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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Box Busters: 2009 Playoff National Treasures

Beckett Football‘s overly giddy duo nervously devours two boxes of the highly anticipated 2009 Playoff National Treasures. Check out the goods — some of which will be up for grabs soon — right now.

This could only happen to the Oakland A's …

Prospectors don’t often have to deal with this one, but it seems like it’s always something if you’re an Oakland A’s fan these days.

Grant Desme, an outfielder in the Athletics organization who hit .288 with 31 home runs and stole 40 bases last season, is retiring at age 24.

Why?

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Will Mark McGwire's return to baseball mean his return to baseball cards?

With Mark McGwire finally deciding to “talk about the past” and returning to Major League Baseball as hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, does that mean that his certified autograph might re-appear in packs of 2010 baseball cards?

Maybe and maybe not.

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Readers Write: What about the unlabeled Topps Relic cards?

Topps detailed the Relics that use stadium seats within days of this publishing. See that story here.

We know that Readers Write is an immensely popular department in Beckett’s magazines, so every once in a while we’ll post letters that are pertinent and relate to issues that being talked about. Here’s one …

The Question …

Long-time reader of Beckett and always enjoy your box breaks.

Question: I may have missed it, but is Beckett going to address the issue where Topps is misleading collectors with the Relic pieces that what I believe most collectors thought were bat pieces that are actually pieces of some seat or bench? I know I purchased a T206  Ty Cobb bat card off eBay that I thought was a bat but yesterday when I spoke to Topps they would not confirm if it was a bat or a seat/bench.

I also purchased several packs of Topps Tribute at Nick’s Sports Cards in the hunt for old players that I collect, hoping to pull one of the Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, or Ty Cobb cards. It now appears that the wood on these cards are not game used bats but again pieces of a seat or bench. I pulled two Duke Snider cards and again I questioned Topps about the piece but the customer service person to whom I spoke did not know if it was a game used bat or a seat. He placed me on hold and checked with his brand manager.   The brand manager would not confirm the wood piece.  Which told me it was not a game-used bat piece.

Several collectors to whom I have spoken all feel that we believe Topps is deceiving the hobby. I would like to know what will be Beckett’s take on this and I would very much appreciate hearing from you. I have been a collector for over 50 years, so I have seen the good and the bad of the hobby but Topps’ action is some of the very worst I have seen.

Thank you and I look forward to your reply.
– Ron Firestone

Get our answer after the jump …

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Colts, Vikings Super Bowl in the Cards

If a highly unscientific, sinfully entertaining football card comparison can serve as a hobby-heavy harbinger, the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings are headed for a Super Bowl XLIV showdown.

It’s the game most of America wants to see (Peyton Manning vs. Brett Favre) after Sunday’s conference championship games; and it’s the decided outcome of an off-the-beaten-path, off-the-field projection produced by the heavily queried, incomparably massive Beckett database.

We started by ranking the NFL’s four remaining teams (the Colts and New York Jets in the AFC, the Vikings and New Orleans Saints in the NFC) in five collecting categories: Total number of cards all time, total number of 2009 cards, average Rookie Card value, average autograph card value and average memorabilia card value.

We then awarded points to each team in each category depending on how they fared (four points for first, three for second, two for third and one for fourth), tallied the overall scores for each team and – voila! – had our results . . .

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Box Busters Preview Gallery: 2009 Playoff National Treasures Football

The Beckett Box Busters crew on Thursday afternoon drooled on, then nervously unveiled the contents of, two $400 boxes of 2009 Playoff National Treasures. You can catch the full results of the 18-card, $800 haul when the Box Busters episode is posted on Friday.

In the meantime, we thought a few sweet sneak peek pics would hold you over. While we don’t want to give away too much, we’re happy to report that each box delivered four autographs (and not all were stickers), three memorabilia cards, absolutely zero “scandal” cards and a duped Hall of Famer.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com on Friday to watch this must-see edition of Box Busters. Enjoy the images . . . now

– Tracy Hackler

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Box Busters: 2010 Press Pass Element Racing

The Beckett Racing team breaks one of the first boxes of 2010 Press Pass Element and unearths all manner of racing goodness, including Danica Patrick‘s first NASCAR  Rookie Card.

For high entertainment value, watch the video here.

LTL PRINTS isn't done with new wall graphics just yet …

Earlier today, we brought you news that Topps has partnered with LTL PRINTS to bring fans of the Garbage Pail Kids giant wall-sized graphics.

Well, they’re not done there.

Today, LTL is launching a line of graphics featuring memorable Topps baseball, football, basketball and hockey wrapper designs — those distinctive pieces of art that defined a product at a glance. (Well, at least until they’re opened.)

The wrappers span from the 1950s to the 1990s and are similar in prize and size to the Garbage Pail Kids graphics with prices starting at $14.95.

You can examine them all by clicking here and you can see more after the jump.

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Not a bad box of 2009 Topps Triple Threads

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It’s refreshing to see some real excitement out there when collectors open such high-end boxes like 2009 Topps Triple Threads.  And this box? Well, it’s got plenty inside. (Watch both packs … )

But it’s even more refreshing to see how ridiculously polite the kid is, too.

Preview Gallery: 2010 Press Pass 8 Seconds rodeo cards

Guilherme Marchi, the 2008 PBR world champion, shows off his autograph card. (Photograph courtesy of Press Pass.)

Press Pass8 Seconds pro rodeo card set, which features stars from the Professional Bull Riders circuit, arrives next week with a new look and feel for trading cards.

It’s not the first rodeo for the trading card industry — there have been other card sets  — but it might be the first one to include this many certified autographs and memorabilia cards. Collectors can expect a total of six per 24-pack hobby box. (See the promo set here and get more details about the product by clicking here.)

You can see a few more images — including the autograph card for Ty Murray — after the jump.

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Up next on Box Busters …

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We’ll let Tracy Hackler show you and tell you what’s up next for Beckett Media‘s always-beloved Box Busters … watch the video.

Preview gallery: 2010 Wheels Element Undiscovered Elements autographs

Press Pass2010 Wheels Element – aka the “going green” NASCAR set — arrives on Friday with the headline being the stock car trading card debut of Danica Patrick weeks before she takes the wheel for real in an ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway.

But there are more debuts to be found in Element besides the world’s most famous part-time Nationwide Series driver.

There will be Undiscovered Elements autographs of several young drivers to be found — like Leilani Munter, who signed the card above with a rather Elemental nickname.

Check ‘em out after the jump.

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Topps & LTL PRINTS bring Garbage Pail Kids to walls around world

Topps and Philadelphia-based startup company LTL PRINTS are joining forces to bring giant-sized Garbage Pail Kids wall graphics to the masses.

The news, expected to be announced Friday, means that nearly  80 memorable GPKs from the 1980s can adorn walls everywhere — memorable kids like Adam Bomb, Rappin’ Ron,  Half-Nelson can be taken to new heights.

Literally, new heights — as in 7 feet tall. The high-resolution graphics, which start at just $14.95, are available in as large as 74×52 inches.

“As kids growing up in the 1980s, my friends and I loved the first Garbage Pail Kids, and it is an absolute honor to bring the original Garbage Pail Kids artwork to an exciting new medium,” said Kendall Schoenrock, Co-Founder of LTL PRINTS. “Some incredibly talented artists worked on Garbage Pail Kids over the years.”

And they’re not done with this first hearty selection, either. Starting next month, there will be a new batch of GPKs available on a monthly basis.

See a sampling of GPK’s available after the jump or visit the LTL PRINTS store by clicking here.

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Something I found digging through a different collection

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

Baseball card collectors know the joy of going through a dusty old box and finding something that they hadn’t seen in years, something that sparks a memory. They also know the joy of the cardboard equivalent of finding a $20 bill in their coat pocket — when a once-unknown player’s card is found in one of those boxes and it’s worth a lot more than they remembered.

Well, as a long-time collector, I’ve got plenty of baseball cards — but as a long-time writer about cards I’ve got a different collection of sorts, too. Some writers call them clips, while others call their past work a portfolio. But for me it’s just a different collection — one that’s unfortunately no more organized than any other in my possession.

But, like boxes of baseball cards, sometimes when you go digging around you find something that’s interesting, something that’s different or something that might make you cringe. It’s something that takes you back to a place in time — when things were perhaps a bit different than they are today.

My recent find isn’t one of those cringe-worthy items — but the tales of the last few years in the baseball world certainly have changed, making much of what I wrote impossible but ironic in some instances given the context of history.

It’s the column I wrote for The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News on the evening of Monday, May 13, 2002 — the evening my favorite baseball player, Jose Canseco, decided it was time to retire.

It’s a piece penned well before “performance-enhancing drugs” were a near-everyday part of the baseball vocabulary. It’s one penned before Canseco’s book, Juiced, and one from well before many an accusation, failed test or denial ever took place.

It was written well before Canseco got just six votes (or just 1.1 percent) on his Hall of Fame ballot, permanently leaving him for the Veterans Committee as the only option (and not a likely one) for consideration in Cooperstown.

You can read it all (unedited) — and more — after the jump …

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Preview Gallery: 2009-10 Panini Studio basketball cards

Panini America released a small batch of card images on Wednesday for what’s to be found in its 2009-10 Panini Studio basketball card set when it arrives in late February. (See our previous look at the set right here.)

The Heritage autographs appear to be signed on-card as are the Skylines autographs.

Check ‘em all out after the jump.

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The Hobby Rumor Mill … Jan. 20, 2010

“I love rumors! Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.”

Here’s a little something that should get the card collectors abuzz … 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. In some cases, the companies ain’t talking, either.

Until then, chew on these …

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Checklist: 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition autograph print runs

With the official arrival of 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition today from Panini America, we’ve scoured the checklist to get the answers to what many prospectors want — the quantities of cards released in the key autograph sets.

We haven’t listed them all — we’ll leave some mystery to those who hunt online — but you’ll find the basics after the jump.

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Checklist: 2009 Playoff National Treasures Souvenir Cuts

With the 2009 Playoff National Treasures football card set little over a week away from release, we’ve gotten a look at what the checklist will be packing.

It’s got plenty of what one would expect — but it’s also got a deep checklist of Souvenir Cuts autographs, a checklist that includes several important figures in U.S. history and pop culture as well as football greats like Sammy Baugh (above on his Century insert) and even coaching legends like Paul Brown, Paul “Bear” Bryant and Vince Lombardi.

See the Souvenir Cuts checklist after the jump.

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Beckett Baseball: We've got it covered — twice

The Best of 2009 issue of Beckett Baseball – or, really, The Best Issue since we’re offering our picks for the best of the decade — will be arriving in hobby shops soon with not one, but two covers.

The covers feature AL MVP Joe Mauer, the best catcher in baseball, and NL MVP Albert Pujols, the best hitter in baseball.

While the full slate of 2009 baseball products hasn’t even all arrived yet, we’ve tackled it all and made our selections.

Oh, did we mention we’re upping the frequency of Beckett Baseball again this year? We’re publishing 10 issues in 2010.

See both covers after the jump.

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The Face of SPx arrives on newsstands

Collectors who are regular readers here might recognize the little guy above, who is getting rather big play these days on the back cover of the latest issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly (No. 299).

He’s 3-year-old William Bucci and he’s The Face of SPx baseball cards from Upper Deck.

And to think … it could have been you.

How did that happen? Read all about it right here.