Monthly Archives: January 2010

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.

Product Preview: 2009-10 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection hockey cards

Upper Deck recently released the product breakdown and preview images for its 2009-10 Ultimate Collection hockey set, a higher-end product that packs one Rookie Card, one autograph and one memorabilia card in every four-card pack.

Collectors will find four patch cards per 15-box case as well as one autographed memorabilia card. Upper Deck also promises three top-level autographs in every case as well.

While collectors will have to wait until April 27 to get their hands on these cards, they can see a gallery of preview images after the jump.

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Preview Gallery: 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Metal hockey cards

With 2009-10 O-Pee Chee Metal hockey cards set to arrive next week, we figured what better time than now to take a closer look at what the Upper Deck product will be packing.

Each 24-pack box will include 48 Metal parallels, two ‘Metal X’ parallels, one Top Draws Triple Jersey, 24 OPC Retro variations and eight OPC Update Rainbow parallels

Each 12-box case should include two OPC Metal autographs and two OPC Signatures or The Champions autograph cards.

Se e more images after the jump.

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Upper Deck explores NFL's Legacy with new football card set

Upper Deck will examine the origins and past stars as well as celebrate today’s NFL in a new football card set that will arrive in May called Legacy Collection.

The standard set will consist of 100 Immortals, 100 Veterans and 100 rookies with each subset printed on differing stock. The Immortals will be printed on clay-coat cardboard, while the rookies will appear on foil board. The veterans will be standard cards.

Each 24-pack box will include four autographs or memorabilia cards with one of the cards being a single-piece or dual-piece numbered patch card.
Every pack will include some type of insert card from a lineup that includes NFL Legacy, Foundations, Franchise Legacy, Past Meets Present and the UD Wire Photos insert sets. The Wire Photos set emulates the printouts that newspapers and magazines used for years if they subscribed to photo services like The Associated Press.

The 200-card AFL/NFL Legacy set will highlight the 40th Anniversary of the AFL/NFL Merger as an insert that will be found across all Upper Deck football brands. The line will include autograph and memorabilia cards as well.

See a full gallery after the jump.

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Panini releases 2009 Playoff Contenders College Rookie Tickets short-print list

Panini America released the  list of short-printed College Rookie Tickets cards from its 2009 Contenders football set on Monday.

See them all after the jump.

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500 Home Runs: A club forever changed


Once upon a time, the 500 Home Run Club truly was an elite group of baseball players, a small number of sluggers assured of immortality in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Today, its exploding ranks carry much more than an air of greatness — it also carries an air of suspicion.

Entering the 1993 season, there were a mere 14 members of the club in nearly 125 years of baseball — that’s what my once-trusty third edition of Total Baseball says. (Remember the heyday of that relic? Some of you do.) It’s a list topped by Hank Aaron followed by Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, Willie McCovey, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews and, ending the list, Mel Ott at 511.

Barry Bonds was nowhere to be found among the top 100 sluggers in MLB history with just 196 home runs for his career.

Oh, how times have changed.

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Bears DE and former Clemson star Gaines Adams dead at 26

Gaines Adams, a third-year defensive end for the Chicago Bears and former first-round draft pick, died on Sunday. He was 26.

Adams, a former Tampa Bay Bucs and Clemson football standout, died from cardiac arrest possibly linked to an enlarged heart.

The fourth overall pick in 2007, Adams appears on a total of 841 football cards, just 35 of those tagged as Rookie Cards in the Beckett.com database.

In all, Adams signed for 334 different certified autograph cards and has 278 different memorabilia cards. His most expensive autographed cards check in at $80 apiece (one being his 2007 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Gold Materials #206, which is limited to 25 copies), while his most-expensive rookie cards (2007 Playoff National Treasures #112 JSY AU RC and 2007 Donruss Threads #280 AU RC) are $50.

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.

Panini releases Playoff Contenders Football SP list

Panini America released the list of short-printed Rookie Cards found in 2009 Playoff Contenders Football on Friday.

See the list after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball cards

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball boxes in this piping hot same-day edition of Box Busters.

Each 20-pack hobby box from Panini America contains at least six autographed cards, while one in every five boxes is a Hot Box that contains 10 autographs and one game-used memorabilia card. (Yes, we know that’s every other pack, not every pack.)

What will they find inside? Click here to find out.

Product preview: 2010 Bowman baseball cards

Topps released the basic product information and preview images for its 2010 Bowman baseball card set on Friday afternoon, a set that will mark the cardboard debut of No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg in a Washington Nationals uniform.

Scheduled to arrive May 10, the set will include 110 prospect cards and there will be one autographed Chrome card (no sticker autographs) per 24-pack hobby box. Each 10-pack HTA Jumbo box will include three autographs.

There will be 220 cards in the basic set — all with Printing Plates, Red, Orange, Blue and Gold parallels as in past years — while there will be 110 prospects found with standard Bowman and Chrome  cards. These, too, will have the standard range of parallels.

The Bowman Chrome Autograph checklist includes 32 players — 10 Autographed Rookie Card variations and 22 Autographed Prospects — all with the typical parallels.

See images and the full preliminary checklist after the jump.

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Upper Deck unveils football rookie redemption program

Upper Deck has a new wrapper-redemption program coming next month that will put cards of top NFL rookies into collectors’ hands.

The company unveiled its Own the Rookies program on Friday, which will give the cards to collectors who buy $10 or more in Upper Deck football packs at their nearby Diamond Dealer hobby shop beginning in February.

The first 10 players who took Upper Deck’s Rookie of the Week honors will be on the checklist — a crop that includes Mark Sanchez, Matt Stafford and Percy Harvin among others.

See a few more cards from the set after the jump.

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Box Busters preview: 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball cards

We’ve got the Box Busters episode in the microwave, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see some of what we found inside boxes of 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball cards right now.

Panini America has upped the ante by including six autographs per 20-pack hobby box (the boxes say just four) and four boxes in every 20-box case will be Hot Boxes that pack 10 autographs and a memorabilia card inside.

Here’s a glimpse what what you will see pulled once our video arrives after the jump. Elite Extra Edition will arrive in hobby shops beginning next Wednesday.

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First (photo-free) look: 2010 Goudey & SP Authentic baseball cards from Upper Deck

The visual mystery continues.

Upper Deck released the basic product breakdowns for a pair of its 2010 baseball card sets on Friday — Goudey and SP Authentic – but once again has not given any indication of what its cards will look like as it enters a new era as only a manufacturer of only partially licensed baseball cards.

Goudey will arrive in mid-March with one memorabilia card and two autographs per box. The base set will consist of  200 standard cards, 20 short-printed retired player cards, 40 short-printed black and white cards and 40 short-printed Sports Royalty cards.

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Exclusive First Look: 2009 Exquisite Collection Football

Go ahead you high-end pack gamblers and golden-ticket treasure seekers . . . rejoice. It’s time. Upper Deck on Thursday evening finally has released product information and drool-inducing images of 2009 Exquisite Collection Football, the forthcoming new installment of the  most expensive product in football card history.

While Upper Deck officials have yet to reveal many of the hand-collated product’s specifics, they have confirmed that the 2009 edition, set to release Feb. 23, will include a bonus pack in every box guaranteed to deliver an additional autographed memorabilia card. In addition, all rookie autographs will be numbered to 225 or less and every autograph in the product will be signed on-card.

See more of 2009 Exquisite Collection’s nuts and bolts after this rather, um, stimulating gallery full of collection-making gems, including a handful of the product’s innovative hinged book cards:

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First Look: 2010 Razor U.S. Army All-American Bowl inscription autographs

The 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl has come and gone with the arrival of Tim Tebow‘s first football card and plenty of autographs signed.

On Thursday, Razor unveiled preview images for its 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl set, which will include inscription autographs limited to just five copies per card.

Most of the players signed something related to the university that they will be attending, but some added other notations.

We’re somewhat fond of Matt James‘ note with his autograph.

See it and plenty of others after the jump.

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The Sports Card Industrial Average Revealed

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday ran a story comparing the investment performance of 30 key trading cards during the last five years to the five-year performance of the 30 companies that currently comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The 30 landmark cards, dubbed the “Sports Card Industrial Average” by the WSJ, was compiled in conjunction with Beckett Media and featured the most influential sports cards of all time (15 from baseball and five each from basketball, football and hockey). The story listed seven of the 30 cards individually, leaving many Beckett.com visitors wondering what the other 23 were.

Here is the list in its entirety . . .

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Upper Deck releases USA Baseball checklist

Upper Deck released the checklist for its 2010 USA Baseball set and one thing’s for certain — fears that the set might not include some of the biggest names possible on the autograph checklist couldn’t be more wrong.

Bryce Harper alone signed more than 1,150 autographs for inclusion in the baseball organization’s fund-raiser box sets that will arrive next week. (The release has been delayed until Jan. 18, after previously being set for Jan. 12.)

Until just this week, Upper Deck had not released any images or product information for marketing citing the athletes’ status as amateurs.

See a full product checklist after the jump.

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Topps releases more National Chicle baseball images

Topps released three more images of paintings that will be used in its 2010 National Chicle baseball card set that will arrive in April.

From left, they are Lou Gehrig (in a current New York Yankees uniform), Albert Pujols in a St. Louis Browns uniform and Ken Griffey Jr.

Read more about the product here and at additional links in that story.

Exclusive First Look: 2010 Press Pass Football

Press Pass officials on Thursday morning provided an appetite-whetting early look at 2010 Press Pass Football, a product due out March 31 and buoyed by what many expect to be one of the most spectacular draft classes in recent memory.

The preview includes America’s first glimpse of licensed trading cards featuring collegiate superstars Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen.

Press Pass’ final product under its expiring CLC licensing agreement will deliver five on-card autographs per box in addition to two Reflectors parallels, two Power Picks and seven Banner Season insert cards.

“Our incredibly popular Red Ink and Inscription variations return for another year to add an exciting and unique chase element for collectors,” said Nick Matijevich, Press Pass’ Director of Product Development. “All cards will prominently feature collegiate logos from the players’ universities.”

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Card gallery: 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition

Panini America is all set to release 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition very soon … here’s a peek at what will be found inside packs when it arrives on Jan. 20 — including the first certified autograph card of new Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

See a full gallery after the jump.

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Card gallery: 2009 Upper Deck USA Baseball

Upper Deck released a selection of card images from its 2009 USA Baseball boxed set on Wednesday, but only images of the National Team players’ base cards and the memorabilia cards (all triple jerseys).

However, no checklist has been released for the set is now scheduled to arrive next Monday.

See the cards after the jump.

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In The Game Announces Class of 2010 Redemption Program

The release of 2009-10 ITG Heroes and Prospects is less than three weeks away and the company recently announced preliminary details regarding a new redemption program added to the product this season.

As hinted at previously, the Class of 2010 non-memorabilia insert cards will include a redemption feature that could allow collectors to obtain special limited game-used memorabilia cards.

Each Class of 2010 card (full checklist below) will feature a foil-stamped number on the back that is between 1 and 30. If the player depicted on the front of the card is drafted at the position noted on the back, collectors can redeem their insert card for a game-used memorabilia card that is limited to just 10 copies.

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Larry Fitzgerald Resumes Rare Playoff Flight Pattern

Somehow misplaced amid the barrage of passes and points and made-for-SportsCenter moments that permeated last Sunday’s scintillating Cardinals-Packers Wild Card game was yet another spectacular postseason performance from Arizona wonder receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Overshadowed by his team’s record-setting 51-45 overtime win against the Packers (on a defensive touchdown, no less) was the continuation of Fitzgerald’s unparalleled postseason profuseness.

You’ll remember that the 6-3, 225-pound pass-catching freak captivated the country last season with what most consider, hands down, the greatest receiving postseason in NFL history, a bit of spiral-snaring nirvana that included 30 catches, 546 yards and seven touchdowns in four games.

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The New York Post explores Upper Deck Yu-Gi-Oh case

Courtesy of Milard & Associates PC

Konami‘s long-running allegations that Upper Deck produced unauthorized Yu-Gi-Oh! cards — claims that include copyright infringement, breach of contract and trademark counterfeiting — will be at the forefront in a federal court on Jan. 26.

That’s when the case is scheduled for trial with a judge to determine the extent of damages to Konami. The court already found that Konami “presented evidence to establish every element of liability [for] counterfeit activity and violation of federal unfair competition law, pursuant to the Lanham Act, on the part of [Upper Deck].”

The case already is getting mainstream media attention as well. Here’s a story from the The New York Post.

For more details, including court filings and images of cards, click here where the cases have been examined intensively by a Los Angeles-based intellectual property and trademark attorney.

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.

The Winners of Wild Card Weekend

In a wild, woolly and record-setting opening weekend of the NFL playoffs, a handful of stars helped their hobby perceptions more than others with pristine performances for the football-watching world to see.

None, however, were as sizzling as these six . . .

Early Doucet, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Doucet was the choice early and often for Kurt Warner in Sunday’s record-breaking 51-45 overtime point orgy between the Cardinals and Packers. The second-year pro from LSU was on the receiving end of Warner’s first two touchdown passes Sunday, both 15-yarders, to help stake Arizona to first-half leads of 14-0 and 24-7.

Doucet finished the game with six catches and a career-high 77 yards. His two scores doubled his previous career total and helped immensely in easing the burden caused by Anquan Boldin’s injury.

Key RC: Doucet has 40 total, but his 2008 Playoff Contenders ($60), is limited to just 113 copies. Another performance or two like Sunday’s and $60 will seem like a steal.

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Inside Upper Deck's Diamond Club

YouTube Preview Image

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a part of Upper Deck‘s exclusive group of collectors, the Diamond Club?

Here’s a video that the company recently produced detailing it all. Check it out.

Box Busters: 2009 Bowman Sterling baseball cards

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into two boxes of 2009 Bowman Sterling baseball cards for this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find? Watch and find out by clicking here.

Wall Street Journal Examines the Investment Performance of Key Sports Cards

A story in Tuesday’s edition of the The Wall Street Journal pits 30 key sports trading cards against the 30 companies that currently comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Journal‘s findings: Over the last five years, the key sports cards have outperformed the DJIA with an average return of 12.4 percent to 7.9 percent.

Beckett Media worked with Journal reporter David Biderman to compile the list of the top 30 most influential sports cards of all time (15 baseball and five each from basketball, football and hockey), a list the WSJ story refers to as the “Sports Card Industrial Average.”

Click the link to read Biderman’s story.

— Tracy Hackler

First look: 2010 Bowman baseball cards

Topps unveiled a package of preview images for its 2010 Bowman Baseball set on Monday, a selection that includes the first base card and certified autograph card of No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg.

While Topps officials have been mum about Strasburg’s cards since announcing the company’s deal with the hightly touted college star in December, this is his first known appearance on a Topps card. (It’s likely that he would show up in Topps’ inaugural Pro Debut Minor League set which should arrive before Bowman, but nothing has been announced.)

See more images after the jump.

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Upper Deck announces 2009 UD Signature Stars baseball set

Upper Deck announced on Monday its 2009 UD Signature Stars line, a baseball product that is set to arrive later this month.

No images were released for the product, but it is set to include a heavy amount of USA Baseball cards as well as top prospects.

The base set will include 100 cards, 20 Top Prospects, 65 base card High Series Signatures and 25 Rookie Signatures cards.

The insert line will include a Blue Platinum base set parallel, Signature Skills (1:25 packs), Signed Sealed and Delivered (1:25) and Trophy Winners (1:50).

Each 20-pack box will include four memorabilia or autograph cards with the company touting the “first UD Signature cards of Michael Saunders, Chris Tillman, Josh Reddick, Mat Latos, Sean O’Sullivan and Chinese pitcher Fu-Te-Ni” as well as signatures from Rick Porcello, Matt Laporta and Matt Wieters along with autographs of Bryce Harper and 2008 USA Baseball Buybacks for Andy Laroche, Evan Longoria and Colby Rasmus.

Each 20-box case will include just one Gold Signatures Parallel autograph.

Every other case will include a UD Black “Pride of a Nation” veteran or rookie as well as one triple or quad autograph card.

From there, it’s a little confusing as to what’s precisely included in the product on the box level because of the array of autographed and game-used inserts so here’s the full breakdown:

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Report: UD Admits Making Unauthorized Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards

A story in last Wednesday’s Los Angeles Daily Journal details a federal judge’s finding that Upper Deck admitted to printing and distributing more than 600,000 “unauthentic” Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards in 2007.

A Jan. 26 trial is set to determine the extent of the damages. Stay tuned to Beckett.com for updates to this story.

To read the Daily Journal account, click on the link below.

UDYGO