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Monthly Archives: December 2009

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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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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