint history. (They’re out there somewhere … likely lining a landfill if I’m lucky.)

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Upper Deck's Ultimate Fan Inks New Deal

Last week,  Upper Deck declared Auburn, Ind., resident and avid Colts supporter Matt Ellis the winner of its season-long Ultimate NFL Fan contest.

As the victor, Ellis, who sports 33 tattooed facsimile Colts autographs on his body, won, among other things, 20 tickets to an NFL game, an NFL.com shopping spree and the right to appear on his very own 2010 Upper Deck trading card.

Perhaps because he was so overcome with emotion, he agreed last week to have UD’s Ultimate NFL Fan logo tattooed on his body, too. True to his word, Ellis completed the feet – er, feat – this week.

Check out the before and after videos for verification.

— Tracy Hackler

Italian influence on MLB captured in new baseball card set

A richly painted set of baseball cards celebrating the legacy of Italian Americans in Major League Baseball is now available from the National Ethnic Heritage Foundation.

Italian American Baseball Heroes is a 100-card set comprised of paintings by a group of artists commissioned for the project and is available for a $49 donation to the NEHF or the Sons of Italy Foundation.

Only 10,000 sets will be produced with baseball executives, umpires, broadcasters, managers, coaches and players on its checklist. It’s a group that includes former commissioner Bart Giamatti, former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio along with more recent stars like Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio among others.

Read more about the project — and see an extensive gallery of the paintings used to make the set — after the jump.

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Exclusive Gallery: Pro Football Hall of Fame Set Autographs

Visitors to Beckett.com and the Beckett Blog have been abuzz in the two days since we reported on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s new 253-card Bronze Bust Collector Card set, a super high-end product limited to 150 sets that includes more than 130 autographs and a $5,000 price tag.

Today, that buzzing is sure to intensify.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame provided Beckett Media with a handsome handful of images from the set, a stunning ensemble of on-card autographs sure to render even the most hardcore football collectors wobbly kneed.

But don’t take our word for it. See the images for yourself; oh, and grab a napkin . . . you know, for the drool.

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Danica Patrick's move to NASCAR means one thing to collectors — Press Pass trading cards

By CHRIS OLDS

Whether Danica Patrick‘s foray into racing stock cars will ultimately mean much on the track or not, the move announced Tuesday already means one thing for collectors.

She will appear on NASCAR cards from Press Pass.

And the four-time Indy Racing League Most Popular Driver will make her NASCAR cardboard debut before she makes her scheduled entrance into professional stock car racing in an ARCA race on Feb. 6 at Daytona International Speedway.

Element will be the first program in which she’ll be included,” said Nick Matijevich, Press Pass Director of Product Development, on Thursday.

Element, which is scheduled to arrive in January, is the Charlotte, N.C.-based company’s “going green” concept set that consists of a 100-card base set printed on recycled card stock and a full array of inserts with recycling themes in mind.

Oh, and it also includes a special insert that’s about as green as it gets — cold, hard cash can also be found in the packs.

The 27-year-old one-time IRL race-winner will appear in the base set and in one insert set found in the product, Matijevich said.

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Heads Up on a Signed Hockey Helmet

Upper Deck is giving away this autographed helmet from the 2009 NHL Rookie Photo Shoot to one lucky collector. The company plans to release the pertinent details of how on Monday via its Facebook page. Until then, here’s a status report on some of the NHL’s top young superstars.

John Tavares – Islanders star is the early favorite to win the Calder Trophy.
Viktor Hedman – Logging heavy minutes on the blue line for the Lightning.
Matt Duchene – Closing in on double digit goals early in his rookie season in Colorado.
Cody Hodgson – He’s Canucks property, but he won’t play in the NHL for a few years.
Mikael Backlund – The Calgary Flames gave him a taste last year but he could be a late-season call up.
Tyler Bozak – He got his taste of the NHL and he’s now playing for the Toronto Marlies.
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Box Busters: 2009-10 Panini Threads basketball cards

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Keith Hower as they bust a box of 2009-10 Panini Threads basketball cards hot off the presses from Panini America.

What will they find inside?

Click here to find out.

Also be sure to watch the video for your chance to win a vintage-style leather basketball from Past Time Sports.

Box Busters: 2009 TRISTAR Prospects Plus baseball cards

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they bust open boxes of 2009 TRISTAR Prospects Plus baseball cards.

What will they find inside a standard and a Hot Box of the first baseball card set of the year to have 2009 draft picks inside?

Click here to find out.

Box Busters: 2010 Press Pass Racing

Beckett Racing brain trust (and we use that term loosely) Tim Trout and Tracy Hackler just can’t drive 55 with an early box of 2010 Press Pass Racing.

Run, don’t walk, to check out the video to see what they pulled.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Unveils High-End Card Set

Here’s betting that hard-to-shop-for football fan on your Christmas list doesn’t have this. The Pro Football Hall of Fame recently unveiled the extravagant Bronze Bust Collector Card set, a 253-card collection limited to an edition of just 150 sets.

Oh, and here’s the kicker: More than 130 cards in each set are autographed – by the likes of Joe Montana, John Elway, Barry Sanders, John Madden, Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert and Dan Marino.

“The bronze portrait busts, which we use to honor our Hall of Fame members, are often cited as something that separates the Pro Football Hall of Fame from other sports museums,” says Steve Strawbridge, the Hall of Fame’s Vice President Merchandising/Licensing. “With the Bronze Bust Collector Cards we feel that we have again created something that separates us from the norm.”

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2009-10 Heroes & Prospects Packs World Junior Championship Excitement

By Russ Cohen

The 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships will start and finish before 2009-10 ITG Heroes & Prospects is released on January 27, so the demand for some of the cards based on the key players’ on-ice performances could potentially skyrocket.

Two of the players most likely to reap the biggest benefits are Cody Hodgson and Oliver Roy.

I’ve been to the “Bunker,” home of the Brampton Battalion, and have seen firsthand how crazy the hometown fans are for Hodgson, the future Vancouver Canucks standout. A game-used fatigue/jersey of Hodgson will most certainly be a hot commodity. Although he’s coming off an injury, Hodgson is expected to play and have a sizable impact for Team Canada.

Roy is a solid goalie for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the “Q.” He has a chance to make the World Junior squad but he did play in the “Subway Super Series” and ITG has acquired the jersey rights to the “fresh” game-used memorabilia from that tournament as well as the CHL Top Prospects Game. Future top-five picks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Taylor Hall (Windsor) and Tyler Seguin (Plymouth Whalers) played in the Super Series.

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Preview gallery: Upcoming basketball and football card inserts from Panini America

Panini America is busy this time of the year prepping its upcoming basketball and football releases, but that hasn’t stopped them from pulling back the curtain some more on a trio of future releases.

Check out these cards to be found in the upcoming Contenders basketball and football sets as well as the always popular National Treasures football set.

National Treasures is set to arrive in late January, with both Contenders products will arrive earlier in the month.

See a full package of images after the jump.

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Topps Unique's bat knob cards add to short and unique niche

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

While Billy Ripken still has the most memorable bat knob in hobby history, the latest baseball card set from Topps certainly is giving him some competition.

Among the tough-to-find insert cards in 2009 Topps Unique are Bat Knob Relics, which have a piece cut from a player’s game-used bat. (You can guess which part.)

Found at a rate of one in more than 50,000 packs, Unique has 110 knob cards to be found — all 1/1s — between the standard and autographed sets. But what’s interesting is how this release affects the total population of a very small niche in the hobby.

It raises the total number of bat knob cards listed in the Beckett.com database to just 551 different cards — and just 132 of those are autographed. How many of those 132 came from Unique? Just 95.

How many overall knob cards exist? A majority of them are 1/1s, while some — cards with knob-size cuts touted to be from the South end of a bat — have as many as 10 copies. And, in all, there are just 17 memorabilia card sets that include bat knob pieces — and most of them pale in comparison to Topps’ 2005 Pristine knob inserts, which was — and remains — the largest set of knob cards on the market, despite Unique’s arrival.

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What was pulled at the Topps Unique Rip Party?

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What did The Rip Master and crew find in the 2009 Topps Unique Baseball box-busting party? Watch this and find out …

Jewish Major Leaguers Inc. wants baseball fans to help select its Player of the Decade

With the decade winding down, Jewish Major Leaguers Inc. wants to know who has been the best Jewish player in the Major Leagues.

And they want you to vote.

The organization, which produces a set of baseball cards featuring Jewish players and their milestones nearly each year, has presented a ballot that can be found at www.jewishmajorleaguers.org.

There were three players to have played the full decade — Brad Ausmus, Jason Marquis and Scott Schoeneweis – and five more played several seasons (John Grabow, Shawn Green, Gabe Kapler, Mike Lieberthal and Kevin Youkilis), but there’s also been a new crop of talent to emerge that includes Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler, Craig Breslow, Scott Feldman and Adam Stern.

“One of the purposes of the contest,” said JML President Martin Abramowitz, “is to highlight the fact that this has been an extraordinary decade, perhaps the greatest ever.”

The organization’s 2010 “Deck of the Decade” baseball card collection, is set for release just after Opening Day.

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.

Dave & Adam's launches 12 Days of Christmas deals

With just a dozen business days left until Christmas, Dave & Adam’s Card World has launched a 12 Days of Christmas promotion that will have several products with sale prices spotlighted each day.

It’s a move that the Amherst, N.Y.-based company is hoping will lead to more stockings bursting with sports cards.

“Each weekday there will be a handful of select boxes at special sale prices,” said Shawn Crandall. “Friday Specials will run through the weekend. We’re going to have plenty of boxes available at the sale prices, but the specials are while supplies last.”

To see the boxes that were launched as part of the first day of promotion today, click here.

Relic Wear lets collectors take their memorabilia everywhere

Every collector knows that storage and display of their prized memorabilia pieces presents challenges.

But there’s a new product that solves that and allows the owner to take their memorabilia with them anywhere they go.

Well, as long as they’re wearing it.

Relic Wear is a new line of limited-edition bracelets, keyrings and pendants which include at least one piece of game-used sports memorabilia from some of the biggest names in baseball and hockey.

“At the moment [we're] geared toward hockey and the Winter Olympics,” said Alex Malone, the founder of Relic Wear, via email. “[But] we will even be providing a service for collectors to send us their game used patches to be made into custom pendants for them.”

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Product Preview: 2010 Topps Pro Debut Minor League baseball cards

Just days after announcing that it will be the exclusive manufacturer of trading cards for Minor League Baseball, on Friday Topps released preview images and basic product information of what’s to be found in its first MiLB issue set to arrive early next year.

It appears that Topps Pro Debut will include some of the high-end inclusions that other products have had — something that should spark interest in the MiLB market — relying on its Futures Game access and apparently in the unfortunate case of one autograph cut — of Tim Beckham, who is under exclusive contract with another company — its Aflac program.

Each 24-pack box of the hobby-exclusive product will include two autographed cards and one Relic numbered to fewer than 99 copies.

Each 12-box case will include three Debut Cut Signature cards.

The first series base set will consist of 220 cards with Red, Gold and Blue parallels as well as printing plates.

There will be 32 players featured on autograph cards spread between Debut Prospect autographs — with a full run of parallels — as well as the Debut Cuts (20 players in that set alone). The Cuts will be limited to 100, while Blues are limited to 199, Golds limited to 50 and Reds being 1/1s.

The Relic sets will include 49 players — Futures Game participants — with Gold, Book Patch, MLB Logo Patch, Flag Patch and Red-bordered Patch parallels as well. Relics will be limited to 99 cards apiece, while Golds will be limited to 25, Reds limited to five and all others will be 1/1s.

There will be 100 players featured on insert cards in the product — 20 inserts per box — with All-Stars from Single A, Double A, Triple A and the Hall of Fame included.

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.

More images to come, including a full preliminary checklist, after the jump.

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Former WWE star Umaga — aka Eddie Fatu — dies at 36 (updated)

Former World Wrestling Entertainment star Eddie Fatu, most recently known in the ring as “Umaga, The Samoan Bulldozer,” died Friday. He was 36.

Fatu, who also previously wrestled for WWE as “Jamal” from the bruising tag team Three-minute Warning, was a two-time former WWE Intercontinental champion. His most notable match might be his WrestleMania 23 bout against Bobby Lashley, which was dubbed the “Battle of the Billionaires” with Umaga representing WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Lashley wrestling for Donald Trump. The losing wrestler’s billionaire (McMahon) had his head shaved after the match.

Fatu, a cousin of actor and former wrestling star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was released from his WWE contract in June after declining rehabilitation for a reported second failed test under the company’s wellness policy.

For wrestling collectors, there is just one certified autograph of Umaga’s to chase — his card in the 2006 Topps Heritage II set valued at $15. He appears on just 30 other fully licensed WWE cards, according to the Beckett.com database.

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 a few more card images after the jump.

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Kimbo Slice Has Much to Lose Against Houston Alexander

To be sure, there will be more than a handful of veteran card collectors among the millions of people expected to watch tomorrow night’s free Ultimate Fighter 10 Live Finale on Spike.

In theory, the primary objective of Saturday’s card is to crown the winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show’s 10th season in a match between Roy Nelson and Brendan Schaub. In reality, most folks will tune in to watch Kimbo Slice take on Houston Alexander, and then to see the main event between undefeated light heavyweight Jon “Bones” Jones and Matt “The Hammer” Hamill.

It is during that match when astute collectors will catch glimpse of a sight that has become near and dear to many of their hearts in the last few years: The Blowoutcards.com logo.

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First look: 2010 Topps Pro Debut minor league baseball cards

A full preview was done later Friday after the full preview info was released. Click here for that item.

Just days after announcing that it will be the exclusive manufacturer of trading cards for Minor League Baseball, on Friday Topps released preview images of what’s to be found in its first MiLB issue set to arrive early next year.

It appears that Topps Pro Debut will include some of the high-end inclusions that other products have had — something that should spark interest in the MiLB market — relying on its Futures Game access and apparently in the unfortunate case of one autograph cut — of Tim Beckham, who is under exclusive contract with another company — its Aflac program.

See more images after the jump.

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PSA introduces new authentication sticker program

PSA/DNA recently introduced a new tamper-proof authentication sticker program that will specifically note which type of item was authenticated by the California-based company.

The stickers, which will break apart if tampered with, now carry a different look along with the notation of memorabilia type in red lettering. For example, the sticker above would be affixed to a game-used bat.

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Box Busters: 2009 UD Black Football

Check out the wholesome goodness — and some of the not-so-goodness — the Beckett Football team unearthed from four riveting boxes of 2009 UD Black Football.

The high-risk, high-reward product provided an exciting busting experience and led to some sweet cards that will be given away to a handful of lucky collectors.

Check out the video here.

Dedicated autograph collector is Upper Deck's Ultimate NFL Fan

This guy’s a true collector of ink.

While many a fan has collected an autograph, which will often get tucked away for safe keeping, Matt Ellis of Auburn, Ind., takes his collection with him everywhere he goes.

And that alone — his Indianapolis Colts autograph collection which are now tattoos — made him the winner in Upper Deck‘s Ultimate NFL Fan contest.

“I’ve been a Colts fan since the Jim Harbaugh day,” said Ellis, 38, in a release from the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company. “But it wasn’t until 2007 that I started collecting their signatures on my body.”

His collection includes 31 players and two Colts coaches — the first being former Colts punter Hunter Smith. As part of the contest, Ellis won 20 tickets to an NFL game, a NFLShop.com shopping spree and will appear on a 2010 Upper Deck football card.

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First Look: 2010 Topps Finest Baseball

Topps officials on Wednesday afternoon revealed preliminary information and images for 2010 Finest Baseball, the hobby-only product due out in late March.

Each master box (two six-pack mini boxes) will deliver two numbered signed-on-patch Rookie Cards, 10 numbered parallels and one 2010 Rookie Card redemption.

New for 2010 are 1/1 signed-on-patch Letter in the Name X-Fractor Rookie Book Cards. Finest’s base set is comprised of 150 cards (125 veterans and 25 rookies).

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